Saturday, November 21, 2009

Where will they go

My three year old is obsessed with being a doctor. She talks about it frequently. When people ask her what she is going to be when she grows up she always says a doctor. She loves to read the pages in her books about doctors, and asks what schools she has to go to to become a doctor. When she goes to the doctor she asks the doctor to look in her ears with the otoscope.

Sometimes she'll also talk about when she is grown up and is a ballerina, or a farmer, or a mommy, or a dog. Yup. A dog.

As we are looking on a new and unexpected phase of education for our kids next year, we are thinking about their future in different ways. Something we have always said is that we don't want them to be pushed toward college. There is an unhealthy push to get a college education in our country. Some people probably question that, but college is overrated. Not all children are cut out to go to college. Some kids aren't designed to do four years of post high school education and work in a cubicle, but that is where our American society is leading kids.

I want my kids to have the freedom to go to college and excel if they choose. Even if they choose a major that doesn't seem to have a lot of job potential like art history, if they are passionate about that, they can make a wonderful life and career out of that. But I also want them to have the freedom to go to trade school, or start a business, or become an apprentice or go to ten years of college and medical school.

I am sure at this point that God is calling us to send our kids to school. At least for a few years. Just like homeschooling families we say we will take it year by year. This might only be a season, and it might be a long term venture. Who knows. But there are a few more worries with sending my kids to school rather than keeping them home.

The biggest worry I have is that my kids will feel forced and pressured into college. The school that we are sending them to has a 100% college matriculation rate. And the kids who go to this school don't go to east handkerchief state either. They go to tier one schools. I want to set up an environment in our family where they know college isn't the end all be all and there are other paths they might follow. I want to guide them toward their strengths and interests and callings, not push them toward college.

How can my children still explore freedom when they are being tunneled toward college?

And these big questions honestly make me wonder if school is going to last beyond the elementary years, and they will be homeschooled in high school. I know that is the opposite of most homeschooling worries. Many parents wonder if they can teach the upper division stuff, and don't worry about the lower division stuff. But not me. The elementary stuff does NOT interest me, and in fact I have never been sure if I could teach my littles the three Rs. But I have never worried from about sixth grade up. From that point on I was quite sure I'd be able to teach.

It is going to be interesting to watch this unfold.


autumnesf said...

I agree! But when our son reached college age we had to give him a push. Go to college or move out and get a job. He would stay home and play video games all day and night with no other interests. Not doable. So he chose college. And I say chose because we only pay half the bill...he wouldn't put himself through the financial hardship if he really didn't want to. I just want the kid to find his thing and go to it. I'm happy to report he went to a state technical college and found a trade he is passionate about. Whew.

Michelle said...

I know you know this, but people don't have to be taught in order to learn. Learning the 3 R's is kind of like learning to talk. You don't really "teach" your children to talk but they're learning it from you and the opportunities you provide. You know I had no formal education until I was 10 and yet knew the 3 R's. I think I have only benefited from not going to school in the elementary years. There are also programs like Veritas where the kids take classes 1 or 2 days a week and then do the rest at home. Ultimately, you have to do what works for your family, but I don't think sitting in a classroom all day is conducive to learning for a young child. They do learn but they often get burnt out when they are older. A lot of valedictorians and high achievers went to the university I went to and I saw so many of them become just sick of directed learning. Not all, but many. Like you said, take it one year (or day) at a time.

Erin said...

Michelle I agree to a point with you. I think unschooling can work wonders for some children. I don't think it would work well for the bee. She is such an orderly little girl, and loves schedules and workbooks and is the most social person I know. She loves being with her "friends" and away from home. It actually makes me sad a little how much she enjoys being away from me!

I know some kids who are unschooled, like you, who excel. But I really don't think it would work for our family, and I don't think it is the solution for all children. If we do end up homeschooling we'll go with Charlotte Mason/Classical/Montessori style.

Huck is still so little that I have no idea what learning style will work best for him. He might need classroom work, or he might need unschooling. He is just a baby, he needs snuggled only right now ;)

Michelle said...

I meant to post back a while ago...anyway, I didn't mean to imply that unschooling is for everyone. I prefer the term "child led learning." That can mean a lot of different things. Unschooling to me just means living as if public school did not exist. I just meant to say that there are a lot of things that don't need to be taught. If a child loves worksheets, do them! If not, then don't. There are so many different ways to learn the 3 R's. You don't have to learn the the traditional way that is taught in schools. You said you don't think you want to teach the 3 R's, so I was responding more to that than your decision to send the bee to school. I think whatever you decide is best for your family.

michelle said...

Great post Erin. In some ways the school does push all kids toward the same goal, yet I believe God's has a unique plan for each individual.

Right now Michigan has some fols who are trying to increase the regulations on homeschoolers here. I hope that if the time ever comes when you want to homeschool, you will have the freedom to do so. I'm increasingly frightened for our liberty, but I'm sure you already know that!