Megan Harris wrote:
> Hi Tina,
> Just to get you started. How did you first get involved in this type of
> schooling? What is your background and how did you get exposed to
> European teaching methods as well as American?
I think I got started when I was ten. I grew up in a very small town in
the Black Forest in West Germany. I loved learning and wanted to become
a veterinarian which meant attending Grammar School daily by train
in another town. It was quite revolutionary for a girl from my home
town and I experienced social discrimination both in my home town as
well as in the school town. During the first 5 years I learned that
teachers, grades, homework, tests, etc. are not all what they appear
to be and that the only thing that counted was what I learned and
knew. My parents supported me always. Learning was my choice. Or
as my wise mother always said: "You learn for nobody
else but just for yourself". I loved books, any subject, knowledge
and was fascinatedby it. I still am.
At the age of 17 I left my grammar school and was a foreign
exchange student for one year in Minnesota, USA, graduating from an
American High School.
After returning to Germany I completed Grammar school, taught AFS
students and after a second trip to the United States and Iceland I
two years in Heidelberg, West Germany.
In 1984 I came on a scholarship to San Diego where I met my
husband. From 1986 to 1988 we lived in Mexico where I taught
English and German. After returning to the USA I completed
my teaching credentials and worked in American High Schools.
Throughout all the years, in all the countries, I learned the
difference between imposed learning and real learning. Real
learning had a purpose and came from the heart.
As in the SVS model "learning is integrated into life", makes
all the difference, no matter what country or age.
I had been able to protect my love for learning, but what about
my son? (He is now 9)
I was working as a High School teacher and always homeschooled him
during the summer, exploring knowledge. The daycare he attended
allowed us to not put him into a first grade until he was almost seven.
We researched all private schools here in San Diego and the only
school that would have been acceptable to me was the Waldorf School,
however it was to far away. My son spend some trial days in some
schools and said "No way". The kind of learning he experienced with
me at home was an enjoyment that he did not observe in some other
schools. Luckily my son's daycare offered a "first grade", a quite
playful one and my son enjoyed it. I didn't care for the academic
standard but my son's happiness and love "for doing things" was
more important. The first grade was however the last one offered
at the daycare.
Simultaneously many things happened at my High School during my
third year. I was an idealistic, innovative, optimistic teacher the
first year. The second year it slowly subsided. The third year I
could see that I would have to give up any of my values if I
would stay there. Without me actually noticing it I had read,
talked to, and researched about Alternative Schools and
homeschooling ever since I started teaching my son at home.
One of the most important conversations I had over a period
of three years was a minister that has a homeschooling
organization here. I discussed with him my idea of opening
up my home as a school to other students. His, and some other
people's support followed my along the way.
My search for a "school building" always led me back from
commercial areas to our home which is surrounded by ponds, garden, etc.
After months of paper work, despair, courage, and nerves I obtained
a permit by the city which allows me to teach up to 6 students in my
home. ...The beginning of more courage....
to be continued
What is your vision for
> the future (you mentioned a farm)?
> On a personal note, I'm a tentative education major who finds schools
> such as yours uplifting. What would you suggest a student like myself
> ti strive for if she eventually wishes to teach at a school such as
> yours? What concentration, what focus etc.?