Back To School Cage Match

j0439456 Do you Home school?  Private school?  Public school?  Un-school? (yes, there really is such a thing as un-schooling)

Are your kids in their age-appropriate grades?  Are they ahead?  Behind?  Gifted?  Learning-Delayed? 

I have had experience in each of these areas, (except un-schooling, and if I did that it was by accident…which I think is the point anyway) and with each experience, I have found that their is a hostile opponent to each.

Homeschooling parents don’t like public school parents.  Public school parents don’t like home school parents.  Parents of gifted children flaunt their child’s abilities as if they were their own.  Parents of children with learning delays make enemies of anyone who doesn’t understand their child.  Are these generalizations?  yep.  Are they always true?  Nope.  But, I have been around the block a few times, and I wonder why we have the need to criticize the way other people choose to educate their own children. 

Rob and I have decided to send our children to public school.  First of all, we couldn’t afford to send our kids to private school anyway, so it was sort of eliminated as an option.  Am I against private school?  Nope.  I went to one as a child, and the experiences I had there were great.  Am I against home school?  Nope.  I’ve seen families attempt to home school and fail miserably, but I’ve also seen families home school that produce outstanding students with phenomenal leadership capabilities. 

Our girls go to a public school that is values-based, family-oriented, and religion-friendly.  A question I am often asked about sending our kids to public school is, “are they allowed to talk about their faith?”  The answer is yes, absolutely.  I am grateful for the chances my girls have had to see how other kids from different religious backgrounds live and function, and love them for who they are because of their similarities and differences.  They go to a school that encourages creativity and independence.  Their school cares about families.  Every teacher we have had has cared about our girls, guided them, and nurtured them to their next level of growth and development.  I love their school, because values are integrated into learning everyday.

I’m thankful we have such a great public school to send our kids to; I know that is not always an option for people.  Wherever you are sending your kids, however you choose to educate them, you can be confident that you are their parent, and you might just know what’s best for them.

Just for fun…what’s your choice?  How are you educating your kids?

10 thoughts on “Back To School Cage Match

  • August 16, 2009 at 3:03 pm
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    My guys have always gone to public schools. I looked into small religious private schools prior to my oldest starting kindergarten (long ago)…there were positives & negatives to both options…so stuck with public. We’ve only ever been in 2 school districts…both great. As far as religion–there’s never been an issue that they couldn’t discuss it…and here in Cincinnati area schools, it’s openly accepted. As far as ‘bad stuff’, I know kids from all types of schools, and no one option guarantees anything…parents have to guide their kids, discuss everything, keep open lines and pray to God their kids will know the differences. Classes ahead…yup, my guys have been accelerated, but it’s always been easy and accepted.We’ve also received extra help (OT, speech, special testing) and again that has been no big deal.

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  • August 16, 2009 at 7:19 pm
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    I agree that Indiana school are faith friendly. We didn’t realize how awesome that was until we moved back to Oregon. Which is the furthest thing from faith friendly. One day the Kindergartners were supposed to bring their favorite book to school to share w/ the class. Kenady chose a Veggietales opposites book. Needless to say, I received a phone call & Kenady was not allowed to share her book. She didn’t understand.
    We are going to homeschool this year. Being on both sides, I’ve seen the negativity of both groups towards each other. I guess I don’t get it. We all have to choose what’s best for our kids. Why would we look down on someone who is trying to do just that?

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  • August 16, 2009 at 10:37 pm
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    great post…i have been thinking of similar thoughts, though more about parenting “types”. We just had our 5th baby…we are fairly new to our church and involved in a small group. Love our church but struggling with the small group…trying to see it through though. I do feel that my husband and I have been “judged” on our parenting. We tend to be more attatchement based…i wear our newborn in a sling when we are out, she sleeps with us, i feed her on demand…two other families are more “schduled” base. I think they use the babywise philosophy. At no time have I ever disagreed with their parenting style and have only answered questions about mine when asked…but two women in the group have really been vocal and not friendly about our choices. Why must we judge? I hate it! We are raising our children to know God and to Love one another because of and inspite of differences…isn’t it crazy how easy it is for us to stand in judgement of one another…when what we are really called to do is “love our neighbor as ourself”!

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  • August 16, 2009 at 10:41 pm
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    Being one day away from sending my first born to kindergarten I have a strong urge to homeschool :). But, I will go through with the public school option. We looked into private and it would have put a severe financial constraint on our family and the magnet school we selected has similar test scores and a family friendly community so we stuck with public (and there’s the transportation advantage of public). It really is frustrating when people just can’t get a long. There’s a lot of passion surrounding children and school and religion and not a lot of understanding. A turning point for me was realizing that my children are not mine, simply young adults on loan from God. He loves them more than I ever could so why do I fret so much? That being said, I will now go cry a river until Tuesday.

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  • August 17, 2009 at 5:33 am
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    We too, live in a very value and faith friendly community – it is rare that a teacher at the elementary does not attend a church and suprisingly some attend GCC :):) It is nice to hear a teacher say they have prayed for your son or daughter. I have the utmost respect for the school and I am thankful we live here. If we ever moved we would look at all the options you listed and choose the one that was the best fit at that time in our kid’s lives. For now it is public school.

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  • August 17, 2009 at 7:35 am
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    Great post Michelle,
    We start homeschool for the very first time this week. I have a 3rd grader and a pre-k. Faith based schooling is out for us, nada where we are. The teachers we’ve dealt with only pretended to care but lacked in the truth-of-it-all aspect. I agree, there is NO reason to judge. I have to admit I’m very nervous about homeschooling, but it is what I think God has leaded us to do. Parents have no right to judge when they are clearly not in your shoes. You are the parent, you have responsibilities and you know what’s best for you and your family. I think if schools where like you described above my children would be different and homeschooling may have never come up. I’m praying that I can be the best teacher that they have and that God is with me every step of the way. I think no matter how we decide or what we are forced to do (based on income etc) we have to choose Him to guide us through any of those paths. It is when we truly love one another as our brother and sister in the Lord when we truly know Him.

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  • August 17, 2009 at 9:38 am
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    Great post Michelle! I’d like to throw out a couple thoughts. I’ve worked with students for years and must admit that today that while I think I’m doing some good things, I often don’t know what’s best for my 3 sons. I’ve made mistakes over the years and know from experience that there will be some things I’m doing now that I’ll wish I would have done differently. So when someone can offer some insight into teaching my sons and preparing them for life, I’m all ears. Anyone willing to take the time and energy to point out some things to me about my sons, I’m very grateful for their input. I’ve had friends already offer insight and while sometimes tough to hear, it really has been extremely valuable.

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  • August 17, 2009 at 9:57 am
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    John, I completely agree. That’s why I wrote this post. I think we need to listen to other people’s opinions and value them.
    Amy, I am sorry you are dealing with meanies who have such strong opinions about how you should raise your babies. You’d think since you have 4 other babies that they would maybe understand that you sort of know what you are doing by now. Babywise is not the Bible. They use Biblical principles, but it is NOT the Bible.
    Gabrielle,
    I know you will be a great home schooling Mom. I would do the same thing if I were in your shoes.
    Mandy,
    You are an awesome Mom, and I know you are doing the right thing for your girls. But seriously,Veggie tales? That is crazy!

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  • August 17, 2009 at 10:35 am
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    As someone on the other side who has survived the challenges and battles of schooling, one thing I learned is that parents are still the single greatest influence in a child’s life. So whatever you do, stay involved in your child’s life and education no matter how you choose to raise them. Do not abdicate your rights or authority. Partner with teachers, partner with friends. Encourage and help each other to do all you can to help your child realize their full potential as God intended. And be careful how you communicate your decision. We all want the best for our child. We all base our decisions around our love for them. But we can unintentionally communicate that “we love our child more” or “you love you child less” otherwise you would make the same choices I have. When we devalue someone elses decision by elevating our own, we rob each other of relationships and community that enrich our lives and make us all better parents.

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  • August 18, 2009 at 1:10 am
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    Michelle… thanks for the post. Right now it’s WAY to late and in about five and a half hours I have to head to the local high school and flip around 500 pancakes for teachers and administrators on the day before school starts… Stephen, husband, and I have a little of everything in our backgrounds… truly… (except the unschooling… although I have a close friend that has experience at that… while we both thought we wouldn’t struggle with the education decision… we’re both pretty pro-public… we really did struggle this past spring/summer debating what to do mostly in part because we feel the pressure of knowing that we have x amount of years left to really impact our children fully and Maddie (2nd grade last year) had some ups and downs… We actually tried to get into a private Christian school where Charlie (pre-k last year) attended last year and didn’t make the cut because of downsizing due to the economy and financial pressures… Madeline starts back at our local elementary this Wednesday and Charlie will load the Kindergarten bus next Wednesday… I’m excited to see what this year holds. They’ve got great teachers and some great friends in their classes… If this year doesn’t work we have to truly evaluate our children and nothing else…
    We are excited about ministry opportunities with in our local schools and are extremely blessed to be in a district that is friendly in that respect… anyways, I could say more but again… I’m dead but can’t sleep because I have lists and lists running through my head and my stomach is doing flip flops like crazy… come on sleep!

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