Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Talk to Me Tuesday

The debate rages on in my mind. Last year, when Cody was in his second year of pre-school, I prayed and researched my options for his schooling. Because our district does full-day kindergarten, I was in quite a pickle about how to proceed this year. I kept thinking, a full day for a five year-old? It's just too much!

You all know what we decided. He is in public school this year. The year has been a great thing for him in many ways. He has a wonderful teacher and I've watched him grow and blossom under her leadership.

The flipside is that I see little attitudes, behaviors, and words coming home some days that bother me. I'd be lying if I said that this year hadn't impacted him a bit negatively in some respects. Yes, there's been a great deal of positive, but it's hard for me, as his mom, to overlook the negative.

While I researched my options last year, I talked to many moms...particularly those who send their kids to private school and those who chose public school. The ones who sent their kids to private Christian schools said that their children were not immune to bringing home bad attitudes and questionable language. They reassured me that it's everwhere. What they said they appreciated most about the Christian environment was the absence of the "worldview" and the presence of God.

Fast forward to this year. I have continued praying all year for Cody. And I've also continued praying about options. (We were encouraged my many people to take things year by year and make decisions accordingly, because things can quickly change!) We recently learned that a new Christian school may be opening in the area. They have piqued my interest because it sounds like the tuition could potentially be manageable for us (last year it was out of the question).

I'll be totally honest. Some days I really do feel like the world is spinning out of control. As a parent, I worry. I fear for my children's hearts and minds. I desire for them to know and love Christ more than anything in this world. I want nothing more than the truths of God and His Word to permeate their hearts. On the flipside, I also want them to learn to live in a world like this because they are going to need to learn to be survivors in it AND shine their lights in it. But at five or six years old, is that really a fair charge to put on them? As Christians, how do we reconcile these two schools of thought? Is it better to have them in a more sheltered environment and a Christian setting during these most formidable years? The debate rages on in my mind and heart. We will continue to seek Him and His will. We will continue to pray. And I will keep my eyes and ears open to what the Lord is telling me.

In the meantime, I'm interested in what you think. I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions in the comments, whether you are a homeschooler, have chosen to send your children to private school, or if you're presently in the public school system. Thanks, in advance, for your thoughts. I look forward to hearing what you have to say.


Life with Ash and Ave said...

I have no thoughts about kids in school b/c mine are not there yet. All I know is what I get from teaching 1-8 graders in Public school. I am interested to know what school you heard about opening though that is around here.

Jody said...

We have two in school and one coming up in 2009. Kids can pick up "bad attitudes and questionable language" anywhere. I've observed behavior from kids in church that I don't want my kids to copy. I think there are two big pros to choosing a Christian school. One, like you said, the absence of the worldview and the presence of God. We had a problem this year with the way something was handled at school with my third grader (she attends a public school). After speaking to the teacher involved, the principal and the superintendent, they had me talk to the counselor involved. She tried to sway me to her opinion and I told her I didn't agree and we would have to agree to disagree. I told her that before my child was called out for something of a questionable nature, I am to be called first. She then told me that when "the staff" are making desicions regarding speaking to students they try to take into account "that some families have certain belief systems." Basically, I was Christian who was being a thorn in her side. Which leads to what I think the second pro is. The administration will approach things from a Christian viewpoint. I would suggest checking out the teachers' certification. Some schools/states allow teachers without certification to teach in Christian schools. We did homeschool for just over a year. My husband was in the Navy and we lived in base housing in a less than desirable school system. There were kids in our homeschool coop who modeled poor behavior. These were kids from Christian families. Homeschooling is a great alternative. If you consider going that way make sure you consider how homeschool friendly your state is. Some states have a lot of hoops you have to jump through. I homeschooled in the state I believe you live in and it is very friendly. Check out hslda.org. It is the Homeschool Legal Defense Association and they have excellent information. Homeschooling is also a fulltime job. After our incident with my daughter at her current school, I really questioned whether or not she should be in public school. I was talking to a mentor of mine who has a child in high school and a child in college. She reminded me that even though kids can be a bad influence on our children, our children can be an excellent influence on them. While our children are young we have the privilege of being able to explain why we don't agree with certain things by explaining Biblical princlples. It might be better to let them have some exposure while we are close at hand to observe what is going on and to nurture them instead of learning all the "bad" stuff when they go away to college and don't have us right at hand. What you have to remember is whichever avenue you choose, having the best open communication you can with your child and being as involved as possible with their school is key. Even if you have to ruffle some feathers along the way. I am currently doing a Beth Moore study and in one of the videos she said we need to remember to homeschool our children spiritually. Sorry, this got really long...

Glass Half Full said...

Oh boy. I have had days like you described. Especially when Matt comes home with an attitude or a subject that we haven't "covered" yet for the reason that he's in first grade.

I think your friend is right. We will never be able to shelter our children from the world, which is getting worse, but we can keep the lines of communication open and keep talking to our kids. I think that's the best thing we can do. Let them know we love them and through that they will learn about Christ. We cannot back down!


Tonya said...

I just sent you another email, I hope you get it. I really want to comment on this but hoping we will be able to talk in person about it. As I have much to say about school as I have 2 in school and one starting next year.

chrissy said...

I have 3 in public school. We have done all schooling types i.e. private (christian), home school and of course public! I take it year by year situation by situation! Truth be told, my kids brought "home" attitudes and bad habits when they were home schooled. I think it is just part of growing up and testing boundaries. My oppinion: Pray ask God and do it, go with your mommy-God thing stand on what you go with each year, do not be swayed or directed by others! God picked you and your hubby to be Cody's parents, you will do the right thing!

Kari said...

Hap, you and I have talked enough on this topic to know where I stand on the issue. I think that the other girls on here have raised some great points-especially in that no one situation is the end all and be all. I know you know this as well, but I have seen the good, bad and the ugly from kids in public, private and homeschool situations. Cassidy even got "blasted" by one of her peers while standing in the hallway at church one night recently. There is no absolute "safe place." With some of the situations (that one included) that we've encountered in her years at a public school, I've tried to use it as a teaching opportunity for not only her but me as well. What are we made of? What response can we display while still being a light for others to see? Why would He put this situation before us? What would He have for us to learn from it?

It'll all work out. Definitely check out all facts, seek the advice of people you respect who have "been there, done that" and pray.

Life With All Boys said...

I myself never went to public school, so I always thought my kids would go to a Christian School too. And Monte did for the first 3 years, but we couldn't afford it when Hunter got to kindergarten and I had another baby, so we put them in public school.
I like both for different reasons. The kids in a Christian school usually are coming from a Christain home. I didn't have to worry about what Monte was going to come home saying. Or what he was going to hear. These public school kids shock me all the time. I loved his Christian school, the teachers, the kids, everything.
But in a public school there really are more opportunities. Music, Art, Gym, everything. Monte has really done SO well, and so far I've been very happy with the public school my boys go to. They've had wonderful teachers, and good friends, although a couple of Monte's I'm starting to question.
That being said, I do believe that high school kids in a Christain School can be just as rebelious as public school kids. No matter where they are, they are still kids trying to figure things out and testing the waters as much as possible.

MorningSong said...

I will definitely pray for you and your family! I will pray that you will ONLY be swayed by the words of Abba Father!! That you will hear the very heart of God on this issue! HE has a plan for your family and you WILL know it when the time is right!!

I had all things planned for pre-school and MDO last year when God turned my world upside down. I had a plan. Then God showed me His for our family. The key is - this is the plan God chose for my family and not me. Although Home School had always been WAY back in the corners of my mind WAY before I had kids, it was FAR from my mind when we were planning for 2007-2008. When God began drawing me towards His plan for us - I couldn't help but become stirred more and more. HE has gracefully guided HC and I down this road and this year has had some tough times but beyond that it has been truly GLORIOUS!

I agree that our kids will come in contact with bad examples no matter where we go. I personally find it to be my job to guard my kids, where I can, from unnecessary exposure and train them up in other areas. So, we deal with a difficult friendship that is a Christian one. The girl is just plain rude and hateful to my HC. She goes to our church and we run in the same circles. She is often cruel to HC but I have the privelege of exposing HC to good friends and explaining why the other friend is valuable - but not an example.

I think it is easy to think we are to protect our kids from any and every bad experience. But that isn't practical nor is it helpful. I believe there IS a season that we can guard them from being exposed to any and everything someone randomly CAN expose them to. I think that is my job right now. There will be a time, soon I am sure, where HC will need to see the icky stuff of the world but I still feel her innocence is in need of guarding. She is only (almost) 5! How can she possibly know how to process some of the things she could be exposed to at 5? Some kids are not given the honor of being 5 without grief and burdens. I am thankful God has allowed me this past year with HC. I see how we are NOT sheltered from REAL life by Home Schooling, but I do have the luxury of some control over the randomness of it - because we home school.

Pray Happi!! PRAY!! GOD CARES ABOUT YOUR SON A ZILLION TIMES MORE THAN YOU DO AND HE HAS THE PERFECT PLAN! Pray and rest in HIS perfect timing and HIS provision! You can't go wrong with that!