I recently watched a video on TED.com.

I could waste a tremendous amount of my nonexistent free time on that website.

But, it got me thinking … which sometimes then has me blogging …  so here goes …

My second child is finishing her final year in high school.

My fourth child is finishing her first year of school, Kindergarten.

And my fifth child is just 2 months into this whole learning thing.  …  Which right  now sometimes centers on – What was that “hand” thing that just passed my field of vision?  And where did it go?!

I, of course, have my own learning in school experiences.

And I have experienced the world of education as a parent for *cough cough* 15 years now.  (weeping softly so as not to create new wrinkles )

With my children, we have ventured through education through private schools, public schools, special education program for Gifted children, and home school.

Through all of this I have learned so much.  And with all I have learned I still don’t have all the answers.  But, here’s what I’ve gleaned … so far.

We (my children, and I along with them) have at times been blessed with what makes for a fantastic education in a “traditional” school setting.

1. An incredible teacher.  One who has a passion for teaching.  (It really does appear to me to be a calling, not just a career, for them.)

2. An administration and staff that supports the teacher … and students.

That combination is golden!  For the teacher (as it appears to me). For the student.  (And for the parent.)  That combination appears to lend itself to success and opportunity to celebrate.  Celebrate the student, the teacher, the learning process and results.  …  And celebrating is fun!

I have also seen wonderful, amazing teachers who have stolen our hearts and our deep admiration and respect … suffer.  I’ve watched, and listened as we talk.  That passion for teaching that isn’t enough to carry them through another year.  A great deal of it is because there isn’t that second part of the equation.  The support from administration and staff.  And each time, I find myself saddened for an untold number of students whose lives and futures will not be affected and blessed by a year with this teacher.  Now, I look back over the *cough cough … choke* years and realize what a terribly high number of teachers I have known that are lost to our future students.  Teachers who would have kept on teaching.  Wanted to keep on teaching.  But, just couldn’t.

I have also learned more in the few short years of home-schooling than in all the *cough cough … ack!* years of parenting school-aged children.  Home schooling was a real eye-opening experience for me.  I learned – from myself, that I hardly knew a thing about homeschooling and – from others, the opinions and preconceived notions run the gamut to places far and wide that I had no idea existed (Wow!!).  All told, home schooling was a wonderful experience.  …  And I would absolutely love to do it again.

The school system where I live is a real hotbed of conversation right now.  It’s on the minds and lips of everyone I know in this town.  I just noticed it on Facebook this weekend.  And I had just finished reading a lengthy and informative article in the paper on the subject.  It’s pretty heated.

So, that’s why this talk on schools on TED.com caught my attention  …  and resulted in this post.