When I first walked onto the Saint Constantine campus, I knew immediately that I had found something really special. There was a garden, more green space than I had seen at other schools, a newly-built basketball court, and a brand new building being made ready for students. It felt different here.
It was July of 2020, and nothing seemed normal. Masks had recently been mandated by the Governor of Texas, and so here I was, meeting someone new with a mask on my face, and one on hers, as well. As we were walking towards the Mays building, I was busy looking around, trying to take in as much as possible. Between my mask and my glasses, my peripheral vision was a little off, and I proceeded to miss a slight step. I fell hard! Embarrassed, I got up and tried to shake it off. Mrs. Yee was so kind, and went and found me some ice, and was nice enough to act like it was no big deal. I was mortified, but I later learned that if I was to fall in front of anyone on a first meeting, Mrs. Yee was the one! We still laugh about it to this day.
We had been homeschooling since the fall of 2015, when my oldest, Stephen, began Kindergarten. I had been homeschooled as a child, but had never really considered it an option for my own family. We lived in Katy, where we had amazing public schools. I just assumed that Stephen would begin Kindergarten at Pattison Elementary, the smallish elementary school we were zoned to. However, the more I learned about the way the Katy schools were run, and in particular, the more I heard about the experience of my friends' children there, I began to reassess our options. I firmly believe that you have to choose what is best for you; I never judge my friends who send their children to public school. But I knew that this school wasn't what I wanted for my son. So we started Kindergarten at home.
At the end of each school year, I considered our options again, but nothing ever seemed like the right fit. I loved the freedom that homeschooling provided, and I loved the classical style of learning. When I would look at other options, yes, I might get two days "free" while my child attended classes, but then the amount of work we would have to do on his "home days" seemed to negate that freedom. I wanted a school that would teach them to love learning; I just wasn't sure that that place existed. That is, until I found Saint Constantine.
My sister told me that she was sending her boys there, so I began to investigate. It sounded too good to be true.
That hot day in July, 2020 as Mrs. Yee described the Lower School experience, I was shocked. At the time, I had a 5th grader and a 2nd grader. Mrs. Yee explained the school's block schedule to me, giving us the choice between 2-day, 3-day, and 5-day programs. With core classes being held on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and enrichment classes on Tuesday/Thursdays, we could 'dip our toes in' in a way that made sense for us. And with no homework being assigned in the Lower School, our "home days" could really be home days.
So we began in August of 2020. Large-scale events weren't taking place, so we hadn't been able to meet any of our teachers at the usual beginning-of-the-year events. As I took my children to meet their first period teachers on the first day of school, my son tried to shake his new teacher's hand. Instead, his teacher grinned, held up his hand, and said, "I will give you the sign of the Vulcan." I knew, at that moment, that we had made a good choice.
That first year, my children attended TSCS on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. While at home on Tuesdays and Thursdays, we enjoyed outings with our homeschool group, as well as piano lessons and other activities. Fast-forward to Spring 2021, and I loved this school more than I had thought possible. So in the Fall of 2021, they began going five days a week. By June, 2022, I had a job offer from the school, and now all three of us are at the school five days a week!
It's amazing how one choice can alter your entire life. We're thankful for it every day.