Wednesday, September 02, 2009


Today we went to visit Orchard House and The Wayside. It was a pilgrimage of sorts. I wanted to walk in the footsteps of historical figures who have most directly influenced my life. The first time I read Little Men I knew it spoke to me on a level I couldn't quite explain at age 8. I subsequently read anything I could get my hands on from dear old Louisa May. Those readings led to Thoreau, Emerson, Hawthorne, Elizabeth Peabody, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Louisa's father Bronson. Bronson's ideas of education included following the child, including children in real, substantive conversation, independent work, teaching by example, encouraging curiosity--ideas that fell into my mind in the form of as story and have come out as foundational to my beliefs about children and my beliefs about education. The aforementioned thinkers envisioned high-quality, Socratically conducted, universally available PUBLIC education. Public schools were meant to be social equalizers, a stepping stone to a better more humane society. Thank goodness there are still people who become teachers for those reasons. In my opinion, there is so much in our socio-cultural mileu that needs to change we have to prioritize. We have chosen to step out of the current mainstream when in comes to food, jobs and education. Sometimes all we can do is, to quote Gandhi, "be the change we wish to see in the world." Sometimes we have to take on an institution head-on and jump and yell.

Today I was re-inspired about the nature of humanity, charity and the example of community set by this group of great thinkers. We walked in their footsteps, Evie bouncing with excitement at seeing what she has read about, me with tears in my eyes at how amazing these words and lives and words and ideas were, Scott in awe of learning what has made such a mark on me. A FABULOUS day.

Evie emulating Louisa playing a part.

A day of learning in the Alcott family.

Some of of Bronson's maxims of education.

1 comment:

Eluciq said...

you guys do the most 'funnest' things! it must have been so exciting to go back in time! love the photo of made me smile ;) enjoy your time back east! hugs!