October 22, 2004

Getting back to me

We transitioned Jenna to her new school this week. As luck would have it, they are on early dismissal all week and out at 12:20. As luck would also have it, they start at dark-thirty in the morning, and I'm only sort of getting used to leaving the house before birds are awake.

Oh. My. Head. You could say I'm complaining. You'd be right. Because what is this? What is this with school's starting at 7-something in the morning? Have they not figured out that we're not raising good little line workers anymore? Hello school systems: Stop the torture. Embrace the digital age.

Anyway, as I said, we're getting used to it. Slowly. Jenna's as much of a night owl as George and I. Yes, we are strict about bed time. She'll bed. But she won't wind down easy. Won't sleep. Too much to consider. She's comfortable with the night. Like us.

I wish that I had the schedule, patience, and drive to home school her. Once again I salute all parents who make this choice and have the stamina to make it work. I am really beginning to believe that these are the children who will be best prepared -- with the flexibility required -- to succeed in the businesses of the future.

Since I started to "home work," one of the most lucrative and rewarding decisions I've made in my long and sordid career, I've gained a new perspective on how much sense it makes to integrate learning, working, moming, teaching and other activities with the help of the net. Yes, it's different. Even a bit scary. But it's also fluid. It's flexible. It's dynamic. It's networked. And it becomes inherent. Less work. More just living. It just IS how it IS.

And I know that's not what Jenna will get with public school education--or even private if we go that route. That's because communities are still not effectively educating children for the technology age. Sure, they have the tools now. Computers in classrooms. An extended intranet for parents. But that's not getting them prepared culturally.

We are not teaching adaptation, flexibility, movement, choice. We aren't teaching them to integrate like activities, to sort and schedule, to enjoy off time. The rigidity of the 7:20-2:20-don't-be-tardy-line-up system crushes any incentive for children to think and choose and understand what it takes to navigate the day responsibly.

The two years Jenna spent at Montessori were so much closer to achieving this type of education. But those type of programs are few and far between here--AND expensive.

On the positive side, I like Jenna's new teacher a lot. That will make a huge difference. She's positive, upbeat, and hard. Jenna's already complaining about the amount of work. Good. It's about time.

Her health -- I'm reluctant to say it outloud -- has greatly improved since being out of the mold building. More to say about that eventually. One thing at a time.

And at this time the thing is four motrin and a big glass of water because my head is killin me.