this word, education, is a scary word for me. it carries with it baggage from my own shoddy schooling, primary and secondary, and loads of noise when i start thinking about it for my kids. when i think about education, i remember liking it until i hit high school, but not at all afterwards. perhaps that is because in elementary and middle school i actually liked my teachers, and they not only liked me too, they genuinely loved teaching. i’m pretty sure every one of them did have a genuine interest in what they were teaching. i won’t go listing their names and what they taught me here, that’s information for a full-blown essay, but i will say that these golden years of learning for me were all in smalltown hays, kansas. can that have anything to do with anything? i don’t know. i could say something whitty like, kansas is so flat and boring that they sure better like what they’re doing. but that isn’t even that funny.

then i moved to a suburb of philadelphia at the start of high school and i found that education caused stress upon stress upon stress. and it wasn’t necessarily a deadline thing, it wasn’t because i was a slacker–sure, i was (and still am) a huge procrastinator, but self-inflicted stress is much different and less damaging than stress due to an incompetent teacher, a description i can use for probably half to 75% of my high school educators. i remember pleading with my parents on more than one occasion in more than one year not to make me go to school to take math tests. algebra II, trig, geometry, all were subjects i ended up trying to teach myself at home because all i could understand coming out of the teachers’ mouths was, “wah, wah, wah, wah, wah.” and that’s only funny when you’re watching charlie brown cartoons. that’s not funny when it’s your education. i can feel my stomach turn in knots just thinking about it. i honestly think i had the makings of an ulcer when i was a sophomore. other subjects weren’t so bad i guess, but i can’t remember enjoying them. they were tolerable. and i’m sure a lot of this had to do with my poor, teenager attitude; but why wasn’t anyone even trying to get through to me? why didn’t any of the teachers i had in high school care if i was enjoying learning from them? i was a good student, i followed the rules, and i wasn’t stupid… these questions bring up a whole other facet of this rambling that i think i won’t tackle at this point, but i will leave them there as food for thought.

a couple of other questions come to my mind now too, that i don’t necessarily have an answer for, nor do i care to really dwell on them much anymore because bygones are bygones, and i’m trying to NOT point the finger when i think of who to blame for all my problems as an adult–but where were my parents through all this turmoil and hell? granted, i didn’t ask my parents for help in high school. yeah right. we didn’t exactly have that kind of a relationship and i will take most of the blame for that. but were they really blind to my struggles? i remember them harping on me to do homework, or my dad asking us at dinner, “so, what did you learn at school today,” but they never actually knew what i was studying behind my closed bedroom door. they never checked any math problems or read any history or english papers. sure, i was a closed-off kid, but i was still their kid, and my education ball was still in their court.

but not to get mucked up in the past, the point of me asking these questions about education at all is that i have two brand new brains in my care, two tabula rasae floating around on which i need to decide who gets to do the writing. some of you reading this may be saying, “chill out woman, your oldest kid is barely three years old!” yeah, i know! but it amazes me that almost anytime i go out into company with other moms with kids who are sebastien’s age, the big question i get asked is, “have you started looking at preschools yet?” preschools? that’s next year, for one thing, and for another thing, it’s just preschool. it shocks me when i hear about the application process for preschools–isn’t that what college is for? and then i ask myself, why haven’t i been looking into this? why am i shocked? and i wonder if i shouldn’t be jumping into the frenzy now myself. these are all well-meaning moms who want the best for their kids. aren’t i a well-meaning mom? don’t i want the best for my kids? of course i do! so now i have to start asking myself these questions, thinking about education and what i want for seb and oren. so the past week or so, i’ve been a little amped about it, thinking of practically nothing else (well, okay, i’ve been a little obsessed with potty training seb too, but i’ll talk about that later), and i think we’ve decided that jumping into the mess of searching for a preschool is exactly the stress we want our kids to be able to avoid in their own education. we want to be laid back about their education so that they can learn in a relaxed and peaceful and enjoyable environment. and we’re also not so ready to get them out of the house all day and immersed in a world made up only of kids their own age. that seems scary to me, and it’s the same reason i have stayed at home to raise them instead of getting a job and putting them in day care.

so i guess what this has made us decide is, we (brian and i if you haven’t figured that out already) want to educate our kids. we want to be the authors of their blank slates. and that doesn’t mean sending them off to school on their own and hope to be able to help them out when they get home. all of these thoughts have whittled it down to a simple answer in the end–homeschooling–yet one that carries a lot of weight. but it also means that we can relax. we don’t have to search for a preschool. we don’t have to furiously fill out applications or go on visits or put our names on lists. we can stay at home for now and just have fun with the kids. and then when it’s time for them to start learning a little more formally, we can still stay at home and just have fun with the kids. and i’m not scared thinking about education for my kids anymore. just sort of excited.