House hunting is School hunting

school, generations removed
Image by McMorr via Flickr

This is really my post from yesterday. I was just too tired from the search to post it.

My wife and I were looking at homes yesterday, looking for THE home that we want to raise our children in. We had gone out with our Real Estate Agent before, but this time we decided to have some of our friends babysit our two children before we embarked on a whirlwind tour of Denver Houses. Here are some of the houses that we have considered (and at the bottom is how we found them). I can’t believe how many houses you can see without having to get two kids in and out of the van each time and then chasing your two year old up and down the stairs multiple times.

This time was a little different in other ways too. The first time that we went out, we had low expectations for what was out there and we were blown away by some of the home that have been “sitting” on the market. This time, however, we had high expectations, and they were not even close to being met.

What we want out of our home is a true sense of community. We have known this for quite some time, but we realized on this trip that our yearning for community is not based upon the number of houses, the setup of the blocks, or the amenities around the houses. The community we are looking for is authentic, a community with a common purpose: the creation of environment for growing a family. This means that people care about the public schools, care to go outside and walk, care to talk to neighbors, and care to work for what they would like to see in their community (maintained houses, a lasting value and interest in the families that make up the community). While we found this understanding of community in a few places, mostly it was absent from our search.

To be totally honest, its absence made us feel ill about moving there.

This has to be what everyone goes through when they are picking a school and a community. They want a school that seems to have a common purpose, that cares enough about why the kids are there. They want a school where kids choose to go there. Where the good things written about their school don’t just come from the helicopter parents.

I’m sure that parents look at different things, but really they must be thinking about things like this at all times. If my kids are going to go somewhere for such a significant part of their lives, do I really want to take the chance of them not having the chance to connect their learning from even the earliest ages.

So, I thought that I would open it up to anyone who reads this blog. What are you looking for in an elementary school? How do you find community in the “real world”? Are there any schools in the Denver area that a School 2.0 proponent like me would be happy to send his children?

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