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We've decided it's time to send our oldest to the public school for part of the day. Each day for about three hours he will get instruction in reading, art, and recess :). During that time I'll teach his little brother and chase his little sister around and carry a baby that's due in a few months.

In so many ways, the decision flies in the face of so much of what I read about the homeschooling vs. public school debate.

Scare tactics, like those used by the HSLDA, that any involvement with "government" schools, the derogatory term used for them by some militant homeschoolers, means you are putting your entire family at risk for social services to come take your kids away.

Criticism by Christian parents who believe the Bible requires you to homeschool your children can make you feel guilty for even considering any other alternative. As soon as you add "God told me" to a statement it automatically carries more "weight".

Bloggers who detail their homeschooling days in such a way that everything appears to run smoothly and she is "super mom", but they neglect to mention the fact that they have a housekeeper who comes or young teenagers who assist with smaller children. In other words, they project an image that regardless of how many children you have you SHOULD be able to keep an orderly home and teach all the children so that your husband returns home to find you smiling and not crying.

Yes, academically homeschooled kids score great. But did it occur to you, as it did to me a few months ago, that if you had the kind of student-teacher ratio in all the classrooms that you have in homeschooling homes, you'd get better scores? Or the fact that many families attempt homeschooing and it doesn't succeed so guess where they send their kid? The public schools, which are comprised of a vast demographic of kids from every social class and family type imaginable. Everyone is tested, not just the "smart" kids, which certainly affects the scores of the entire group.

Here's my point: Each and every school, family, parent, and kid is different. You absolutely cannot make sweeping statements about what everyone else should do in how they choose to educate their child. Yes, I would LOVE to have other homeschooling families here. In fact, it would make the whole experience a hundred times better for all of us. But it's not reality.

So this is what we're trying. Do I have reservations? Yes, some. But right now, this seems like the best choice for our family.

Time will tell.

11 comments:

that's pretty cool that your school system will let you send him for part of the day. i don't think that ours would allow that. pretty creative thinking on your part. hope it goes well!

August 24, 2008 at 10:23 AM  

You absolutely cannot make sweeping statements about what everyone else should do in how they choose to educate their child.

From a mom who sends her children to public school, and is thankful to do so (go ahead and judge me)--AMEN, sister! :-)

August 24, 2008 at 2:02 PM  

good for you! You do exactly what you need to do for your family and for your own sanity :)

August 24, 2008 at 4:45 PM  

nI agree that you can not make sweeping statements!!!
Unless it's in the Bible it's up to us to interpret what's best for our children.
We have done both options. We currently homeschool (and it's HARD!), for complicated reasons, but may go back to a "traditional" school at some point. I would hope that my Christian brothers and sisters would understand that. But if they don't at least God is on my side.
I do have to say that each school is different, and I have known some to be good and others not so much. And we can't forget about each child being different as well. Some are ready for the lion's den and others are not. :)
My fifth grader was exposed to so much so fast. Pornography (pre-puberty) and bullying were too much. That's' not even talking about the language issues as well.
Also, the middle school he was to attend next year has had severe academic and behavioral issues that they may shut it down.
Each case is different.
Blessings,
Debbie aka The Real World Martha(S)

August 24, 2008 at 5:49 PM  

my kids are enrolled in a public charter school with a personalized learning program. it is wonderful, and we are entirely grateful for it. this year, my dh 8 is taking an accelerated math class there, and homeschooling the rest, and i think it will be great.

i am not appreciative of the scare-mentality that is promoted by hslda, despite the many good things that the organization does. public schools are GOOD, even though they have many challenges. we need them. educating the masses is what sets us apart from third-world countries. the key is choice...homeschoolers appreciate that we have the choice to create an educational experience that works for our family. we should extend that freedom of choice to others as well. hope your school year goes great!

August 24, 2008 at 9:15 PM  

I agree with Tara. Homeschooling for me was always about doing what was best for my particular family. And now that mine are in the public school, they love it and have a firm foundation from early years of being taught at home. I think you'll like it! And you'll have more energy too.

August 24, 2008 at 9:38 PM  

I think that no family should be made to feel bad about the educational choices for their children. What is best for some families is not the best choice the others. We are choosing to homeschool. Very much against the wishes of people in our church. It is tough not having the support of the people who should be the closest to you. Hope everything goes well with your choices.

August 26, 2008 at 6:57 PM  

Do what is right for you. You are wise, you're the mom and you know what you can and can't do. We have two in public high school and two at home. It works for us. Getting out from under other's expectations and rules is so freeing!!!

August 27, 2008 at 7:41 AM  

So far so good for us in this. Do I have worries about it? Of course, I do. But we're going to be helping some in his class and that's the key, I think, to knowing what's going on. A greater concern I truly have is who he plays with while he's there. At home, I control that, there not so much so it forces me to pray that he'll remember what we've taught him and that he'll learn to live in the world but not be of the world.

I've never found the argument for public schools that the children can be salt and light to be very compelling. I mean, as far as I can tell, my son knows a lot of the right church answers but I'm not sure he's been made a new creation in Christ. BUT, my husband and I there, well, maybe we can start making a difference somehow.

So on the whole I am encouraged.

August 28, 2008 at 6:21 AM  

We homeschooled all the way through but... in California we had access to the STAR program basically a homeschool group that was formed by Biola University to help better prepare kids for university. Star stands for Supplemental Teaching of Academic Requirements.

I for one was happy to send him off to school two days a week. And I didn't have to teach Biology with a lab or Spanish, Algebra... well you get the point!!

I pray that it works out for you and your son!

August 29, 2008 at 5:05 PM  

I'm a little behind in my blog reading, but I wanted to encourage you to make choices based on what you know and the Lord reveals. My favorite personal example is a family that, due to various needs and situations, had each of their children in a different schooling option. One in public, one in private, and one at home (and in speech therapy). It was crazy work keeping up with it all, but served their family and children well. Anything new takes courage and time, and I'm glad to hear it is working well so far! Continued prayers for you all.

September 12, 2008 at 7:01 PM  

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