As many of you know there’s been a three-month long teacher’s strike in BC, Canada. The teachers’ union and the Government are at a terrible stalemate, and today, September 2nd, 2014, our public school children did not return to school. Instead of giving teachers the raise they deserve, and the students the resources, class size, staff, and support they need, the Government has promised to pay each family $40 per child a day for childcare costs! Parents are forced to find alternative care for their children so that they can work, day and week camps are popping up everywhere, some costly, others affordable, yet another free at The Purple Thistle Solidarity Camp. http://purplethistle.ca/blog/. Yet other parents are scrambling for childcare swaps with parents, paying or begging services from stay-at-home mums or dads, and even simply being forced to stay home from work themselves.
This is an unbelievable situation. What is happening to public school education? Is our government admitting that Public School no longer needs exist? Is this the first step towards a ‘voucher school system’ as this blogger describes: http://helesialuke.wordpress.com/2014/08/26/258/ ? Or, a call to action to citizens to clarify our belief in the necessity for a publicly funded system? Are we going to collectively let go of that, and move towards privatization, specialized education programs that range from learning at home, learning through the internet at DLs, or paying for part-time or full-time private schools?
In our family we are fairly lucky, as both parents in a blended family work from home, I am developing a photography business, http://www.facebook.com/applestarphoto, and have been alternately running a small daycare, home schooling, and tutoring, and now hope to run a few pilot alternative to school day camps in lieu of the strike.
While my son goes to public school, we have long flirted with home learning, unschooling, Windsor House, and so on as more fulfilling, liberating and challenging options for my creative self-starter. Unfortunately, his dad is not so keen on the idea. My partner’s two children attend Windsor House, http://windsorhouseschool.org which they love, and have been missing all summer. It’s a free, democratic, non-coercive school that essentially allows children to choose their own activities, be free to play or read or study or make all day up to grade 7, as well as participate in school council, voting and creating motions. Windsor House is a publicly funded school, so it’s also closed during this strike, so the guys are missing their friends and all the awesome resources there.
My son and I are starting this blog as a way of experimenting with home learning options, and creating a little structure, discussion and accountability in the days, and weeks to follow. While I hope the strike will end soon, all those who need and love school can return to study and work, and parents can rest at ease, my sense is that my son feels a little differently about all this. He doesn’t really like school, and so having this long extended summer is so much fun for him. I am hoping I can engage him in some discussion about this and some home learning projects. I am hoping too, that you will join me in this adventure, share your ideas and comments, and hopefully, we’ll all get a little closer to creating the education and schooling our children need.
Ok, exciting update, my boyfriend’s oldest son has agreed to participate too. I’m hoping that he will inspire me to create blog posts, activities, and a whole other range of engagement. Welcome aboard T!