Monday, August 22, 2016

Confessions of a Public School Parent


I have a great many friends who home school their children. In fact, most of my friends have home schooled 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 home school 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. 

Why My Children are in Public School: Reason Number 1

Spiritual 

This is the NUMBER 1 and MOST IMPORTANT reason my husband and I have chosen to put our children in the school system. Every year, we pray about what is right for our children. Should they stay in the public school system, or should we home school them? Every year we have felt that they need to be in public school. This year was very hard because our son had such a rough year last year with the students in his class. It was a great balance for him to have such a fantastic teacher. Our daughter had an incredible year last year, but we also feel she could progress more quickly at home. We decided we would pray about it for weeks and see how we felt at back-to-school night. As we went to the school with the children, everything felt right. Our daughter's classroom was happy, bright, and her teacher oozed with enthusiasm and love. She has the same teacher our son did in second grade and this teacher has been his favorite since (although he's had some great teachers). Our hearts felt light and right. When we went to the 5th grade hall I wasn't nervous (as I thought I'd be). His teacher seemed okay, nothing awfully special. But, as we left the school I felt light and happy. This is where he's supposed to be as well. All the praying and fasting that there would be appropriate boys in his class this year are going to be answered. 

I hear so many reasons for why parents homeschool their children. I rarely hear why other parents choose to put their children in public school. But, it is a choice. For us, it's an important choice that we don't take lightly. I'm sad to see my children leave me for hours every day when summer ends. But, I feel like they are also gaining the experiences they need for their own growth and development. Our daughter has had opportunities she wouldn't have at home, like helping a peer with their morning work. She also has a minor level of anxiety in large groups. Being in school gave her the opportunity to be in a large group in a classroom without the craziness of unexpected movements and noise. This has helped her learn to manage some of her anxiety. She's less fearful of groups and no longer hides in a quiet corner if she's at a birthday party with kids running all over. She still doesn't like the noise and craziness, but she is also not afraid of it anymore. Our son has been able to learn to speak up. He was incredibly shy as a young child and refused to talk to anyone other than family or close friends, until his kindergarten teacher helped him learn how to speak up with unfamiliar people. That was something we could not do because he was always surrounded by people we knew. We couldn't force him to talk to the checker at the grocery store to just say, "hi." But, his kindergarten teacher's gentle encouragement helped him start trusting his voice. 

There are certainly great reasons to home school, but there are drawbacks as well. There are great reasons to put children in the public school system, but there are also drawbacks. There is no perfect system for educating our children in a well rounded way. I am very grateful for the wonderful teachers my children have had in their schooling. I may still home school at some point if it ever feels right. But for now, I have a confession...............I am a public school parent!

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