What was the one experience that completely changed your life? What happened? How did it change your life?
I’m sure that the expected answer to this would be somethings like “the day I met my husband” or “when I became a mom.” Don’t get me wrong, those were pretty life changing. It’s just that I have 5 kids and to say that 1 changed my life more than the other would be pretty messed up. My life wouldn’t have led me to Ant if it weren’t for an event way back in my life…
The day that the Montessori school I went to lost another teacher.
Yeah, that was the day that set me on the path to meeting Ant.
Okay, let me explain.
The public school system in California is crappy. Famously crappy. I mean, we’re this big state with tons of people (and therefore a ton of taxable income to go to schools), but the schools are terrible. And the teachers are burned out on horrible pay.
The one exception that I’ve found in the public school system was the public Montessori school I went to from kindergarten to the beginning of 4th grade. Looking back, I know that it was because the school was pretty much run by parental participation. Not the cute lip service parent help you get now (Oh, good for you, Mrs Smith. You brought cupcakes and and can supervise coloring). I mean serious parental help. Like, parents who helped write lesson plans because there was no way to know if the class would have a teacher the next year. Or parents who took it upon themselves to donate almost every book in the school library. That was how the school survived.
The sad thing was that teachers didn’t stay long. My teacher through K and 1st grade left after my 1st grade year. Same with my 2nd/3rd grade teacher. When I started 4th grade and the teacher announced that she would only be there a few months, it was the last straw for my mom. And that was the moment that changed my life.
My mom pulled me from the school and had me tested to enter a private Christian school. The results of that test were the first time I realized that I was smarter than other kids my age. Arriving at that school was the first time I ever felt judged. My mom affectionately says that being at that school taught me how to deal with idiots.
Traditional school (instead of Montessori) made me bored and forced my mom to unschool/homeschool me part time at home to keep me interested. That, in turn, made me a self starter when it came to learning. It taught me how to think instead of just memorize. I’d say that’s pretty life changing.
It also put me on the path to meeting Michelle McGoon. She was my best friend for over a decade and also introduced me to a girl named Erika. I called her Erka. Michelle was smart and gave me a link to the smart people world (though my experience at that school taught me to hide my intelligence) and Erka was…well, she was not. Because she was in a different educational circle, she was also in a different social circle. It opened up a whole new group of friends for me. Most of them never left Pinole, so it gave me friends to hang out with when I was in town from college.
Hanging out with those friends led me to a 7-11 parking lot. Don’t judge me; its a really small town. Anyway, sitting in front of 7-11 with my friends after work is what led me to get into an “argument” with a friend’s co-worker over which was a better Honda: a ’88 Civic or a ’88 Accord. I drove the Civic. Ant drove the Accord. The rest is my family soup.