Let's be honest. When it comes to education, I have a lot of frustration with the system currently in place in our country. I am pleased with the skills my first grade son has developed in just a few brief years in formal education, but I am concerned about what lies ahead for all of my children. With such formal guidelines about the curriculum and content taught, I feel like there is little room for exploring personal interests, extending learning beyond what is required, and having the opportunity to creatively express themselves. Our system is broken and in desperate need of fixing. We reside in a great school district that is known for achieving at a high level, but there are times when I feel my kids would better be served if we were a homeschool family. It is a discussion that my husband and I have had many times, but at this time we plan to continue with our public school system.
The good news? Learning stretches far beyond the classroom. When we consider priorities, education is at the top of the list. Preparing some guidelines for priorities within the education spectrum has been a beneficial exercise. Here are just a few we've come up with:
- Beginning in infancy, our children will be exposed to print. They will be read to, have easily-accessible materials in all areas of the home, and spend at least 20 minutes a day engaging in reading activities.
-School comes first. When making decisions about commitments, we will consider them only if they do not interfere with being prepared for school (homework, bedtime, reading, etc.)
-Our home is a giant classroom. Creativity, imaginative play, and free time to explore will be valued. We will provide materials and toys that encourage the kids to engage in these activities.
-We, as parents, are their primary teachers. We will lead by example. We want them to realize it is a lifelong process that is fun.
-We will respect our children's interests and do our best to provide them with opportunities to learn as much as they want about the subject, both through life experiences, activities, and printed materials.
From this list, I think we could create a million goals. The most important guideline: our kids need time to be kids. They need to explore, play, and be given developmentally appropriate opportunities to make connections and learn. We value our children's unique personalities and interests and will do our best to be their biggest supporter and encourage them in their pursuit of learning.