Magazine article Montessori Life

Educating Families: One Man's Perspective

Magazine article Montessori Life

Educating Families: One Man's Perspective

Article excerpt

As the new Families Section representative to the AMS Board, I am writing my first column for Montessori Life, and I want to start by introducing myself. I am a finance professor at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. My wife and I have lived in Richmond since 1989 and have two boys, ages 12 and 13, who are rising 7th- and 8th-graders, respectively. We have been involved with Montessori education for 10 years through our sons, who attend Richmond Montessori School (RMS). RMS is a private school in Richmond, with approximately 320 students, toddlers through 8th grade. I have served as a trustee for the board at RMS for 8 years and served as treasurer for 7 years.

I know finance and business, but I have no training in elementary/ secondary education. What can I possibly accomplish as the Families representative? This is a question I have pondered since agreeing to this appointment in March. I feel I must approach this position with the concern we all share: how to advance our children's education. We spend our lives educating our children at home, trying to make them knowledgeable, sensible, responsible people. We send them to school to get a formal education and at very good schools, like RMS, many of the lessons at school and home are the same. It took me very little time to realize that the people at RMS really know what they are doing. My sons were reading, writing, and ciphering at an age far younger than my wife and I, and they were also taught life and character lessons. Their curriculum was well designed and administered and, as a result, our children flourished.

Over the 10 years we have been at RMS, I have seen many parents intrude into their children's education. Often, they think they know better than the trained professionals at the school. Almost always, these situations have ended with unhappy parents and unhappy children. And in extreme cases, families have left RMS, only to become unhappy with a new school. The dilemma of the familyschool relationship is a universal one: as parents, we want to be involved, but we don't want to be intrusive to the point of being disruptive. I have found that having a steady dialogue with the children's teachers helps to maintain a balance. …

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