Thursday, 4 March 2010

choosing an edumacation

It's something the dude and I talk about a lot. How we want to educate the sprout. What we want him to get out of school. Do we want him to even go to school? Well, school in the traditional sense. Yes, of course we want him to be educated.

We have been going to a play group at Montessori school for the last month. For some reason I thought that the play group would be a lot more structured. But after we got there the first week and circle time was over, there were toys laid out and we were instructed just to have at it. It hit me then. Of course, this is Montessori. They encourage children to learn at their own pace, to choose what they want to do. As a student that excelled in grade school, I love this approach. If the sprout grasps something quickly he can move on sooner, and if he needs more time that's totally acceptable too.

They also use a lot of scaffolding. 3-6 year olds are in the same class and this helps the younger children. Children learn more from a child close in age but just above them in development than from an adult. I think it has to do with the way they are able to relate to each other. It's like new mums bonding after the birth of their babies. We've all been there and done that recently. We understand. Kids get it, and each other.

But, as much as I really like this way of learning, I am still not completely sold on Montessori. It feels a bit like a cult. They really believe that they are the best education. Like really believe it. And they want to tell you why.

Just like any alternative education, it's expensive too. Which doesn't help the cult thing. They want your $$$.

So much to think about...


  1. It really is a huge decision, isn't it?! I work for an alternative type of school program and our community has several others that have started up recently...Montessori, Waldorf, French Immersion, Distributed Learning, regular public, Homeschooling...the list goes on an on! I'm glad we still have 4 years or so to figure out what we want to do for kindergarten!

  2. I know that we will always have public school, but I want the sprout to really get something out of school (and not just a headache!) I feel like if we can afford to give him a "better" education, shouldn't we? But, spending the money doesn't necessarily mean the education will be better. I am glad we also have a few years to decide. I don't know what I'd choose if I had to choose right now!

  3. Ugh school is the biggest battle in our house with my 10 and 9 year olds. They have been in the public school system since day one and to say it is flawed is an understatement :( I pulled one of them out last year and homeschooled.
    I will for sure be homeschooling my two youngest for the first 3 years before I send them off to the "system".
    We are in the midst of deciding to send our "big kids" to a private school next year but like you, wonder that if the dollars spent will make a difference.

  4. I've thought about home schooling, but I worry that I am not disciplined enough to do it and we will just go play at the park every day :P I'd love to hear how you do it, Kenzie!

    One of the things I appreciate most about private/alternative education is they tend to have a low student:teacher ratio. I guess that's what happens when only a fraction of the population can pay for it. I do think more one-on-one time with students has a positive impact.

  5. Going to the park has TONS of learning opportunities in it :D I am a strong believer in curriculum but also using everyday life to teach and learn as I am more inspired and I think the kids are as well.
    It is suggested that the actual "sit at a table" and learn portion of a homeschoolers day should only be an hour per grade. So if you are homeschooling someone in grade one you only need to be really "working" for an hour. After that the rest of the day is yours to continue learning in a more unstructured way.
    We also never sat at a table for an hour at a time. That of course is far to long for any child or myself ;)
    There are tons of great resources for homeschooling as well as community support groups etc... If you are real lucky you will have a network in your town that does field trips etc... together.
    Good luck with whatever choice you make. It is a hard decision and we just want to do what is best for our kids.