The Education Question: Introduction

There are certain questions you start getting asked the second your baby exits the womb.

Is she a good baby?

Is she sleeping through the night yet?

(Unrelated side note: the answer to the latter question is no, not yet. She’s 16 months old. Oh, well.)

One of the more surprising ones I have heard regularly, however, is:

Do you know where you’re sending her to school?

We don’t know yet how we are going to educate our daughter (or any subsequent children, should we be blessed with more). We are firm believers that different types of education suit different children better than others, and intend to make our decision when the time comes. We shall see what appears to be the best fit for Lydia as she gets older, and her needs, personality, and interests become more apparent. And as we discover what works best for us as a family (because the rest of us matter, too).

That being said, we have already put a lot of thought into education. So in the meantime, I thought I’d share some of our thought processes on the Education Question so far.

Our leanings will become evident very soon in the discussion, I’m sure, but I want to emphasize again that we do not yet know what we’re going to do. I am aware of many benefits and downfalls to all the options – public school, private school, and homeschooling (or unschooling).

I want to begin by sharing our experiences with schooling (that is, mine and Ben’s), and how that has shaped us and our views on education.

Then, I want to explore how our views on human nature and even our theology shape our feelings about education.

Doesn’t that sound like a good time?

* * *


Part One: My Experience

Part Two: My Husband’s Experience

Part Three: Reflections on Our Experiences in Public School

Part Four: A Few of my Quarrels with the Classroom


photo courtesy of rockcreek.
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  1. Yes, it does sound like a good time :) I love hearing about how other people make these decisions! I was really wanting to homeschool and investigated it a lot when I was pregnant, and then shortly after Miriam was born God revealed to me that we would not in fact be homeschooling – I was so disappointed! And yet now to the point that I’m relieved that He took it off the table so I can focus on what He does want for our family. Which we still haven’t discerned. At this point we’re looking at Montessori preschool and Catholic 1-12 (and by looking I mean already going to visit schools and everything, because we’re ridiculous planners). I could write on and on about all this, but I’d hate to overwhelm your comment box :)

    Also? Miriam didn’t sleep through the night until like 14-15 months, and that was only because I finally night-weaned her, and that was only because (a) she was in her own bedroom and man is it a hassle to go into the other room to nurse and (b) I was wanting my fertility to hurry up and come back ;) And it was painful! So as long as your husband is good with it, I say take your sweet time!
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  2. Even my bottle-fed baby didn’t sleep 100% thru the night until around 18 months =)

    I can’t wait to hear more about the education stuff. I’m a rediculous planner too and have been looking at our local options since last year. Luckily we’re blessed with a Montessori elementary school, tons of great ranking public schools, a top ranking private catholic k-12, a community college and a 4 year university all in the same town (+ suburbs). So definitely feel we have enough options – and we’re waiting to see what kind of learner Henry becomes (and keeping in mind that his siblings will probably be different) to officially choose.

    The only thing I’m working towards in the long run is being financially secure in 10-12 years so that if one or more of my kids discovers junior and/or high is not for them I can cut back on work and give them an alternative education track.
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  3. New series, hooray! Sounds interesting. :)

  4. A good time, indeed! The DDH’s mother is a pre-K teacher at a private Christian school and she nags us all the time about sending T-Rex there. She started turning up the pressure before he was even born. However, I also taught at that school for a year and had a very negative and disturbing experience. We’ve made it quite clear that he won’t be going there even if we can afford/desire to send T-Rex and his eventual siblings to a private school, they will not be going there, but she won’t leave it alone! Sigh.

    The DDH and I have very different educational backgrounds but similar ideas about approaching the process with our children. I love talking learning. This should be a fun series!

    On a related note, I enjoyed your posts (and that video!) on babies and morality, though I never did comment. I’ve been reading a book I think you would find interesting, “The Scientist in the Crib: Minds, Braum’s, and How Children Learn” (Gopnik, Meltzoff, Kuhl). It’s about how babies learn in general and some of the experiments are similar in methodology to the morality ones. Fascinating stuff! The only problem is it’s about twenty years out of date; I need to find something similar that’s been published more recently. But the scientists who wrote it are pretty funny and it’s so readable. Good stuff; you should see if your library has it.

  5. Sounds like a great time to me! :D
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  6. I agree with you entirely, and I hope there are many otrehs like us out there. Education, as we have it today, is a bit broken in more than one way, and I think it’s as you pointed out in portion of your entry: that children should learn at their own pace, and they should be shown the beauty in our world, just as much as given some of our grimy histories.Half of all my schooling years was spent being home schooled; the other half was in private or public schools. In other words, I’ve seen a lot of the benefits and downsides to all major versions of education. One thing I always liked about home schooling was its willingness to embrace radical ideas and different means of teaching. (And they obviously work, considering how many home schooled students excel.)A couple of years ago, I attended a home schooling seminar for parents, just to see what’s being said these days. One of the women giving speeches that night had I think it was four or five children, and she had allowed the youngest two to learn very much at their own pace. Her youngest daughter struggled with reading, and she didn’t pressure her (she was fine in other areas of learning); instead, she encouraged it through allowing her daughter to listen to her read and see her siblings enjoy books. Suddenly, at the age of nine, all her daughter’s problems with reading just seemed to vanish. She began to read and not only read, but love to read. To conventional educators, her daughter would have had a learning disability and been behind, when in fact, she just learned differently and in her own time. She’s now as normal as can be, even according to the conventional thoughts of normal!For all our beliefs that we use very progressive, enlightened thinking, it’s very rigid thinking. I agree we sometimes need to look to the natural world and maybe relax a bit through common sense. Sunsets, light breezes and grasshoppers can all be magical, if we’ll just let them be. People far too often forget such things when they stop reading fairytales.I hope you inspire lots of children with your outlook on the world!

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