Monday, August 23, 2010
For my kids, I was always going to go with public education. I figured that it was good enough for me so it'll be good enough for them as well. But... perhaps I'm just a bogan, country hic, who never reached her full potential due to the substandard teaching tossed her way by lackadaisical public sector teachers? Nah! I always believed I could achieve anything I wanted and I did go on to obtain a bachelor degree and a graduate diploma. It turns out that I'm just lacking in any grand ambition. I'm just happy to be me. Simple... me.
So, I'd not really given my kids education much thought. They'll just go to the local public school... where else? Then it came time to enroll the Chook in kindergarten... and... discussions were had and doubts were raised. Is the public system good enough? Should I be buying the best private education available? Do the private schools really provide thousands of dollars worth of higher quality learning? What about home schooling? Surely that's the best solution for teaching the values most important to me and mine? Then there's the alternative schools... Steiner anyone? Montessori?
Well, Steiner's out as there are none in our area. Montessori I admit does hold some appeal. Unfortunately it is a bit on the pricey side and it is an 80min round trip away - not accounting for traffic. I can't justify that kind of travel when to me, the whole idea of childhood is to be able to run free with your neighbourhood friends. You can't do that if they don't live in your neighbourhood! So Montessori is out.
Homeschooling then? No! No, no, no. Not for me. I'm not exuberant and outgoing enough to nurture my children adequately through their entire education. They are already shy and withdrawn. They need to learn how to get out there and function in society. They need to learn from personalities that differ from their Mums. So homeschooling is out.
So private schools then? My options are Catholic and Christian. Now, I appreciate that religion can help guide people. It can give them strength and add meaning to their lives. I've been surrounded by those with strong faith my entire life. My father has it, so why can't I? What can I say? I'm a scientist by nature. I can't help but to ask questions that religion can't provide the answers to. So the schools? If they could just refrain from mentioning God! But they too are costly, so I wonder at the values this must impose. Status must surely be important. Keeping up with the Jone's anybody? Although, at least they have full uniforms - school bags included. Take a look at the bags in the public schools, they're a screaming advert for all brand name merchandise. But then, even the private schools have got the lunchboxes!
What to do? What to do?
I know of those who've survived public education to go on and achieve great financial success. I know of those who've squandered thousands of dollars worth of private education fees to become penniless labourers. I know mostly of those who are like me. I've learned. I've laughed. I've loved. I've cried. I've travelled. I've experienced. I've lived!
So what do I want from my children's education?
I want them to enjoy learning.
I want them to value education as an important opportunity.
I want them to be true to themselves.
So, it doesn't matter where they go to school because these lessons come from the home. If I can teach them to want too, then they'll make the most of any education.
So it's public school for now and we'll just work out the needs of each child as we go. I'm dreading the choices for high school though.
And now, about those Dora lunchboxes...