My Very First Post Revisited #MyFirstPostRevisited

 

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Here is a nice little blogging challenge!

Lisa A  from “Life of an El Paso Woman” hit me with this “Very first post revisited” tag!

Okay, you should know that I love Ms. Lisa to pieces!  She’s been a great supporter of my blog for quite some time and I value our blogging sisterhood.

Thanks pretty girl!

If you don’t know Lisa, you SHOULD!  Go check her out!  Tell her Lady G sent you 🙂

Anywhats, this challenge was started by fellow blogger Sarah Brentyn.

Thank you Ms. Sarah!

So…my first blog post was/is entitled “Why I chose Montessori.”

I posted it on January 7, 2016.

Imagine that, these are the very first words that Lady G scribed on the ethers of the interwebs!

WordPress is a serious thing 🙂

YAAASSS!

And now for the rules:

  • No cheating. (It must be your first post. Not your second post, not one you love…first post only.)
  • Link back to the person who tagged you (thank them if you feel like it or, if not, curse them with a plague of ladybugs).

Other rules:

  • Cut and paste your old post into a new post or reblog your own bad self.
    • (Either way is fine but NO editing.)
  • Put the hashtag #MyFirstPostRevisited in your title.
  • Tag…um…tentwotwelve five (5) other bloggers to challenge.
  • Notify your tags in the comment section of their blog (don’t just hope they notice a pingback somewhere in their spam).
  • Feel free to cut and paste the badge to use in your post.
  • Include “the rules” in your post.

 

I nominate ANY of my readers who would like to participate.  Just follow the rules–even though I didn’t.

Drum roll PLEEEEZ!!!!

And now……

My VERY first post–revisited!

Why I chose Montessori

In the late 1990’s, I was a graduate student and single mother of a preschool aged son.  Like most mothers, I promised myself that I would do all that I could to provide my child with a lifestyle where he felt loved, encouraged and equipped to reach his highest potentials. In order to keep this promise, I decided that I had to make his education a top priority.  Don’t get me wrong, I know that most mothers count their children’s education as a major concern.  However, as a black mother, I also knew that the stakes were extremely high for black children; and even more so for black boys.  During my graduate studies, I couldn’t help noticing a couple of research studies that seemed to indicate that young black boys were often inappropriately placed in special education courses or misdiagnosed with any number of behavioral conditions.  In my mind, this did not bode well for my son’s wellbeing; not to mention his educational outlook. Hence, this was an urgent matter.

Nevertheless, with my son’s 4th birthday approaching, I began researching local learning centers in hopes of finding a good preschool program. I spent several weeks observing primary classes at various schools.  Suffice it to say I was not impressed by what I had observed.  In fact, I was completely turned off during one specific school visit when a preschool teacher told me that “kids just wanna learn their numbers, colors and letters.” To make matters worse, she went on to say that most kids are simply not interested in learning much more than the basics.  Needless to say, my eyes completely glossed over and I politely, yet abruptly, ended that conversation.  After taking immediate leave of that insanity and regaining my composure, it occurred to me that most of the schools that I had visited seemed to share the belief that younger children should spend time playing, rather than engaging in robust learning activities. To be honest, at that point, I was beginning to feel a bit dejected.  I worried that I might not find the educational setting that I had hoped for.  I wondered what to do about my son who, at age 3, had already met the “numbers, colors, letters” milestone and was, by this time, reading, adding and creating rather sophisticated Lego superheroes to boot. Was I supposed to allow my child to settle for a subpar early learning experience? Were my expectations too high?

After spending a few weeks feverishly seeking but not finding, I ran into a former co-worker and friend whom I had not seen in quite some time.  Naturally, we began to play “catch up” and I mentioned that my son would soon be starting school.  I also mentioned my dissatisfaction with the schools that I had visited thus far.  After patiently listening to my gripe fest, my friend encouraged me to check into the local Montessori school where her daughter was in attendance.  Montessori? What? Do black people even go to Montessori schools? My curiosity was immediately peaked!  I asked and she answered about a hundred rapid fire questions about the educational philosophy as well as the social and learning environment. At the end of the conversation, she assured me that the school strongly encouraged diversity and that we would feel very welcome.

The next day, I contacted the school and within a few days my son was scheduled to attend a class on a trial basis; I was invited to observe. After the observation, I was brimming with excitement!  I was intrigued by the practical, hands-on learning techniques.  I also loved the fact that the students were encouraged to think independently, work cooperatively, and to respect each other as well as their larger environment.  I also liked the practical nature of the learning activities.  I was thrilled to see 3, 4 and 5 year olds happily and successfully engaging in activities like identifying parts of the human anatomy and locating world continents!  But, above all else, I loved the fact that my son was genuinely happy with the Montessori experience.  After we left the school that day he told me that he couldn’t wait to go back.

This Montessori school seemed to be the answer!  So what about cost?  Naturally, I had to seriously contemplate the price tag.  Granted, this was a private school, but after doing the math, I determined that the tuition was not much more than the cost of a “good” local daycare.  And with that, I began the application process.  Within a month he was enrolled in primary class and ultimately completed each grade level though grade 7.  It is important to note that at that time, our local Montessori schools did not extend beyond grade 8. As a result, my son ended up graduating from a traditional college preparatory high school.

All in all, I cannot stress how happy I am with our Montessori experience! In later years, I enrolled my daughter in the same Montessori school that my son attended.  She is currently a 4th year student in upper elementary. I love to tell people that I am the proud mother of two “Montessorians” and to answer my previous question; yes, black people do go to Montessori schools!

Today, I am proud to report that my son is doing well and is a Biology Major at Emory University.

I would love to hear your thoughts on education in general and Montessori or other alternative education philosophies in specific.

 

39 thoughts on “My Very First Post Revisited #MyFirstPostRevisited

  1. Hmm – wow, good first post. I can see how your blogging voice has changed a bit (not better, not worse, just different). You seem more … I don’t know … relaxed now. The last post I read of yours, you used the word “anywhats” … okay, that’s not even a REAL WORD, Lady G lol. But here, in this post, you are soliciting “other alternative education philosophies” lmao.

    I like the points you made about black boys having higher rates of being put in special education. If black kids are not being put in special ed, they are being suspended at higher rates, or sent off to underfunded schools, smh.

    This is a great little challenge =D

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YAAASSS!
      I allowed my natural speaking voice to shine though some. I often tease that Lady G is much more feisty and spicy with her wording than Gwin. So “anywhats” is more Lady G than Gwin.
      You and I have chatted about ‘voice’ before.
      As you noted, I started out using a fairly formal tone then I realized if I wanted to keep it up I would have to loosen up. I got tired of writing essays every day 😂
      I appreciate the fact that you noticed 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post letting us into your life. I love seeing parents advocate for their children. Some of your experiences with schools pushing our boys into special ed were my fears which was why I looked into a great Catholic school before doing French Immersion.

    Like

  3. Awesome first post. Great decision, Mommy! So happy it worked out. As a single mother for my older two I always had to “fight” for them in the public school system. At 25, I had to make decisions in regards to them passing on to first grade and this is a direct code: “He will have to remain in kindergarten because his hands are too small.It will affect him by 3rd grade.His motor skills are behind.” His teacher was no older than me, White and female. My mother’s statement to me: “Go down there before I have to. If I have to he will not be going there anymore.” Blatant racism. He absolutely ad no issues, no learning disability. He was a tiny child. I was a small child and I was never held back. I didn’t have to show myself. My response: “He can write his name? He knows his colors? He follows directions? This is totally my decision?” Young teacher: “Yes.” Me: “Pass him to the first grade.” …..what the teacher didn’t know was that my oldest walked at 9 months, never crawled; was putting blocks into the correct shapes at 9 months; off the bottle at 9 months; potty trained at 1. (I just thought he was growing too fast.) He was tested as a gifted student by the 5th grade (scored 100s on everything) and entered into the gifted program under the wings of his 3rd grade teacher (she watched over him) and another Black male teacher by the time he was 12. Pish posh! We have to fight and look out for our male children…its a systematic mandate of destruction and detriment. By the grace of God he graduate from Wake Forest University. Awesome guy!!! My younger two are intelligent as well and in programs…I am a Momma Bear because I have to be. #Theymatter #WeMatter #BlackLivesMatter

    Thanks for sharing!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You already know how I feel about it! LOL!
      But I just had to acknowledge what a marvelous job you have done as a mother. Wake Forest ain’t nobody’s joke so kudos to you and him.
      Michelle, the reason this response is so important to me is because we are constantly bombarded by images of our young black men at their worse–you and I both know that there are so many extenuating circumstances as to how they got there but that’s a post for another day. Anyway, bearing that in mind, it is of critical importance to me to see more stories about those young black men who have excelled- like your son, my son, my cousin Ron’s sons and the sons of so many other black parents who will read this.
      We both can agree that it takes a strong mother (and father…where possible) along with other family and natural supports to invest love, encouragement and dollars into that child so that he can grow into his highest potential.
      Much respect from me to you 💞

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are so right. I love my son so much and very proud of him. He is a character. I’ll do my best to write about him more…he pushed me to blog, to write and when I can’t write to write. You do the same for your male loves.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. A wonderful first post! And I love that you chose a Montessori school! That’s what I wanted for AJ but the cost was too high. Actually, I wish I could home school him as I hate public schools, but that’s not happening either. 😦
    Anyway, super great post!! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I cringed a bit on here because I meant to use the word piqued but I typed peaked! LOL!!!
      But the rules said no editing.
      Not to mention the fact that so much has updated since that post but oh well…..

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Haha I saw that! I ALSO goofed with “there WAS not nearly as many day cares…” Instead of “were.” And I couldn’t edit it cuz there’s no way for us to edit comments. Er, is there??

        Liked by 1 person

      2. hehe oh well is right! Doing things on a whim without revising revising revising is rare, even in the realer world of social media that is blogging. I appreciate this post and at the idea behind it. Very cool. And I learned a lil something about daycare and Montessori schools 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Wonderful post!! How lucky – and diligent – you were in your search for the perfect school for your son! Now let me share with you my own not-so-lucky-at-first experience finding day care for my son Jeremy. I waited to go back to school myself until I was 30, at which point Jeremy was 3. The idea was, he had to be able to talk, in order to tell me if there was anything nasty going on in the school that I should know about! This was in 1976.

    Now back then, there were not nearly as many day cares as there are now. So my choices were limited. One place I checked out was not far, but all French-speaking. I feared for Jeremy, not understanding what the hell was going on. In retrospect, that was maybe faulty thinking, it was a ‘good’ day care centre at the YMCA… but, well, I passed. The second place I found seemed fine. So I started him there, just before I started classes myself. Not long afterward, about a week later, I went earlier than usual to pick him up. As I approached the front door I heard yelling. A male voice. (The assistant worker was a guy.) My heartbeat quickened. That voice was angry! I wrenched open the door to see all the little kiddies seated at small tables, and the young guy was standing beside them, yelling at some of them to be quiet – or whatever – I don’t really recall what their terrible infraction was!! The point is he was being a screaming idiot! I marched in, took Jeremy by the hand, gave the bad guy a killer look and said, as loudly and sternly as I could manage, “You don’t yell at little kids!!!” I wheeled around and left with Jeremy in tow. At home, I phoned the owner and told her what had happened. She was soooo apologetic, especially when I said we would never be back. What I should also have done was report the incident to social services. But I wasn’t yet that assertive or knowledgeable. I’m mad at myself now that I didn’t.

    After that, I found a good place for him – but it unfortunately closed not too long afterward since the person running it had major family issues. But after *that* – I found the best place of all!! It was partly run by the government and partly by a school for the handicapped. It was an ‘integrated’ school: half fully-functioning kids and half handicapped. I loved it at first sight – it was fabulous for him, he absolutely loved it too, made little friends, learned lots of stuff etc. The school even incorporated early-care college students doing their internships, closely supervised. The staff-to-kid ratio on the whole was excellent.

    Looking back on it, I’m sure this was where my son learned to be so unprejudiced and accepting in his leanings towards people who are “different” in some way. If there was a kid there who couldn’t walk but just crawled, who also wore a helmet so he wouldn’t hurt his head if he fell, Jeremy just referred to him as a “baby.” Not in any denigrating way, I hasten to add. Just that, “he can’t walk, ergo, he’s a baby.” In junior college when Jeremy was 18 and 19, his roommate was a native Indian fellow; in college his roommate was from Haiti. His first girlfriend was Lebanese. (We’re non-practising Jews.) Jeremy was a wannabe hip-hop/rap fiend from the time he was 8 – break-dancing on the kitchen floor! LOL! He proudly wore his NWA t-shirt and cap! I can still see him in my mind’s eye, curled up like a ball, spinning around on his back on our shiny kitchen floor! I was sure he’d wind up doing radio for some hip-hop radio station somewhere.

    Well: he’s been a film editor since 1993. The last reality show (his specialty now that he lives in NYC) he worked on was “First Family of Hip Hop.” Need I say more? 😀

    Ah, memories. Thanks for letting me ramble, G!! xox

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow that’s amazing!
      Ellie, you did a wonderful job with your children. You have every right to be so proud.
      I think I’ve seen the ads for that show that your son works on.
      If I’m not mistaken it’s about The Robinson Family of Sylvia Robinson fame! Very impressive.
      I am a huge fan of R&B music and very early rap but by time NWA rolled around I was like OH HELL NO!
      That said, I did appreciate the value in rappers expressing what was happening in the hood. But I think it got out of hand, hence my statement of Hell to the no!
      I’ve got to get over to your spot! I know you have something HILARIOUS cooking.

      Liked by 1 person

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