I’ve worked with a lot of families and children, especially children between the ages of 3-8 years old.
These families are either about to start sending their kids to school, or have just started. Many parents are having their first experience of public schools since being students themselves.
From the conversations I’ve had, it is very common for them to be dissatisfied with the educational prospects or realities facing they are facing. For the new parents, having poured so much energy into their child for the first ~5 years, there are concerns that government schools will be unable to support the child’s individual needs.
The parents of the older kids, now entering second and third grade, are often praying that THIS year, THIS teacher will be better. They’ve been dealing with daily struggle heartache, tangled up with feelings of shame and anger, and hoping it’s just a normal “adjustment period”, a phase that will correct itself in time.
Something’s gotta give, and the spirit and joy of the child, when not aligned with the structure of the school, is the first to capitulate .
Solutions to the wrong problem
Of course we all want what’s best for the kids, right? We all say it, and when given the opportunity, we vote that way. But public efforts in the form of more spending on school programs result in a longer school day, hiring more police officers, and upgrading the flatscreen TVs in the hallways.
The private sector responds, and now there’s no shortage of “parenting experts” caliming that their $1500 coaching course will make you a Superhuman who can provide all of the emotional support & attention your children need in the 90 minutes of free time you might have with them each day.
Still other ventures hope to supplement public education by providing at-home online learning. In the aforementioned 90 minutes minutes somewhere between de-stressing from the school day and preparing for the next.
The two impossible (for most) alternatives to public school…
Traditional private schools are outside most families’ budgets. After crunching the numbers, most conclude that homeschooling would also require a financial sacrifice they can’t afford to make, often in the form of one parent having to stay at home, unable to generate income.
It seems that only the most dedicated (or desperate, or privileged) parents successfully cross the chasm between the social and financial security of free government schooling and what they intuit is best for their child: an education that puts the learner’s individual needs first. They will homeschool at any cost.
Those left behind are left dreaming “if only our friends and neighbors also homeschooled, if only we had a network that supported it, we could distribute the work load and make it work.”
... and the third.
But occasionally someone with that vision of a multi-family network of homeschoolers and unschoolers succeeds in bringing it to life. They research the laws, gather every resources, social and financial, and they build a “school” of their own. Sometimes it’s just two families and four students in their living rooms.
Other times their idea really takes off, and they find themselves overwhelmed with applicants. Before long they’re hiring educators, erecting a new schoolhouse, and even sharing their model like a franchise to people around the world.
The New Schools
Theirs is the most interesting story that I know of. Of all the inspiring activists, protestors, journalist, etc, I believe the school-builders are the revolutionaries that the world needs most.
We’re here to chronicle the rise of those schools, to raise awareness, to inspire you & help you bring that vision to life for your child, family, and community. It’s a new era. Isn’t it time for a new school?