Monday, February 9, 2009

Appropriate Education

Lisa Pugh, an acquaintance of mine and a 2009 Kennedy Foundation Public Policy Fellow, recently wrote an eye-opening post on her wonderful blog, Rooted in Rural Wisconsin. Her post, The Moon Boot Parents, is about the difficulties parents of exceptional children face when trying to find appropriate education for their children. All too often, she says, parents are left with no real choices, and children are sent, with trust, to institutions that occasionally betray that trust -- sometimes in horrific ways.

That post has been on my mind a lot lately. And suddenly, it occured me that parents of boys often face a similar situation. All of us, as parents, want the best for our children. All of us, as parents, want our child's unique talents and gifts to be recognized and appreciated, and want our children to learn and grow in a supportive, fitting environment. But all too often, that environment doesn't fit our children, and we are left, wondering what to do.

Much has been written about the troubles of boys in school. (For a good summary, click here) Too often, our modern education doesn't take into account boys' innate need to move, to learn by doing and to learn according to their own biological and devlopmental clock. Yet instead of providing good, appropriate options for boys, far too many schools and teachers decide the boys themselves are the problem. A good friend of mine, right now, is agonizing over how to best help her son. He's 5 years old, a kindergartener, and already he's been to the principal's office. Numerous times. Already, the teacher is suggesting a need for ADHD drugs.

How many of you who are homeschooling are homeschooling, in part, because school was not a good fit for your son? How many of with sons in school are frustrated by the school's ability to accomodate your child's "maleness?"

We need a system of education that recognizes, honors and nurtures these innate differences. We need an educational system that reaches out to our children where they are, instead of requiring them to be something they're not.


  1. Jenny - I would agree. Many kids do learn differently and in public schools, the type of teacher you get seems like the luck of the draw. I have a talkative pre-teen girl and was very glad to get a 5th grade teacher last year who was also the mom to girls! I think the best bet is to be involved in your school, get a sense for who the teachers are and don't be afraid to write a letter at school year's end, telling the principal about your child's personality and requesting the best match.

  2. I so agree. However, in my case I have the girl who is fidgety. But the symptoms are still the same, wiggly, curious and all that stuff. If I had her in public school, they would have her drugged. Scare the willies out of me to think that.