The American Education System Depresses Me

Before I had kids, I knew the American education system was in sorry shape.  Chicken’s family consists of quite a few public school teachers, I have friends who have gone into teaching and the last job I had before becoming pregnant with the twin was in non-profit education.
But even with all of that–it still didn’t concern “me” directly.

And then I had kids.  Before I knew it I started obsessing about schools.  In NYC where waiting lists are long and competition is fierce, you think about these things soon after you come home from the hospital (or while in it…or on the way to it).
So I obsessed and I researched and I fretted and balked.
After that came denial.
Which led to seeking out alternatives.
Like, homeschooling and roadschooling and unschooling.  Two of these things I’d never even heard of before and the other I thought was reserved for super crazy religious parents/insanely crunchy moms.

I poked around more and became familiar with Montessori and Waldorf educational approaches.  These two philosophies spoke to me.  The price tag that comes with a NYC Waldorf education does not.  We simply don’t have a million dollars to put Grunter and Whoop Whoop through K-12.

The more I read about the value of play–free, unstructured, imaginative play–the more committed I felt to doing things ‘different’.
I’ve written before of my desire to ‘opt out of preschool’ and it’s not just because of the absurd price.  If we really wanted to send our kids to a traditional preschool, we’d find the money and pay it, period.
But I knew there had to be another option.  When I heard of this little Waldorf preschool in the jungle of Costa Rica, I thought, “What an amazing little gem.  I wish my sons could attend.”
And then I set about figuring out how to make that happen.
But wait!  Didn’t I just say if I wanted to send my kids to preschool, I would?!  Am I not contradicting myself?  I am, I suppose.

Lately, you may have been hearing quite a bit about the Finnish model of education in the news.  I’ve read some great articles and this week I was able to watch a Dan R.ather Reports news special on the topic.

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