Why we choose public school for our kids

I've been thinking about a post like this for a couple of years, actually. I wasn't sure quite how to word it all and how to come across passionate but not proud and preachy. But recently, a friend wrote to ask me about how I felt about public school and it gave me an opportunity to articulate my feelings in a personal way. It was actually so good for me to write out how I feel...quite affirming, really. So here is part of my response. Please know that that this is not meant to be anti-anything...just my heart.

So, it is funny you ask about this public school thing because I am so passionate about it that I often fear that I am going to give people an earful and say too much! So please keep that in mind:) I think it is because I grew up in the land of education and was around public educators all of my life, but public schooling our kids was a very intentional choice for us. I am around a ton of parents who choose other options for good reasons and I certainly don't think I have it figured out, but I can tell you why WE chose public school...just can't tell you what to do!

First, as a Christian, I can't think of a more natural way to live a missional life in our community than to have our kids in the local schools and be actively involved as parents. I realize that many parents drop their kids off at school and don't feel the need to get involved, but I try to be a very familiar face at school. I love seeing my kids at school, but I also love being around the other kids in the community. It gives me a chance to get to know other parents and the teachers...to have an opportunity to talk with people who are not just like me. I think we're called to it, but I also enjoy it!
Second, I love teachers and think the majority of them go into it for the right reasons. Of course, there are bad apples, but I love that my kids are being taught by well-trained educators. They simply offer my kids more than what I could give them in a teacher. We live in a fantastic school district, which certainly makes this decision easier, but we moved here intentionally because of the schools. I do realize that teachers can have opportunity to teach values that are different than ours, but honestly, I don't think we give our kids enough credit sometimes. We still should be the most influential adults in their lives and our kids know what they've learned and seen since birth. I remember having teachers in school that held different beliefs than my parents, but I was well aware of that. I think it was more of a faith-building experience than anything because I knew we were different for a good reason. Granted, our oldest is just in 2nd grade and we've had minimal issues come up, but I value the ongoing conversation we get to have about being Christ-followers and different because of it.
And finally, we desire our kids to be relevant in our culture and have relationships with kids and families much different than our own. This is a really delicate balance and we wrestle with it sometimes. I really value having other parents in our circle of friends who are trying to also figure it all out along the way. It is a work in progress, exposing my need for Jesus and his guidance, my trust...ALL OF THE TIME. Like any parents, we want to protect our children from everything harmful. But I don't know anyone who has grown and matured without struggle. I would love to avoid the BIG struggles that often occur in middle school/ high school, but we have no guarantees. My hope is that our kids are faced with just enough challenges early on and to work through them together in order to lay the groundwork for the days ahead. For us, having our kids in public school is a great opportunity for this kind of thing to happen.
And here is one last thing...and I know I've probably said too much already! Aaaahhh!!! But we NEED more good families in our public schools. We need more Jesus believing children and parents and people who care deeply about kids--not just our own, but all of them. I am concerned with the number of Christians taking their kids out of public schools. I think it is a dangerous thing for our country.
Ok, I will get off my soap box now:) I told you I was passionate! Shoot. Like I said, half of the people I am around choose to homeschool or private school for very good reasons. Many of them do a very good job and I really respect them. I just think that public school can also be a great option for the Christian parent and, I believe, such a wonderful opportunity!


Jen said...

So well said, Amy! Love your heart!

turtleinseattle said...

I really appriciated reading this Amy :) we are very carefully choosing where to house hunt so that we can feel confident putting our (future) kids in public school too. I am sure you and your kids participation are enriching your schools!

LAURA said...

Love this Amy and totally get it. I grew up in public school and turned out okay, I think...maybe that wasn't a good analogy;) We have done Christian private & home school and will do public in the next couple, ALL great options and just have to follow God's lead for your family and each child's strengths/weaknesses. We are just down "the hill" from you guys at the bottom of the prairie, need to have you and Tara out!

Kristen said...

Thank you for putting into words what I want to say when people ask me if I'll send Sydney to public/private/home school.

Amy Hook said...

I love this. I love your heart. And I feel EXACTLY the same way!!

Faith said...

I just randomly came across this and wanted to thank you for this post! This is EXACTLY how I feel about our kids being in public school. I currently have 2 attending and by 2017, I will have 2 more. Thank you for this post! I shared it on FB :)

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