Since getting married almost 15 yrs ago, DH & I have moved 7 times. That's A LOT of moving! However, DH & I have always subscribed to the theory that home is where the heart is and as long as we have each other, we're home. And it's very true for us. But moving to VT has made us feel even more at home. Originally from Ohio, we grew up in a semi-rural, conservative area. It was nice. When we got married, we moved to Wooster, which we enjoyed more than where we'd grown up. Our final move in Ohio was to a very rural area south of Wooster - where we felt very much at home, but where our son was struggling due to his Autism Spectrum Disorder and the general attitudes and misconceptions of the small school district.
Eventually we moved our family to PA - just north of Pittsburgh. We lived in a pretty suburban area and were not thrilled with upscale, fast-paced lifestyle there. The schools, however, were heads and shoulders above any district we'd seen in OH! From there we moved to a rural area north of Pittsburgh. It felt more like home. Our family prefers the quiet, slow-paced life of country living. We enjoy sitting outdoors on our porch, drinking coffee and watching wildlife. It was nearly perfect. Our son was in an amazing school. Our daughter was in a pretty good school and we enjoyed our country retreat.
But then, DH was offered the opportunity to work for a fantastic company in VT. Even though we knew how hard it would be to uproot and move, we knew that we'd be okay as long as the four of us were together. The first month was a tad bumpy. Getting used to a new town; trying to get the kids registered for school; renting a house (until ours sells) in a very suburban neighborhood; and getting used to a new state, was a tad jarring. After the first month, we moved from the suburban neighborhood to a beautiful house in a more rural area of the town. The kids were all registered for school and ready to go. DH was getting into the swing of things at work. Things started to feel more normal.
It's been 2 months since we moved to VT and I have to say we are the happiest we've ever been. We are renting a house that sits on acreage and overlooks the mountains in New Hampshire. DH absolutely adores his new job. Our son is in the MOST proactive school for Autism Sepctrum Disorders he's ever been in. His IEP team has him scheduled in interactive learning classes in which they use one class to teach many subjects. For instance, he's in woodshop. It's an applied learning class for children with learning disabilities: mainly dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia.. The class uses woodshop to teach math, reading, and english as well as social skills. The way the class is outlined is phenomenal and so innovative. It's EXACTLY what we've been looking for all of these years. The school has tailored his schedule to him. So he's taking many technology classes since he's a complete wiz at computers (he even helped his teacher with her computer already this school year.). He's flourishing and has made numerous friends! The school is really combining his need for support with his talents and his need for social skills and independence training. I LOVE IT! And more importantly, so does he!
Meanwhile, our daughter is enjoying her school! The children in her school are taught right away to be bilingual. They all take Spanish twice a week. The kids call their teachers and the other school professionals by their first names. The kids feel as though they are collaborating with each other and their teachers on their education. It's empowering and a terrific life skill that they will use in the business world. The kids learn in a multitude of modalities. The 2nd graders will even man the school store and count the money and change. The school had a huge Welcome Back BBQ last night! The kids were all smiles. The parents are all very involved. The kids HUG their teachers! It's amazing! Even their approach to math and reading is very innovative. They are using a program in-line with the Wilson Reading program for all students. (Wilson is used to help dyslexic students.) Each student's homework and tests are custom tailored to the student, as though they all have IEPs. The teachers make sure that every student is sufficiently challenged, but not frustrated. Collaboration, acceptance, creative expression, and sharing are cornerstones of the kids' education. My daughter is even taking the Chinese Cultural program where she'll learn about Chinese culture, tradition, food, and Chinese languages. She's also in the Children's Chorus. I can't say enough about how enriching and refreshing this school is! Oh and to top it off - the elementary schools start before the high school/middle school students because of the the circadian rhythm of the the older students! Apparently, as children hit puberty, their circadian rhythm changes. The science says the older students will learn better if they start school later. Say it with me: AWESOMESAUCE!
As for me, well, I found a small community of knitters. Now that the kids are in school, I plan to venture out and socialize. Walking and biking are extremely common here in New England. I plan on getting a good bike and enjoying. The community is very artsy and laid back. People are not pretentious here. People are genuinely nice and caring. They accept everyone. There's even a gentleman who used to walk his pig downtown. The town even has a Strolling of the Heifers event. There are gallery walks and farmer's markets. Any day of the week, you may see musicians standing in front of the coffee shop strumming guitars or singing. You may see people sketching or painting downtown. Everyone does their part to recycle and preserve the community. And the entire community gathers numerous times a year for events. Believe it or not, there's even a clown college and a children's theater. My daughter is already excited about taking acrobatics!! And my son is thrilled that there are so many places for him to paint and throw pottery! It's exactly the community we were looking for: laid back, artsy, community-minded, accepting of all (even children with disabilities!!), and friendly. Our family finally feels settled and at home. And I cannot tell you what peace and happiness that brings us.