My favorite time as a young girl was the imagination of life. I remember riding around the front yard of my home in Seattle. I played by myself a lot because my sister’s thought I was too young and I thought my brother was too young. My yellow bike became the machine that took me places. Once, it took me into a huge amusement park. I was in charge and I got to say how fast or how slow each ride was. I remember sitting in a seat, using a stick as a gear shift, going up and down a roller coaster.
There were times in school where we would read a book and apply it to how it would affect us in real life. If there was a bully what would we do? If we were sick with boogies running down our nose what happens? If our mom needed help in the kitchen during Thanksgiving, how could we help? My friends and I would reenact the books during play time. There was always something to be learned about life.
As I got older the lessons weren’t so “childish” but I still got to learn. School taught me how to change a diaper in the event I got knocked up. I learned this when I was in the sixth grade. They didn’t bother waiting until you were in high school. The message was that important. I remember having to carry my baby around school for an entire week. I was in JPO so you can imagine how difficult it was to walk the school’s halls carrying a flour sack ensuring I was taking care of it and policing the halls for rebels.
As I entered high school life lessons really became life lessons. I learned to work a stove, hold a knife, properly cut an onion. I learned how to make traditional dishes, yummy desserts and local cuisine. I was taught how to sew a simple hem and create a quilt. I learned how to understand the basic balancing of a check book. I was forced to write in cursive because I was told I would need it some day (and I swear to you I still use it). And although I can’t remember it for the life of me now, I was taught how to tie knots and even an actual tie. I even learned how to scale a ten foot wall for crying out loud. I learned how to cut wood and build a table. I learned the basics of a car engine and even got some grease on my hands.
But these days what are kids learning?
I’ve come to realize learning Home Economics throughout grade school and high school isn’t the norm anymore. I can’t understand why. When I entered the door of my cooking class I was engulfed with the education of health and nutrition. The class only cemented my love for food. In shop class the smell of wood made me want to create things. I learned financial literacy at the cause and effect of mismanaged money. I was engulfed in the need to learn actual life lessons that would allow me to make it through the tough times of adulthood.
If I was able to learn so much, then why has the classes that taught me the basics of life been axed from the public school scene?
My husband and I have been really looking into adopting. With adoption comes all the thousands of questions you have with adoption: how old? Siblings? Race? Mental health? Physical health? Education? To be honest, the last question was the only thing that mattered. Education has always been important to me. It was in school that I learned the not so fun things – hard core science and math. And learned the really fun things – writing and history. It was also in school I learned how to make chow funn and pasteles. I learned that a check book has a debit and credit side and they mean two different things. I learned community service was integral in building up your community. Even learned how to change a tire, do an oil change, and repair a broken screen window.
The debate then became: public, private or home school? These last few weeks what I have been learning about the public school system scares me. I am already against the whole core math thing. If it ain’t broke why fix it? My generation and generations before me learned math simply, why can’t we keep doing it? I have always been against private and home school because of personal reasons. But, my husband and I agree, education is too important to leave in the hands of the current public school system. Now, I’m not saying that the public school system is down right horrid. I know some great teachers past and present who have become lasting imprints on my heart. But, when my child has a teacher that isn’t great? I don’t know if I want to take those chances.
I want to see my child challenged. Not in a negative aspect. But, challenged nonetheless. I want an English teacher to challenge them on their writing so my child can go on to write out their dreams. I want a Science teacher who will defy the law of physics to challenge my child’s thought process and understanding of atoms and elements so they know how we’ve developed. I want an Art teacher that will bring abstract and colorful definitions to life so my child doesn’t see this graying world. I want a History teacher to reenact in real life or through imagination the greatest stories to ever be told so that my child can appreciate what came before them. I want a Math teacher to explain the importance of numbers to my child so they know how things build upon each other. I don’t want a teacher just doing enough to get my child by.
To me a teacher should always be pushing the lines to develop the child to be the best versions of themselves. Is that not the point of teaching? The definition of teach is to impart knowledge of or skill to. When you teach you enlighten. You bring enthusiam. You discipline. You coach. You enrich. That is what I want for my child, to be enriched every day by the person we entrust them to. To be coached through life to not give up, to understand good and bad, to learn to dream. As a parent to have someone doing that while I am away from my child is my wish. Can the public schools – even with the lack of funds – find these life coaches for my child? My child – every child – deserves it. They deserve someone championing for them. How do we get it done?
Oh, by the way, did you know that Pluto is no longer a planet!? ;o) xoxo