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Lifestyle

Founder Friday: My Dream School

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Dear nécessité,

Happy Fall. How are you? Does it feel like days are going by super-duper fast more than usual to you? I do not understand why because it is not like I am running around extra busy all day every second of the day filling up the time. I am grateful and blessed regardless. I am cherishing it all and being more grateful. I can never be too grateful. Can you? School is officially open in America. I loved and so appreciated the extra time home, and it was a nice break of no rushing in the mornings, making lunch, stress, detentions, dress code, the clash of student to teacher, peer pressure, no bullying, school devastation…our children were at home and safe… (for the most part, of course, it was a different safety zone we all entered), we knew where they were. I found so much solace and beauty in it. I realized, I needed the break of no school the way we knew it and so did my children.

I was able to really see a bigger picture with regard to school. When this all went down, I pulled my kids out of traditional school when it went to online education and I then decided to do our previous online home school program, after a week of trying to be online with the traditional school that had never done online education. We had homeschooled before (and I LOVED it, capital L-O-V-E). When we did this for the first time, people thought I was cray to the cray-cray. “Why would you pull your children out of top NYC private schools, it’s so hard to get into, it’s NYC education, the best”! That is all I heard. People could not grasp it. I was not afraid.

I wanted the challenge for us, the adventure, the experience, the freedom! For me and them. I was not impressed paying for an education that I felt we honestly were not properly receiving what we were paying for. It felt more ego-driven to say what school my children attend back then.  I had been a teacher (briefly) in the past and it was just something I felt I had to do intuitively for us. More so for my children.  I’ll tell you why.

I wanted my kids to have the experience of one-on-one learning without the distractions or being the distraction. I wanted them to be stress-free, to get a good night’s sleep, and start school at a reasonable time.

I wanted them to have real and quality fresh, healthy lunches and organic if possible. I did not want them to have countless hours of homework where they had no time for family dinner or for doing extra curriculum activities. I was tired of keeping them in the mundane of what I was seeing. S T R E S S… I started asking myself too often, “What is this all for”? I am not playing this game or competing with anyone. Our competition was on the field for equestrians, not for school. I must look at my family, because at the end of the day who else really cares for them and their education the way I do?!  Why am I letting schools do this to my children when I do have an option?

At the beginning of the global shift, we tried to stay with our school, but the frustration from the teachers and the sad and stressed out children confirmed what I felt was best to go with who had the experience and the success rate of educating online. After too many moments of stress in my home as a result, (and I was simply at a point where I was not going to let school add stress on top of this moment) I presented the option, get homeschooled again or stay with the school that has never done online education? What do you think our home decided on? You are right! Homeschool was chosen. Why, because it was less screen time since home-school was only 4 hours on average a day (including homework), more sleep, and more time to mentally stay healthy and together during this challenging and unfamiliar moment in life. I was adamant about not allowing school and that energy to be of any added stress to us.  It was what it was. Life is short and it was already a very hard and challenging moment, so I was on a mission to ease it up for the kids where and how I knew best for this moment. I was all about nurturing the mental and emotional health of it all, not schoolwork. (call me crazy)

I am so thankful we had this option as I realize and I am fully aware, most people did not have this option or any option at all and it was pure stress and devastation for many. I heard the stories, I received the phone calls of frantic, stressed-out parents asking me for help and guidance.  My heart hurt, I cried for the families that had no computer, no Wi-Fi, mothers driving their kids in the car to get service, and having school in the car and in the cold.  I hurt for them and I felt their anguish… So I knew, here it is I am blessed to have both, I am eliminating stress and making sure my kid’s mental health remains as healthy as possible considering. The ones that thought I was cray-cray years ago (that I mentioned earlier above) called and said, “You were ahead of the curve” or, “How did you know home school was the future?” My response was, “look around and pay close attention”! I knew it was the future, how could it not be?! After all, we were all witnessing first hands the first generation ever to have everything on them 27/7. A little computer is known as, the phone. 

As we sat and were forced to be removed from the familiar traditional school system (a system that has been in place for almost 100 years, not updated or changed) for over a year, not only did a lot happen, and companies and institutions were forced to regroup and make major shifts, I could not help to wonder, what change would come about for all of our schools? What change would they make for modern life for our children? I wondered, did they change other than how to get students to wash their hands more frequently, sitting socially distancing apart, and wearing nose and mouth coverings as breathing became challenging for many. “How would schools transform and shift during this huge global shift.” There is no way we only go to better hygiene and introduce more black history classes! Is that enough? Is that all that came from this huge wake-up call for schools? I like to give the benefit of the doubt.

I always think about if I were to create a school, what would I want for all children if I take myself out of it and go outside the box and become more current. Follow along with me and let’s pretend and be open-minded.

My dream school would offer

School Hours:

Start at 9 am and finish at 3 pm. Homework would be no more than 2 hours a night. MAX. Let children have time to connect with themselves and learn downtime, creative and critical thinking.

Proper Health Courses:

Implement the most important thing in their curriculum-Health. After all, if we do not have that, what do we have?  Teach proper health. Anatomy. Why do we not know our bodies beyond the obvious? That should not only be for med school, or should it? I mean our bodies do come with us all day and all night past our years of education.  How well, do you know your body and the parts? Proper nutrition. The importance of trace minerals and vitamins and food, connecting food to health.  Those are major dots.

PE Class:

Yoga and breathwork. It offers so many healing and health benefits mentally and physically.

Giving Back:

Every student would have to do philanthropy work. It would be a requirement. Every Friday feed in a nearby local soup kitchen or help the neighborhood create a garden. Plant a tree. Something. Giving back is so important. Teach them early. I know some schools do it, but do not enforce it. It is more to say they do it than actually making sure it is imperative.

Geography Course:

Learn the globe. Know the world and the location on the map beyond states and capitals. Learn cultures. Learn People. So many people in other countries speak of places I have never in my life heard of. Why? I was never taught it and they were. They know America better than I.

Steam:

Science Technology Engineering Arts Mathematics. Creative people should be included. Children must create and foster their imagination and learn the artist within and let the artist flourish and also have the opportunity to be tapped in too. Do a lot of creative children feel supported at school and understood?  (If they are not at an art school?) Are we offering a great selection here? Not every child is into sports and not every child is into art. Strike the balance, offer a variety. Education is education. You learn a bit of me, and I learn a bit of you….We learn a bit of this and a bit of that, exposure.

Listen to All Children:

Teachers would no longer be able to say, “Do not be a tattletale.” I told my children to be the tattletale because they are learning to speak up and possibly help someone that may require it and be in trouble. May be bullying can cut down if we listened more to the children and helped and intervened a bit more? Is it more old-school thinking to not hear children out and to honor their voices and to know they too have a voice that matters? Kids are honest and wise, they are not corrupted yet, so I say listen and pay attention.

Fluent in a Foreign Language:

So important I think to be able to communicate with others. Every student would be fluent by the time they graduate high school in a language they choose in kindergarten and stick with it and be fluent by the time they graduate high school. I know from living in Paris if I did not try to speak French, of course, they would frown upon me, because it is insulting to come to their country and expect them to speak my language although I am in their culture eating their food, being immersed in their world.  Where is the attempt?  I am not fluent in many languages; I can say a few (I said a few) things in many languages. The Hi’s and byes’ and thank you for the most part. Communicating with others outside our comfort zone I feel is human and important.

Inclusiveness:

Include all kids. Children that get bused to school that live a distance away should not only go to the kid’s home that lives nearby for a playdate. Once a month, a playdate should be arranged for the bused child to be able to have a play date at their home. I have witnessed this at every school I have ever stepped in. (Of course I am referring to grade school ages where pay dates are still arranged). It is not right for kids that are bused in to not have the same opportunity to share their world.

Foster Creativity:

Kids must create and have the opportunity to express themselves. Art classes are a must. Regardless of the grade.

Learning Styles:

Understand that all kids (like adults) learn differently. Some are visual learners some are not. We cannot put all kids in the same box and apply the cookie cutter. It does not work nor apply to all.  In anything in life.

Foster Individual Thinking:

Encourage children to have their own opinions on worldviews to create their own perception and honor and respect it.

Emotional Support: 

Mental and emotional support is crucial not only for adults. These kids all over the world must be supported daily especially coming from this huge experience that they have lived through.

Food/Snacks:

Offer fresh food, snacks, lunches, and no more processed foods filled with GMO’s. Help them think, focus, feel good and stay attentive and help avoid brain fog. Why are we not waiting to provide healthy meals to schools and kids and stay stuck in the ’50s?  How do we say we teach health and nutrition, but not provide it?

Money courses:

Learn how to budget and how to save, spend and use money. Why is this not implemented? These kids today are so savvy. Very smart. They are about to not see the value of a dollar and they are soon about to not be able to touch a dollar. Coins barely go through the hands of children nowadays. The world is almost all digital.

This is part of my dream school. I could go on and on like how all mold would be removed, clean air supplied, etc… Ok, thank you for sharing this moment with me. Wait, before we go, tell me, what is your dream school for the kids of the future?

Have a great, safe and healthy weekend.  And remember-

Much love and gratitude,

Certified Holistic Health Coach

Certified in Gut Health

Author of The Thriving Child, Shut Up and Cook!

 

Erica Reid, Founder of nécessité
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