Feb 08

Why I Set An Alarm for 7:00 a.m. Every Morning

First of all, let me stress that this is not a persuasive or defensive argument. I’m not trying to persuade anyone that public school is the best option for children, and I also don’t feel like I need to defend why I choose to public-school instead of home-school my children. I think home schooling is a great option and I have many good friends who home-school their children. I am just working through some thoughts and re-visiting my education choices.

I strongly believe that all children learn differently and any approach to educating a child should be done with that specific, individual child in mind. Therefore, I am very narrowly considering Naomi’s own individual personality, strengths, and weaknesses, and our own family’s unique circumstances. I am looking at five different aspects to Naomi’s education: academic, social, religious, worldly influence factor, and convenience/scheduling.

Academically, I am very pleased with Naomi’s progress. From every report and paper I get from her school, I can tell she is excelling in her lessons. She is a proficient reader and enjoys reading. She has become an excellent writer as well, keeping journals and writing out her thoughts and ideas.  She has also learned, this year, addition, subtraction, fractions, and money. I don’t have any complaints about the academic aspect of her education.

Socially, Naomi is doing very well in school also. First of all, she loves school. She is a very shy and quiet child (much like me!), and school gives her many daily opportunities to learn how to speak up, make friends, etc. She has made many friends in her classes. She gets excited about all her class’s activities, like the holiday parties, special class assemblies, etc. She likes her teachers. As far as I know, and I try to communicate frequently with her teacher, she gets along with everyone. So I don’t have any complaints about the social aspect of her education, either.

Obviously, as Naomi attends a public school, she doesn’t get any religious teaching in school at all. Her school has a “winter break” instead of a “Christmas break,” etc. But still, I think Naomi is excelling at the religious aspect of her education, too. She has begun to memorize Scripture. She knows quite a lot of Bible stories. She enjoys reading the Bible and looks forward to doing so every night at bedtime. She goes to AWANA on Wednesday nights at a nearby church, and to Good News Club at her school, and she enjoys Sunday School (which she attends twice every Sunday!). So I can’t really complain about her religious education, either.

However, when we get to the Worldly Influence Factor, I have more concerns. She is being introduced to things that I can’t control! It’s scary. Where do you draw the line? I don’t want to isolate my family. I find it appealing, in many ways, to homeschool my children, and not mix with the world and its crazy, wrong values. But I know my personality, and I know our family’s circumstances. I am a quiet, introverted person. I am happy to stay at home. My husband is a  pastor. If I homeschooled, it would be very easy, and very tempting, for me to “close in” around our little family and ignore the world outside our door. Yet I feel strongly that as a Christian, that is not how I need to be. I need to be meeting people and developing relationships with people and hopefully showing them a glimpse of Christ. So again, where do I draw the line? I don’t know. But I will say that honestly, I would say that public school fails on the Worldly Influence Factor.

Finally, their is Convenience/Family Scheduling. Sure, sometimes it is nice to have one less child at home during the day. (Naomi is quite a messy child, lol.) But overall, it is more of an inconvenience to send her to school than let her stay home! First of all, we have to get up at 7 a.m. every day. Rachel misses her sister terribly. When Naomi is home, Rachel and Naomi play very well together and I find it is often easier for me to get things done around the house. Also, our day is structured around Naomi’s school schedule–bus pick up and bus drop off. After school is a rush of homework and dinner and bath, and if you throw in any extra-curricular activities, it becomes terribly busy. Vacations are harder to plan because you have to consider the school schedule, not just what works best for your family’s schedule. On beautiful days when we would like to go explore the Rockies, we can’t, because Naomi has school. I have to say that I think I would enjoy a home-schooling schedule more than public school. So I would give this section a Fail too.

Balancing it all out, we have decided to send Naomi to the local public school. Is it perfect? No. Is it the best choice for her? I hope so. I hope I have made the right decision for what is best for her. Will we send Rachel and Sarah to public school too? Probably, but not definitely. Every child is different. I don’t know how Rachel and Sarah will do academically and socially in public school yet. Will Naomi always attend public school? Probably, but not sure. I remind myself often that I never signed a contract for 12 years of public school.

I am having trouble coming up with a concluding thought for this post so I think I’ll borrow one that Naomi taught us. “All in all,” I feel we have made the best choice for Naomi.

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  1. The FlyLady and BOB books » Small-Town Preacher's Wife

    […] will be going to Kindergarten next fall. Since we have decided to put our kids in public school, this is my last year with her at home (subject to re-evaluation, of course). My goal for this year […]

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