I don’t home school.
I have many friends who do. I also have friends that have chosen unschooling, private schools, schools for the gifted, schools for the arts, religious schools and almost every other permutation imaginable.
Here’s the thing that drives me up a wall! Every single group feels that their way of schooling is IT! Any parent that chooses to educate their children differently is mislead at best and “out of God’s will” at the worst. They won’t necessarily say it to your face, but when they get in the room with other like-minded parents, whoa mama! You know it. You have probably done it. Heck, I’ve done it. I have heard it all, the public school bashing, the home school dissing, the private school ranting. Frankly, I’m tired of it.
I’ve heard all the negatives. This is just a sampling.
– Home schooled and unschooled kids are socially awkward. Yep! I’ve met a few that are, but I’ve also met many more who are well-rounded, well-spoken and socially gifted.
– Public school kids will be exposed to foul language, ungodly teachers and drugs. Yes! That may be true, but they will also learn (with their parent’s guidance) to respect those they disagree with and stand up for what they believe.
– Private school kids are cliquish – Yeah, they certainly can be. But, they can also be warm and expressive and benefit from the narrower focus of a private school or a Bible-based education.
Parenting is hard work and often just plain overwhelming. What is best for you, may not be best for me and my kids. I love the variety and the diversity of options available, but sometimes it’s really hard to know if you are making the right decision for each child and their unique talents, abilities and disabilities.
A few year’s back, we placed our son in a gifted program that turned out to be a terrible fit for him. While he was there, I met other parents who struggled with the same problems and concerns. We tried and tried to work with the teacher and the administration, but they were immovable, so…we returned our son back to his old school. Other parents in the program, who voiced the same concerns we did, chose to leave their children in a situation that clearly didn’t fit them, just so they could say their child was in a gifted program.
It is clear now, with his recent diagnosis of Asperger’s, why that school didn’t work, but we didn’t have all the information then and made the best decision we could at that time. Upon his return to his original school, he was warmly welcomed and, with a lot of give and take between us, the teachers and the administrators, he received the help he needed.
In my 27 years of parenting, I’ve dealt with private Christian schools, public schools, and GATE (gifted) schools. I have tried most of the schooling options out there. So, where are my children now? Our oldest graduated from a private Christian college after spending the majority of her years in public schools. Presently, our two youngest are also in public school, one heading into junior high and the other entering high school next year. This is what we feel is the best option for them at this time. My kids have had amazing teachers and some, well, not-so-amazing teachers. They have won awards and struggled in classes. They have made friends and lost friends. We have guided them through all the ups and downs of a public school education.
Like I said earlier, we have tried most of the options available, except for home schooling. I have many friends that do, but it’s just not a good fit for us. There are several reasons why I choose to send my children ‘into the fray’ of the public school system. You can judge me as a good mom, or a bad mom, I really don’t care. I didn’t just fall off the back of the turnip truck. I can handle critics.
Here are my top five reasons that I have not chosen to home school (please observe the tongue in my cheek!)
- I really don’t like my kids enough to be with them all day…no, really…I mean it…okay, just kidding. But, I do have to admit, when I wave goodbye at the door or at the curb, I breathe a sweet sigh.
- I have paid my tax dollars and I don’t want it to go to waste on somebody else’s kids.
- I love my children, and I truly want the best for them and frankly, I’m not always the best for them.
- The cast of characters that they meet, is great fodder for their budding careers as playwrights and novelists.
- I do not want my children to be smarter than I am. “If publik skool was gud enuf for me, it’s good enuf for them.”
Okay, those may not be the real reasons we send our kids to public school. The fact is, we have lived in school districts with some top-notch schools that our kids have been privileged to attend. We have been blessed to have teachers and administrators that have loved, taught and cared for our children with incredible attention and integrity. While I have battled illness, I have had adults rooting and advocating for my children. For that, I thank God.
So, I am laying down the gauntlet. and issuing a challenge to all parents. The next time you are tempted to criticize or scorn someone else and the choices they have made for their children, why not encourage them instead? Find someone who is not like-minded and share the things you have learned or are learning from your own unique experience. We will accomplish so much more with mutual encouragment and prayer than could ever be gained through criticism and disdain.
Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.