A Family Affair
In raising four daughters, Theresa and Steve Greig have developed a keen understanding of education and childhood development. When their youngest daughter, Elizabeth, was having significant trouble reading, they were determined to find out why.
“[Having already had three children], we knew where she should have been academically,” Theresa Greig said, “and she wasn’t there with her reading, so we had her tested for dyslexia.”
Steve Greig describes Elizabeth as success driven, but her academic experiences before Key School were a constant battle. Although she tried extremely hard, Elizabeth did not read at grade level and was struggling in school. For a young second grader, the struggle was both confusing and disheartening.
“She was so frustrated with not being able to learn, she couldn’t stand it,” Steve said.
Elizabeth’s test results confirmed that she was dealing with both dyslexia and dysgraphia. Upon hearing her daughter’s diagnosis, Theresa immediately thought of Key School and the individualized curriculum about which she had read so much. For Theresa, it was a revelation she could not ignore.
“It was the first place I called,” Theresa said. “I’d read articles about Mary Ann Key, and about the work she had done with kids and the curriculum she had developed, so I knew about Key School, and it just felt like God kept putting people in our lives [who] knew [of] Key School.”
In November 2010, Theresa called Mrs. Key. During their conversation, Theresa was even more convinced that Key School’s specialized learning curriculum was what Elizabeth needed. Theresa told Mrs. Key she planned to enroll Elizabeth at Key School for the coming semester, which started in January. Then a question Mrs. Key asked changed the Greig family’s life for the better.
“Mrs. Key asked me, ‘Why would you even send her to a school one more day where she is not learning?’ And that to me just resonated,” Theresa said. “The very next day, at 7:30 a.m., [Elizabeth] was at Key School, and there was no looking back.”
By Christmas 2010, Elizabeth was reading at grade level and had a newfound passion for learning. It was clear to Theresa and Steve that something at Key School was clicking with their daughter.
“I think she always had that drive, but we never could see it, and she didn’t know she had it until her doors [were] unlocked by Key School,” Steve said. “Now, her love for learning is unlike any kid I’ve ever seen in my life, and it’s all because of Key School.”
The benefits of Key School were proven to the Greig family through Elizabeth’s academic success. Theresa and Steve were so impressed that they decided to test their third daughter, Victoria, for learning differences. They had always heard that Victoria learned differently from her peers, but because of her strong academic standing, they never believed they had cause for concern. Sure enough, like Elizabeth, Victoria’s test results confirmed she was dealing with dyslexia.
“We learned that [Victoria] was dyslexic in a different way,” Theresa said. “She was fully functional in school and still making straight A’s, but she wasn’t [reaching] her full potential.”
Victoria was soon enrolled at Key School, and it turned out she was also a natural fit for Key School’s specialized learning curriculum. It didn’t take long for her to adopt the love for learning that her younger sister was already enjoying.
The Key School curriculum greatly improved Victoria’s studying techniques as well as her reading abilities. Most importantly, Steve and Theresa both agree that one of the biggest improvements they have seen in their daughters is in their self-confidence.
“[The Key School teachers] teach the kids how to unlock their potential,” Theresa said, “and that is really powerful. Really, it’s empowering.”
Theresa and Steve said that, although Elizabeth and Victoria still meet roadblocks from time to time, they have now learned how to overcome their challenges. The promise of success pushes their daughters to embrace any challenge they encounter.
“She may never be the world’s best reader,” Theresa said of Elizabeth, “but she’s learned to have confidence, and that confidence [allows] her to pursue any goal that she has.”
Theresa said her family truly loves Key School and its staff, and they believe wholeheartedly in its mission.
“They have an amazing staff that truly loves the kids,” Theresa said, “and they stop and take the time with every single kid to meet them where they are.”
This school year, Victoria transferred back to her previous school and is excelling. Theresa and Steve said it was hard to remove her from a situation that was so positive for her personal and educational development, but they both know she is confident and well prepared to continue her success outside of Key School.
“She is so much more than amply prepared,” Theresa said. “She doesn’t need anyone to teach her how to learn, because Key School has already shown her.”
Over the years, Key School has become the summer school home of the Greig family’s two oldest daughters, Lauryn and Ashley-Cate. Theresa said this is because she knows Key School can teach two years of a subject in one summer.
“How is that possible? Because they have a really unique curriculum,” she said.
Steve said that his daughters’ lives have been completely changed because of their experience at Key School. He credits their success and their love for learning to the curriculum developed by Mrs. Key.
“How they end up and what they will do will be completely different because of their experience with Key School,” Steve said. “When kids go to Key School, they quickly love school.”
For Theresa, she would undoubtedly recommend Key School to any family looking for a school to unlock their child’s potential.
“Sometimes Key School is for a season of your life, and sometimes Key School is forever. It just depends on the child. But regardless of how long you’ve been there—a summer, a semester, a year, forever—everybody’s lives are changed by the Key School experience,” Theresa said. “It’s a heavenly place.”