Schooling dreams (Nov. 2 post)

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It seems I can’t log into wordpress from my laptop the last two days. I have no idea why, it is frustrating, but I will survive. For now, I’ll email this post to myself and put it up tomorrow from work.
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I’m reading a book about Montessori education right now and it is informing, inspiring and disquieting me. I know a bit about Montessori education from things I’ve read and a day I spent observing in classrooms in Mississippi. What I observed were focused, self-directed children who were engaged by their learning, confident in their interactions, and happy to be in school. The contrast between their experience and that of other students is striking: free movement versus confined to desks and rows; focus and long-term engagement versus short attention spans and distraction; love of learning versus stress and fear; respect for themselves and others, versus its absence.

When I think seriously about the meta-lessons students learn in school, I realize that I do not want my daughter going to a regular school. I’m sure there are great schools, great teachers, lots of good programs. But schools replace autonomy with listening to authority. They replace intrinsic desire to learn with an imposed curriculum. Those two alone are enough to turn me off schools. And yes, I did get my PhD in education. And I taught in a teacher training program for 2 years. Who knows, maybe that gives me some authority to say that for me, for my family, from my perspective, right now, I don’t want my daughter in a public school.

Then what other options are there? That will be something to explore over the next few years. A good Montessori school would be great. A great Waldorf school might work. Homeschooling, I hope, will be a real possibility, though that requires a lot of work between now and then to change around our housing and financial situation. We will see what becomes possible and what seems best when the time comes.

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