After 20 years of sending my kids off to school, I finally got out of the pickup line and got on a plane to New Zealand. I was inspired to explore international alternatives to public and private education in the US ever since my first visit to Aotearoa in 2009, but at the time I had a teenager and a toddler, and it seemed like a bridge too far. Now 7 years later, my then freshman in high school is a sophomore at NYU, and my former preschooler is a 5th grader--sort of.
She is the only member in her class, and actually the sole student in our global school this year. Our curriculum is not common core, but entirely uncommon, and one that I designed specifically for her, in anticipation of the world she will eventually face. It's not that I didn't like my daughter's school, it offers valuable education, student camaraderie, and activities that support the community, but there was a lot I could do without too. On the top of that list was the amount of stress my daughter brought home most days. It dulled her curiosity about the world and began to rob her of a love of learning, all of which affected our quality of life as a family.
Beyond that, the stress was entirely unnecessary. It wasn't just the frenzy of standardized testing, it was also what she was being taught, neither of which could be blamed on the school, teachers or the administration. My biggest issue is that most of her schoolwork had little to no relevance to surviving and thriving in our rapidly changing world. Given our nation's political climate, global strife, and the state of our earth's dwindling resources, shouldn't we be teaching our children to be responsible members of a global family? Obviously our educational system cannot be changed overnight, but it's still a free country, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. I want my kids preparing to be citizens of the world. So, with our passports in hand, and faith in our hearts, we embarked on an great adventure--isn't that what life's all about?