Day 16: Your Thoughts on Education

DenaNovember 16, 2013


I believe that: education is incredibly important from preschool through to university; that, at a minimum, children should receive schooling until age eighteen; that after schooling, young adults should have the option of university, apprenticeship, or trade school; that education should be free across the board; that the cost of tuition in the United States is outrageous — both for private elementary & secondary schools and for post-secondary education; that the public school system in the United States is tragically flawed.

When I was in school I read more Cliff’s notes than I did novels and I was a straight A student in honor’s (advanced) courses. I found that teachers had their favorites and I always knew how to make myself one of them. It did nothing for my social life but it made it easy to get A’s. While I always excelled scholastically, I failed miserably and was made to feel ashamed when it came to athletics. I rarely felt challenged in any way and meaningful, opportunities to express myself in creative ways were few and far between. Group work scenarios were always particularly difficult. I did all of the work while my more “popular” classmates reaped the benefits. This is not a “woe is me” explanation. It’s an honest assessment of a flawed system.

I’ve done a lot of research regarding The Montessori Method and it seems to me a wonderful way to school children at least until their early teens. If you’re not familiar, the method is an educational approach characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological, physical, and social development. The method cites these elements as essential:

  • Mixed age classrooms, with classrooms for children aged 2½ or 3 to 6 years old by far the most common
  • Student choice of activity from within a prescribed range of options
  • Uninterrupted blocks of work time, ideally three hours
  • A constructivist or “discovery” model, where students learn concepts from working with materials, rather than by direct instruction
  • Specialized educational materials developed by Montessori and her collaborators
  • Freedom of movement within the classroom

I would absolutely love to send Roman to a Montessori school when the time comes, but sadly (and outrageously), the cost of tuition per year in our state is $30,000. That is a little less than the average person’s annual salary, about a quarter the value of our home, etc. etc. I can’t even explain how that number makes my stomach turn. And this brings me to my next point which is that I have been seriously considering homeschooling Roman. This is controversial among my friends & family. Many people react negatively when I bring up the idea stating that home-schooled children are weird, socially awkward, ill-adjusted, and so on. I can understand this prejudice. There are children that are kept home and kept in social seclusion and taught one very, rigid line of thinking. In many cases, this happens to be a very religious line of thinking, religion being the reason that some parents choose to home school their children. I also understand that there is enormous value to the socialization of a child — participation in sports, outings, playtime, etc. And I agree that all children should be exposed to a plethora of thoughts, ideas & worldviews.

With all of this said, I do believe that it is also possible to have the best of both worlds. To home school a child and to create a vibrant social life, encourage participation in team sports, and foster an open mind.

I am still on the fence. If money were no object, I would home school Roman for his preschool years and send him to Montessori for kindergarten. However, I think that it is ludicrous to spend $30,000 a year on an elementary education. Frankly, I think it is ridiculous to spend that much money on any education but that’s another story.

And this is now getting way too deep for a Saturday night, so I’m ending it here. 😉 There will definitely be more to come on this topic in the future because before I know it, I will be living these decisions rather than theorizing.

* * *

If you are participating in my blogging challenge, please leave a link below in the comments so that we can all check it out! Also, you can click here to read all of the posts in this series. xo

* * *

Comments (8)

  • farzana

    November 17, 2013 at 2:15 am

    You are so right! I also thought of home schooling Jian but my husband doesn’t support it.

  • James Moffitt

    November 17, 2013 at 11:04 am

    I loved your post and agree with your thoughts. My wife is an educator and she could tell you some horror stories. We homeschooled 3 of our 4 children up until about 8th grade. One of our daughters passed away from cancer and she was 10 so that sort of threw our family for a huge tail spin and we wound up sending the other two to public school. I would like to think that their years of being homeschooled gave them an edge in public school in many ways.

  • angelique

    November 18, 2013 at 6:49 am

    Love the montessori method…it’s primarily how we decided on Isabella’s daycare program. But you are right on so many levels….we couldn’t afford her college if we went this route for her entire schooling 🙁

  • Scott

    November 18, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    Thoughts on Education can be as complicated as politics and religion. I often try to avoid talking politics and/or religion, because you usually find yourself in a lose-lose situation. Very similar to education feelings. It seems that all opinions are wrong, so I’ll keep it short and sweet here. Education should be required from pre-school to high school. In fact, I’ll even go as far to say that I’m not a fan of “home school”. While I understand the benefits and fully believe that the teacher can give their child the same education, it’s not the same as being in school everyday, the interaction with other children, while often bad (kids can be cruel), I feel it’s necessary for social development. Education after high school is important. However, I feel it’s getting a little out of control. This degree, that degree, 8 or even 10 years of schooling AFTER high school … too expensive. And this often leads to people landing the big high paying job. Unfortunately, I think some people are just good at school, but may not be good at their job. And the opposite can be true too, maybe someone would be an ideal fit for a job, but they don’t get it because they don’t have all the necessary school background. Give me a break. Just because they don’t have all the funds or maybe aren’t good at school, tests, etc. Can they get the job done is all that should really matter. Too much emphasis on grades, degrees, etc, etc. Someone that graduates with a law degree from Harvard is usually viewed by society as more impressive that someone like me and my little bachelor’s degree from William Paterson? But that’s not how it should be. We should be judged by the type of person we are, not a school degree, or what our grades are, or what school we went to, etc. Bottomline, I think education is important, but I think as a whole, society places too much emphasis on it.

  • Aiko

    November 19, 2013 at 12:25 am

    B.C. (My Canadian province) has been described as a “Mecca” of home schooling. Research finds that homeschooled children are just as scholastically capable or more so as publicly schooled children, and the notion that children suffer socially is a myth. Homeschooled children spend maybe a third of the time achieving academic requirements over kids in public school while having the freedom to study topics of personal interest which makes learning more meaningful.

    I decided to try Odin in public school first as my hunch was that he would enjoy it very much and so far I am correct. However, I am very open to homeschooling and am curious to see how things will go with E and also, if Odin will continue with public school. Go with your gut and don’t be afraid to educate your child either completely of as a supplement to public school.

    And WTF on the Montessori costs?!?! I checked one out here and it was $200 a month!! In the end I decided it was much too strict which was the opposite of my expectations. I sent him to my local preschool which, IMO, was based on Montessori with amazing instructors.

  • Suzy

    November 21, 2013 at 10:07 am

    The Montessori method is very appealing to me. There are a few daycares out here, but I haven’t looked into them because it’s a bit out of our way to drive. I will probably approach the idea again when it’s time for preschool.

    But I would like to bring some of these philosophies into our home: )

    Meg from Sew Liberated, http://sewliberated.typepad.com/ was a montessori teacher in Mexico and has done such a lovely job bringing it into her home for her children. Beautiful blog as well: )

  • Suzy

    November 23, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    Ok one more comment on this! I went to the library and picked up How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way by Tim Seldin . I’ll let you know what I think:)

    1. Dena

      November 26, 2013 at 3:14 pm

      Yes! Please let me know what you think! I am looking for a good book on the topic.

Leave a Comment

Prev Post

Day 15: Where Will You Be in 5 Years?

Next Post

Day 17: Your Favourite Blogs