I homeschooled my son Joseph until he was 4 years old. Then I found
Legacy Charter School, just by walking down the street. If I hadn’t found Legacy I would still be homeschooling him. I don’t want him in a traditional public school. I have been to a lot of traditional public schools. I graduated from those traditional public schools. All I saw was bullying and children disrespecting teachers. Even in high school, there was a lot of trouble. Much as I tried to distance myself from the problems around me by being quiet and studious, I was still picked on. From those experiences, I made some promises to myself. I said, “If I ever have children, I’m going to listen to them. I don’t want them in an environment like this. I’m going to put them in a good environment.” Legacy has been that good environment for my son, Joseph. I’m glad I made that choice. When he started prekindergarten, he was very quiet. He always spoke to me, but in the classroom he wouldn’t speak at all. His first teacher, Ms. Williams, promised me she would get Joseph to talk, and she did. Then I couldn’t get Joseph to be quiet! It took longer to help Joseph easily understand reading, but his teachers and I did it by working together. Starting in kindergarten, he had a small problem with comprehension. From kindergarten through third grade, his teachers and I worked to help him strengthen his understanding. It all clicked in fourth grade, when he boosted his reading two levels. Now, in sixth grade, he’s way above his level, and I still work with him every single day. The teachers didn’t give up on my child—as we say at Legacy, my scholar. Now he’s a helper, helping other scholars who need help with their studies. He loves to draw and he loves science. Math is his favorite subject. He already knows where he wants to go for high school and he is thinking about college. He’s starting a program called
High Jump that will help him get ready for high school and college.
Knowing We Made the Right Choice Last year I chose Legacy again, after exploring another school. He went to the other school briefly, but within three days I brought him back. A friend and I had visited the other school just to see how it was. I really liked the discipline and how quiet it was. But I didn’t know how really military it was there. On Joseph’s first day at his new school, he loved it and the teachers loved him. They said they had never had a student arrive so well-behaved. But over the next two days, he got in trouble twice—for tying his shoe at the wrong time and for dropping a book when trying to put his things away. He told me, “Mom, I’ve never gotten in trouble before. This school is not for me. I don’t need to be in a military school. I’m well-disciplined at Legacy.” When he told me this, I listened. And I thought hard. I wanted my child in the best school possible for him to get the learning he needs. By listening to what Joseph was telling me, I knew Legacy was the best place for him to be. Fortunately, Ms. Kenner, our principal at Legacy, told me, “You are one of my favorite parents. I need my scholar back.” Ms. Kenner is a wonder. I never had a principal as nice as she is. She knows every scholar and their family. What principal knows that? Since he’s been back, everything has been good. He just went on a trip last week to Aurora to help a group called
Feed My Starving Children. He was there the whole day helping bag rice and grains for malnourished children around the world. He and his classmates raised $115 to help them out. Legacy has helped my son become a self-disciplined, mature, independent scholar. I’m glad to be a part of this community. I have been volunteering at Legacy since Joseph was in prekindergarten, and I help out with school fees for two Legacy scholars from families not as fortunate as ours. School choice helped me find Legacy and showed me how special this community really is. It’s the right school for my son.
Photo courtesy of Legacy Charter School.
Sharon Franklin is a parent and volunteer at Legacy Charter School in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood.