5 Reasons Why We Chose Good Ole’ Public School

Like many other mommas, I had a good dose of anxiety as my precious firstborn got closer and closer to school age. Both my husband and I went to public schools growing up, and that was just fine, for us. But MY baby? My sweet, innocent little dumpling of love…uh, no. Just, no. So, her last year of preschool I began exploring various educational options. Charter schools, homeschool hybrid models, university models, Classical Conversations, online education, and things I don’t even know about. I know there are more than just these three, but these three stood out as we headed into our decision…

  • Homeschooling? Bahahaha! First off, you need to know that my first response is laughter because I have MAD respect for homeschooling parents! I believe homeschooling is a true calling, and I know so many moms {and dads} that do a straight up, ridiculously good job at homeschooling their kiddos. But, my husband and I both agreed this was not the best option for us mainly because we both knew that if we were ever going to homeschool our kids …. he would be the one to do so, not me.  However, my husband did not feel called to leave his vocation in the public school system. After all, the man has a Ph.D. in education! I also, had/still have a full-time job that I absolutely LOVE and feel called to do, so homeschooling just wasn’t an option for us.
  • Private School? YES! Of course, that is what we will do — private school! So, off I went to schedule tours of private schools. State of the art technology? Check. Bilingual exposure? Check. Teachers with master level education {even in elementary grades}? Check. iPads for every student? Check. Cute plaid uniforms? Check. Low behavioral issues? Check. Religious based curriculum? Check. Private schools had all the makings of all the things that made this mama feel warm and fuzzy and secure about sending my little one off to school. 
  • Public School? By this point I was already convinced my kid was going to the local private school, but I am a fair person. I should also note at this point, that my husband was very much advocating public school, so this was creating a little bit of rift in out marriage and a decision needed to be made.

Our compromise was that we would go to the other spouse’s top choice with an open mind. So, I set up a meeting with the principal of our neighborhood elementary school, you know, just to give them a chance – with an open mind, of course. And likewise, my husband went to an open house at the private school I loved.

After both visits were complete, we sat down to talk about our final decision, and I was as floored as anyone when I heard these words come out of my mouth… “I think we should put her in public school.” Was the private school impressive? Yes. Did I somehow believe it gave my little one {and her mama} security? Yes.

But, there are five reasons why we decided public school was for us.

1.} Diversity. I know there are private schools that have plenty of diversity and public schools that have very little. But, for us and our area of town, it was obvious that for the most part the private schools consisted mostly of white, middle to upper class families. While at the time our family was not yet multi-racial, we knew we wanted to internationally adopt in the future.  So of course, we wanted our children to be exposed to other races, cultures, and religions that were different from their own. 

2.} Fear cannot drive my parenting decisions. I’m not talking about not letting your child walk around your neighborhood, alone, at night for fear they may be hurt. Or not teaching stranger danger because you don’t want to parent by fear. I’m talking about the realization that most of parenting is out of our control. In fact, parenting is really just one big game of “fake it ’til you make it.” At some point you have to let go of their hands so they can take their first steps. You have to stop running beside the bike and take your hand off the back of the seat. Eventually, you have to take off the pull-up, even if it means they crap in their pants. It is not fair to my kids to make decisions based off my fears and “what ifs” — especially is those “what ifs” are only negative and not positive. What if they get made fun of? True, but what if they also learn kindness and to stick up for themselves and others. What if they pick bad friends? Well, you cross that bridge when you get there, but what if they also meet their life long friends along the way. What if they get a terrible teacher? Then use it as a teachable moment for the day when they get a terrible boss! What if we all decided that instead of letting our fears isolate our children, we used it as moments to illustrate bravery and courage to our kids? 

3.} Public school teachers are superheroes. Now as I write this, that sweet little preschooler only has a few more weeks of fifth grade left, and do you know what is happening over Memorial Day weekend? We are having 15 of her teachers from kindergarten to 5th grade over to our house for dinner, just to thank them for all the ways they poured into our little girl before she goes off to junior high. I have cried with my kids’ teachers; I have prayed over them, and I have encouraged them. I have watched them speak life into my kids and gently correct them when they needed it. I have become friends with my kids’ teachers, simply because I believed in them because they believed in my kids! In fact, I got this gig of writing for HMB because the founder was one of my kid’s old teachers, and she loved my daughter so well! Every school year, we pray for our kids’ teachers, and every year our kids get the exact teacher they need for that season of life. 

4.} Learning to be strong in convictions is important. The thing that scared me most about public school was the inability to control the curriculum, friends, and teachers my kids encountered, which is absurd because I could not do that in private school either! But, what I learned is that public school has forced us to have some tough conversations about why we believe the things we believe. It has given my kids some real life situations to maneuver, but all while still being under my roof. It has forced us as parents to parent the heart, not just the behavior. It has opened the door for some very real conversations about faith, hurt, compassion, kindness, and acting on conviction. Again, I am not saying that all this could not happen at private schools or while homeschooling. I just know for me, my motivation behind private school was isolation, not strength in character. 

5.} Money, money, money, money…MONEY! This last one is not motivational or moving; it is reality. We have four kids, and free is cheaper than not free! But, really, we realized that we could send one, maybe two kids to private school, and then we would have to I.Q. test and pick the top two to continue on because HECK to the NO could we afford to send all four for ALL the ACTUAL years of school. This has also enabled us to illustrate characteristics like generosity and financial responsibility to our kids, and has freed us up to invest in our kids in other ways. 

Please do not think I am knocking any parent that has not chosen public school for their kid. I think this is a big decision that takes a lot of personal reflection, so I would never judge a parent’s decision of education for their kid. But, I would be lying if I did not say that thus far for our family, it is the best decision we could have ever made! But, please don’t tell my husband – he is obnoxious when he thinks he is right! 

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2 Responses to 5 Reasons Why We Chose Good Ole’ Public School

  1. Joannah Gonzales May 9, 2017 at 11:19 am #

    My children attend public school but I have a very dear friend who home schools her children. I recently attended a Christian based home school conference with her. It was quite motivational and many mothers shared personal testimonies as to why they chose to home school. Many of the mothers shared their fear of exposing their children to so much darkness in public schools with bullies, locker room talk, curriculum, etc. it really pulled me emotionally but I have invested so much into my career that I know God planned for me. God was ever so sweet to whisper into my heart that he need me to raise strong Christian children to be the light in the darkness. Yes God! I can do that!!

  2. Judy May 9, 2017 at 11:38 am #

    Excellent post! Your thoughtfulness in exploring all the options in front of you shows that you are a loving mom who wants the best for her children- and if you keep their best interest as ypur guidepost, you will watch them become amazing adults!

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