I'll bet you can remember your favorite teacher from elementary school immediately. I will also predict that you can remember the teacher or other person in school that made you want to never go back. I will never forget the Chemistry professor who told me I wasn't smart enough to go to vet school. Now granted, I'm glad I didn't become a veterinarian. I would have been crying every single time I had to put a horse to sleep. Gosh, I can't even imagine. BUT it has nothing to do with how smart I am. In fact, he had no idea what he was talking about.
When I was in Kindergarten, I almost didn't get promoted to first grade... I laugh about the hilarity of this situation, but how many parents are faced with this same dilemma today? The reasons are probably quite different than what I experienced. I actually remember the conversation like it was yesterday. My mother was on the phone, serious as a heart attack with someone at the school. She told me to sit down at the kitchen table and wait. So I did. My father walked in. She got off the phone and said, "We need to talk now. The school doesn't think Carolyne can go on to first grade."
"Why?" my dad asked.
"The principal said she is struggling with writing - she's left handed. AND she touches everything. She can't sit still." mom replied.
"Well, she's sitting still right now! Do you mean to tell me they're going to hold her back because she writes with a different hand?" my dad rebutted.
"The principal said that we could put her in this program they're offering next year. It's called I.G.E, something about multi-age classrooms and that she could learn at her own pace. She would have more freedom to move instead of sitting all day."
"Don't all the kids get to learn like that?" my dad asked.
"I don't know. I will work with her on using the scissors with her right hand so she won't fall behind. We will get through this." my mom said reassuring my dad that I would be fine.
Yes, I was promoted to first grade and shortly there after, in middle school, I was considered a gifted artist. I thank the stars that I was not able to cut with scissors correctly and was born left handed because I LOVED being in a program where we got to learn in a non-traditional way. I'm so happy I didn't have to sit all day. Hell, I couldn't do that now if you paid me, let alone as a 10 year old. We had so much fun every single day. School allowed me to learn faster in math and slower in reading (yes, I was one of those kids) Later, when I was in about 7th grade, I switched and got slower at math and faster at comprehension and reading. But all that was ok because I worked at my own pace.
Fast forward to today - here we are in a wonderful time of history when more than 8 million children in the United States are being home schooled. (hslda.org)
I have a feeling that there is a lack of trust in our educational system that began way back when we were kids. The experiences we had so long ago, affect the decisions we make today. Not only as parents, but also as learners.... I wonder how many adults out there fear learning something new because of the painful experiences they went through as children when they were at school. For some, that fear is paralyzing. Not in a way like seeing a spider, but in the way it stops them from taking a leap of faith to learn something new. Keeping them in the same mind set. One of the worst things I hear adults say is, "I'm not good at math." or "I'm not good at writing or "I'm not good at art, I could never do it." Really? Naturally, we all have an aptitude for certain things, but who said that to them? Are they saying it to themselves, reinforcing that they cannot run a business (you need math skills) apply for a grant, loan, or publish (you need writing skills) or create their own job (entrepreneurship requires being exceptionally creative)? There are so many ways we build up walls for ourselves I can't help but wonder if that quote about success is really true: Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
"Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us." Marianne Williamson Gosh, I love that a woman said that. :)