It is odd -- almost disorienting - to not go back to school this year. I have been in education for 30+ years -- my years have been filled with teaching and administration at the University level, home-schooling our daughters, sending them off to traditional schools and returning to school myself, building and opening school libraries, and running a public charter school.
And I am bemused to not be in school in September!!
Autumn is my favorite time of year. I love the change in weather in the Pacific Northwest -- by the time we get to October our mornings are a bit crisper and the afternoon shadows dance earlier and earlier each day. Even when we were in Southern California, we learned to recognize the slight shift in the difference between summer sun and fall sun - the palm branches were a bit drier by the beginning of autumn!
I also love autumn because it is entwined with school. With learning and reading and teaching. Education is invaluable -- we cannot live successful, productive, content lives without knowledge. All sorts of knowledge and wisdom are necessary to live our lives: reading and math skills, knowledge of history, geography, and science, social and emotional learning -- these and so much more make our lives rich in the important life-well-lived-ways.
In the United States we have many options when it comes to K-12 education for our children. Traditional public neighborhood schools, private, parochial or boarding schools, charter schools, homeschooling, and even unschooling are the basic alternatives for parents. The common denominators for all these choices? Teachers and students -- in K-12 someone (usually an adult) is responsible for creating an environment or an opportunity for others (usually children or teens) who are responsible to master to their best of the abilities new knowledge and skills.
So many choices! I think about the Little Guy who in a short few years will be ready for school. Whenever I would give a tour of the charter school to prospective families I would always start out asking what they wanted for their children and why they thought this particular school would fit their needs -- I wanted to get a sense of their values. And now, as Nonna, the questions I would ask my Daughter and Son-in-law when the Little Guy approaches pre-school or kindergarten age are also values-oriented!
Who are you as a family?
Now, I'm off to figure out what to do since going back to school is no longer part of my autumn.....