Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Working with the School System

Blogging opens one up to criticism.  That's one of the chief reasons I didn't write a blog for a long time.  I have been fortunate to avoid open criticism since I started Titus 2 Moments, but just last week I read someone else's comments on an article she had written as part of a linky party at Time Warp Wife. 

This woman had written "Why We Choose Public School", a potentially controversial topic for a group of very conservative women, and in the blogosphere, it seems more of the stay-at-home set are homeschoolers as well.  A comment had been left by someone saying that the blogger was just taking the easy way out and ignoring God's mandates in how she should rear her children.  Poor girl.  There were many more positive comments, so I hope the blogger felt more encouragement rather than bashing.

I feel I see both sides.  I was educated in one of the best school districts in the state of South Carolina and was very well prepared for college.  I chose to go to an incredible private, Southern Baptist college, but being an elementary education major I felt more prepared to teach in the public school system than anywhere else.  My professors taught me to live and die by the state and national standards as I prepared lesson plans, though I did have an "educate the whole child" mentality.  I worked a few long-term subs in public schools since I graduated in December, but ultimately signed a contract and taught two years in a private, Christian school in Louisville, Kentucky. 

Teaching first-graders in a private school was an eye-opening experience for me.  These were not just wealthy children, but many of the parents were struggling to put their kids in a Christian school because they believed it was what was best for their families.  I've come to see now it is much more affordable to homeschool than to try a private school route.  I did have one parent in those two years I did feel was just paying me to do all of the teaching, nevermind that he also needed help at home every day, but on the whole, I had parents who worked with me strongly.  And for me personally, it was great practice for parenting to be able to use scripture to correct and train children's hearts, not just their minds, something I didn't have the opportunity to do in public school.

I do believe there's a large segment of parents choosing public school because it is the easiest route to take.  I do not ignore that many of those parents are not eduating their children in many Christian disciplines.  That's inexcusable.

Right now, my oldest daughter is in public school.  I expect that will change over the next couple of years, but today, I am happy with public school.  I've written about the ways it has been blessing for us in the first year.  Still, homeschooling is likely on the horizon, but I may write about the reasoning for that when we start.

Until then, I'll do what I can to be involved while I "homeschool preschool" my three others at home.  Here is a way my involvement in my oldest daughter's education has worked in a situation in this last week.  I've decided to call her Princess M to make explaining easier.

Princess M and her classmates were given stickers to use in a picture and use as a writing prompt.  Princess M told her teacher she did not want the Halloween sticker because we don't celebrate Halloween in our family.  Not being with me at all times has at least twice now, that I'm aware of, given Princess M the opportunity to make decisions in the way in which she was trained.  I'm proud of that.  Instead, Princess M got a sticker of a seashell and still was able to write a story. 

This little conversation with her teacher prompted her teacher to ask me what she could do to make sure Princess M wasn't left out and that we were not offended in any way.  Good teacher.  By the way, we don't require any special care.  Princess M will throw away anything she's given with a skull on it.  A mere pumpkin is not offensive.  The teacher also let me know of a unit the first-graders would be studying in art.  I didn't care for it at all, and addressed my concerns with the art teacher in a kind manner, letting her know that Princess M would not be in art as that particular unit was studied, but that I would be happy to work with her using the same techniques and medium that the other students would be using.  The art teacher appreciated my willingness to do the extra work on my part, but just decided instead to do a different unit. 

This week, I am thankful that other parents with the same types of concerns as mine, but who must work outside the home and may not be able to homeschool their children, can work with the school system.  If we always keep the lines of communication positive with teachers whether in public or private schools, we can be a part of educating our children.  We can still be the ones who pray with, teach Bible to, and disciple our children should we not be able to homeschool.  AND, I am so thankful God enabled me to be home with my children in their most formative years so that when they do need to make decisions without me around, their world view is like this:  (in the words of Princess M) "Why do they celebrate Halloween?", not "Why don't we celebrate Halloween?" - She doesn't feel she's missing out at all.

*We'll be celebrating Reformation Day October 31. 

*Linking up to Gratituesday:
Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

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