Saturday, March 26, 2011

No More Debates

It seems like many other things, people are finding more and more to debate in today's society- education notwithstanding. It seems that Homeschool vs. Public (or private) school will forever be up for debate, each family standing firmly on the side that they have chosen, not willing to budge, claiming that their way is the best- and right- way to educate our nation's children. It gets frustrating sometimes, and I often feel caught somewhere in the middle of this debate. I have many friends who homsechool and many who don't. I have friends who teach in various schools- public and private alike. I have seen public schools, private schools, and homeschools fail and triumph. When all is said and done, I don't think pointing out the flaws in the opposing schooling methods helps anyone. I've seen it all: homeschool, public school, and private school. I seen the ups and downs of both, and here is what I have learned:
Kids can be mean, not matter what kind of education you are dealing with.
If your child is encouraged to learn, he or she will excel- especially when parents and teachers pitch in at school and at home.
The world can be exciting and scary, accepting and rejecting, full of possibility and full of trials.
It is important for each family to weigh carefully their options for education before jumping into something head first. For some, homeschooling is the right choice, and for others, public school is. I don't pretend to have all the right answers, but I do know this: you aren't a bad Christian if you send your children to public school. You have not failed as a parent and your children won't hold it against you. I am sick of hearing otherwise.
We don't homeschool our children. We don't have anything against homeschooling, but we don't homeschool. I am not opposed to the idea of one day maybe homeschooling, but right now, in the season of life we are in, homeschooling is just not for us. And for us, at this point in our lives, this is the best option for my children.
This has been a tough subject for us as we often find ourselves in the midst of a culture in which many people choose to homeschool, for various reasons. Most of our friends are okay with our choice to send our daughter to public school, but often times I find myself faced with a situation where an acquaintance shares their negative opinions on public school, not realizing, perhaps, that this is our choice of education for our daughter (and soon for our son.)
So, for those of you who would cast aspersions on us for sending our children to public school, here are a few things to consider...
What is best for your family might not be best for everyone. Different does not mean wrong.
My daughter is thriving. She is doing great in school and has never been so curious about the world around her. She loves to read and write and learn.
Public school is not corrupting her. School itself is not what corrupts- people do. It is my job as a parent to give my children a strong foundation for life, instilling in them the core values that we follow as a family. She knows about the Love of God. She knows the difference between right and wrong. She knows what it means to love people and care for others. She even recites the Pledge of Allegiance with the rest of the school every morning.
She has been bullied. I have news for you: This can happen anywhere. When I was in private school, I was taken advantage of- often being the scapegoat for trouble makers in my class and not knowing how to explain what really happened. When I was homeschooled, I was actually bullied by kids in my youth group. When I was in private school, you guessed it, I was bullied there too. While it hurt to be pushed around and made fun of, I learned a few things about people. I learned what to expect from real friends and how to handle the people who were not really friends at all. I hate that my daughter has been bullied, but I have to hand it to her: She knew how to handle it. She told the appropriate adults, confronted the girl who was giving her a hard time, and is no longer being bullied. The young girl who was bullying her has since apologized and the two are friends. I'd say, life lesson learned.
Also, a few other variables as to why we do not homeschool are schedule related.
My husband works random, sporadic, and sometimes unpredictable hours. If we were to homeschool, we would both want to be in on the teaching as much as we could.
My husband and I are both full time college students, working toward fulfilling a call on our lives. We barely have enough time for own homework. I feel like if we homeschooled, I should devote full time to teaching them. Because we are in school ourselves, I feel as if we would inevitably be shortchanging them on their education.
This does not mean that in the future it is out of the question, but for now, this is what works best for my family. Let me be perfectly clear: I admire all the parents who have devoted themselves to teaching their children at home. I know many brilliant people who are currently homeschooled or who have graduated as homeschool successes. It is a great way for a family to educate their children. But, it is not the way we have chosen to handle our children's education. And that is just fine. So, to the people who believe that you can only get a good education by sending your children to public school: you are wrong, it is not the only way. And to the people who feel that the only way to teach our children is to keep them at home: you are also wrong. What works best for you, may not be what's best for us.
I know I probably have not heard the last of this debate, and sometimes I feel alone in this one. Someone once told me, " But we need our 'lights' in the public schools too." I found that immensely encouraging. So, Rylee, the bright light that she is, and soon Sammy too, will be learning in the public school system.

No comments: