Although Verona is way too young for this to be valid in any conceivable way, we have already started looking into different educational options to get some grasp on what we want for her. And by we I mean I, because I am the research and info junkie in this relationship, no contest.
Anyway, the other day as she was sitting with a book, turning the pages and babbling to herself as though she was reading it I suddenly realized, “Holy fuck! She’s getting so big and is going to be a real life kid and not a baby before I know it!” This was followed by horror filled vision that started with her being five and us realizing we had no idea what we wanted to do and putting her in the closest elementary school by default, proceeded to her hating school, and ended in her being a deadbeat college drop out with no desire to learn and a completely depleted faith in humanity and absolutely no zest for life.
While that may be a little overly dramatic, the point remains valid. All kids love learning, but all kids hate school, which makes them not love and crave learning anymore, why? And more importantly how can I get that to not happen to her?
Neither David or myself were very impressed by our own traditional schooling experiences. My memories of the academic side of school were of either zooming through an assignment and then waiting around for the rest of class with nothing to do while the dumber kids got done, or of having fantastic teachers who couldn’t really teach us because they were constrained to force feeding us useless knowledge so we could pass some arbitrary state assessment and they wouldn’t get fired. And when I think back on it… how much of what I learned will I actually ever need in my life? I remember asking my math teaching in elementary school why I needed to learn long division when I couldn’t imagine a time I would need to divide 356 by 12 and not have a calculator. She said “You just do.” I have never needed it and probably never will. The amount of things I learned in school that I will ever actually need to know is in no way proportionate to the time I spent there.
I want Verona to have a rich, colorful, and experience filled childhood. I also want her to not only gain knowledge, but to gain wisdom as well. And when it comes down to it I just don’t think that can be accomplished by sitting behind a desk doing worksheets for seven hours a day.
And so I have been doing miles and miles of research on what other options we have. I’ve been looking into homeschooling via online public schooling but have also been really attracted to unschooling, a concept I came across recently that emphasizes respect and trust for children, and involves letting your child guide their own educational path and facilitating learning through life experiences and following your childs interests. I found a school in Phoenix that follows the democratic schooling process, which basically just combines the concepts of unschooling (child led learning, no state assessments or standardized tests) with the (I believe valuable) social aspect that traditional schooling provides. Anyway, I emailed them just to ask about some things and one of the moms who helps out at the school invited me to bring Verona and come visit tomorrow.
I know it’s a couple of years off, but I really want to get this right.