Watching this literally puts tears in my eyes because MY 8 year old announced this morning, during breakfast (pancakes that she made herself), that she HATES school. She HATES learning. The only thing that she likes at school is to play with her friends. My 10 year old sat in silent agreement. I had to expect the elder to agree because she is much more of a socialite than her little sister, who used to be the bookworm type.
They’ve both been to Montessori, prior to grade 1, for one year, but the monthly cost was close to double the cost of my rent! During that year they both excelled to such a high degree. It was fantastic, but I honestly did not appreciate their achievements until they entered public school. Back then, they enjoyed school. They were proud of their learning. My oldest could do 4 digit math and write in cursive and she was promoted out of her class and into the class with the older kids for the last month of the year.
The costs prohibited me from sending them for another year and they joined a public school. Now in grades 3 and 4, they do not remember what they learned there and often are surprised when I tell them that they’ve already learned that material before, with ease, as they struggle with it now. In fact, this morning after the breakfast comments they had an argument with each other about the cursive writing. My oldest was telling her sister that her B was wrong (they honestly should know this by now). I had already seen it and it and it was at least legible, but she was hung up on being told that she was wrong and she defended herself. After some back and forth she came to get me. I asked my oldest if she had asked her sister whether or not she wanted help with her cursive. She hadn’t. “If you are going to tell her that she is wrong without first asking if she wanted help with it, then you are talking to her from a position of authority, like a boss or a teacher. Because she didn’t ask for that she will not be ready to hear it, whether or not you’re correct in what you’re saying.” I suppose this particular example might not exactly fit with the topic of this post.
What I have noticed about public school are many things. The method used there is just plain ineffective. I have had an active role in their schooling since they started school and as a result I have had countless encounters with school staff. There is a major difference between public school staff (PS) and Montessori school staff. I can sum up the Montessori teachers like this: Happier. Yes, there certainly are good PS teachers and I do not want to single any of them out. I have simply noticed that there is a a vibe looming over their heads, that I believe comes from the school board, that restricts every move they make. I believe that they start our in teacher’s college with a genuine desire to make a difference in the lives of the children they end up teaching. I mean, why else would someone choose a career that eats up so much of their time, and asks so much from them without adequate pay? I believe they start off with their hearts in the right place, and as they move through the PS system, it eats away at them, little by little. A constant barrage of rules, regulations, restrictions, guidelines, etc. Every single thing they do is regulated and prescribed beforehand. There is no room for improvisation, adjustment, change without prior written notice from the board. Even the praise and reward methods are prescribed.
Public school is an assembly line. What comes out at the end of the line? A manufactured product that we get to call “our child(ren).”
If you can homeschool, do it.
If you can’t homeschool but you can use a Montessori, do it.
If you can’t do either, try again.
Public school should be a last resort for all children, not the standard expectation that it is right now.
For me, unable to do the right thing (HS/M), I will continue to try to undo the damage of PS at home. I hope you will as well.
Save the children, save the world