Unconventional Education

By , Sebastopol, CA
“You went to what kind of school?”
It’s a question I get asked whenever I mention anything about my previous educational experiences. Until this year, I went to an alternative school. The thing was that until I stepped away from it, I never really took in everything that was strange about it. I mean, I knew most schools didn’t have farms or more than five different art forms per year. I just didn’t think it would make me such a different student.
************* School shaped the student I have become in many ways I didn’t realize or appreciate it until I stepped away and went somewhere else. Now at a public school, I couldn’t be happier, but I think the root of that does lie in the education that began with colors and shapes at *************.
In asking new classmates a bit about their schooling, I truly learned how different mine was. I started at the beginning with three years of kindergarten. We never really did anything during the day except play inside and out, listen to stories, and have naptime. Through the early grades, in a class of less than thirty with the same teacher, we learned through stories – fables, fairytales, myths, and legends – and colors, not texts and tests. I never really appreciated the approach until later. At the time, I wasn’t aware of another way. Now I see that through that childhood, I was allowed to be a kid for such a long time and I have to say I loved it. In later grades, still with the same class and teacher, the art and stories continued, but we learned mathematics, grammar, and science. We learned to think and question, developing our own thoughts through scientific experiments and ideas about the world.
I now know how to think and wonder about what is presented, not simply take it as fact. I understand that what was offered to me through my education is precious and forever lasting. Even in a different environment, I still feel that my ability to question and think allows me to look at the new information presented in the same measured manner and answer questions through thought and logic. I now love that my schooling wasn’t the norm because I can appreciate that what I got was special. Even though there were moments when I wondered why I was doing what I was or when I hated all the art classes I was taking, but in the long run, I’m happy I went through the beginning grades at the school I did, because the person and student I have become is not something I would have wanted to miss out on.





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