Ama has been sick for two days now. Cuddle and do nothing all day sick. Like having a really heavy newborn sick. Fever toeing the line of an ER visit sick. I know, it’s going around.
Being trapped under my mammoth super baby with one armed access to a laptop has awarded me some time to think about things. Odd, isn’t it? Being unable to wiggle my left arm but having untethered access to the world’s knowledge on my right.
I came across the idea of unschooling after being invited to a parenting group devoted to said cause. I know, it’s far from new… but I guess it’s seeing a major revival… and it was the first I’d heard of it. I have always felt that children are innately passionate about learning and that the mass educational system maybe doesn’t do the best job in fostering that. My sister specializes in early childhood education and the Regio system, which focuses on children’s interests and is driven by the children themselves. They pick the topic themselves and the lesson plans and learning go from there. The classrooms are also decorated minimally with soothing colours and natural decor, which definitely feels like a good fit to my simplistic parenting style. My eyes were opened to the possibilities of the educational system. Opened but there wasn’t much here to see. In Vancouver, we have only a few programs that fill quickly and end when grade school starts. I have also been interested in Indigo schools, but again, I can’t find one here in Vancouver.
I take Ama to StrongStart every now and again. I think it’s a great program and the teachers are lovely. Lovely, but not who I want to be raising my child. I like to treat Ama as my equal, and I think she responds well to it. Of course, I have well outlined boundaries, as I do with any other human being. There are consequences. But I see my job as a ambassador more than police escort. This is not a feasible approach when you’re locked in a room of 30 children. I’d sure break out the handcuffs. Do not get me wrong – I personally do not know any teachers who are anything less than remarkable human beings. And if I could handpick my teachers based on my teacher friends and family, I would be in heaven. The way that I have seen Kendra, Heather or Sonia interact with Ama has inspired my own view for sure. But not everyone is Heather, Kendra or Sonia. I’m sure not. Most are underpaid, under appreciated and out numbered. I wouldn’t hold up in that situation.
I also feel a little bit like children are the last culturally acceptable people to be abusive to. I try not to speak to Ama with any less respect than I speak to my mother. I am afraid of the culturally acceptable way adults might treat her… especially adults that are with her more hours in a day then me. How might that affect her?
Or siting immobile in a chair all day… without the same (be it still not enough) emphasis on real life learning, physical education or art that I had.
I also looked up some impressive stats on home schooled children. The whole socialization thing isn’t a concern for me any who. Ama and I could choose programs together and develop a community of friends her age, older and younger, at a home schooling group. Of course, the stats for unschooled children (children who receive no structured education) also factor in and would likely bring the overall score down since these children tend to rate lower on conventional tests for obvious reasons… so it makes me feel better about even considering it.