It’s their education too! Lessons from the school yard to accepting college isn’t for everyone.
When I was pregnant (seemingly a million years ago, hi, I’m a dinosaur). I read books about everything. If you had a book, I was glancing at it or devouring it depending on the topic. Education always stuck out in my mind. I didn’t love my school experience growing up. It had it’s highs and lows but it definitely left me wanting to explore other options for my children. We started off with the Montessori method. We found the activities rich with curiosity and opportunities for children to find their own way to learn. We loved it.
However, my son ( who is on the spectrum) found the availability of materials to be overwhelming and was distracted easily. He loved his teachers. He was curious enough but, ultimately, with his penchant to build car garages out of everything, it wasn’t the right fit.
So, we kept looking.
We finally decided that while our daughter did well in public education, our son did not. And, so our homeschool began. Our mascot is a dragon. You have to be born into the family to attend. We think we are pretty neat.
I quickly learned that his learning style was intense and he did better when I incorporated learning into something he loved and included information at a fast rate of speed. The majority of our schooling occurs in about an hour and it includes all the subjects. Then, he announces he’s done and carries on. I throw in some measuring with dinner sometimes but when he says he is done, he means it.
Eventually the goal was to stretch these learning spurts into something resembling a traditional school day. After trying that for a while, I found we were both exhausted and the zeal and light of learning was dimming. So, we switched back. Who cares? The first lesson homeschool had for me was to create a love of learning that would span a lifetime. So, we tossed anything that didn’t foster that. Societal constructs announcing that a child needs to learn this subject or that and at this age were the first to be adjusted.
Secondly, the realization that this is my school and I can do what I want is pretty freeing. If we want to learn about ducks all day. We learn how ducks can be added or subtracted or divided into football teams, we spell and rhyme with the word duck and anything related to them. Yes, we got to THAT word rhyming with duck and then we decided that duck rhyming games were not going to be a part of our day anymore. I’m the boss, I can do that.
Questions? Is this model going to work forever? No, Sam hasn’t matured enough to show me when he needs more or less so he still needs me to make guidelines according to where he is. I want him to feel the honor that it is to explore and learn from the world around him. I want him to know we value and respect his way of gathering information and his interests.
What about middle school? Well, at this point everyone will be hormonal ( including my menopausal self) so let’s just accept prayers for that time and move along.
High school? From an early age, Sam has shown impressive talent in coding and computer game design. We fostered this because we felt it was his true interest and don’t we want our kids to actually follow their dreams? So, if this interest still holds true, we will focus on schooling but also advancement in his interest field. Hopefully filling him with enough knowledge to go into the work force doing what he loves and thriving at it. I don’t know that is the path for sure, but he certainly is interested.
Does college automatically ensure a good job? One that fulfills you? Anything?
Students aged 30-45 owe nearly half the college debt (college data.org
, 2020) and only 27% of college graduates are in jobs that actually utilize their degrees ( Washington Post, 2020). So, it looks like this generation doesn’t know the answer to that question either.
Are we pushing the right narrative for our children or are we pushing an educational narrative that we have listened to for the better half of 30 years? I think it’s time we give encouragement to our individual children and their passions. Encouraging the pursuit of knowledge in every case and the suggestion of college in specific cases. But, I think the “College is for everyone” and that’s what you need to do to be successful narrative needs to sit down and take a break. At least, until it can learn to control it’s condescending legacy for children and adults who’s dreams lead them down a different path.
I say with the upmost sincerity, I hope that our children are the next generation of dreamers and out of the box thinkers. I want, as a parent, to feel free to help my child learn how to follow their interests and not let go. I’m just not sure that a college dream is included in that desire. It could be but it’s also ok if it’s not.
You do you though. You’re the boss. That’s why we are allowed to buy alcohol.
Coach of the Dragons