Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Confessions of a Public School Parent
I have a great many friends who homeschool their children. In fact, most of my friends have homeschooled their children in the last few years. My friends have given me an assorted variety of reasons for homeschooling, but there are a few common threads. I listen to these reasons and fully understand (even desire to homeschool my children for some of these same reasons). However, this post is to explain my reasons for putting my children in the public school system. There is so much on the internet about homeschooling and why people do it....I wanted a voice for those of us that choose the public school system. My husband and I have 6 basic reasons our children are in public school. This will be a series post, so stay tuned!
Why My Children are in Public School: Reason Number 6
In the school system, there are a lot of children who often make poor choices and/or have poor behavior. Then, there are children who regularly make good choice and have good behavior, but make poor choices regularly as well. Last, there are children who rarely exhibit poor behavior and make good choices often. Our children are not perfect. However, they generally have good behavior and make good choices, especially when they are at school.
As representatives of Jesus Christ, we encourage our children to make choices that reflect our beliefs. Our oldest son had a peer in 3rd grade who was often in trouble with his teacher. He was also not very nice to other children. My husband and I talked with our son and decided that maybe the boy was jealous he didn't have any friends and didn't know how to appropriately make friends. Our son befriended the boy. Over the course of the year, the little boy's behavior in class improved, as did his interactions with his peers. He did not become an incredibly great child in class. He still misbehaved and taught our son a few things we had to discuss. But, ultimately, we felt like our son had been a good example for this boy. Our son was also able to see the effect of his example on a peer.
I want my children to understand what it's like to be a good example for others and recognize bad examples. We talk about it at home and church, but I feel our children's experience with example is most noticeable in the school system. They can be an example to their siblings, but our children mostly get along and see only a limited number of behaviors that their siblings may emulate (whether good or bad). They also interact with many children at church who are all making an effort to exhibit similar examples. In the school system, my children have been able to see a wider variety of bad examples and choose not to follow those. They have seen a wider variety of good examples and learn from those. They also have been able to be a good example and see how they can affect those around them for good. The examples they set for their peers are also different every year as they have learned and grown. In the public school system our children see how a variety of people are examples, whether good or bad, in a variety of circumstances. We want our children to understand how they can learn from those around them and influence those around them. We feel this experience is more salient for our children when they are surrounded by a wider variety of ideas, a wider range of people from different backgrounds, thus a wider variety of examples to provide our children with a practical understanding of how to interact with and learn from others.