Why Lemony?
(the “About Me” page)

March 01, 2004


I had an intense talk with Husayn and Suzanne about the different forms of early education- homeschooling, charter schools, magnet schools, public schools. It made me think a lot about my own primary school and the experiences I had. The more we talked about the possiblilty of school not being a prison-type experience, but being self-directed and really meaningful, the more agitated I became. I felt like I imagine someone that has just heard of a new religion that they always needed and hoped for but could never find would feel when someone first told them about it- that their deepest hopes and thoughts about life could be realized and were being realized by a whole group of people. It brought up new anger at the system that I was subject to as a child in public school, which I think is pretty typical when injustices are realized. (Sorry for being so intense in my questioning, Husayn!)

And with a little reflection later, I thought how valuable it is to be that seeking person, so you can feel what it's like and then to know what it is I needed at that time so that I could give that to someone later on down the road that seeks something important from me. Got that? What I mean is, I could see that when someone first comes upon a new idea, that's not really new but is a renewing of a long-cherished but down-trodden hope, they may not seem happy at first to be finding the thing that they are seeking. It causes agitation, lots of big feelings come up, memories too, and you feel excited but shaken up- not sure how to integrate this into your idea of what the world is like and can be. So that was fun and intense to think about.

But back to the content of the conversation, I really want to figure out what form education should take for Georgia and Maya. What will be best for these two souls? What needs to happen in an educational setting, what are the possiblilties for educational settings in the first place? What educational settings and socilaization do I feel are worthwhile and which do I want to avoid at all costs? I feel like the hardest part is being willing to ask the questions because I've always felt like the public school system was not something that you should question if you want to be a part of it- you just have to accept it the way it is and go along with however it is. And the alternative is then to be completely separate and against public school in it's current form, and to have valid arguments about why you don't support it, and to have found a system that's markedly better. It's the lack of dialog- and all the politics- that make a real investigation seem impossible to me. I don't want to look at a school's test schores. Tests are not the reason for education to occur- I spent my whole educational career jumping through the hoops I was told to jump through for lack of a beleif or confidence that there could be a better path that I would be allowed to take. But I hereby allow myself to take any path in my children's education that is in their best interests. So there! I already like Montessori philosophy- it's very self-directed, non-test driven, really understanding deeply what is going on in a child's development and responding to that wholly, not just superficially, respectful (to children!) teachers and directresses. It's good stuff. I don't know yet how well it translates to older children- I know Montessori herself didn't create her system for older children, and I would guess that there are some deep changes that would need to happen to cater to their developmental needs. I've got a short list of books to start looking at- does anyone know of books that helped them look at these questions? Has anyone dealt with these questions and want to tell me about their journey?

Posted by Bahiyyih at March 1, 2004 10:46 AM

I know exactly what you're talking about! I went through a similar process as I started studying all these ideas and alternatives. I always thought that public schools were the starting point, that everything else was just on the periphery only to be tried if public schools didn't work for you at all. But once I started seeing all these new ways, I was like, I would have really liked that! And I would have been a lot happier too! I'll definitely pass stuff on as I learn of it. I think we're on the same path, just a couple years behind :)

Posted by: Husayn at March 1, 2004 11:23 AM

I really like the philo behind Montesorri also and I think that you are on the way to making great decisions for the education of your daughters if they start out there! You should ask my mom about homeschooling -- i was home schooled for 1st and 2nd grade. There are pros and cons for sure. nice reflextions!

Posted by: miss martha at March 1, 2004 12:51 PM