Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Why We Public School


I think I've mentioned that Cory and I were particularly sickening in our early days of dating. We were smitten. We couldn't even help it. We never fought, we always held hands, I once famously told his mom that his breath never smelled bad.

But the rainbows faded and the unicorns lost their charm one dark night around March, 1998. I was in Ohio, he was Indiana, both of us held a phone to our ear. It was on this unholy day that he dropped a bomb: He wanted me to homeschool our future children.

I wigged.

I cried.

I didn't want to, couldn't possibly. I would. not. do it.

In the span of one long distance phone call (not free, I might add), our armor was officially chinked.

Of course we survived.

Well, we survived in the short-term, then called our wedding off with two weeks to go, then took turns crying our eyes out for the next six months, then got married in six more months.

We survived.

The home school question was tabled for seven years, only to emerge with the arrival of our first child. It was back on the radar and my mind hadn't changed. I had no interest.

But...I was also sort of intrigued. For one thing, it seemed like lots of the best Moms did it.

I liked the theoretical idea of teaching my children myself. (I was pretty sure I could get on board with the practical applications.) I trust me. I know me. I dreamed about classic literature and Erlenmeyer flasks. I imagined art gallery day-trips and world history, alive and breathing. I suspected that my kids would be the super smartest. (I denied the very existence of math. It was my dream world and I made the rules.)

I knew lots of kids who were homeschooled. Fine, I knew a few. But they were all intelligent, charming, and witty.  (None of them wore jumpers, fyi.)

I asked around, read some blogs, toyed with the thought.

My children grew. As they became more and more like little humans, tiny fears sprang up around me, nipping at my ankles. There was probably no way in heck that I could send my babies off to public school at the practically-infant age of 5 or 6. They would learn naughty things on the school bus and their text books would tell them bold-faced lies. I fell deeply in love with the idea of keeping them far, far away from all things bad.

A strange thing started happening though, when homeschoolers began saying things to me like, "Oh, I wouldn't homeschool if I lived in your district." Or, "They'll be fine since they're in the ____ school system."

So I tabled the issue again, basking in the perks of living in "the best" school system around. It was a massive relief, since I really, truly never wanted to take that plunge.

A year or so later, we put our house on the market and I told God I would do it, but I wasn't switching schools.

But He made it clear that we would be switching schools, so I slowly, hesitantly started getting on board.

Before we knew what was happening, our life and our hearts and large chunks of our soul turned inside out. Everything changed. We rubbed our eyes and saw it clearly - we had a calling to Go. Like, really. Go. Put shoes on, go where hurting people are, be their friends. It was the Mother of all epiphanies.

Suddenly, the very thought of homeschooling no longer made sense to us. I still liked it in the sense that I loathed reading logs and tabulating minutes and signing forms and remembering (or forgetting) that Wednesday was show-and-tell. But it no longer made sense that we would be called into the heart of the world around us but keep our kids at home.

The life we had lived up to that point started pinching our toes. We'd grown weary of a Christian culture that kept to itself and feared the lost. We wanted the heck out. We wanted out because God had called us out, and if He called two of us, He called all five of us. There was no minimum height requirement for his purpose.

Let me make it very clear that this is our heart and what God has spoken to us. We have many friends who homeschool with great success and enthusiasm; friends I trust deeply and without reservation. Friends I respect and love. They homeschool for all kinds of reasons and what's best for them and their families is unique to them and God's plan for them. I trust that the Creator of the chihuahua and the chimp can be Lord of both the PTO and the CHA.

Of course doubts wormed in. People warned us about gangs, drug dealers, low test scores, and teachers who might not love Jesus. They worried that we were throwing our kids to the wolves, so every now and then, I heard a quiet howling.

But beautiful things started to happen once we were settled in. We discovered that we had inadvertently landed in the school with the highest poverty level in the area. The former (now retired) principal talked to us about what it means to be in a high poverty school. Here's a sampling: 1) No one cares what kind of shoes your kids wear because many of them have never owned a new pair of shoes. 2) Everyone eats for free, because 96% qualify. 3) Homework is handled differently, because most kids are from low-income working families with little time to assist in the evenings. 4) The majority of kids do not speak English as their first language, and most of their parents speak very little English at all.

“You know, for these students, I just think wow, what a wonderful place to be at, where you can get to know each other just as people. That’s the situation here. They get to know each other for who they are, and not the color of their skin or where they come from. After that, they can go anywhere in the world and be comfortable, and I just think that’s such an important thing.”  - Don Jantzi, former Principal, as quoted in Goshen News

Mr. Jantzi told us how lucky our kids were to be there. We believed him from the start.

Does this plan require more prayer or faith on our behalf? Well, no. It seems like it might, but it doesn't, really. We just have to trust in different ways. The God who holds us holds them, too. He holds them when they're two blocks down the street, eating lunch for free and picking up Spanish on the side. He holds them while Siley and I are doing jail duty or sharing McNuggets with the girl with the tattooed neck and her four little boys.

He holds them now like He's always held them before. We just have to believe it.

If I have learned one thing over the recent years, it's that God is a mover and shaker. I'm not committing to forever here. I won't draw a hard line. I'm not saying our way is the only way or even the best way.

I'm saying that for us, it feels really safe to get a little risky.

And I'm saying it because many of you have assumed that I'm a homeschooler. (Dude, if you saw me helping with homework? You totally wouldn't have to ask.)

86 comments:

  1. (Sorry about the "Anonymous" thing - haven't figured it out. But I'm not anonymous! I'm Elisa)
    Triple love this post, and it spoke to me because I'm a homeschooling parent.
    For me and my kids to "go" I had to pull them out of school.
    Our school is as economically, socially, culturally and racially UNdiversified as you could possibly get. Plus pretty dang entitled. It's a tiny, protected, wool batting kind of world there, and although sweet, not real in the way I want my kids to know the world.
    Our "going" has meant that we've seen and served and felt small and overwhelmed and now we know that we haven't even scratched the surface.
    You've inspired me to keep going. . .

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing this perspective. Viva Going!

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  2. I really loved reading this. What a great perspective! Makes so much sense. I've struggled with the homeschool thing for years too. I always felt called and prayed for years JT would come on board. Then, the year before preschool started, I started hearing different things fromt the Lord (and different attacks from the enemy about me as a mother if I did or didn't homeschool). Still praying about it. Decided to take one year at a time... :)

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  3. we also felt called to pull ours OUT of public school, but girl, i may throw them back in at any minute if He says GO! ;)i love that we are all called in different ways, at different times, for different reasons. Hallelujah?

    and math? what's math?

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  4. LOVE THIS! Big applause for sending them anyway.

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  5. So I'm just gonna go ahead and let you know that I'll be linking to this particular blogpost quite often. I'll let the (5) readers on my blog know that they only have to change the "Low income neighborhood" to "Southeast Asia" and they'll pretty well get my world. We're gonna have to pay for school...no free lunches indeed. But your words put down in black and white what's been swirling in my heart and head recently about what to do with Numero Uno next year and how to explain it to others.

    One day we'll meet (typed as uncreepily as is possible) and I'll tell you how I can make a 3 year old cry about coloring.

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    1. @sharon. Me too (about crying & coloring)!!! And please call me before you make the trip to meet up with Shannan cuz I call shotgun!

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  6. "If He called two of us, He called all five of us. There was no minimum height requirement for his purpose." Loved this.

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  7. PTO and HSA. Dude. Word. :)God really is bigger than the boogey man.

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  8. I remember when I first heard of homeschooling, I asked my Dad (the Pastor) what would happen if we took all the Christians out of school. He looked at me, nodded, and said, "exactly."

    So we public schooled everywhere we moved. All kinds of schools. There is no junior-sized version of the Trinity. Kids get the whole shebang, just like we do. And they're amazing...those 3 will thrive, do doubt.

    Ironically, we homeschool now. So far so good. :)

    PS The first professessing athiest teacher my sister encountered was at Christian college. ?!?!

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  9. Amen! It's funny, my hubby and I JUST had this EXACT conversation late last night. We too have many friends from church who have chosen the homeschool route, and I get that. I really do. But just like I pray for my kids every morning before the bus picks them up-- "May Jesus shine His light through my children and may everyone at school be touched by Jesus when they are around Luke and Leah".... that's my heart. I want my kids to shine their light in the public schools.

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    1. I'm stealing/borrowing/hijacking/using your prayer if you don't mind. LOVE it!

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  10. I am so glad I discovered your blog--I love the way you write, with humor and deep spiritual truth. God bless!! And thanks!

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  11. This shakes me to my core. We currently live in an underperforming/high poverty school district and just had our first child in August. Even though we're a solid 4-6 years away from him entering school, we've been discussing what we should do. This gives us a lot of info to pray over these next few years! Thank you :)

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  12. I love that you said this is the way you both felt God leading you. I homeschool and all I ever here from other ladies is how they just couldn't do it and don't want to. Honestly, we prayed about it for years before we knew for certain this is where God wants us. There was no what I wanted involved. This will be such a huge blessing because you are right where God wants you!

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  13. My kids are in public school too and believe it or not; 90% of their teachers have been dedicated christians. I believe that we need to immerse ourselves in only christian things(books,movies,music,schools) when are we to find lost people to interact with if we seclude ourselves into a christian bubble?! Love your blog! Sara

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  14. Thanks for being real and willing to go. It's an inspiration.

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  15. You have such a gift with words ♥. We as a family are called out to! Into the neighborhood we've been warned about, into the schools without perfect scores...but God is there and He is working! Thanks for sharing your heart♥

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  16. When we unexpectedly sold our picture perfect plot of country living, we searched high and low for our next home. There was one school system I refused to move to. Guess where God plunked us down? Right smack dab in the middle of the podunk little town in Lisa Ling's Heroin in the Heartland (documentary on Oprah Network). My three chickens attend public school here, much to the dismay of friends and family. People make the strangest faces when they find out where we are now. I must admit my pride was battered, but God is beginning to use our family here. I was recently reminded that I prayed continually to be used, to be moved. Funny how what we picture isn't always what God has in mind....
    Thank you for your heart on the page.

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  17. I know this sounds junior high-ish, but dang you are so cool! Loved this post, love your story. God has different plans for everyone, and I am a huge fan of listening and going where the Spirit leads. This totally inspires me to be brave and step out where God is leading, (not with schools, just with some other things in life) despite lack of support from those around us. "...it feels really safe to get a little risky." Right?! There's no where safer than being where He calls us. LOVE that. You rock! :)

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  18. Amen. Hallelujah. I love you.
    You know we're right there with you. Free lunches, hurting kids, lots of opportunities to love and share and give and pray. Sometimes it's almost like feeling through a dark room with your hands out in front, but HE always shines His light to show us where to go next. Praise God for the light!

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  19. Thank you for this! So timely for me. This line, though? Cracking. me. up. "I trust that the Creator of the chihuahua and the chimp can be Lord of both the PTO and the CHA."

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  20. I like this post. A lot.

    We live in a town that is dirt poor too, a welfare town you could say (because it is true). My kids go to school and eat free lunch with everyone else. Yup. They do. I said it for all to hear. We qualify for free lunch too. At first, I didn't want to accept, because you know, I am better than that. Ya. I know. God dealt with me. Don't worry. Now my kids eat the free pizza right along with every other kids and somehow it's ok. God can bless the lousy school pizza too.

    Anyway, it is freeing not to ever worry about what my kids wear to school. It really doesn't matter at all, to anyone. I buy clothes at yard sales and sneakers from Kmart or Walmart or any other place I can get them on sale for ten bucks. My kids get time in school to do homework too and they learn. I pulled my daughter out for one year to get her grounded in reading and I am glad I did. She is at the top of her grade in reading and she has come to love it, but I couldn't homeschool for more than a year. My kids need those other kids and I suspect, those other kids need my kids.

    And when I hear people say that they have taken God out of the public school, I just want to shout "No they haven't!" My kids bring Him in every single day. They tell their friends about Him and some days, they bring their Bible. My daughter tells the kids about creation on the bus. She gets so excited, because those kids never heard In the beginning...

    Anyway, sorry to hijack the comments with a post of my own.
    ~FringeGirl

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    1. I love your response to God not being in public schools!! Love your comment!!

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  21. Once again, I am touched by your writing. I laughed and cried all in one post. Thank you for your authenticity and your heart.

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  22. THANK YOU! THANK YOU for this post! As a mom and a former public school teacher, I can NOT thank you enough for your sincere words and trust in the Lord! Exactly why I began my teaching in inner cities! I am telling you in all my years of experience, kids are kids who just want to be loved and feel a purpose in this world. Don't we all? When you look past the layers of culture, layers of clothes (name-brand or charitable donations), and layers of opportunity you can "see" it there right smack dab in front of you.......Jesus' little lambs! This was one of the greatest blessings I found as a teacher of the early elementary grades... I got to see people each day for WHO THEY REALLY ARE, not what was on the outside. AND LET ME TELL YOU IT ALWAYS RESTORED MY FAITH! "Jesus loves the little children; all the children of the world." As a momma now to school-aged children, I agree with offering them this same blessing! I want them to know all of Jesus' children, not just a secluded group. Does it make me nervous sometimes? Yes, but I put faith in Him! I pray over my children that they may show their light and be there for the lost. I pray for their discernment in their decisions and their open-mindedness to love all people, not necessarily the decisions of all others. Each day of public school is a wonderful opportunity for being immersed in God's creation!

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  23. I really, really love this. And I haven't met a lot of people that share the same views that I do on this subject. Thank you for sharing on it, shannan!

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  24. I really appreciate this post. We're in the la-la land of a perfect school system in a liberal rich college town right now....its nice, but its not going to last. We'll probably be headed to Washington DC and I already feel the weight of our future decision...to live in the city and send our kiddos to "horrible" schools or retreat to the "excellent" schools of Northern Virginia or Maryland. I am so glad that your decision has felt right and even easy. I hope mine will too. But I also wonder what will happen if, when we really look at things, it seems only risky and foolish and dangerous. I pray we have the strength to engage with our community, real engage. I don't want to use my kids as an excuse for not going...but its so easy to do that. Anyways...thanks for the post.

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  25. I feel a lot like you. But then in some ways I see amazing going in homeschooling. Mostly though, I see going to school as one of the most engaging ways to touch the lost. Anyways, I have a strong leaning towards school outside the home, but I want it written in the sky. I want it black and white. Good thing I've got a few years to spare.

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  26. I absolutely love this. I am a public school educator blogging in what feels like a sea of homeschool advocates, and I can tell you one thing for sure--I am called to my profession. Kudos to you for your bravery and for heeding the voice of the Holy Spirit. Your family will be blessed by your decision, as will many others who might not've ever known you.

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  27. OH Shannan. Your post really pulls at my heartstrings today. We have been struggling with this. There have been tears. Every year, I will have to reevaluate. It's different for everyone...for each child... but here, all of my friends have seemed to automatically 'flee' to the private schools in our town, without giving public schools a fighting chance. And the public schools are hurting because of it. We need more Christians to reach out and be a part of things. Dare I say this? People attack this statement. There are more private schools than there are public. We're in a public school. It's a magnet school, so it's academically advanced. We've been delighted with where we are, and it's also a struggle as an overprotective mother, going against the grain of what our friends are doing. The kids there are just PRECIOUS. And they aren't given a chance because they're from a different side of town. We want our children to learn what it's like to be the SALT of the earth. We feel very called to do that. As a result, we're having to closely examine everything. Especially our own hearts. Sometimes it's a real struggle for us, because we feel so 'different' than all of our friends. But we know God is asking that of us. Sometimes, its really hard to take a stand. It's like people get scared, and start attacking, without even giving it a chance. As a wise friend said : There's a LOT to be said about raising your child in a homogeneous environment. Props to you and your choices. Wherever you are in life, and everyone's situation is different, diversity is so so SO important. And I have to keep reminding myself that. Every. Single. Day.

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  28. I am so glad and blessed by your kiddos each day. I know that this school is where I am called to be and it feels so right, so fitting, and such a blessing to be doing God's work at "our School"
    Love this post and your blog!

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  29. I love this entry! We have struggled with the same things...but we are called to stay in the city and expose our children and ourselves to people who aren't just like us!

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  30. I love this entry! We have struggled with the same things...but we are called to stay in the city and expose our children and ourselves to people who aren't just like us!

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  31. I'm a former public school teacher (high school English, 10 years -- woot!) and I never once considered homeschooling my own kids (for one thing, they'd all flunk math). In particular, I'm glad my kids have had the experience of being with mainstreamed kids who are autistic, have down syndrome, Tourette's, and other physical and intellectual challenges. It has made them nicer people, more willing to look past externals to find out what people are like before rushing to judgement and turning away. Having our kids in public school has opened many, many channels of conversation about values, and how we need to act and what being Jesus to the world really means. I think it's critical that kids have a forum to practice making choices while the stakes are low. All the things we try to teach them -- honesty, kindness, purity, resolving conflict constructively -- they've had opportunities to practice in public school. Sometimes it's painful, being nice to people who aren't so nice to you (4th grade girls -- what the heck?) but it's not life-threatening. I know lots of homeschoolers, but most, with one exception, are homeschooling out of fear that their kids will be "contaminated" by public school kids. I prefer to believe public school will build resilience, and compassion, and openness. It lets them practice extending grace to people who are sometimes deeply unlovely (as we all are, from time to time). The only time I considered homschooling was when my littlest one brought home headlice [insert loud gagging noise here], but that's a separate (and very gross) issue.

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    1. I am in love with this: "I think it's critical that kids have a forum to practice making choices while the stakes are low."

      You are so on my page with every single word you wrote. Can we just consider this comment of yours Part II of the story? You said it so well. :)

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    2. You know just like in everything else there are bad apples. Simply put, there are some odd homeschoolers out there. The bubble kids. But please don't assume all homeschool families fail in exposing their kids to the harsh world. Or that you are limiting their exposure to it. We are just in control of when they are exposed. There are some things that they are not mature enough to understand yet. They may not know about homosexuality yet (in due time) but they sure as heck are exposed to poverty and those who don't match what our family mold is. I am raising 3 boys who will one day be young men. I want them to be leaders and I realize that in order for them to be leaders they need to know how to handle themselves in a Godly manner. They get to practice each day what we teach them. I would be failing them if they didn't.

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  32. I always cringe when I see posts like this. Not because of the post itself but because of the comments. I guess as a homeschool mom I get defensive. We probably all feel defensive whether our kids go to public school or homeschool. Our mama bristles raise. No one wants to feel like someone is pointing a finger at them saying your kid is going to be screwed up because they're homeschooled, public schooled, or whatever. Personally I don't care what any one else does or what "method" they think is best. The Lord is sovereign He has a unique plan for each one of our families. For my family it's homeschool for others it's public school and that is awesome. There are lost people all around us that we need to just love on. Whatever He calls us to we need to give it all we got and do it to the best of our ability. I am a flawed Mom living in a flawed world trying to raise flawed children. I know God is big enough to fill in the gaps. So we are all called to GO in different ways and capacities. How else are we to reach this dying world? No judgement here.

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    1. Christy Girl, please don't cringe. From what you share here, we're pretty much on the same page. I would never call someone out for what they do... No one is screwing up here!

      I can't tell you how many "Why We Homeschool" posts I've read. The position I hold seems to be less talked about, at least in the blog world. It seemed like it was time to share. I hope that you get much encouragement from other homeschoolers, just as public schoolers might "get" each other. I hope we can all learn from one another.

      We are so lucky to live in America, where we have these options and choices. God holds all of us.

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    2. Serious blog commenting is like texting...you can't hear the tone. Haha. Oh Shannon I know you were not pointing fingers. You are probably the last blogger on the internet that would point that wordy finger ;)

      I was just saying that sometimes homeschoolers get a bad wrap. Before we started I thought all of them wore long denim skirts. It just goes with the territory. :)

      In a nut shell, yes, I believe we are on the same page. Live out that mission and do it boldly! As moms raising the next generation we have a hefty task. Building each other up is a must. So with that keep on Rockin' it girl!

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    3. For our family, it is beautiful to go together. We can do school stuff as needed but more importantly,while they are young and impressionable, we can model for one another getting our hands dirty and serving. We get out into our community and try to interact with people of all ages and walks as the kids are ready to understand and go. Best of all, we relish the opportunity to talk through all of this together- filling them up with scripture and hopefully solidifying their faith. As we are lead, they will have their share of being on their own and we also hope that this work during their formative years will produce much fruit. We live just down the street from the rough part of town and it blows me away to watch our five year old talk to other children unprompted about faith when we visit the park or when our four year old similarly talks to our retired, sad neighbor. I am a firm believer of "being in the world but not of it" and am excited to see blogs like this one who encourage living this out...even if we go about it in slightly different ways. God knows our family is not perfect, but we want to serve him well. That shared desire is what makes me want to come back to this blog! Hugs .

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  34. I LOOOVE your heart, girl. Because I can see Him there. Go boldly and please continue dragging us along with you ~ kicking & screaming, laughing & crying, rejoicing & mourning, and learning & growing all the way. Truly happy for your kiddos and the village you have found to help raise them, jagged edges and all.

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  35. So thankful that God has changed my view too!

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  36. Seriously? I feel like I am reading about our family / choices!! Thanks for sharing this in such a gracious way. We decided as long as our kiddo was doing well, we'd choose public. For the same reasons you did. (and yes, I agree on the homework!) It's amazing how many Christian teachers have been in our schools. It's been a great experience for us so far- and my husband and I grew up primarily in Christian schools!
    Thanks again!

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  37. Your children are just precious in the picture above! As far as home school/public school, as you have said, the decision is to be made by the parents on which way is best for their family.

    Many blessings to you and your husband as you raise your children in the world. The world does seem to be getting smaller and smaller as the years go by.

    Regards,
    jean

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  38. it all just comes down to we HAVE to do what's right for OUR kids and family - every's choice is right for them. And then sometimes when what we can and want to do are different - we lean and rely on grace and trust that He will make a way for what's right!

    so well said Shannon - I think you ROCK!

    xoTiffany

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  39. I have many opinions (strong ones) about homeschool vs publicschool but I will save it for another day and simply post this:
    "My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is the truth. As you have sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world." Jesus praying for his disciples (his kiddos) John 17:15-18

    I want to parent as Jesus did . . .

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  40. A not-so-little guy named Carlos has pulled me closer and closer to the public school cheering section this year in first grade. I still find myself day dreaming about a Montessori life of learning at home, spontaneous vacations, and sleeping in, but for now, I've been feeling kinda like you do. Thanks for another beautiful post!

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  41. You have me hook, line and sinker now. I am in love with your heart.

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  42. Thanks for having the courage to share your heart. My kids aren't in school yet and I have a degree in education but I have never had the desire to homeschool my children. Maybe it is because I was public schooled and I want my children to experience school the way that I did and have opportunities to learn and grow beside believers and non-believers alike, maybe it is because I feel it will be healthy and beneficial for my children to spend time away from me, maybe it's because as a former public school teacher I know they will be getting a good education and that I will be there in the wings to pick up any pieces, hold them accountable, and clarify/correct anything that comes out in opposition to our faith. I also know for myself that it would be easy as a SAH/WAHM to hide out away from the world and miss opportunites to interact and witness. My mom was always so active in our public schools as we grew up and I saw firsthand the impact she had on teachers, parents, and students alike. I pray that God will use me the same way.

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  43. I didn't read the comments but I love the post! I truly believe that each family has to choose what works best for them. It always bothers me when certain groups think that their way is the only way. We have an only child and homeschooling was never an option for us. We have tried Christian schools, a public school, and a public charter school. My son is a junior in high school now and he is thriving. He attends a Christian school with concurrent classes at a local community college.

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  44. glad to see you got brave. ;)

    thanks for posting, with our oldest gal starting kindergarten next year i appreciate hearing your heart on this matter.

    (auction in 9 days....)

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  45. Well said. There are pros and cons to all kinds of schooling. I too am a big supporter of public school. Keep up the good work :)

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  46. Thank you. I really, really needed to hear this. We public school in a place where most don't for some of the same reasons. My kids are the minority. We love the school. We love the teachers. Our reasons are our reasons, but it started because my daughter was so good at spreading God's love and His message in kindergarten, we wondered why on earth we would keep her away from people who might need to hear it. It started there, everyone has their own reasons. Here I sit... it's harder here. I feel like I have to justify it here. I feel like I need to tell people my kids are okay all the time. Your thoughts were wonderful to hear. Thank you for sharing.

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  47. For me...the only REAL reason I might consider homeschooling is because I am a wimp...in the sense that I will miss my children when they are in school, but I so love your heart. Yes, God calls all of us to be in the world! Just not of it. Thank you so much for your honesty here. Love it.

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  48. As your first grade teacher may I say how very proud of you I am...not because you aren't homeschooling...because I have nothing against that. I am proud of you because you are so very, very real and you relate that to others in an amazingly down to earth way. You make me smile and sometimes you make me cry...but mostly you make me glad to know you are out there sharing.

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    1. And as a parent of three boys who sat in your classroom, may I say that when we pray and we teach and we train, and then we squeeze our eyes shut and tell our children to "go"- it helps immeasurably to have a teacher there who understands our vision, and builds on that theme, so that when they're 14 and taller than both of us, they show us how to "go." FPFG, this might be my favorite post yet, and that's saying something.

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    2. Mrs. George, you cannot say these nice things to me when I'm PMSing! :)

      Thank you so much. (I read your comment to my mom and she got all misty, too.)

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    3. Now I am crying and I am way past PMSing. Thank you both. You got my Friday off to a good start:)

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  49. I love you, Shannan Martin. That is all.

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  50. I SOOOOO needed to read this today. We've done it all ... homeschool, private, public, charter. Right now my twins are in first grade in a charter school with a very diverse population - diverse in culture, economic status, religion, you name it. I love it for so many reasons but we just had an incident where my daughter was treated inappropriately by another student and it's made me want to bring her home and never let her out of my site. It's completely fear-based and comes from a desire to control. This post affirmed so many things in my head and in my heart ... thank you!

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  51. I teach in a a school very similar to your kids - minus the Spanish - (there's just not a lot of racial diversity in our town at all). In two years WeeMan will be going to my school with all "my kids". Don't get me wrong there are days that I think I have to be crazy to not send him somewhere else, but then I look around me and I see "my kids" and I know he needs to be there right in the middle of where we live for him and for them.

    It breaks my heart when at Christmas, I tried to teach about Christmas around the world, but my kiddos didn't know about Jesus and I had to start in the beginning before they could understand traditions from other places. They did Christmas trees and presents from the organizations that help, but they didn't really know why.

    I told my hubby that we'll just have to supplement WeeMan's education with summer home school.

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  52. The public schools would be a sea of darkness if we removed all the little lights...

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    1. "The public schools would be a sea of darkness if we removed all the little lights..."

      I love this. I too live in a high poverty area with free lunchs. We don't have to send our girls there either because their older brother went to a school across town where the kids all have new shoes, fabulous clothes and cell phones even at ages under 10 and they could go there too. But 8 years after our son graduated from that highschool I'm just not interested. I want my girls to go to school with all different types of children because with my girls being asian I didn't want them to be the token asians. They go to school with other asians, hispanics and blacks and kids from varied economic backgrounds just like the real world. There was a mom (I suspect there were probably more) that pulled her children of our little school because she didn't want her children to go to school with so many poor children. I actually feel sorry for her.

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  53. I love public school.
    I love people that realize God doesn't have to stay in your living room. In your church walls. In your heart even. He must be shared. Every day in every way. And your babies are out there ministering. And so are you.

    I am so glad your light is shining in the city.

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  54. This post is awesome. I don't have kids yet, I'm not even married yet, but this is such a BIG issue where I'm from...living in the "Bible Belt". Thank you for always putting things into a Kingdom perspective for me, when it's so easy to get caught up in what everyone thinks. Thank you, thank you.

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  55. This is not meant to be divisive so please don't take it like that--so hard to communicate in type written form when you can't see my face, etc.
    Anyway, I'm a product of Christian school & public school. My kids have been in public school & are now home schooled. I love having them home w/ me & I love the freedom to take a family vacation when everyone else is in school. I love letting them explore what they're truly interested in. I don't think my kids are ready to shine their light. Sure, they're being raised in a Christian home but what if you've got a follower? At this season it works best for us to shine our light as a family. We aren't hunkered down avoiding real life--just being selective about what we do & loving the freedom.
    Blessings!
    amy

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  56. I love that so many of the commentors and YOU have such an open mind on this issue. The longer I live the more I realize people's choices can not be judged; because we never know the whole story of their life, the battles they personally fight, or what GOD may have personally called them to. I see your point in your post, even though I love homeschooling our 6 kids. What a boring world we'd live in IF WE ALL CLONED EACH OTHER!

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  57. love your heart behind this post.....
    we sent our oldest to 7th grade this year...and we are loving all that he is learning OUTSIDE our home about God, himself and others....we welcome all the teaching moments.

    I'm so grateful for the years I've had with him at home...but it is beautiful to see him fly a little!

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  58. Oh girl just found your blog and I'm in love!!!! What a precious post sweet girl God Bless You and your family !!
    We have taken our own leaps of faith and God has carried us through it all !!!

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  59. had to scroll a ways to find this one again, but wanted to come back to say *thank you.* man! the timing when i read this last week was so GOD! we homeschooled our kiddos up to last year.. sent the older ones, kept the little one back. then, this year, all three are public schooling. i had such peace, until i let the "what will all my homeschool friends think of me?" thoughts creep in. and they were creeping in again when i first read this post - and your words, well, they helped chase them out! i'll be the first to say i love homeschoolers. i was one myself growing up - so, having generations of homeschoolers in our fam made it even harder to break the tradition, so to speak. but the one thing the Lord kept bringing me back to was, what was my motive for homeschooling. it couldn't be merely to "protect" my kids - - satan is a clever one that guy. he's after our kids big time and will stop at nothing. God had to open my eyes firsthand to see i was "relying" on methods instead of faith. if we're not saturating our kids with the word of God and giving them a good foundation on which to stand.. they will crumble, whether or not they ever step foot outside our door!

    and that's way more than a simple thank you, like i intended. ;))

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  60. Sue writes:
    Loved this post. God called us into the city almost 30 years ago. Raised 5 kids in city schools for most of the time. Met so many people from so many cultures. A great adventure. Not easy all of the time but that was just kids. I have taught my kids that there are nice kids and mean kids and it doesn't have to do with what culture you are from!
    It was great training for my calling now which is as a therapist doing homebased work with low income families.

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  61. My nephew was home schooled and she's in university right now doing very well. I think that whatever works best for the child is what should be done.

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  62. As a high school teacher at a public school considered safe & conservative in our area, & as a mom who lives & sends their kids to that district your kids used to attend, I can personally say that Christians in public schools are a necessity, even in these "good" public schools. We need Christian teachers & students to be a beacon of light in the war zone of public schools, especially high schools, & not remove themselves from this aspect of society! If every Christian teacher & student went the homeschool route, it would be nightmare - godless schools with little or no morality. I am not saying every Christian needs to teach in a public school or send their kids to public school, but we need to be careful to not look "down" on those Christians who have chosen NOT to homeschool. In my public high school teaching experience, students who were homeschooled ended up being quieter, kept to themselves, & were not confident to be that beacon of light so needed. They were easily swayed to just go with the flow, to not make waves, to remain quiet. The metaphor "deer caught in headlights" is what comes to mind for some of these students. Many of my former homeschooled students did beautifully academically, as I don't think that academics will ever be a problem. I worry for their social & moral development. It is very difficult work for homeschooling parents to prepare their children for the real world. They can be successful, but it takes harder work than some parents are willing to do. I have seen these students not know how to cope when faced with worldy situations or language. It is not the homeschooling that have handicapped these students from knowing how to deal with an unChristian environment. It is an overprotective parenting that has produced 15 year olds who squirm & freak out about minor things. I won't even address how far behind my former homeschooled math students are, as the homeschool curriculum commonly used in this area is about 2 years behind the state's requirements. Instead, I will focus on how unprepared some of the former homeschooled kids were to face the reality of a public high school. And please remember, I teach at one of the "good, safe, highly Christian" public schools. I like the previous comment about how it is safer to let your kids learn in a low stakes environment. I am thankful my kids encountered bad language, adult "humor", and the such at a younger age. Not that I wanted them to know about that stuff, but they were at an age where they came to me, their mom, in their innocence & I was able to teach them MY way & with MY beliefs. My kids are pretty protected in our school district, & I won't even try to compare it to other districts in the area. But being exposed to "small" things when they are young have made it better for them as they deal with "big" things now that they are older. I feel my kids are prepared to deal with outside influences. With a child entering high school, yes I freak out about what she will see & hear & possibly be exposed to, even if I do everything "right" as a parent & not allow her to go places or be with certain people. But I know I have done everything possible to prepare her.

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    1. Are you truly a "beacon of light" when you perceive yourself to be better than others? Do you honestly believe that Christians are the only good, moral people in the world? That is incredibly narrow and sad thinking.

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  63. Still love this post. Thanks for the reminder that operating out of fear no matter how right it may seem is never of The Lord.

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  64. Best School In India
    Saffron public School have you heard of it this school is great. best faculity.

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  65. What a beautiful post with a great message. thanks :)

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  66. This post is so encouraging to me right now! Can I ask what ages your kiddos are?

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    1. They are in grades K, 2, and 4 this year. Glad you found my post and that it encouraged you!

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