Welcome to the August 2015 Carnival of Natural Parenting
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have talked about how they continue learning throughout life and inspire their children to do the same.
From the beginning, my husband and I have been less focused on the academic standards of a school and more interested in what Sofie will learn from her school environment about communication, conflict resolution, working as a team or making mistakes… Rather than be someone who learns just enough to pass the test, we want her to be a lifelong learner.
Because of this, we’ve been front-loading her education, spending our dollars in the formative early years as opposed to saving for college, a time when Sofie will be living the values, qualities and influences that she experienced in her first ten years of life. Our choice for her early childhood education reflected that. Their Reggio Emilia philosophy speaks to the “hundred languages of children,” who are naturally curious about the world and interested in learning. The kind of learning that extends beyond facts and memorization, but focuses on a child’s innate desire to question everything, to know more.
From ages two through six, Sofie was encouraged to investigate, explore and problem-solve, which helped our daughter develop into a confident, independent little girl. Now, at nearly nine years old, she is still full of questions every day from “what’s intuition?” to “who was Hitler?”
Sofie’s current school is another great match to our family values. In addition to academics, they focus on character, ethics and nonviolent resolution of conflict. Their mission states that the aims of their education program are “confidence, achievement, commitment to service and a lifelong love of learning.”
Another factor in our choice was it being an all-girls school where females take center stage. The girls learn they can do anything. They find their own voices. They take on leadership roles. They dare to do more. They are more likely to excel in academics including typical boy-centric areas of areas of math, science and engineering. They are less likely to fall victim to gender stereotypes. And, of course, they are not overshadowed or distracted by boys.
So far, Sofie is flourishing in this school. She loves being there. Her second grade teacher described our daughter as a bibliophile who “begins each school day with a hunger for new knowledge.” My husband, who hated his rigid elementary school, is astonished that any kid could love school so much, yet it reaffirms our commitment to our educational choices.
Hopefully, Sofie will remain in this school through her teens. Yet, what I want more—wherever she is—is an environment that fuels her passion for learning. We try to do that at home, and we’ll continue to seek other places that share our values.
My wish list for Sofie:
- That she continues to be surrounded by new ideas, supportive teachers and peers, and the freedom to pursue her own interests.
- That she begins to let go of her perfectionism and accept that giving a wrong answer is just another way of gaining knowledge.
- That she keeps asking questions.
- That she views areas of study like math, science or spelling as interwoven elements of life instead of compartmentalized subjects.
- That she becomes more interested in the knowledge she gains rather than the grades she receives.
- That she pursues any careers based on passion or desire to know more instead of convenience, money or status.
- That she go to college if it compels her and not because it seems expected.
- That she consider studying in a foreign country to expand her learning culturally as well as academically.
- That she will always treasure her early education years for their lasting friendships as well as the strong foundation they provided.
- That, like Michelangelo, she is never afraid to say “I am still learning.”
What educational wishes do you have for your children?
- The Financial Advice That Saved My Marriage — Shortly after they got married, Emily at Natural Parents Network and her husband visited a financial planner. Many of the goals and priorities they set back then are now irrelevant, but one has stuck with them through all of the employment changes, out-of-state-moves, and child bearing: allowances.
- Lifelong Learning — Survivor at Surviving Mexico–Adventures and Disasters writes about how her family’s philosophy of life-long learning has aided them.
- Inspiring Children to be Lifelong Learners — Donna from Eco-Mothering discusses the reasons behind her family’s educational choices for their daughter, including a wish list for a lifetime of learning.
- Always Learning — Kellie at Our Mindful Life loves learning, and lately she’s undertaken a special project that her family has been enjoying sharing with her.
- We’re all unschoolers — Lauren at Hobo Mama embraces the joy in learning for its own sake, and wants to pass that along to her sons as she homeschools.
- My children, my teachers — Stoneageparent shares how becoming a parent has opened doors into learning for her and her family, through home education and forest school.
- Never Stop Learning — Holly at Leaves of Lavender discusses her belief that some of the most important things she knows now are things she’s learned since finishing “formal” schooling.
- Learning is a Lifelong Adventure — Learning has changed over time for Life Breath Present, and she is more excited and interested now than ever before.
- Facebook: The Modern Forum — Dionna at Code Name: Mama explains why Facebook is today’s forum – a place where people from all walks of life can meet to discuss philosophies, debate ideas, and share information.
- 10 Ways to Learn from Everyday Life (Inspired by my Life in Japan) — Erin at And Now, for Something Completely Different offers tips she learned while living in Japan to help you learn from everyday life.