Oh very young

It’s been mentioned frequently by family and strangers alike that our dear Emm is ready for school. And I agree, that at the tender age of three, she is ready in mind and spirit to plant her maryjaned shoe upon that rite of passage and join the rest of the rowdy sprites.

Problem is, I’m not.

I feel rather foolish and perhaps a bit selfish lamenting this in the age of daycare. Emm has been with me nearly all of the time since she came into our lives three years ago. I know that we are both lucky to have reaped the benefits of this kind of a relationship…not many families these days have that opportunity.

I’ve known for some time that she needs more than I can give her now. And just having more companionship alone is a worthy experience for an only child like herself. I’m just not ready to set into motion the wheels of instituition for the next 12 years. I’m afraid that somewhere along the way, the thing that makes her uniquely her, with everything that goes along with it, will leak out through the filter of the inevitable comformity.

In my own experience, it’s not that I hated school. I did o.k. More than well in things I liked, less so in others. Like most people. The areas I did best on were driven by my own curiosity and initiative and were more valuable to me even now than the information I retained and spit out for the sake of proving my so called knowledge on required subjects.

It seems that we can find information faster and easier than ever. Is this the best we can do though? Isn’t all of that for naught if we can’t utilize information in original, creative ways? Or process it with a critical mind? Or conversely, an open one? On the whole, we just seem to be educated into homogenized groups.


I realize that testing is probably the best proven method for fact driven subjects like mathematics. But during my tests, I often felt the urge to say, “no, I don’t know this particular answer at the moment, but I can tell you where to find it.” And isn’t that a more valuable tool, the ability to research, and find what you need instead of cramming it into your head, when it most likely won’t be used ever again? Eh.

Emm and I have been doing alot of things around the house…making bread with a starter for sourdough, collecting seeds for next year, cooking. What I want her to gain from these experiences is not the result, but the process. That there is a beginning and development, in addition to an end result behind things. That they just don’t “appear”. And that’s what I’d like to see in her educational endeavors: more processes and experiences, and less emphasis on results.


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September 2006
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