They Can’t Teach That in School

Our kids returned to public school this year after two years of homeschooling. When we moved to Atlanta in 2002, we pored over school test scores and evaluations to find what we thought would be the best educational environment for our four offspring. Ivy League graduates and products of public schools ourselves, we were committed to the notion of public education. Dax and McKane attended the local elementary school for six months, but struggled to appreciate a system that valued lockstep obedience rather than personal expression or creativity. They went from an hour of recess to 15 minutes, from conflict resolution circles to weekly behavior reports, and from a dynamic, non-textbook-based curriculum to stacks of worksheets and end of chapter review questions. As McKane explained in a letter the vice principal made him write to us after an incident involving an impression of a cyclops and his hooded sweatshirt, “I don’t understand the customs here. I don’t know why it’s wrong to make kids laugh at the lunch table.” He must have missed rule #6 painted on the cafeteria wall, which clearly explains “No playing.” Tom drafted a reply that assured the school we would encourage a healthy respect for authority if it would recognize the importance of an appropriately timed sense of humor.

Mac the Cyclops

There are many things they don’t teach in school, which is a big part of why we are embarking on our adventure. Our primary goal is to spend an uninterrupted, experience-laden year together and grow closer as a family. A close second is to give our kids a sense of connectedness to their fellow human beings around the world and a witness of the material abundance they take for granted. What they do with this awareness will be up to them. More on how we plan to instill it in the next post…

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