In almost every conversation with my friends lately, school for our kids comes up. I completely realize how uninteresting this sounds to anyone not in the same position at the same time. When I had little babies, this stuff barely crossed my mind. And before I had kids? Never. But now here I stand, a month away from (what feels like) some big decision making.
This particular crossroads feels all consuming because, unlike when I was growing up, there seem to be a plethora of options! Choices are wonderful to have, but it does make me (us) feel responsible for researching our options and making an informed decision.
On Friday I attended the Fresh Take Conference, an annual conference for teachers, administrators, parents, researchers, and anyone else interested in public education. However, I was certainly the only “just a mom” in any of the sessions I attended. I didn’t mind though and instead soaked up all the knowledge and input I could from the presenters and the attendees.
A big thank you to Whole Foods for providing an incredible afternoon make-your-own-trail-mix bar!
I actually have the greater half of a notebook covered in notes I took at the various sessions and am really excited to share with you some of the things I learned from STEM focused projects to Number Talks and a lot of theory of how kids best learn in between.
Speaking of theory, Barbara Coloroso was the keynote speaker. I wasn’t sure what to expect at first and ended up blown away by her wit and wisdom. My hand almost fell off as I furiously scribbled down notes. I look forward to reading her parenting book, as her philosophy on raising (and teaching) children to develop their own self discipline without bribes, threats, and behavior charts enthralls me.
All in all, I was incredibly inspired by the conference. I admired the knowledge and drive teachers have to bring creative and effective learning techniques to their classrooms all while handling the challenges that come with teaching 20-25 kids at the same time. Teachers are incredible!
And personally I felt empowered to make an educated decision in regards to us choosing the next step in the path of Hailey’s education in the coming months.
My fascination with fostering intrinsic motivation continues…
So where does this leave us personally right now?
In our area, we are fortunate to have great public schools, several wonderful charter schools, a handful of excellent private schools, programs that offer a blend of school and at home study, and a strong homeschool community. I’m incredibly grateful for the options. Any of them would be good choices depending on the different needs/desires of a family. After looking in to them (and almost achieving analysis paralysis), there is one charter school I’m particularly smitten with. Their approach to public education is exactly in line with ours, if I could more eloquently verbalize my beliefs.
Their acceptance into the school is lottery based and if my math is correct, so many children apply that there is roughly a 5% chance of getting in. A couple months ago this stressed me out, but now I’ve really submerged myself in the idea of homeschooling (here are some reasons why we are considering it) and feel comfortable and even super excited about starting out on that route. We’ll decide on a more concrete path in about a month after the lotteries are held.
I know there is a lot of political discord right now in the education sector. I understand the passion from all sides and was really inspired by the desire I saw in teachers’ and administrators’ eyes on Friday to bring the best education to all children. As for my personal journey, I feel I’ve been talking about it for so long now and can say I’m learning a lot along the way. I appreciate you letting me sort through my thoughts and share that journey in this space!
Is anyone else engaged in school (preschool, grade school, college) decisions at the moment?