I’ve been working on educational ideas and trying to start The Puzzle School for years now and in all of my efforts I sometimes lose track of the forest through the trees. It’s easy to think about designing a school abstractly, from the perspective of society, and lose sight of the idea that it is about each student.
So I wanted to take a step back and list out what I cared about with regard to my own children:
- I want them to fell empowered and capable
- I don’t want them to spend the next 15 years constantly performing up to other people’s expectation, without any opportunities to think about or explore what is important to them personally.
- I want them to feel capable of achieving their goals, not just allowed, but that they can actually accomplish the goals if they put in enough time and effort.
- I want them to feel supported and accepted
- I want the adults in their lives to both support them personally as they figure out who they are and what they care about, and to help them prepare for life after school.
- I want them to have opportunities to make lifelong friends
- I still have friends from Kindergarten. I know this doesn’t always happen, but I think the relationships you make in school and how they shape you as a person are one of the most important parts of a child’s education.
- I want some degree of flexibility
- I don’t want to feel powerless as a parent. If I see a problem with my child’s education I want to know that someone will listen and try to accommodate my concerns. I appreciate that you can’t always have everything you want, but I’d like for the teachers in my child’s life to at least listen and try to work with me if I see a legitimate problem.
- Ideally I’d like them to enjoy and appreciate their education
- It’s funny that this seems like such a tall order, but I really believe that my children will grow more as individuals if they appreciate their education and don’t feel like they are doing it simply because it is required.
- Really I just want them to come home from school interested and excited about their lives at school
- Again, kind of a tall order (does it really have to be such a tall order?), but I think I would be awfully satisfied with my child’s education if I saw them at the end of the day and it was clear that they were doing interesting work that they really loved…