Why We Chose Public School

After thinking and praying and visiting our school, we chose to send our children to public school. I do not think it is the right choice for everyone. But for us in this time and place, God made it clear this is where our kids should be.

Here’s why:

Time and Energy

When my oldest started Kindergarten I had three younger kids and my husband was working a lot since we were still relatively new at church and we were about to begin a building project at church. I already had trouble keeping up with normal housework. Both Christian school and homeschooling would have required more time and energy than we had. I could have quit doing some things at church, but God made it clear I was to continue to do them.

why-we-chose-public-schoolThe Resources of a Public School

Public school has a lot of resources and professionals to help children who need it. Initially, we chose this because we suspected our oldest would need the gifted/enrichment program. But what we didn’t know at the time is that our daughter would need extra reading support. If she were not in school, I would not have caught her reading issues until later and I would have missed out on valuable time. Some Christian schools may offer great learning support, but I did not find that the ones in our area had as extensive a program as the public school does.

We want our children to be missional.

This the most important reason we want our kids in public school. Being in the public school gives them so many opportunities to share Christ with those who they may not otherwise meet. Nathaniel is now in 6th grade. One of his friends is an atheist. And this friend knows Nathaniel is a Christian. We will see as the years go on how the Lord uses their friendship to open his heart to the gospel. Molly, a first grader says, “If I weren’t in public school, I wouldn’t know anyone to tell about Jesus.” Of course, iffirst-day-of-school you are intentional, you can do this with your neighborhood and others you meet and there are some amazing parents out there who do that. But for us, this works both in having us meet people who need Christ and to give our children a chance to do the same on their own.

 

There are some draw backs to the public school.

Our particular school is weak in history and science. So we make that up at home with the things we do and watch and talk about and research and look up and what we check out at the library. And just because this is true of our school, doesn’t mean it’s true for yours. My friend in Texas has her kids in a public school that has science as a top priority even employing a teacher specifically for science at the elementary level.

And obviously since it’s public school, there is no Bible education. And although many teachers have been Christian, not all of them have been. Being faithful to attend church and Sunday school and talking about Scripture at home has given our children a firm foundation for a Biblical worldview.

Regardless of where we send our kids to school, ultimately, it’s up to the parents to make sure our children’s education is complete.

What do you do for your child’s schooling? What made you decide to educate your kids that way?

 

7 Steps for Picking the Right School for Your Kid

This week is National School Choice Week.

We are blessed in America to have the choice of where to send our kids to school. But it’s not an easy choice. How much did your school setting impact you as a child? Immensely.

How can you make this overwhelming decision?

Here are 7 steps for choosing your child’s school:

#1  The first thing to do is pray! Pray constantly as you investigate your options that the Lord will make it clear to you what is best for each one of your kids.

#2 Pick a good time for discussion. Let your husband know ahead of time: “I’ve been thinking about what to do for our kid’s schooling. Can we talk about it tomorrow night after the kids are in bed?” Give him a chance to think and pray about it instead of just springing all your fabulous ideas and questions on him. If your child is in high school, let them in on the discussion, too.

#3 Visit each school option yourself. It’s okay to ask around for your friends’ opinions of different schools. But nothing will be as telling as you going to visit the actual classroom to meet the actual teachers and principals and secretaries. Our media culture makes us panicky when we hear about something terrible happening in a school in another state or in another city. When we hear the news, we imagine the situation also applies to our local school. But schools are not like McDonalds. They are not the same in every location. They vary greatly depending on the district leadership, community, parent involvement, and principal. Homeschooling also comes in many varieties. If you are thinking of homeschooling, ask a homeschooling friend if you can come over for a day to see how she does it. Leave your kids at home so that you can quietly observe to see what an actual day looks like. Ask her to show you the paperwork she needs to turn in to the state. If you didn’t love her style, find another homeschooling friend to observe.

#4 What should you look for when you visit?

  • When you call to schedule the visit, are the people kind? Are they respectful to you?
  • When you visit the school, how is the security? Do you have to show ID? Are the doors locked?
  • When you walk in the hallways is there artwork on the walls? Then you know the kids aren’t just doing worksheets all day.
  • How are the desks set up? Are they all lined up in rows facing the front? Then they probably expect a lot of independent work. Are the desks in little clusters? That may indicate they allow the children to work together. They understand children are social and they harness that energy for their learning rather than trying to squash it.
  • For younger elementary, do you see boxes of manipulatives in the classroom? Or do you see centers set up around the room? Then there is hands-on learning that allow children to use all their senses.
  • Ask if they have recess time. How often? What do they do when there is bad weather?
  • Ask about the curriculum they use. See if you can flip the textbooks, or write down the name and search online to check out the content they will be learning.

7-steps-for-picking-the-right-school-for-your-kid

#5 Think about how the school will encourage good character or godly character. In one of my children’s public school classrooms, the class rule poster hanging in the classroom was “do to others as you would have them do to you.” Sound familiar? The Golden Rule! The teacher was using Scripture as the guiding rule for her class just without the Bible reference. There are also school wide behavior programs that promote respect, responsibility, kindness, trying your best. All these are part of Godly character. At the public school, they do not reference the Bible, but I connect this at home. “Oh, they are talking about kindness! God says to be kind in Ephesians 4:32!” Look for this in Christian schools, too. Memorizing Bible verses is not the same thing as developing godly character. Look for how they are applying God’s principles for daily classroom life.

#6 Ask about enrichment or special education services. If your child were to need special help or extra challenge, is the school equipped to help?

#7 If after much discussion and prayer, you and your husband disagree on what to do, he wins. We are called to submit to our husbands. That’s the way God has structured our families. If you believe that he is wrong, God will take care of it. He will be responsible before God for the decision. You are responsible before God to obey your husband.

After thinking and praying and visiting our school, we chose to send our children to public school. If you want to know why, I explain it here. I do not think public school is the right choice for everyone. But for us in this time and place, God made it clear this is where our kids should be.

How do you school your kids? How did you decide that was right for you?