So how did this overprotective homeschooling mom with serious control-freak tendencies end up putting her children in public school?
I’m so glad you asked!
Well, first a bit of background. I went to public school, then a small Christian college, then I student-taught in public schools, taught in Christian schools, homeschooled, sent two children to a Christian school, homeschooled again, sent the kids to a different small Christian school, homeschooled again, and now they’re in public school. Whew!
It may sound like I’m just fickle; but before I had children, I said I would decide what was best for each child, each year. And that’s what I’ve tried to do. One year, I had four children in private school, one preschooler at home, and I homeschooled one son.
I say all of that to let you know that I am not anti- any kind of school. However, for many years I thought public school would not be best for my kids. I believed they could get a better education in private school or at home with me. And, to be honest, I was afraid of the things they might learn — from textbooks that were written from a different worldview and from classmates who aren’t being brought up with similar values and morals.
So how did I end up sending my kids to public school? Well, that story involves some conflict with a private school, a major abuse scandal, my realization of my own limitations, a move across a few states and a teacher-friend. Oh, and some major conviction about not making decisions based on fear.
Through several circumstances I realized that a small private school does not always provide the best education for each child and cannot always meet the needs of every child.
Learning about the abuse of other children who were supposedly in a safe and trusted place, I recognized that no place on earth is safe enough to escape sin. I can over-protect all I want, but I can’t prevent every bad thing from happening to my kids.
While homeschooling all six of my children last semester, I came face-to-face with my own inadequacies and limitations. I was doing the best I could, but I could not teach the way I wanted to and manage the laundry and meals and cleaning. I wasn’t able to do all the hands-on, fun learning activities I really wanted to do with the children. Laundry piled up. Our apartment was a mess. At some point, I realized that I love the theory of homeschooling six children far more than I love the reality of homeschooling six children.
When we moved in January, God brought us to a relatively small town in an area we had lived in before. One of my dearest friends teaches in the closest elementary school. I’m not sure I could have warmed to the idea of sending my little boys to public school if she weren’t teaching there. I believe God provided a rental home in the zone for this school because He knew I’d need a sweet friend there to help put my mind at ease.
But most importantly, God has been teaching me to make decisions from a place of faith, rather than from a place of fear.
Do I trust Him? Do I believe God is big enough? Bigger than public middle school? Do I believe God can protect missionary children in a jungle somewhere but He can’t protect my children in a public school?
Each morning I pray that they will walk closely with God being filled with His Spirit and protected by Him throughout the day. Each morning, I give them to Him. Which is what I should have been doing all along.
Sending them to public school reinforces in my mind and heart what has been true since they were born — God can protect them far better than this overprotective momma ever could. He is in control. And as we follow His leading, we can trust Him — whether He leads us to private school, homeschool or public school.