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Thursday, September 23, 2010

"Ed-yoo-kay-shun"- Say Anything #2

What are your plans for educating Olivia? You are always a wealth of well-researched information and I was wondering what your views were on the subject. I am becoming more and more disenchanted with our public school system and am researching alternatives. Que piensas?

-This is an awesome question and my answer is lengthy. There are many aspects to the education debate and many things to consider. My strongest point as far as education for children is that parents/guardians need to take ownership and full responsibility for their kid's education. We cannot just drop our kid off at school every morning and hope for the best.
My dad was a HUGE intellectual influence for my sister and me and continues to be. My parents made the finacial sacrifice of putting us both in private schools with the best curriculum available in San Diego. Our entire K-12 school life was not private though, we also went to a public elementary school for a couple of years and finished high school at a public school, as well. We were lucky to live in an area with decent public education but in retrospect neither one of these institutions compared to the private school approach to teaching kids.
Ideally, I would love to homeschool Olivia. When done correctly, homeschooling is extremely enriching and empowering for children. This is not for everyone because it does require a lot of discipline, structure, time, and commitment. However, I have mom friends who homeschool and their kids are so social and ahead of most kids their age academically. Homeschooling groups make fun field trips to the zoo, museums, parks, etc. etc. Homeschooling is not what it's reputation dictates. The reason I like the homeschooling idea is that parents take complete control of their child's learning while also having the freedom to partake in fun social activities with other homeschooled kids outside the home.
At this point, I do not see homeschooling in our future. It does not seem like the best fit for us for several reasons. Todd likes the idea of Olivia having a typical schooling experience, and at this moment I am not a stay at home mom. Sadly, public schools in California are suffering greatly. Large classrooms of kids lead to crowd control and over-worked teachers. The curriculum and expectation for each grade level seems to falter year after year according to the research I have done. Children who struggle continue to be pushed to the next grade and kids who are "gifted" are often forced to ride the wave of their classmates who are behind.
To answer the question, our plan for education is to enroll Olivia in a charter/private school in our city. There are several excellent schools in San Diego with faculty that is there because they WANT to be and can be fired if they are not 100% committed to their kids. The curriculum is strong and academic excellence is paramount. The classrooms are significantly smaller so teachers can actually work with their students independently and help build on their personal strengths. I can remember this from my own experiences growing up. I felt my teachers knew me and pushed my talents and encouraged me to try harder in the subjects I was not A+ in.
One more thing: Language. I speak Spanish to Olivia and Todd speaks English. I also teach her words in French. For some reason the U.S. does not foster the opportunity for kids to learn other languages. All my cousins who were educated in Mexico were taught English and their homework was always way more advanced than mine. In most developed countries, if not all, kids are learning another language in elementary school! I don't get it?

No matter if your kids go to private or public school, it is absolutely essential to add to whatever goes on while they're at school. My dad would give us history lessons, encourage literature, and explain math problems. At that time, I thought it was so annoying but now I am eternally grateful.

If any of you have any more information to add or correct, especially if you are working in the public school system, please chime in. We're all ears!


1 comment:

Jessica said...

I think you're calling me to comment right... since I'm a public school teacher. Well you know my child will not be going to school. I'm going to try my best to homeschool him but I know working full time it will be difficult. If it doesn't work out he'll go to a charter school that is only one or two days a week.
And just this weekend I met another public high school teacher whose wife home schools their 3 children. If people in the system won't put their kids in it... that says something.