"We don't need no education...we don't need no thought control...."
Okay, so maybe I wouldn't go that far! I was a tenured professor in a past life after all. And raised by a devoted Kindergarten teacher too. I support all my teacher friends out there and have nothing but love and respect for the passion they bring to their jobs each and every day (including all those days that people think they are "off for summer break").
But I would like to bring up a topic dear to my heart - the expansion of the word EDUCATION.
I've been witness to quite a bit of heated conversation concerning schools and their role in educating young people recently. Aside from those needing schools to serve as childcare, which is another conundrum for another day, many also view the actual school building as the only space in which "serious" learning can take place.
I think this year is going to teach us a lot about what education really is and how it can take shape differently for individual families. We may just find out this year that one size does not fit all AND that kids are capable of learning no matter what the circumstance as long as we don't try to squeeze them into our own perceived box. I've heard more than one person comment that their child would have a very hard time learning at home. But perhaps we could reframe it to say that the parents are facing some reluctance in learning as well - learning how to view education from a broader lens.
I personally have two children with two very different learning styles - when viewed through the traditional framework of educating through textbooks and worksheets. One is super motivated to dive into straightforward instruction while the other is what one might label as the reluctant learner. A reluctant learner who learns SO much but in less "serious" ways.
So my job as a parent is to diversify my approach to teaching and realize ( and this is huge) the inherent value in child-led learning and play. I mix it up. Some days they learn math via worksheets / some days we are chalking math problems on the drive / sometimes we are learning fractions through baking / other times they learn about money through monopoly OR "buying" stuffed animals through my pretend pet shop.
And yes, my kids are young. So the examples given are a totally grade school approach. But couldn't this be extended to the older ones too? What if they listed out their subjects and supplemented the stuff they didn't want to do but had to do with a broader but still completely effective approach? Just not viewed as a traditional route. Do the homework you might not like but then take a look at how it
can also be applied to the stuff you love.
We moved to the school district we are in now last summer because we believed the schools mirrored this approach as much as any public school in our area could. We believed in their philosophy. It sounded like the one I had already been building at home. Now things are different. We are not in the building. We are virtual. But I'm okay with that for now. Because learning is not confined to a building. Learning is so much more.
How do I spell education? F-R-E-E-D-O-M to learn in any way you see fit.
Much love to all you brave teachers and parents out there. As long as we loosen our grip on what education HAS to be - the kids will thrive. We've got this!