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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Where's the support?

Homeschool vs Public School for Christian families.  

I can't even stand the debate and it makes me sick in my stomach. There are tons of networks for homeschooling families. But where is the support for those of us Christians going the public school route??  

I feel so alone and frustrated in this. Everyone around me is homeschooling, and whenever in conversation about it, I just feel like it's shoved in my face that homeschooling is the right way to do it, "but it's different for every family", "it's not right for everyone." yadda yadda. Yet everyone I know is choosing that.

I've been reading the book Going Public by David and Kelli Pritchard, and it's giving me great hope that we can do this well. Honestly, we have a great little school here. Eli is excelling. His confidence is growing and he's making friends with good kids. Being a good example to others. And putting his training into practice. He didn't use to be a social kid, but now he's coming out of his shell and gaining confidence and being a light to others and in his classroom. 

He's not gone ALL DAY, we still have plenty of time together at home and as a family where we can just be together and do more Bible teaching and whatnot.  It seems like a good balance right now. I have time with the Littles even doing some homework with Hannah, time to run errands and not tote everyone with me, time to get housework done, and still feel pretty fresh at the end of the day. And the kids have some time APART where they can grow individually.

So please, who else is out there that DOES public school?  Do you relate with any of my same feelings??


Kassandra said...

We are going the public school route. And I totally understand your feelings. The thing that makes me the most upset is when people tell me that Logan (and eventually Gavin) will not get the "spiritual support" necessary in public school like I'm somehow denying my boys a Christian education. I hate that argument b/c it is so a non issue. They have church and Sunday school and ME! I make sure that they are getting that "Christian Education"; we just do it at home! That doesn't mean our public school is any less good at what it does or that my children are missing out on something! I just don't understand why mothers insist on judging each other by the choices we make for our children b/c in the end I believe we are all making the choices that we believe are the best for everyone in our family!

Kathy said...

It's funny you mention this because I've never felt so alone in my choices in my whole life until we homeschooled. Around here it's just the opposite and literally every family we're friends with does public school. I regularly feel like my kids are missing out on ALL kinds of extra activities because they aren't in public school.

So I guess no matter what our choices in life it's possible to feel isolated or feel like we have to defend our choices. I feel like that is what you're doing, defending your choice and I have had to defend homeschooling from day one. I still encounter people pretty much every week who question why we do it, how we do it, how long will we do it and if we'll ever put our kids back in 'real' school.

I think a strong, family unit is the key to a child's success, no matter which way they are taught reading and math.

I would strongly recommend looking for a Moms in Touch group or if you don't have one, START one. The focus of the group is specifically to pray for our kids IN SCHOOL. I was part of it when H was in kindergarten and it was great. You would find like minded women who can support one another through prayer and be diligently praying for your kids, their teachers, etc.

Anyway, just my thoughts. =)

alisha said...

hey Sarah -
I'm starting to have the public school fears - Isaiah's kindergarten roundup is tomorrow and I am sooooo very nervous for the public schools. BUT I know he is not a kid made for home school - he is far too social, needs to be in a school setting for learning and focusing, etc. I have felt the pressures of homeschooling him too, but I know it isn't right for us. I've also considered the private schools available (there are 2 catholic schools in the area and I think the Lutheran school is starting kindergarten this year) but I don't think private schools are in our budget (I'm not sure the cost, but I'm sure it's more than the $170/mo we pay for private preschool haha). I am excited to read your post about how POSITIVE you've found the public school, I can only hope we have the same experience -- I'll keep you posted!!

Mindy said...

Thank you for this post! Every year {and I do mean EVERY.YEAR} I struggle with my decision to send my kids to public school or homeschool. I know that there is SOOO much I do in our church that if I homeschooled, I'm not so sure I could still do.
I am going to get this book asap and read it.
I would love to feel the support too. Even in the public school/christian school {that I can't afford}/ homeschool debate.....

The Cutes and Scoots Show said...

We too have opted for the public school route! So do not feel alone. I agree that there needs to be a balance of home and away. It keeps everyone refreshed in my opinion. Plus, in my opinion (as a prior educator myself) there comes a point in which a parent can no longer "teach" a child what they need to know because their knowledge and experience on that subject is limited or has been fading. THUS, isn't that why teachers even at a young age begin specializing in various subjects. So they DO Know it backwards, forwards and upside down. Interestingly enough we have a family member who homeschools and at this point YES the child is extremely smart, however 1. he is now teaching himself and basically memorizing and learning from books on his own. If anything to me it goes against the grain of wanting to spend more time as a family or training up your child because he spends quite a large amount of time "studying" and learning on his own. Sure they go on "field trips" and do things together and the parents provide learning opportunities for their child, but he's learning in a pretty secluded environment. 2. He has little to no social skills despite being a part of homeschool groups or other outside the home activities and church. He has never had to wait his turn because when homeschooling they have constant attention, not a class of 10,15, 20+. There is definitely something to be said about growing up in an environment such that life ultimately will toss you in - THE REAL WORLD!!

Sooo sure we've all questioned ourselves and what will be best for our children and our family, but be confident that God will provide the best learning environment for each individual family and not fault you for any of those choices.

I'm right here with ya "sistah!" :) School Bus and classrooms here we come!

mary s said...

Even though I am not technically a full-time mom yet, I am a public school teacher. I would be giving my chosen career a kick in the face if I didn't say that I believe that children benefit in so many ways from going to school.

Hang in there! Johnson is a great school and you should not feel at all guilty or alone in sending your little guy there.

Also---love the blog! How neat. I didn't know you were in to sewing, etc.! I loved to sew when I was younger and had time...would like to get back into it. =)

Servant Becca said...

Some of our decisions do leave us alone, struggling with support in the midst. Thanks for saying something... That is the beginning of finding others that value as you do -- with the same struggles. Stand strong and sure -- you and Kevin carefully examined options making a decision that you feel is right. You are doing what you feel is right for your family. God will give grace in the midst as you raise your children to love and serve Him...

The Fischer Family said...

I understand. With us our issue isn't as much homeschooling but why as Catholics we would choose to send our children to public school instead of private school. I wanted to homeschool for a long time but I do not have the disposition to homeschool my children, especially Brianna. We would nothing but butt heads all day and I don't want to spend my days fighting with my daughter. We sent her to private school for kindergarten but tuition was $275/mo and for 1st-8th grade it goes up to $420/mo. We just cannot afford that. They can get their religion from us as a family as well as their sunday school program (which my husband runs so we know it's pretty good! lol) I'm not worried about them missing out. Brianna is doing amazing in the public school and she loves going to school each day. As long as Eli is thriving and growing, I don't think you should worry about where he's going, public, private or homeschool.

bp said...

Yes I know how you feel, I can relate. It never has been a lot of people around us homeschooling (more to send to private school probably) I don't guess, but even reading blogs and such I get that same feeling you were talking about...like "it's your family's choice but I'm better than you b/c I homeschool my kids" (even if they don't say it).

Thanks for sharing the book title, I'll have to see if I can read that.

That is wonderful Eli is thriving in the school environment! It is such fun to see them grow, develop and learn.

Kathy said...

I just want to add ... even though we homeschool I am not self righteous about it. YES, I too have encountered MANY homeschoolers who ARE self righteous about it, but I am not.

I know that the Lord could change our plans at ANY time and He may call us to send our kids back to 'school' at any time. I do not judge or condemn anyone who chooses public school.

That being said, I do sometimes {either on my blog or on FB} talk about the fun benefits of homeschooling and why we like it so much. Unfortunately even sharing those things that are good and fun and exciting to me I am often cautious because I worry that others will THINK I'm being all in-your-face about it, even when I'm not.

I wish all of us as Christians would simply accept that the Lord leads us each in different ways - just like he leads us to parent differently, pursue different jobs, etc. And I wish we'd ALL be more accepting of each other no matter what our choices for schooling are. It's a shame to see people 'take sides' instead of accept with grace and love.

Mary said...

You know my kids are in public school! My 1st grader is thriving right now and there is nothing at public school that contradicts what I'm teaching at home. For now. If that were to change, I am open to homeschooling though. Our kids MUST come first. I think it should be taken on a case by case basis.

~Amanda said...

Sarah, I am sorry that you are feeling so alone. What about your MOPS group? Can you extend it to Moms Of Public Schoolers? :-) I know that you've been a part of the group for a while, and so I wondered if any of them now have school aged children also.

I think that the reason that Homeschooling seems to have so much support is twofold:
1) Parents who homeschool often recognize that although they have made the decision to do so, they cannot do it alone. The support groups make it possible for them to continue providing their children with an education, but just because it's often called homeschooling doesn't mean it only happens in the home. Traditionally, support for public school children and families comes in the form of their classroom teachers, guidance counselors, school administration, and PTA. Not every school has all of those, but those people may be able to provide you with more specific information or support if you speak with them.
2) The internet! It has allowed connections to be made between all sorts of groups, including those who choose to educate their children outside of the public or private school systems. Because you are doing it also, in addition to participating in Eli's public school education, you have found yourself in the midst of that support. As I told you before, I truly believe that you are doing the some of the same things with your children as some homeschooling families.

Sarah, you are doing amazing things with your children. Thing of those things often, and don't let the devil put doubt in your mind. You are a servant of God who is working for God. Don't forget to let God fill the voids, because a support group will provide support, but it isn't going to fulfill your needs.

~Amanda said...

"bp" and others, I'm also sorry if your experience with homeschooling families and blogs has not been positive, but please don't stereotype all of them as thinking they are "better" than families who don't homeschool or children who don't have social skills. Like Kathy, I would never intend for my words or actions to come across as being better. In fact, and as "The Cutes and Scoots Show" pointed out, school teachers, especially at the secondary level, have spent a great deal of time concentrating on learning the content area in which they teach. I know, because I am also a former school teacher. As I said in my previous comment, I think that is part of the reason for homeschool support groups - it still takes a village to raise a child. Regardless of our choices, and whether they are "right or wrong" or whether everyone agrees with them, I hope that we can recognize that parents will do their best to make the best decisions for their children.