public school

I have a confession to make. A huge part of why I wanted to homeschool my daughter was out of fear. Fear that she would be influenced in the wrong ways by the masses of children at school. Fear that she would be bored by sitting in an overcrowded classroom all day. Fear that her creativity would be stifled…that the spark that makes my kid awesome would be snuffed out. Fear that I wouldn’t be able to keep a watchful eye on every single part of her day. Fear. It makes us crazy. It made ME crazy. I created scenarios in my mind of what would happen if I sent her to the dreaded public school. I was so caught up in convincing myself that public school was the worst possible thing that could happen to my kid that I failed to see that we were miserable. And then we became homeschool dropouts. And we became a public school family. And ya know what? Public school is not ruining my kid.

All the fears that I had were a total waste. She is not being influenced in the wrong way. In fact, my five year-old is a pretty incredible judge of character. She knew right off the bat who to befriend and who to avoid when it came down to lunch buddies and friends on the playground. And all the different kinds of kids she has encountered has brought up great bits of conversation about morality and virtue at home. We have had conversations about the kids who disobey the teacher and get sent to the office (there are some disobedient kids in her class). We’ve had conversations about why boasting about oneself is not a good thing to do (there is a little girl in her class who likes to tell everyone she is the best and brightest at everything). We’ve had conversations about how everyone is good at something…and that not everyone is good at the things that “school” says you should be good at. And that people learn in ALL kinds of different ways (there is a boy with pretty severe autism in her class…she couldn’t understand why he doesn’t color the “right” way). I am so thankful for the wide variety of kids in Addison’s class, and for the conversations that have stemmed from interacting with them on a daily basis. She is learning more about tolerance than I feel I could have ever taught her at home.

And Addison is far from bored. My daughter comes home from school every day bursting with all the new things she is learning. Academically, she is thriving. She is reading two levels above where she started. Her handwriting is like that of a different kid. And my daughter is one who is very motivated by competition and by the group mentality. The motivational incentives in the classroom work wonders for her. In the morning on the way to school, I say a prayer aloud in the car for Addison each day. And I always ask if there is anything she wants me to pray for. Every day she wants me to pray that she will be “flying high” on the classroom wall chart for the day. Something as simple as a clothespin on the “right color” is enough to keep her on the right track. I’m thankful that she has found the motivation she needed.

I know many of you who are homeschoolers are cringing right now. Sometimes I still catch myself cringing…cringing that I am subjecting my kid to the “horrors” of Common Core. That I am sending my poor immature, defenseless kid into the lion’s den every day for 7 hours to be conditioned to become part of the “government machine”. But you know what? If that’s what it takes for me to have a healthy relationship with my kid, than that’s what we’re going to do. For the first time in MONTHS, we are able to sit down together and read without drama. We are able to get schoolwork done without a giant tantrum. And we are talking more about God, and about the way He wants us to behave, and about being good examples for those around us. These things have all come about because we recognized that homeschooling wasn’t working for us. So instead of being disappointed in where we are, I will chose to be thankful that we have been led down this path. I am confirmed every single day that sending my kid to school was the right decision for her. Public school is not ruining my kid.

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12 Responses to Public School is Not Ruining My Kid

  1. Alexis says:

    AWESOME post! We have been grappling with the next step in our son’s education and I’m so glad to read a pro-public school post. I keep coming back to the same reasoning, that my little extrovert will be happier in a group setting and that it is an important lesson to learn how to handle yourself in situations where Mom and Dad aren’t there to make choices for you. Thank you for sharing your experience!!

  2. Candy Papke says:

    Such a great post. I have tetered on the idea of homeschooling my children. 2 are currently in public school and are having their own struggles. Hearing about the many daily life lessons they are learning being around others adds another pro to the keeping them in public school list. Thought provoking post!

  3. Sandra says:

    We have done both- I am grateful for both options.
    We all need to do what is best for our families.

  4. Andrea says:

    What a refreshing post. I have to be honest, public school has SUCH a bad rap, I have felt like a minority defending it on various Facebook posts the past couple of years. But the fact is, my boys are thriving in public school. We supplement their learning a bit at home, but for the most part, they have learned and grown in incredible ways with their public school education. They attend urban magnet schools with a huge variety of races and socioeconomic backgrounds, so on top of getting really solid educational skills, they are getting real-world knowledge I could never pass on to them on my own. Thank you for writing this in defense of public schools…most are far from perfect, but there really is so much good happening.

    • says:

      Thanks Andrea! Your boys’ school sounds incredible! I must admit it feels a little strange to be on the other side of the “school fence”, but so far I am beyond happy with the positive things that have come out of this whole experience. It’s been humbling to say the least, but I’m convinced it is the right decision. Thanks for reading and for your thoughts :)

  5. Becca says:

    Couldn’t agree more! I homeschooled for 5 years and the last 2 were just too much for me. I was exhausted and stressed day in and day out. I dealt with horrible guilt sending them to public school. But you know whar? I haven’t regretted it at all and my relationship with my kids improved. If in the future I have concerns and feel the need to homeschool again I will. But for now we are ALL happier.

  6. Rykiel says:

    So happy for you and your family!! I am always so inspired when other families make decisions based on what their specific needs are rather than fear or social pressure. Learning environments should be safe, happy, thought-provoking and full of joy! Wherever that happens best for a family is where they should go. As a fellow mama, I am so happy to hear that for y’all it was in public school! I have a number of friends who have found that their families thrive in public school too. Others who have found charter schools and private schools are where they thrive. For us, it is definitely homeschooling. Every family’s needs are different! Thanks for writing a post to remind us all of that <3

  7. Michele says:

    I think you have recognized and communicated the most important part of public school….the connection at home. You have realized that sometimes the communication you have with your child at home about all of those things you “fear” at public school is more helpful! Yes, there are children make poor choices (and once in awhile those choices are made by our own children too) and yes, sometimes children are different and learn differently and that’s ok. Teaching your child that this is how the world is and works is the most valuable asset she can gain! When she gets into a career and has her own family she will be prepared to handle all of those types of people and choices that may differ from her own. I applaud you for supporting your child through public education.

  8. Melissa says:

    We homeschool, but I really am super thankful that everyone has options. We do it because it’s right for our family, but I often put myself in the position of defending public school to other homeschoolers because I think public school is a great option for a lot of people. I am so glad you found what will work well for your family

  9. So, I’ve homeschooled for over 15 years and have graduated two of my six children. Homeschooling has been good for us on so many levels. HOWEVER, I do not believe that it is the end all be all in education. I also do not believe that it is the right choice for all families or for all children all the time.

    Great job on realizing that your relationship with your child is so much more important than how she is educated!

  10. Jenn says:

    Homeschooler here! I don’t judge other’s school choices just like I don’t judge another’s choice to vaccinate or not vaccinate. It’s a personal choice and as mothers we should all be extending grace to those who are doing the best they can for their children.

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