Friday, February 08, 2013

Coming Clean

It's no secret that I am an unwavering advocate of alternative schooling.  If you have had more than one conversation with me, you will be well aware of my position on education.

It would shock you, then, to know that my children are both attending a traditional school, one where I happen to be a teacher.  As far as traditional schools go, this one is quite idyllic.  The ethos of the school is learning (even if by rote) can be fun.  The administrators and teachers care deeply about the children and it shows.  It is a great school!

And yet.  Here I am.  I have spent years and thousands of hours researching and teaching myself on  forward thinking methods of education.  One doesn't have to look very far to learn that the current "traditional" method is based largely on the industrial revolution's needs for workers.  One then has to simply look just a tiny bit beyond the nose to note that we are no longer in the industrial era and therefore no longer in need of factory workers on an all encompassing scale.

For this and other social (and, let's face it, political) reasons, I unschooled my children until they were 7 and 5.  Things (read: "I") fell apart and could not carry on so to school they went.  That was two years ago.  I have since regained solid ground and started working - full time!!! - again.

History lesson over.

Here I am.  I have lived a dual life.  Unwavering in my own deeply held convictions while doing almost the exact opposite of them.   Looking up from the grind stone, even being grateful for all that has been afforded to me because of this position I have had, I am struck in the face by the question: "WHAT IN THE HOLY HELL AM I STILL DOING HERE?"  (Ouch, by the way.)
Yes, there was the question of need of income.  Yes I am trying very hard to finish my bachelor's degree to the tune of $24,000.  Yes, yes, yes.

But frankly? Fucking NO.

Hours of homework, extending an already long and stifling school day into our home life? NO.
Hours of sitting at a desk all day doing work pages?  NO.
Science - the beauty, marvel, wonder of the world around us - being reduced to a text book? Absolutely  NOT.
Our whole life revolving around school?  (Sleep schedule, eating schedule, bloody living schedule based on school and homework times.) Gawd no.
Letter grade assessments of their abilities? Nope.
Rote? No no no.

It works - is even ideal for some people - and I am not at all one of them.

Compromise and tolerance acceptance can be noble. Can be.  Whatever virtue there was in my doing this for my children to be able to travel, to have lessons/mentorship in things that are meaningful or important to them (art, tennis, swimming etc.), to have quality foods - these wonderful benefits of me working - whatever there was in it is now expired.  Those benefits no longer outweigh what I desire to give to my children most of all: the freedom to explore their world and themselves.

Their mom is ME, and that is what I want to give to them.

What's so wrong with that?