Co-op. Homeschool. Private school. Casual. Relaxed. Charlotte Mason. Classical. Montessori. Whenever an interested friend or stranger asks some form of the “What are you doing for kindergarten this year?” question, I end up throwing out a lot of words in a disjointed way that usually ends the conversation quickly.
The problem is I want my answer to respond not only to the question, but to the perspective of the one asking, but there are so very many perspectives when it comes to education and I may not know your educational background, your personal experiences, or how many of these words you’ve heard before. I’m afraid I usually end giving an overly vague description that doesn’t do justice to the uniqueness of our experience and the joy we are finding in it. It’s difficult to give a pat, polished answer to a question you care so much about, that you’ve spent so much time finding your own answer to.
While I’m working hard to improve the way I describe exactly what we are creating, the simple answer is that there is no easy way to describe our schooling. There are hundreds, at least, of ways to educate your children out there, and the one we’ve chosen (the one that we are creating as we go) is not like any other that we’ve seen where we are.
This is what I know we are:
-Families that believe the natural wonder, curiosity, and love of learning in our children should be celebrated and protected.
-Families and teachers that believe young children, from any background, learn the very best through a combination of rich play experiences, generous amounts of outdoor time, and patient teachers who know them well.
-Families who care just as much (or more) about our children’s social/emotional/moral development as their academics and know these early years are our best opportunity to strengthen that foundation. Families who feel that spending a majority of the time in the context of home and other close community relationships is the best environment to guide this development.
-Families who believe that our children are capable of acquiring great amounts of knowledge, even without spending the “traditional” amount of time in a classroom and who want a gentler transition into schooling.
-Families who believe that an excellent education can both have high expectations for what children are capable of and patiently respect the pace of each child’s development.
-Families who believe that our desire for excellent education doesn’t stop with our own children, but need to find ways to help broaden access for the children who need it most.
-Families that believe even with our school age children, our homes should be the dominant environment in their lives and our family relationships should be the dominant influences.
In short, there are families out there who share these common desires, and I’m so glad we’ve found each other. I know there are more of you out there, and I can’t wait to meet you.