My son is in preschool, and after a previous misdiagnosis, he was finally found to have two language disorders, both of which are pretty bad. I say this because it wasn’t easy to find a preschool for him, or a preschool that would give him a chance. It was not like my friends. I didn’t have a lot of schools to choose from. Many people stopped emailing or didn’t call back after hearing about his problems, so they didn’t keep in touch. I found one for him last year that has been great and has helped him grow and thrive. It wasn’t the best experience for us. This year, in addition to going to preschool, he started a half-day class at a public school. A lot of the curriculum at the school was based on verbal-language skills, which made his language difficulties stand out. My son, who is 3.5 years old, didn’t bring home any crafts or art projects from the inclusion class because they didn’t do them. This made me very uncomfortable.
In the end, I had to take my son out of the public school and put him back in his old preschool full-time. You can see how he plays outside with his friends, comes home with more projects than I can handle, reads with me all the time, and doesn’t want to leave when I pick him up. The move we made was the right one for us right now. My decision for us right now is not to go to public school. This is not against public schools, but rather my choice for us at this time. There were a lot of factors that led me to want to learn more about education, and this wasn’t one of them! To figure out what to do before I met with the child study team and made a decision, I did some research.
In addition to reading articles and reports, I started to read more and more about how schools are changing, the push to get kids ready for school earlier, and even unconventional ways of learning. How did my parents work in the public school system? Both of them taught special education. I never had to think about or question the traditional way of teaching before. People may not like the way the traditional school system works for everyone, but that’s OK. There are other options out there for people who don’t like the way things work. So, I read a lot. Then I started looking at Instagram accounts, and then looked at a lot of books I saw there. To be honest, I have a lot more books about education that I want to read now than I thought.
Reading about education and nontraditional methods of education led me to read a lot about homeschooling, unschooling and forest schooling. I also learned about different curricula such as Waldorf and Montessori, and Charlotte Mason. I’m still going through a lot of things.
Here are some of the books I’ve read so far that have been interesting and eye-opening to me. If you want to read about education from a different angle, these are some of the books you should check out.
Rethinking School: How to Take Charge of Your Child’s Education by Susan Wise Bauer
This was one of the first books I read when I was wondering if I should keep my son in the inclusion class. It was very interesting, and I learned a lot from it. You learned about how it works and why it doesn’t work for all kids. There was a lot of information about alternatives to traditional schooling. I liked that there was information about learning disabilities and other problems, and that it wasn’t just for parents of kids who did well in school. That’s not what this book is about. Instead, it gives the reader tools to help them better understand the education system and how to help their child get what they need from it in order to succeed. In this book, parents learn how to start conversations with counselors or case managers, and how to fight for their child in the school system.
The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined by Salman Khan
If you have kids, you’re likely to have heard of Khan Academy. “Khan Academy” is a non-profit educational group that says its goal is to “provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.” People who homeschool use KA to help with their curriculum or to teach their kids about things they find interesting. This is also for people who want to learn something. Khan talks about the education system in this book, just like Bauer talks about the education system in the book above. Khan also talks about how to change the education system and classrooms for the better. He talks about the flaws in the American school system and how “mastery learning” can help fix them. You might not like his ideas. This book has a lot of ideas for how to improve education.
The Call of the Wild + Free: Reclaiming Wonder in Your Child’s Education by Ainsley Arment
A few weeks before school started this year, I got this book in the mail. It felt like a good sign to get it at that time. I was already apprehensive about the new curriculum that was being tried out, and I was thinking about how I might homeschool my child in the future. As the founder of Wild + Free, an online homeschooling community, Arment wants to make sure that kids have a lot of fun while they learn about nature, books, hobbies, and more. This book is full of beautiful pictures and gives an overview of homeschooling and different options and curricula. They say it’s a mix of memoir and handbook. Even though it’s not the best homeschool book, it’s a good one to have, especially when you’re just thinking about homeschooling or starting out.
The Brave Learner: Finding Everyday Magic in Homeschool, Learning, and Life by Julie Bogart
Homeschoolers on Facebook will tell you to read The Brave Learner over and over again if you ask them what books you should read if you’re just starting out. But this isn’t just for homeschoolers! This book can also be used by parents to help their kids learn and be creative, even if they aren’t homeschooled. That’s how useful this book is. Bogart writes in an easy-to-read way, is down-to-earth, and thinks about homeschooling and education from a relaxed, realistic point of view. There are times when she gives parents gentle nudges to break out of their comfort zones and try new things, but she doesn’t judge them. People who join groups on Facebook and follow her social media accounts are good additions to the book.
A Year of Forest School: Outdoor Play and Skill-building Fun for Every Season by Jane Worroll
Forest school is a way of teaching that focuses on positive outdoor experiences. Play-based learning and free play are linked to sustainability practices, and natural resources are used to help children learn about emotional intelligence, confidence, and self-esteem. So, even though I am not a big fan of the outdoors, this book is very helpful because it has specific tasks and instructions that make it easy to do outdoor activities. Forest school is all about getting outside every day, no matter what the weather is like. During bad weather, people wear clothes that aren’t good. With that in mind, this book has activities for you and your child to do outside all year long, with the activities organized around the seasons to help your child become more aware of the world. If you want to get out more with your child, this book is a good choice.
Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education by Ken Robinson
Sir Ken Robinson used to have the most-watched TED Talk of all time, but I’m not sure if this is still the case. His talk on whether schools kill creativity is still one of the top 25 most-watched. Standardized testing companies are making a lot of money, teachers are stressed out, and kids are stressed and unhappy. This book looks at schools (in more ways than one). Robinson talks to teachers and administrators who work on the ground and has come up with a way to move forward and change the system in a good way. People who are trying to change how schools work and how kids learn don’t understand how kids learn or how good schools work, he says. Before we can do anything else, we need to change how we think about education first. I like this one a lot and can’t wait to read more by him.
Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life by Peter Gray
As a person who wants to learn more about unschooling, this book is the one to get. A developmental psychologist named Gray wrote this book, and in it, he says that free play is the best way for kids to learn how to solve problems, build friendships, and become more resilient. Using psychology, anthropology, and history to show why this is so important for kids, he shows why this is so important for them.