Hello lovers. We had a beautiful, but whirlwindy weekend, in which we forgot to bring the camera to document any of the awesomeness. Now, we have a jam packed week (no, not THAT kind of jam) so I will be short on words today and other posts this week may just be photos. But in the meantime, I would like to ask you some questions and start a conversation here.
1. The first question is a small long shot but…do you know of anyone in the Bay Area looking to rent a room? We have one available in our flat, but combing through the mediocre CL responses is literally stressing me out. Email me at terrallectualism at gmail dot com for the link to the ad and other info. How this blog is, is essentially what our home is like, so I figure y’all may know someone who would be the perfect fit.
2. The second question is this: For those of you who have kids, what is your approach to their schooling/education?
Now that we are in Fern’s second year, this is the foremost question that I’m looking to resolve for our family. There is much thought that goes into this, but here is our vantage point, in brief: Public school is out of the question. This has nothing to do with the passionate, creative, brilliant teachers that teach in the system (Yo Kristen, you know I mean you!), but rather the detrimental stink bomb of “No Child Left Behind” and the way it quelches real learning. Our decision not to put Fern in public school also has to do with the amount of crime and drug use (Berkeley teen girls are pimped out by their boyfriends at the local high), the institutional style of “education” that I believe works for 25% of learners and leaves everyone else in the ditch, the force feeding of information rather than nurturing the natural curiosity of the child (compounded by standardized testing), the overcrowding and on and on. I taught in a middle school for 3 years, as well as being an educator in Theater Arts and Environmental Education for 13 years, including curriculum development and administration, so my opinion is not without experience or precedent.
So with public school out, we also lose our most affordable option. For a low income family, this is challenging. We have considered Waldorf but 1. it is costly and scholarships are still costly and 2. not so sure I’m down with Fern being taught Old Testament stories as part of her education and 3. it depends on how “Steinerism” is applied. However, I have noticed it produces bright, soulful, independent, creative and secure kids, so it’s still in the mix.
I am particularly excited about Unschooling. Although I know that lack of socialization is an unfounded fear/myth about homeschooling, I will admit that I am waiting to decide about this until I know what community we will be in, and whether or not there will be other families to work with, to offer support and be supported by. What I love the most is the premise that we are all natural learners, and unschooling optimizes that curiosity, as well as covering the basics of the three R’s. Unschooling has gotten a little bit of negative media, and because of our conditioning regarding education, this method of education brings up a lot of questions and doubts. If this blog is the first time you’ve heard of Unschooling, please do a little bit of internet research before you reply. Here is a beautiful video from the annual, “Not Back to School Camp”:[vimeo http://vimeo.com/9368376]
So tell me your experience.
How do you school? If you homeschool/unschool, how did you make that decision? Do you use a curriculum all, or part time? Do you unschool in an urban environment (another issue of ours…I think a rural area would have more opportunity for learning/experimentation). How often do you work with other families and do you trade off days? How did you create/find that community?
How about Waldorf? What do you think about the emphasis on Christianity? Did you get a scholarship?
What about Montessori?
Let’s start talking, and I will chime into your comments when I can during this busy week!
Love to all