When Life Imitates Work
A Back To School essay by Raddish owners Samantha and Seth Barnes
Last year our daughter had a particularly discouraging year in our neighborhood public school. Among many things, we were disappointed in the sheer amount of homework, worksheets, testing, rote memorization, and the complete absence of contextual learning, differentiation, exploration, creativity....and (duh) fun! Of course this was disappointing as we’re fortunate to live in a good school district, and indeed if progress is measured on test scores alone our school system is on the way up. After many months of conversation and fact finding – with the school’s principal, district superintendent, and fellow parents and teachers, we’ve decided not to return to her school for the upcoming school year. This is an especially tough decision because it’s literally across the street! During this process, we’ve explored other options that included permitting into another district, private school, separating kids into two different schools/districts, and moving. After all these considerations we decided to enroll both our children in a public-charter homeschool hybrid program (say that three times fast!) within our school district.
We thought it would be helpful to share a little about our decision process, since the model is unique and relevant to what we do at Raddish. A quick look at the parent handbook showcases an immersive project-based curriculum and social-emotional approach to teaching the whole child. The biggest change of course, is that it involves a partial homeschool learning experience, something new to us as parents (insert nervous mom emoji)!!
Our kids will be at school for two full days and most Wednesdays for enrichment classes. This means that two days we’ll be homeschooling them. Yup – a good case of life imitating work! While the majority of Raddish subscribers don’t homeschool, that group is by far our biggest cohort, always providing us with excellent feedback and finding new and exciting ways to use the product. Homeschool families are our power users! We’re still figuring out all the logistics and moving pieces to our situation but we’re fortunate to have the help and support of family and friends and a work/life situation that supports trying out this educational approach.
Of course this is first and foremost a decision we’re making in the best interests of our kids. But it’s doubtful we’d have been as open to homeschooling without the ~4 years of insight, knowledge, and relationships we’ve developed with homeschoolers online, in social media, and at conventions. When Samantha launched Raddish, we didn’t have any idea that we’d end developing curriculum for a homeschool audience...but like most great things in life, the circumstances presented themselves and here we are. While we’re not making this choice primarily as a vehicle to test and refine Raddish, a side benefit is that our experience will be valuable as we consider the future of “learning by doing” as an educational company. Not to mention that it gives us a great opportunity to “live what we sell,” do Raddish homeschool lessons on a weekly basis, and hopefully brings even more authenticity to our work.
As a family-focused education company, we feel it’s important to live our values when it comes to work-life balance….again we’re privileged to be in such a position. This doesn’t mean we’re tapping the brakes on hard work, but it does mean we’ll be working smart while adhering to a somewhat flexible schedule. We’ll continue to be a results oriented company that prioritizes passion, creativity, teamwork, and dependability without sacrificing what’s best for our family. These are values we also try to encourage and make available to all Raddish employees.
Kitchen Kid and Raddish grew out of Samantha’s experience as a middle-school teacher, her purest calling, so it will be really cool for her to step back into the “classroom!” And the statement “Raddish is a team of chefs and educators” will be doubly true. All of us truly believe in project-based, experiential learning...it’s what drives our work every day. A tenant of homeschooling is that parents are already always teaching their children, it’s part of their makeup, a natural function. So we look forward to bringing our new experiences from to Raddish and enabling parents to hopefully realize those same capabilities within themselves.
Here's to a fantastic school year... which actually starts too soon!!
Samantha and Seth