I was filling out adoption paperwork yesterday, and one of the questions I had to answer is “What is your preference in school? Public, Private, or Homeschool? If not public, why?”
Why? Oh there are many reasons.
When my kids were last enrolled in a regular public school*, my son’s kindergarten class had 50 students. Yes, you read that correctly. 50 kindergarteners for one teacher. Granted, the class was split into two teams, and both teams were rarely in the classroom at the same time. But one teacher was responsible for grading 50 students. Incredible. (She was a very good teacher, by the way, and she did a fantastic job with the task at hand).
Since both of my school aged children are somewhat easily distracted, large classroom sizes didn’t work out too well. With homeschooling, Stargirl has a one on one relationship with her teacher (Me!), and Bug is in a class of 21 students in his Christian school.
I feel bad for public school teachers today. In my opinion, they are increasingly charged with tasks that belong to parents. Some schools now have to provide free breakfast during class time, which of course takes away from learning time. Kids need to be taught anti-bullying and conflict resolution. Again, there’s only so much time in the school day, so what is going to suffer? Academics.
I don’t have the answers. I know bullying and lack of food are big issues for kids today. Those issues need to be addressed. Ideally, parents would be the ones addressing these issues, but often that’s not the case. However, in our family, we do address those issues, so when my kids go to school, I want them to learn reading, writing, history, math, and science.
I know some of you are scratching your heads. After all, isn’t lack of socialization one of the big arguments against homeschooling?
Let me tell you our experience. When Stargirl was in 5th grade in public school, her entire life consisted of going to school and homework. She’d come home from school, get a little break for a snack and some outside play, and then she’d do homework for the rest of the evening. There was no time for outside activities.
Now that she’s homeschooled, she does spend most of her day at home. She takes band in the morning and comes home for her academics. But at night she goes to youth group and American Heritage Girls. She takes a variety of music classes on Fridays. When friends call her for an impromptu get together, she almost always says yes, because she doesn’t have homework. She has a very active social life, one that she didn’t have time for in public school.
4. Our Values
This is perhaps the most important reason we homeschool/Christian school. We are Christians, and our relationship with Christ is above all else. That means every subject we teach is filtered through our Biblical worldview, including science.
This puts us at odds with science classes taught in the public schools. The Bible says
Hear O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:4-8
We take that admonition seriously. And it’s hard to impress the Word of God on our children, when they are in school many hours a day, learning things that aren’t Biblical. So for us, Christian school and homeschooling are the answer.
Now, I know many good Christian families that send their kids to public school, and it works out quite well. I am in no way saying that our way is for everyone. I’ve always been a proponent of the notion that different children have different needs and what works for one might not be the best choice for another.
I am also in no way bashing public school employees. Again, I know many of you, and you do an excellent job in less than ideal circumstances.
But to answer the question honestly…the question of our preference in school…it will always be homeschool or private school.
*Stargirl is currently enrolled in a public charter school, which is 90% homeschooling, 10% public school, and it’s working quite well.