Monday, February 25, 2013

Fool for School

**Disclaimer!  If my homeschooling friends are reading this blog, keep in  mind that I am in no way slamming homeschooling.  I have met so many homeschooling families in recent years and have heard very good things about homeschooling.  My  purpose is to show the other side of the coin;  the benefits of public school as my family knows them.  Any offense taken is your own responsibility. 

In case you're new here, I'll let you in on a not-so-secret thing about me:  I love education.   Reading has been an integral part of my life from the day I learned how to do it, and since then I've been on a quest to gather as much knowledge about subjects that interest me as I possibly can.  My Netflix queue is full of documentaries, historical dramas, historical fiction, you get the idea.  If I can learn from it, it's there.
As I mentioned earlier, if you know me at all, you know this about me.  Couple this with my love of imparting that knowledge, especially to children, and you get the question that has been posed to me several times lately, "You love to teach. You've got three kids AND you're a Christian family.  Why aren't you homeschooling?"  After mulling over the reason why I keep getting asked about it, I decided to share the reasons I send my children to public school.
God hasn't called me to homeschool.
I know, I know.  Some folks see that as blasphemy right there.  But the truth is, some of us are called to be a part of the public school community, sending our children there daily and maybe even working there.  When you think of it from a believer's point of view, public schools are a mission field - not for outright proselytizing, but for living what you believe and demonstrating Christianity in action.  My children are getting a good, solid foundation for their faith through our church and through our home life, and they get the opportunity to "put their money where their mouths are", so to speak, by practicing what they've learned about how God says to treat others and deal with others in a very real way on a daily basis.
Our public elementary school is excellent.
We are blessed to live within walking distance of, in my opinion, the very best school in our county.  The quality of education at this school is terrific.  Should we run into any issues with behavior or academics, teachers and administration welcome me in for a discussion of possible solutions and how to make them happen.  The key to being happy with a public school is to be an involved parent.  The environment at our school is friendly and open to parents, encouraging them to be present as much as they wish. 
Additionally, our teachers REALLY know the topics for their grade level.  Given my love of research and learning, I could easily read up on each subject myself, but I am confident in the abilities of our instructors.  Having seen firsthand how kids internalize information differently depending upon who is teaching, I like the idea that they get to learn from various teachers, gathering information in various voices that emphasize things I might not, were I teaching them myself.
My kids are learning how to work with people who aren't like them.
The coolest thing about our public school experience has been watching my kids learn how to deal with different personalities, most of which they wouldn't be exposed to if they weren't in public school.  And I'm not talking hoodlums!  The public school system affords kids the opportunity to be friends with other kids from all sorts of different backgrounds - socioeconomic, ethnic, religious, educational, etc.  I want them to meet people who aren't like them, get to know them, and learn how to effectively work with them. 
And yes, this means they are going to run into people they don't like, or who don't like them.  Admittedly, I cringe when they come home with stories of how Mary Mean Girl made snide remarks about their choice of outfit, or how Jerry Jerk Boy said a rude word to them on the playground.  But mean girls and boys don't necessarily change when they become grown-ups.  Goodness knows I've met my fair share of mean girls who grew up to be mean mommies.  It's unpleasant to watch and to know your child is experiencing mean-ness, but it teaches them valuable lessons as well;  lessons about their own inner strength, their inability to change another person, acting on the teaching that we ought to love our enemies, and the general lesson that jerks are everywhere, but life goes on.
Finally, my kids are happy and thriving in public school!
As the saying goes, if it ain't broke, don't fix it!  My children are absolutely thriving at their public school, developing their hearts and minds at an excellent pace with very pleasing results.  There is absolutely no reason to switch things up on them when they are doing so well in an environment they love with educators they admire and respect.  Whatever educational path you choose, if those are your results, just keep doing what you're doing!



Starla said...

Nicely said, Krystol! Love it!

Brain said...

Thank you! :)

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