The One Where I Say Its Okay To Send Your Child To School

SchoolHouse

EDIT:  Due to my inability to think through things and my lack of not properly proofreading and editing – I need to add a disclaimer – my church is a wonderful church, and pays me more than well enough to do all we need to do and more.  Some of you may misunderstand my purpose behind this post, so let me make it perfectly clear – this is a post that is trying to let you know its  okay to send your child to public school.  I know many who struggle with this decision, and its a hard one.

My parents sacrificed A LOT to send all three of us (my brother and sister) to a Christian school.  I’m better for it.  I hope in the future we will be able to send our child to a Christian school.  But for those of you who struggle with sending your child to a public school – I want you to know from this post – that its okay.

I have rewritten this post to emphasize my point  – which is, we should take every opportunity to share the message of Christ with people we come in contact with.  99% of the comments I have received on this post have been very, very positive.

I just did not want this post to reflect poorly on my wonderful church family or elders – who take care of us beyond imagination.  After re-reading this post, I felt like it might be best to say that, and to edit it.  Note to self … ALWAYS EDIT and PROOF!

Begin post:

On Thursday, August 1, 2013 my 5 year old daughter will start Kindergarten.

I don’t know if you all realize how big of a deal this is – Kindergarten!  It seems like she just learned how to say her first word, use the potty, sleep in a big girl bed, eat with a fork, and all the other simple things you learn in the first few years of life.

She’ll be dropped off on Thursday morning for a half day here in Davidson County, and I know when my wife drops her off, she’ll be bawling for the next few hours.  She is, after all, our little girl.  She’s the only one we have.  She means the world to us.

But I have to stop and tell you something.  I’m not scared at all.  We’ve done what we can in these first five years to prepare her for this moment.  And now, its time for her to grow some more.  The hardest time I’m going to have over the next few weeks/months/years is reading about whether or not we should have put her in public schools.

You have to understand, we are a blended family.  Not only am I an Alabama fan and my father in law is an Auburn Alumnus, but I grew up in Christian education, and my wife didn’t have that until she went to college.  From Kindergarten till the day I walked across the stage at Friendship Christian School in May of 1996, I went to the same Christian School, followed immediately by 5 years at a Christian college.

When we moved to Nashville, people told us that Davidson County schools were awful.  We were told to live in Williamson County, but it is getting further away from our church family, and we don’t want that.

So we’re happily sending our child to the public school near our home.  (For security’s sake, I will not disclose what school our child will be attending.)

I simply don’t know what to expect.

Now,I am going to have people reading on Facebook, Twitter, news channels, family events, and other various venues, telling me I should have homeschooled my child.

Understand this – I have nothing against those of you who have chosen to do this.  If you have the knowledge, the means, and the ability to do this, more power to you.  But I believe there is a reason why there’s an old saying that goes “It takes a village….”  I have minister friends, church friends, and family that homeschool.  I respect them beyond imagination.  But homeschooling is not right for us.

My wife is the product of public schools, and I think she did just fine – going to college on an athletic scholarship and graduating with a nearly perfect GPA.  In fact, she finished a lot better GPA than me, the product of the Christian School.

I’m not scared to send my child to school.  She knows God, she knows what is right, she knows how to be a good influence, and she knows that there are people out there who don’t believe in God – and she’s prayed for them.  No, I’m not saying she’s a little missionary, but she has a heart for God that I didn’t have when I was 5.  She will have a chance to influence the boys and girls in her school for God.

On top of that,  we live out of the area where many of our church family goes to school.   We will be in a school where we know absolutely no one.

We’ll be going to parent meetings, teacher meetings, and school events in a place where there will be a great opportunity to share the love of Christ through our love and actions.  Sure, it would be easier to send my child somewhere where I knew the people, and felt more comfortable, but that would take away a great ministry opportunity God has put before me.

I’m not certain why some people are so afraid of sending their children to  school.  We can’t keep them in a bubble forever.  The world is changing, and I want my child to know what she’s up against.

Many of you who are hardcore homeschool advocates won’t understand this.  I have family members who homeschool that won’t understand this.  Is there a potential for her little mind to be scarred by things she wouldn’t see if she stayed at home everyday?  Sure.  But she’s going to experience the world one day, and I would much rather be in control of it now at the age of 5 when she heads off to college at 18.

On top of these things – know this:  I know that God is with her.  I believe in prayer.  I will pray for her daily.  My wife will pray for her daily.  With confidence, we will be able to send her off to school to learn, play, and become assimilated with society – and we will still be in control of her every step of the way.  If the school teaches something we disagree with, that’s fine.  Because we’ll still be teaching her at home, and still be teaching her at church.

So many who homeschool say the problem is that they have no control over what they are taught.  I don’t plan on just turning my child over to the system and then check back in with her every May at the end of the school year.  We will go over things.  We’ll discuss things.  We’ll take time to teach alternative things to evolution and liberal government.

I’m not scared.  I’m proud.  I’m proud of who my little girl has grown up to be in these short 5 years.  I know God will take care of her.  May God bless all our children as they start school over the next few weeks.

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9 comments on “The One Where I Say Its Okay To Send Your Child To School

  1. Thank you for saying this. If all Christian parents took their children out of public schools, if Christians did not teach in public schools, think of the impact that would have. We are to be light and salt to the world, in the world, but not of the world. That cannot be done if we do not associate with people outside of our church family. May your child be blessed with a wonderful school year.

  2. Lane,

    We do homeschool our children, but what you said is so true. The key to all of this is that parents do what they think is best for their own children, and, as you are doing, stay highly involved in their education.

    Too many homeschooling parents think that is the only way, and though we do homeschool, we know there are other ways, so long long as parents remember that they are to actually “Parent!” God bless your little darling as she starts Kindergarten!

  3. Thanks Adam! I tried so very hard to make sure that homeschooling parents, such as yourself, understand I’m not against homeschooling, but that there are other ways! I know you guys do a great job! Plus, with two educators such as yourselves, they’re in GREAT hands!

  4. Way to go, Lane. We started both our children in Davidson Co. Schools. They seem to be fine, now. I think it was good for them. They did graduate from private schools and went to private schools to college, and had great experiences there, but there are some mighty fine teachers in public schools, too. You will enjoy your involvement in your child’s education.

  5. An interesting post for sure. I have been on both all sides of this issue (homeschooling for nearly 10 years, sending two of our kids to private Christian schools and two to public High Schools). If I were to do it all over again, I would homeschool all the way through for multiple reasons:

    1) It allows more time for you and children.
    2) Its not just about education anymore – the public system has changed (even in the past few years since you and your wife attended) – it is a political tool to drive a very humanistic agenda. That is not to say you can’t raise faithful kids, or that you are wrong in sending them – that is a parental decision that we should all respect.
    3) You can teach to your child’s strengths and focus extra time on their weaknesses. Public education now caters to lowest common denominator.

    When Lot pitched his tents toward Sodom, I don’t think he really understood what environment he was placing his children in – but in our society, the public education system that advances gay rights, abortion, socialism, values clarification and that everyone is right except those that profess a Christian worldview – it requires the utmost diligence by parents.

    We still have a daughter in public high school and have seriously considered making a change. I would love to read a follow up post in 5 or 10 years. It is always nice to measure the academic view from the practical and experiential view.

    Thanks for challenging us to think on this topic.

    Trent

  6. Mrs. Dwina made the point that I have held for a long time. My biggest fear in the “homeschooling movement” are the unintended consequences. First, the Bible was taken out of curriculum, then prayer was blocked in schools, now Christians are leaving in droves. Where will that leave our schools? We talk about one of the drawback of homeschooling is the socialization (meeting different people with different views, not “how many friends does my child have”), but it’s a two way street. How will the rest of society learn how to deal with christians if they are not coming in contact with them until they are in their mid-20’s. There are so few of us as it is…
    I’m with you Lane, I’m not saying homeschooling is bad. For some people it really is the best option. But what are the unintended consequences going to be, not for the child, but for the education system and society?

  7. Lane,
    Thanks for your article.
    Both of my children are in Metro public schools – one in elementary and another in middle school. Both have received an excellent education thus far. Both have made friends with kids significantly outside of our middle-class, Caucasian, conservative Protestant Christian comfort zone. Some of my kids’ friends are from different racial and ethnic groups, socioeconomic classes, and even belief systems (atheistic, Muslim, etc.) – none of which they would have been exposed to had we chosen otherwise.
    Like you and many others, we had significant conversations weighing the costs and benefits of the various educational alternatives. And while I cannot say that we will never change our minds, at present we are reaping the blessing of seeing our kids’ faith come alive to face the challenges of an increasingly diverse society.
    One quick story to illustrate. My 10-year-old son has now formed plans to plant a church that he believes will be accessible to a multi-ethnic region of the world. His vision includes multiple song leaders so that everyone can sing in their own language. In his words, “It might not sound that good to us, but it could be the most beautiful thing in the world to God.”
    Salt and light.

  8. My only advice I try to offer when people approach me about making that monumental decision about school – “What ever you choose will be HARD!” I’ve taught in public school and the issues you and your child will deal with will be hard. I’ve worked 3 part time jobs to send our sons to a private school for 18 months – that was HARD! And for the most part, we have home schooled and this requires sacrifices those who never given it a try will understand. This too is HARD! However, now that we have 2 in college I can say we have no regrets whatsoever about home schooling them most of the way. I am thankful we live in a country where we can choose what we feel is the best option for our families. Each family must weigh the pros and cons and prayfully make a choice. Of course we pray without ceasing for our children as the are educated and beyond. And we should prayerfully support all parents regardless of the educational path they choose for their kids. Best wishes to you guys!

  9. I don’t teach Bible in my public-school classes, but kids who are raised in a culture of Bible study will be fine. I don’t lead prayers in my public-school classes, but kids who are raised in a culture of prayer are still free to pray, and do. When your child carries God with her in the rest of her life, He’ll be there with her at school as well.

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