Education and Kids of Friends

Sometimes as an educator, I feel the need to “help” people make decisions about education. In particular, when it comes to them making decisions about their kids and where and how they will be educated, I’m always fighting with an inner voice about what to say and how much to say if I do speak up. I can’t help it. I have two degrees in education. Just because you have a kid does not mean you know how he or she should be educated. But, most parents feel they know best. So, my advice is unheeded at best, and condescending, at worst. Here’s an example of my newest dilemma.

My friend is dating a single mother. They’ve moved in together. He isn’t comfortable in the “daddy” role. That’s a completely different conversation, but it does fall into the same category of “should I offer advice” question. Anyway, he and his girlfriend have decided that her son will attend a Montessori school in the fall instead of kindergarten. Apparently, kindergarten is not required in the state. I didn’t know that. However, the rationale for choosing it is because back at her previous home in California, she wasn’t impressed with public schools, so she doesn’t want to subject her son to one. It doesn’t matter that it’s a different state. It doesn’t matter that she’s temporarily unemployed and they have to come up with the money to pay for it. It also doesn’t matter that they have no plan for where he’ll go when the school gets out at noon each day. And it finally doesn’t matter that this is only offered until next year when her son will be forced to transition to public school for first grade.

Oh, and they didn’t ask the advice of their friend the teacher. Probably because I work for the public school and they think I would have been biased. Or, she’s his mom and doesn’t need advice. Hard to say.

I have mixed feelings on the Montessori school and I’ve read mixed reviews from people in different areas. We’re not big enough to have anyone writing reviews on our Montessori school. I’d like to discuss it with my friend to see if he’s making a rational decision, but I don’t know if it does any good.

So, I don’t know what to do. Keep my mouth shut even if I think that they are making the wrong choice for the boy’s education? Risk alienating my friend by telling him he’s making a bad decision, especially since he’s probably just going along with the decision rather than being an equal partner in the decision-making? It’s tough watching friends make stupid decisions. It’s even tougher watching friends make uninformed decisions for their kids.

I am the language lover and these are my thoughts.


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