Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Education vs schooling

One thing I love so much about Montessori is that, when taken from Maria's perspective and not necessarily how some schools "do" Montessori, it is about education, not schooling.

The closer my daughter gets to high school age, the more we talk about and think about different options. Our province tends to be rather closed-minded in terms of what is required not just for a high school diploma (we don't have the option of giving a recognized diploma ourselves; has to come from the government), but also for post-secondary admission. At least a few places will not accept students who do not have a high school diploma. Others ask for specific grade 12 subjects rather than a full diploma and there is usually a way around that. Which is good. Because the kinds of grade 12 subjects usually required are diploma exam subjects: students do a government-issued exam worth 50% of their mark, and their raw score on the exam may get altered if the government has decided exam questions were harder or easier than they expected. This is not about assessing education; it is about lumping everybody into a specific bell curve. It sucks.

When I started to understand how this worked here, I started really thinking that maybe I would discourage my children from going that route. Or at the very least, not encourage them. After working my way through educationally questionable courses with the oldest I homeschooled and now her younger brother, I really don't want to go that route. If they want to, then they'll have to do the online or similar themselves and leave me out of it! lol.

Dd does not want to do it. The topic came up, we discussed and thought about it and no, I do not want her to take those diploma exams and certainly don't want her to feel she has to. She has decided she would like to take at least Art for credit--because she would like feedback from an art instructor, which I am not. There are no exams for those courses, just learning techniques and working on art. There might be some others she decides to do. But in the end, I think for a true education, she should either aim to do the SATs and/or take some college classes that will cover the grade 12 subjects and will be allowed by many places instead.

Dh and I talked about this the other night. He, a junior high teacher, complained about the curriculum, the testing and said how it's not education. I agree. I said I would love it if we lived closer to Montessori High School at University Circle, until I saw how much it cost per year (yikes!) and decided it was good to not have that temptation. ;) But it has me thinking, again, on Montessori and high school and how to help my daughter be *educated*, not just go through the motions of learning certain things to get into post-secondary.

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