Today Chris asked a question that has been out there awhile, but which I hadn’t really faced. He asked Harvey and I how we felt about Isabella’s years at Peregrine, and what we felt we/Isabella had gained.
It’s THE question.
Perspective: I mentioned that Harvey and I are product of the OLD school drill and kill method of teaching. Little was asked of us, but that we follow instruction. Certainly we weren’t prompted to ask many questions. Rigid instruction, conforming and obedience do not lend to knowing oneself or passion. We wanted more for Isabella as all parents do.
So we sent her to a progressive school, Peregrine, where questions are encouraged and explorations valued. Pedagogy is my least favorite word still, but we actively chose a model different for Isabella with which Harvey and I were not always comfortable. Tough for us to evaluate without bias, but Isabella is most certainly a Peregrine product.
I’ve been thinking what that looks like. But when and how do you take a measure of “happy” or “self-fulfilled”? Too heavy for me consider, but this is what is evident: she loves school, she loves learning. She loves her teachers and admires them greatly. There’s a reciprocity with her teachers and her interactions. She feels like she has agency in the world in which she can ask questions and express her opinions. She values the dialogue Chris and Carol guide around topics as diverse as identification of core human traits, for example: what parties participated in the writing of the Constitution, what is a catastrophe, why an artist speaks to us, how propaganda operates or what reduces our carbon foot print. After she reads a book, she wants to discuss it for Pete’s sake! She has so many ideas too.
But I appreciate that she has already had a truly rich education in a respectful and loving environment. I am grateful to the people of Peregrine for the wonderful potential and inspiration, maybe even fire in Isabella.