Why I’m not sending my child to public school

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If you haven’t noticed from your newsfeed filled with photos of children standing on front porches holding signs, it’s back-to-school time. On the eve of this monumental event in our own family, with our oldest child entering the formal schooling years tomorrow, I am filled with excitement and apprehension.

Every parent knows that once your child becomes school-aged, you’ll have to make the weighty decision of how you’re going to educate your child. I used to think it was a no-brainer. Kids just always go to public school, right? Unless you’re extremely wealthy, own vacation homes, trust funds, etc. and can afford private school or want your kids to be socially-awkward, have no friends and not know how to function in “real life,” then you homeschool. That’s what I used to think.

I, myself, am a product of public schooling (at least until college), and I loved it (except for middle school…I mean, who really loves middle school). I feel like I received a good, solid school experience and learned what I needed in order to do well at college. I graduated near the top of my high school class, was involved in several extracurricular activities, received scholarships for college, and just generally did well in the public school system.

But, what I remember from school wasn’t so much the education part. I “learned” (crammed) enough to do well on tests, but I can’t for the life of me remember some information I should probably know in my adult life. Maybe it’s due to lack of sleep, mommy-brain, old age…or it could be because of how I was schooled.

Schooling and education these days are now really hot-button topics, kind of like trying to bring up religion or politics in a social setting. Whether it’s about budget cuts, common core, testing, school choice, etc., people all have an opinion.

I believe the educational landscape of today compared to my childhood is drastically different. The opportunities and methods of educating available to a child are so much more diverse now. With public, private, homeschool, virtual schools, charter schools, magnet schools, blended schools (part homeschool, part private school), Montessori schools, the options seem pretty overwhelming for a parent (or at least this parent).

I think it’s safe to say that we, as parents, all want the best for our kids.  Educational needs vary from one child to the next, so while I’m choosing not to send our older daughter to public school, we may very well send our younger one to public school.

We have a highly-rated and highly-acclaimed neighborhood elementary school within a stone’s throw from our house. I can actually hear their announcements on the intercom, so it is a somewhat difficult decision to have to drive across town when I could just easily walk her to school.

As our daughter begins her formal education journey, we are deciding not to send her to public school this year. For us and for this particular child, we want to uniquely tailor her education. We have enrolled her in a blended Classical Christian private school two days a week, are going to Classical Conversations one day, taking her to a Bible Study Fellowship class with me another day, and using our free weekday as a field trip day (which was the catalyst driving this blog), all while working on the next grade level curriculum through the Oklahoma Virtual Preparatory Academy.

Am I crazy? I don’t know, probably. I don’t know what I’m doing, so I’m doing it all!

Here is a list of the top 10 reasons why I’m choosing this education for her:

  1. I want my child to be educated within a Christian worldview.
  2. I want to have more time with my child, especially in her younger years.
  3. I want to have more flexibility of what to teach my child.
  4. I want my child to view her entire world around her as a classroom.
  5. I want to know what my child is learning at school and be actively involved in her education. 
  6. I want to reclaim my own education and learn alongside her.
  7. I want her to be taught using the Classical educational model.
  8. I’m still not ready for her to be in school all day every day.
  9. I want her to get more individualized attention in her schooling.
  10. I want to take her on more field trips!
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