The days are long, but the years are short.
This was the thought coursing through my brain in the wake of my oldest child’s 8th birthday recently.
It seems just like yesterday that Kerry and I moved to Austin— when Kendall, our oldest, was all of a year old. I remember how people would look at me quizzically when I told them that I was an education entrepreneur. Once I explained that I was one of many attempting to rethink what schooling could/should look like to prepare K-12 learners for a 2030 where 85% of the jobs haven’t been invented yet, nine times out of 10 I’d get the following question:
“So where will your kids go to school?"
My answer: “I don’t know my kid well enough as a learner yet.”
This may seem like a cop out, but I believed it in my heart then about Kendall, my oldest, as I do today about our baby who is not yet two.
Am I a Public School Person?
Allow me to explain. My first teaching job straight out of college was at a public charter school. Though I was still years away from becoming a parent myself, I was fascinated by the number of people—from colleagues to acquaintances—who would tell me that they were “public school people.”
Now to be clear, I considered myself a public school person. I had attended public school for all but two years of my K-12 education, and I was teaching in a public school. But what these folks were saying is that they were going to choose a public school for their child because they were public school people. That was their ideal and that would drive their decision-making. And I figured that one day I would do the same.
Encountering Sir Ken Robinson
And then two things happened for me. Most importantly, I was fortunate enough to become a parent. And shortly there after, I saw Sir Ken Robinson speak.
Standing before a couple thousand anxious parents who had come to hear what he had to say about the best way to educate their kids, he opened with a question: “Raise your hands if you were crazy enough to have children?
But what follows is equally fun. He asks people to keep their hands raised if they were asinine and had multiple children. The resounding majority of hands stay in the air before his third, final and brilliant command: “keep your hands raised if any of your kids are the same.”
Thousands of hands drop in unison. His point is a simple and powerful one: we need look no further than our own families to understand that all kids are wonderfully unique. And unfortunately, far too many schools—public, private or otherwise—treat kids as if they are all the same.
Becoming a Kendall Keller Person
Therefore, I determined early in my parenting career that first and foremost I was a Kendall Keller person—not a public school, private school or home school person. That my job was to try and understand who she was as a learner, research the options available to us, and then choose what we thought was the best school for her.
And even though you’d think my day job as an education entrepreneur would make this process easier, I assure you that it has not. There’s still so much we don’t know about our kids as learners—so much that we all have to learn, parents and kids alike!
Now we have Kendall, our five and a half year old son, and our baby girl, and I continue to have a deep appreciation for just how different all kids are.
And since the days are long and the years are short, one of the best investments that we can make with our time is to reflect and assess whether we have the right fit along the way as our kids and schools learn, grow and evolve.
Wondering if your current schooling environment is right for your child? Explore the student-centered, experiential learning offered at Blyth-Templeton Academy today.