I am so thankful for education. I was looking after a wee baby in the nursery on Sunday and I was, once again, blown away by what strange creatures we humans are. We are so helpless as babies and even as children. Simple, basic things and we can’t handle them on our own – eating, clothing, moving around, sitting up! And yet, there is so much potential there. Who knows what that baby I held while he slept will become, what changes he will make in the world, in his world.
To get there, to unlock that potential it takes education. Physical, mental, emotional, spiritual education. Parents and families are the first teachers – teaching the basics of survival and mobility and communication. Then there are friends and the wider community. Eventually after the basics are mostly mastered, it’s time for something more – reading, writing and arithmetic (and science, and history, and social studies, and art, and music…)
There are so many ways to educate children – homeschooling, public school, private school, unschooling. What works for one child or one family won’t necessarily be what works for another family. I don’t claim that any one method is better than another. I believe in the one year at a time, one child at a time method. In my own educational experience as a child and teenager, I experienced them all. Private Christian school, public school, homeschooling/unschooling, all-girls Catholic school. At each stage of my development, they were the right choices – whether by choice or necessity. It’s important to remember that sometimes, you may want one option for your child, but it simply may not be practical or possible. There will always be positive things about where your child is at, build on that.
Anyway, my children are in public school. This is our choice. I wasn’t too sure about it at first, but I am so thankful for our school. I love the teachers and the staff, I love the facility, I love the kids and families. Our school doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, we don’t have a lot of money or fancy programs, but we have a great community that’s getting better all the time. My kids are learning everyday – not only their school subjects, but they are learning about other cultures, other ways of doing things, how to get along, how to care, how to be respectful.
At the same time, we can’t expect our schools to do it all. Families are where it all comes together. If there are things that your kids still need to learn, teach them at home. If there are areas of interest that aren’t being addressed at school, explore them as a family.
Most of all, support other families in their choices. If you choose homeschooling, that doesn’t mean that public school is wrong or deficient. If you choose public school, that doesn’t mean that people who homeschool are weird.
For me, I am so thankful for our school and I’m thankful for the opportunities that we have as a family to learn and grow together at home.