Friday, August 27, 2010

How Do I Love Thee

No, this is not a sonnet for His Majesty, love him though I do. This is for the kids' school: Birchtree. How I do love it!!!

My children go there and they get to do incredibly fun things; they spend the day with wonderful, gifted, positive teachers; they learn things; they make music and art; they move and sing. Then they come home and there is significantly less bickering and destruction from T1 & T2. They're happy and occupied and learning.

I never would have believed that I would be so delighted to be dropping my kids off at school, especially a public school, in this country. The environment and the atmosphere in this school are so hugely different than what we experienced in our local 'regular' middle school last year. That school reminded me of a low security prison - it was dark and a little decrepit feeling, cinder block walls and dented lockers and florescent lighting (we are stuck with some florescents at Birchtree too but there is just so much more natural light!).

(note- the pic above was shamelessly lifted from the school's blog run by my friend Laura who is speaking at BlogHer Food! because my camera has shuffled off it's mortal coil. The class in the pic is not one that my kids are in but theirs are similar in size and feel and general wonderfulness) 


Seraphim said...

I figured you'd come around to seeing our education system in slightly less Manichaean terms once you saw said system do something right with your own family. So happy for you.

Steph said...

There are roughly 55,200,000 public school students in the US. There are about 10,500 students in Waldorf method charter schools in the US. That means that my kids are sharing an educational experience with .000052876 PERCENT of publicly educated children in the United States - and that number may be off a bit since I couldn't get the calculator to spit it out in notation I can replicate here and I'm too lazy to do it by hand tonight. Suffice it to say that our rare and wonderful experience should not serve as an endorsement for the entire system. If this school were shut down tomorrow, I would be back- albeit miserably- homeschooling rather than sentence my kids to the 'neighborhood school' experience. I still think that most public education in the United States is a soul sucking, creativity destroying incarceration. What we have is precious and very unusual and I am profoundly grateful to have it. I wish we could ditch NCLB and that this could be the education for a majority rather than the lucky few.

Laura said...

we get about 17% funding from the the GOV. and for this we leap through flaming hoops to meet NCLB standards that are killing any love of learning in our kids...if we ditch the $$ from the gov. we could probably make it w/o the standards tests and improve schools and not be out money because of all the money spent to drill and kill our kids..the system as we know it now is ------ up. And it's not producing academically improved students they are burnt out wasted shells without a spark left. Homeschool of this charter school were my options. Thats why I have given so much time and energy to this have my kids and all kids thrive and enjoy WHILE learning. And Steph is a prime example of HOW we hoped parents would feel, refreshed and believing in educations. The teachers we hired feel renewed because they can design a learning plan that doesn't leave kids bored to tears with more stupid worksheets. There is no normal about this school, it can not truly be lumped in to the 'public' school system and yet it is a public school.