I have some issues with the mainstream education system. It failed to support a number of people I love dearly, and while I managed to succeed academically in the mainstream system, it came at a great cost to my emotional stability and well-being. I am definitely not saying it doesn’t have benefits, nor am I suggesting it works for no-one. However, since both my partner and I struggled in it (very differently, but we both suffered), I have wanted to explore alternative education options for our daughter.
What I have discovered
There are a great number of alternative education options available, even in the relatively small city we live in. While I look up to parents and guardians that home school immensely, I do not feel this is something I am able to do.
I briefly attended a Montessori school (for the first year of my primary education) and so spent some time reading about that approach to education. I do really like the approach of free learning within certain boundaries as well as the mixing of age groups. However, I am somewhat apprehensive because there are few Montessori secondary schools and there seems to be limited information about how children transition from Montessori primary schools to mainstream secondary schools.
I also looked in to Waldorf/Steiner schools, which aim to support the creative and empathetic sides of students, as well as minimise quantitative assessments and standardised tests.
As well as these two kinds of school, I read about several different pedagogical philosophies (experiential education, popular education and progressive education) and pedagogues (Dewey, Fröbel, Steiner and Freinet).
Our daughter currently attends a total immersion Maori daycare, which she loves and which really supports her. I am keen for her to continue alternative schooling as she grows older, though this will require probably multiple conversations and discussions with my partner (which is good, as it is an important decision, after all). So my action for this theme is to engage in conversations with my partner so we can explore the various local schooling options and find the best one for our daughter.