Thoughts on School

In my daughters 6 years in the public school system, I can honestly say she's had three excellent teachers. Three teachers that, I felt, did the best they could with the curriculum available to them, and then were able to bring their own sense of passion towards teaching through encouraging risk taking, curiosity, wonder and an ability to adapt. But I have to wonder is 50% good enough for our children?

What is school really about, what is its purpose? Some might answer by saying, it's about filling the youth of today with knowledge, or as Keek's school motto indicates: be the change you want to see in the world, ie...make the world a better place. Really, can we all possibly hope to agree on a similar answer? But for the sake of this little rant, let's go with the whole 'make the world a better place' concept.

Looking at our current school I would have to say that the focus is on language arts, math, socials, science, physical fitness and music. I must conclude that 'the powers that be' believe these areas to be key in making the world a better place. They are in fact, vital areas of study, but sadly they have been standardized to a level that they have minimized the potential for true growth. Industry approved topics that will result in an industry approved life. How inspiring.

I learned early on, that school wasn't about what I wanted to learn, but what my teacher wanted me to know. I would often ask questions that annoyed my teacher because they were not applicable to the text book. I became good at memorization rather than true comprehension. School was a not safe place for me to learn as result, because when I pursued my own curiosity for knowledge, I was wrong.

I have to wonder if what my daughter learns on a daily basis is a step towards making the world a better place. I wonder have the standardized tests she has taken, encouraged her to think in new and complex ways? Are her successes in the classroom a reflection of things she has learned or her own desire to please authority? Are the grades on the report card a reflection of a child inspired or a child well trained?

I know many people, who have taken drastic measures to remove their children from public schools and see homeschooling as the option for them. I have considered it but realize, it just wouldn't work for us. What I can do, is supplement home learning along with school learning. We can question, push further and explore areas that her schooling may not delve into. For now, this will have to be enough.

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