One of the primary drivers of human behavior is fear, or lack of certainty. We parents are obviously no exception and unfortunately, when it comes to raising our children, fear can be a controlling (if not crippling) component of our decision-making process. In her book, The New Global Student, author and educator Maya Frost coins the term FEGO to describe the convergence of fear and ego that leads many of us well-meaning parents to fall unwittingly into the common traps of today’s hyper-competitive educational environment. How does one overcome this fear and find real, effective answers to raising and educating our children? I believe real information; especially honest, first-hand experiences offer one solution. It is with this in mind that I offer to you Confessions of a Sixth Year Montessori Dad!
My son Casey was in private Montessori schools for the entirety of his young academic career and in 2015, he left the proverbial nest to head off into a non-Montessori environment. While my wife and I held a firm conviction in the benefits of a Montessori based education, I must confess that my faith that Montessori was the right choice for my son wavered from time to time. Was it the right environment for him? Was he well prepared for what’s next? Did he learn what he needed to learn to be a happy, productive member of society? Had he become the self-directed, lifelong learner as we hoped?
Only time will tell the final answer to these important questions, but my happy conclusion is that my fear and ego driven doubts that Montessori could achieve these goals for my son have been misplaced. Having said that, making the decision to go against the grain was difficult. To invest in a private education was both a very personal and financial decision for our family. Committing to the widely recognized excellence of Montessori schools with AMI trained teachers, while theoretically simple was not always easy in practice.
As Casey’s sixth year graduation approached, I reflected on the genuine concerns that I had along the way and my journey, understanding gained, and outcomes that followed. As I share my stories as a Montessori dad I hope it will help you and your family manage your own fears and ultimately realize your hopes for your children’s education are closer than you think.