For quite sometime I have thought of myself as a bit of an outsider when it comes to my need for a better education for my children. I thought that perhaps I was too overprotective, too untrustworthy or perhaps close minded when it comes to public education (strange since I am public school educator by trade). My husband often wonders if I am over thinking the issue. He agrees that the public school system is broken, and has been for sometime, but he points out that I survived and that our children will too (did I mention he was homeschooled??).
Yes this is true, our children would survive the public school system as it stands right now, but is that what I want for them….mere survival? Yes they would get some good things out of it, a lot of bad and because we are a supportive and loving family they would do okay. But call me selfish, I want more than just okay.
I recently found out that the first grade in my town has not done any learning in the areas of science or social studies yet this year….it is JANUARY!! Their focus is on literacy alone and they fit in some math once a day. When I asked the parents who shared this information with me how they felt about this (both are parents of girls and both attended Montessori before First Grade) their answers were very similar. They both said that their girls are adjusting just fine, that they love to read and that they love to please their teacher. They continue to be very curious creatures (products of Montessori) and that the one family supplements the science and social studies activities at home on the weekends. There is no time during the week because of all of the homework and extra curricular activities. The other mother looked puzzled by the idea of supplementing science and social studies (even though she is a science teacher herself) and said, “Well with four kids and all that homework, I just don’t have time to do that.”
My son thrives off learning about his world. He will not thrive in an environment that expects him to park his curiosity and sense of wonder at the door so that he can focus on phonics and handwriting. So what is a mother to do?? Am I just crazy??
Well I thought I was crazy, until I started talking with other mothers (many of them teachers) with children the same age. They too are trying to avoid the “teaching to the test” mentality and are looking for alternatives to public school. Because many of them are teachers, money is a BIG issue and so they are looking into Charters (although Charter Schools have to take the test too), scholarships at private institutions, Catholic Schools and home schooling. Meeting up with all of these mothers has been eye-opening for me and my husband as well….I am not ALONE! I am not crazy! Our kids do deserve better!!! They deserve better than the cookie cutter, one-size fits all, robot could lead the class, public institution that is our current school system. A system that is broken and failing our kids. They do deserve better, all kids deserve better but for now I can only focus on my own. I want to help create a bright future for their educational learning.
So I have a year and a half to figure out my next educational move for my son and a few more years for my daughter. Will I home school?? Apply for the lottery in the new Charter?? Try to find a job at a private school so my children will get reduced tuition?? Start my own school??
Who knows but I am excited for the upcoming journey!