Let’s look at the question of sending your kids to public school versus homeschooling them. For many of you, this is a no-brainer. There is not and never has been any other option than sending them to public school. Normal American people send their kids to school. And most send them to government-funded public education buildings.
But for me it’s different. I was raised a very scant minority in the later 80’s but a growing minority into the 90’s, by being homeschooled from 3rd grade on. It was a new thing for our era. Not many did it. But it was my normal. So, after I got married and we started having kids, it was just normal to think I would homeschool our little people. And I did for a couple years.
When we moved to a smaller community a couple years later and continued to homeschool that year, I began to feel like we should maybe put the kids in school. Our oldest was approaching her 3rd grade year. Our middle daughter would be ready for kindergarten. It was a scary thought, homeschooling had been my normal for most of my life. I heard all kinds of scary things about public schools from those that thought homeschooling was THE ONLY way for true Christians. I had no argument, as I hadn’t stepped foot in a classroom since 3rd grade and most of my friends were homeschoolers too.
But the Lord was speaking and we obeyed. We put our kids into one of the rural schools near us. And let me tell you, those were the best parenting years ever. Not because, my kids were now gone all day and I could sit on the couch and eat bonbons (is that too old school cliche?) but because my relationship with my kids began to strengthen in ways that it never would have while homeschooling. Not that homeschooling parents can’t develop and have great relationships with their kids but I was not doing that. For me, after I was teacher for a few hours, I was done with my kids. Go play, go… do something. I. am. done.
But now that someone else was teaching them, I had the energy and the heart to get to know them better. To hear about their day, to know their struggles. We drove the kids to school nearly 20 minutes every morning and then back home 20 minutes every afternoon. Those were some of the most precious times of my life with my kids to this point. Then our lives transitioned. We would no longer be pastoring but my husband would begin to travel full-time in ministry. We had two options – let him go alone or take the kids out of school and go with him. For the sake of the family (and obedience to the Lord), we took the kids out, moved to a tiny apartment back in my hometown and traveled the world, homeschooling our kids for another season.
We are now over seven years into this itinerate life and made a change last year once again. Our oldest daughter finished out her senior year as a homeschooler and we put our two middles back in public school once again. This year, our youngest joins them at the same school for her preschool year. And they are all thriving. WE are thriving (though it was a VERY rough start last year. You can read about it HERE **).
As I have learned about breastfeeding vs. bottle-feeding, SAHM vs. career woman, discipline methods, and all the other stuff that goes with parenting… these are only the methods to get to what truly matters. The true issue is not how your kids get an education but that you are being intentional about building a relationship with them.
**This linked article was written for Her View From Home.