"Don't let schooling interfere with your education."~ Mark Twain ~
Only a few minutes into the hour long drive, the topic comes up again. I am not sure who started it or if it just materialized out of the blue but there it was the elephant that we can't seem to get rid of, the compromise that can't be made, the question with no one answer.
"So, you really don't think Bailey needs to go to kindergarten?" The words just tumble out before I even know the silence has been broken. In Japan, elementary school starts from first grade and kindergarten isn't compulsory.
"I think he will be happier where he is now," Hubs replies like the conversation is already over, our decision already made. Where Bailey is now is a combination day care and pre-school where he learns how to get along with others, plays games, does crafts and learn songs. Pretty much the same way I remember kindergarten, but for some reason I want more for him.
Skipping kindergarten just seems strange to me. Like tearing out the first chapter of a book. Starting from chapter two is just not the same. You need the foundation of chapter one to think through and process what is in the rest of the book. Kindergarten, to me, is chapter one.
I decided to try again, from a different angle.
"Think we should start saving for college?"
"They might decide not to go to college, but then again, I guess they could use the money for other things."
Who are you? I wanted to scream. Of course our children are going to college. Education creates opportunities. I want our children to have opportunity. I want our children to have an education.
He must have noticed the look on my face because his next words were gentler, softer. "I can understand why education is important to you, but so much of learning takes place outside of kindergarten or elementary school or junior high, high school or even college. I just don't want life to pass them by because they were too busy trying to get the best grades to get into the best schools."
Slowly, the words began to take shape. They had a meaning that became sharp and clear as it all came into focus. With a turn of the dial, all the beads of the kaleidoscope made a beautiful picture. A picture in which education created opportunity but opportunity also created education. I finally understood what he was trying to say. Schooling is only a part of education. I had considered the two words to be synonyms.
Of one thing I am sure, whether or not we decide to send Bailey to kindergarten opportunities will still exist, education will still exist. You can count on it.