Friday, June 18, 2010

Schooled... why public school is not for us.

I often tell people when the discussion comes up as to where Elijah will go to school (as if most people have that figured out at 11 months old) that Elijah will not go to public school. I am then usually bombarded with how the schools in their neighborhood have high test scores or that their particular school is amazing. While I have no doubt these claims are accurate, they do not impress me.

I do not see public school as the devil. It definitely serves a purpose and for many children it is a safety net. It was for me. My public school teachers were the reasons I survived my childhood and one of them in particular still serves the role of a mother for me.

So why no public school for my child? Oh, where to begin...

1. The Curriculum. The phrase "Inch deep and a mile wide" seems to fit perfectly and that depth they speak of is not filled with entire accuracies either. If you don't believe me, pick up a history book. On top of that, it is monumentally boring to do ditto sheet after ditto sheet of stuff no matter how old you are, much less when you are 5! I do not want a child who hates learning or even one that tolerates it.

2. Lack of Play. If you are reading my blog, I probably do not need to convince you of the benefit of play in a child's life, how it is the ONLY way they learn anything, or that play is not 15 minute recess on a blacktop twice a day with one ball for 30 kids (if you are lucky). Ok, yes, some schools have more than that and maybe even a few blades of grass.
To get what I am looking for though, take a look at this and this company.

3. Extrinsic Control. Other than a life of love, the one thing I want more than anything for Elijah is to be internally motivated. To do things that matter to him with passion and to do what is right because it matters to him and not because he will get some reward for it or especially because he is afraid of what might happen to him if he does not do it. It is much more difficult to maintain that in a child when eight hours a day is spent in a rewards/punishments based, praise based, grades based system. I will get more into this in another post, but put more simply... I don't want Elijah to have to try to understand why he was demoted to the red card for talking to his friends during spelling.

There are so many other reasons that public school is not for us. These are the most important. And while there are excellent teachers out there who create amazing programs and who certainly make a difference, it is the system that is flawed. It is the politicians that have passed bills that do not allow those wonderful teachers to flourish to the best of their ability. And while things might one day change, the pendulum has swung so far in this direction, I don't see it coming back in my child's lifetime. I just can not let him be a casualty.


  1. I love this...I couldn't have said it better myself! You are always so articulate and concise. Hope you don't mind if I re-post this on my blog!

  2. That is fine Laura. Thanks Allegra!