Families share what it's like to send your child to Clearwater
My 13-year- old daughter is singing and accompanying herself on the electric piano in her room. She will do this for hours with intense focus as she learns an existing song, or composes one of her own on piano or ukulele. When she is engrossed in one of her many artistic or musical endeavors, she is the hardest working person I know.
Eleven years ago, she began her journey with The Clearwater School. I have watched as she seemingly magically learned how to read and write without any formal teaching. She learned as the need arose. She wanted to read what her friends were reading, she needed to read and write to communicate, and she wanted to be in the school play. For Clearwater kids motivation is internally driven. No external motivation in the form of grades or competition is necessary when kids are conducting their own learning.
This year she chose to attend 8th grade in a public school. She wanted to explore what she thought she might be missing by not having classes, teachers or external rewards. I am not surprised that she wants to return to Clearwater. She is handling the classwork just fine and enjoys her curriculum (particularly a research paper she conducted on Harlem Renaissance sculptor, Augusta Savage), but she misses the freedom and the responsibility expected of her at Clearwater. She misses being treated like an equal by adults. She misses the maturity of Clearwater students—the freedom from bullying and unneeded drama she experiences in public school.
I now know many Clearwater graduates. They head into the greater community with an internalized respect for the responsibility inherent in freedom and a life-long working knowledge of how to be democratic citizens. I am confident that my daughter will choose the life she wants—not one that is expected of her or chosen for her – which should be the ultimate gift of education.