*This is a rather hot-topic so please know that I'm writing from a humble, honest place and wish to start an interesting, respectful dialogue, NOT a divisive, judgmental comment war.*
I'm going to be very honest in this post. I am starting to have anxiety over how we're going to educate our children. I think about it every day. It's not keeping me up at night or giving me panic attacks but it definitely pops in and out of my mind every day and I just have such an unsettled feeling about it. Yes I know Parks is only two (turning 3 in November) but the years pass so quickly and default parenting is not my style. I want to be fully informed and make wise, intentional decisions for each of my children. What follows are my thoughts thus far on education and our options.
My opinions on education are largely based on my personal experience. I never attended pre-school or kindergarten. My mother taught us everything we needed to know at home. She was a fantastic, hands-on mother and homeschooled us off and on through elementary school. I was homeschooled first, third and fourth grade and attended a private, Christian school second and fifth grade. After fifth grade, I completed the rest of my schooling at private schools. The middle school I went to was secular and the high school I went to was a Christian school. I never had a public school experience. I know my background shapes the way I feel about education and I'll put that out there right from the start. I loved being homeschooled and I loved that my parents decided each year what was best for me and our family. That is something I will definitely take with me and use in our family. Decisions on education can change every year based on what's best for the child and the family.
The idea that at age 5 kids go off to the local public school kindergarten program and are gone for 8 hours a day until age 18 has never been something that I envisioned my children doing. At this point, I am not at peace with sending my very young children into someone else's care that will not be reinforcing the ideals, values and faith that my children learn at home. In fact, some things they learn from the classroom will be in direct opposition to what we want our children to learn.
It is not my desire or intention to shelter my children from the world indefinitely. But, while they are young and impressionable I want to shape their worldview and fill their minds and hearts with Jesus so that when they are sent out into the "world" they will be set up for success as best as we are able to do so. I worry about all the trash kids are exposed to in school, both public and private. I'd rather not have my child exposed to inappropriate language and subjects when they should still be innocent children. I do not buy "socialization arguments" that children need to be in school to learn social behavior. Who do we really want our kids to learn social skills from? Their ill-mannered peers or from respectful adults who teach them how to properly interact with people? Let's be honest about what most kids pick up from school: name calling, bullying, exclusiveness and coarse talk. No thanks. My general philosophy is pour into them when they are young, be selective about their environment, train them up in the way they should go and then when they reach middle school and high school open up and let them out, at least in terms of an educational environment.
So, my options are public school, private school and homeschooling. Honestly, I think sending my children to a private, Christian elementary school would be my first choice at this point. But who knows if we will be able to afford it? There's a darn good chance we won't be able to. Public school and homeschooling scare me almost equally. However, at this point, I just don't think I could send Parks to public school with my convictions on education. If I'm honest with myself I think homeschool could be the best situation for my children, because who better to educate them than me? Who loves them more than me? Who understands them and knows their strengths and weaknesses and interests more than me? Who will sacrifice for their well-being more than me? No one. Ughhh....I really don't know if I'm up for it. It scares the dickens out of me. But I know that if I truly feel God is calling me to homeschool He will sustain me.
So there you have it. A brief synopsis of my daily thoughts on education. I want to make thoughtful, wise decisions for my children. I want to be a good steward of the precious children God has blessed us with. I don't want to blindly march on with what everyone else does just because that's "what everyone does". We only have one shot with our kids. That being said, please, please, please do not think that I judge people who send their kids to public school. I do not! These are my personal feelings for my kids and I do not project them onto other people. Also, I respect public and private school teachers a tremendous amount. I have several good friends who are school teachers now in public schools. I just wanted to make sure that is clear before I get a bunch of comments about that. I probably won't though because no one comments anymore :( We'll see where God takes us. With His sense of humor I'll probably either be sending them to public school and taking a huge leap of faith or wearing a denim jumper and homeschooling my kids.
What are your thoughts on education? Do you question our society's conventional system? What choices have you made for your children?