Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Great Education Debate Intro

Have you seen this? I don't know if I am allowed to link this here but it is amazing!

My family is pretty mainstream and traditional. Dad works 9-5 (ish) job and I stay at home with our three children. We are hopefully getting a dog soon (see previous post ). Our life is pretty average. We try to eat well, do good things, be successful and try to find the elusive "balance" .

However, a few months ago we had a few interesting and unique situations and influences that have started to push into the the great HOMESCHOOL debate. It was never a place I expected to be in- I've got "I support public education" stickers I used to display all over when I studied education at university (I never finished the education degree as I quickly moved into the Arts but still fundamentally believed in our school system).

Yet one thing after the other seems to be stacking the deck towards reorganizing our life, pulling our oldest daughter out of the school system and not putting our other two in.

Over the next few postings I'd like to share some of the raw information with you that i've acquired. I do not believe homeschooling is for everyone, however I do think that homeschooling is often disregarded as a non option - when really it can be a successful (most successful?) option for all sorts of families /children.

Regardless of the method of education- having to define what you do (and do not) want your children to learn has been an interesting exercise. You are the parent. You do not "own" them but you do have a right and a responsibility to figure out how to educate them. They are in your folds for only a short time, but it is a critical time of their development.

I'm going to break this down into a few parts.

1) What does the public school system do ?
2) What do I want my child to know as an adult
3) How do children learn?
4) What is the recipe for success?

It is a dialoging process- please comment and share your research, your beliefs and your experiences. Collaboration = success!

Now- why did I include this clip? Well, for a few reasons - it is not only uber cool but it addresses the issue of 1) what does the school system do? " the purpose of schooling is to take present orientated little beasts and make them more future orientated and in some cultures make them more past orientated". It reminds us that our understanding of what we need to know, how we live, what we value, etc is all tangled up in our perception and socially constructed environment.

Does that mean there are no absolutes- of course not- but I think that before we can try to figure out how to educate our children as parents, teachers, or mentors (or before we can try to educate ourselves) we have to accept the fact that our attitudes and motivations and drives are going to limit us (at least to some extend) to success within our specific social context. More simply, what could create success in one situation might be detrimental in another. This is sobering when we think about the fact that our world is becoming more connected and interconnected all the time. So if we as parents are not open minded to the possibilities that are out there could we inadvertently be doing a great disservice to our children?

That is the question!

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