Trusting in chariots

As I continue thinking about the Montessori school, and its advantages and disadvantages, I am reminded not to trust in chariots. God is the one who formed Amy, knit her bones together, wove her personality, and he is the one who will sustain and grow her.

I am afraid of public school, and even afraid of “ordinary” preschool. I don’t think my public school experience served me well socially and psychologically. I did very well academically, and managed to make some friends, but a lot of my experience confirmed, reinforced, and further developed some seriously wrong thinking about what it means to be a person, to find one’s place in the community, how to relate to oneself and others. I am afraid of the tide of institutionality and conformity that seems to flow, relentlessly, inevitably, subconsciously in many cases, in a place where so many students with so few teachers need to be channeled through their education as efficiently as possible, and so all the little sharp edges, the things that make anyone stand out positively or negatively, must be worn down and removed.

On the other hand, her experience might not be like mine, despite the same desks in rows and hall passes, despite our shared awkward and difficult combination of intensity, willfulness, and sensitivity. She might be blessed with teachers who are conscious of the tide and who fight against it, teachers who strive to observe and protect and encourage each student’s individuality, who help her find the way between brat and doormat.

It would be good to save money, and even better to be more involved in our own community.

On the other other hand, just because I’m seeing how much my thinking is being driven by fear, and how little I am trusting God, doesn’t mean Montessori is the wrong choice for us. It might still be our best option. Her soul is worth good care, wherever we think we can find it.

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4 thoughts on “Trusting in chariots

  1. I had this halting fear the night before Mabel’s first day…the fear when I realized (again) that she’s entering the world of institutions. After talking a while, Gordon and I came to the beautiful conclusion that institutions are the mark of humans. All over the globe, people develop structures to help us live in a civilization, safely, cooperatively, and with order. Within those structures, each kid colors their own snowman whatever color he or she wants, but the problem isn’t with having the same box of crayons and the same coloring sheet.

  2. True. It’s not the institutions that are evil in and of themselves, but how we entrench them and stop noticing them and that sort of thing. Good to be reminded that they have their purpose and reason for being, and can be used well.

  3. Ah, schooling. I’m glad I don’t have to think on that any more.
    My first was the “perfect” student. Loved school, loved learning, loved structure… did college in 2 1/2 years and then law school. At 45 she’s a cheese making goat farmer! My second was my wild child and lasted in school until he was 14 and then stopped going. Two years later her went to college and on right through for a PhD but no high school diploma or GED. He’s now a professor of Environmental Studies. Loves teaching!
    My third did it by the book, was an okay student and got her RN. She’s an emergency room nurse, loves it!
    My fourth did all her school years but grade 7. That year she stayed home to be homeschooled and did her own thing. Graduated 5 th in her class from high school, got her associates degree and has four successful businesses going with her husband.
    Number five, my genious, hated formal learning and school and structure and preferred to learn on his own. He was home schooled until Jr. High , got a full scholarship to college, hated it and left and now works as a computer “jack-of-all-trades for a company in Maine. He was recruited by a couple of silicone valley folks by won’t leave Maine. He has taught himself several computer languages as well as Finnish. His bathroom reading is so deep and often dry that it make me laugh. His most endearing quality is his love for his two little boys (16 months and 4) and the wonderful time and energy he puts into them.
    And then there’s my baby girl (aged 32) homeschooled until 6th grade, refused to go to 7th and didn’t do 8th either but went right into High school. The at 15 spent a year in So. America where she learned to speak Spanish like a native and came home to become a Spanish teacher and a computer geek involving all her language students in the technology. She is a top notch teacher and has been asked to teach new teacher how its done.
    I agonized over their education and finally realized they were all different and that learning takes place everywhere and all the time. The key was to have them own their own learning and trust them to know what they wanted to know.

  4. Jan, bless you for knowing your kids well enough to have helped them find their own ways for learning, all so different.

    The first one sounds a little like me — I did well in school and enjoyed it (except for much of the social stuff), and thrived in college studying almost everything I could, and now I’m a semi-self-employed seamstress and hammered dulcimer artist without regrets. I’ve never had a standard full-time job.

    Seventh grade is definitely a good one to skip!

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