We are the Petramalos: Joseph, Mindy, Alivia, James, Carter, Charlotte and Marcus .
Joseph and I both grew up as farm kids. Joseph was raised in Rexburg, ID, and I was raised in Manns Choice, Pennsylvania. We met at Brigham Young University and lived in Orem, Utah for 8 years. In 2015, we moved to Mesa, AZ to be close to family. When our first child was old enough for 1st grade, where to enroll her was a decision I took very seriously. My child's life was in my hands, and her education would alter her future forever! After conducting my own research, as well as talking to seasoned mothers and a couple of women who were highly qualified in child development fields, I was confident in my decision to enroll her is a Montessori school. There was a drastic difference in her excitement after going from a traditional kindergarten setting with work sheets to 1st grade in a learner-driven, Montessori setting. She became passionate about her interests and enthralled with researching. I became a firm believer in the Montessori theory and wanted this type of education for the rest of my children.
When my next child was well into his kindergarten year at the Montessori school, his teacher noticed him struggling with reading and started to suspect dyslexia. I too had suspected this. I was well acquainted with the signs as dyslexia runs in my family. However, we let my son proceed with his classes just as normal. No labels, no delays; we just let him be excited about learning by directing his education, being held responsible for his work, and leading his younger peers. I can attest, it worked for him! Now finishing 3rd grade, reading is still a struggle, but he improves here a little, there a little. Yet, he has always loved school and this is again a huge testament to me that the learner-driven atmosphere keeps the inquisitive, learning nature strong in children, which I believe to be the most important aspect of education. His fire to learn and lead drives him to read even when it's hard. Even though Joseph and I are convinced the Montessori theory works, we never thought about what we'd do if it was no longer available for our children to attend.
In 2020, we decided to go back to our roots and raise farm kids. Our extended family was moving from Mesa, which was the main reason we moved there and we decided to make a change as well. A couple of Joseph's family members moved to Twin Falls, ID, so we too looked into it. Twin Falls had all of our qualifications except one...NO Montessori or learn-driven schools. This was a HUGE drawback for us. We saw the love our kids had for learning and did not want to squander that by putting them into a traditional school setting. We knew if we wanted to call Twin Falls home AND our children to continue with a learner-driven education, there was no other option but to take this quest into our own hands.
We initially began our journey to start a Montessori school, but after starting down that path for a short time, something didn't feel quite right. 5 years prior, Joseph had completed an MBA at Acton School of Business, which was a Socratic, entrepreneurial business program. He remembered that also had a K-12 program and suggested that I look into it. So, I began researching the school's model and philosophies. This led to staying up reading late at night because the more I read, the more the theories made sense and felt right. My excitement grew. I became more and more excited not only for my own children, and also for the Twin Falls community. The Acton philosophies offered the perfect blend of Montessori materials with a Socratic teaching approach; a much needed combination for today's challenges! So once again, we joined the Acton family and are thrilled to be pursuing this venture in our lives.