I know this is a hugely personally discussion for some, so I want to just go on record in saying that below are my personal reasons for selecting public school for my kids. This is in no way meant to be a definitive post, but I do hope it serves as a contribution to the discussion.
A little background on me. I went to a public school. My wife went to a public school. My wife is a licensed teacher (currently a stay-at-home mom) and desires to teach in the public school system. This background has obviously impacted our decision to send our kids to public school.
For us, though, the decision has everything to do with the great commission. We are commissioned by Jesus himself to go into all the world and make disciples. This commission does not start when we graduate high school, but starts when we choose to follow Christ. For my children, I pray that that decision is made before they are actually old enough to go to school. My oldest son started kindergarten last Monday and I can say that he has made that decision and I believe he is walking it out.
We want to encourage our children, even at a young age, to walk out their faith even when the world may not be receptive to it. I know this means they will be exposed to things we would like to shelter them from. It is not a risk, it is a guarantee. It means that my wife and I will be forced to have tough discussions with each other and with our children. But we have resolved the the value of sending our little light into the darkness of his school is worth it. We believe that the darker the night, the brighter the light shines. Our goal is to help his little light burn as brightly as possible in the time we have with him.
We also know that by choosing public school for our kids, it means we must be even more intentional about our mission to train up our children in the way they should go. We cannot rely on the schools to do this for us and we are limited in our time to do so. I find encouragement in the life of Jochebed, the mother of Moses. Given only the breastfeeding years to train up her son, she was able to guide and instruct a young man who would serve God faithfully in the midst of the darkness of Egypt and in the discouragement of the desert.
Having our children in public school also creates opportunities for us to be an active part of our community. Having one child in the public school has allowed us to meet many kids that we would never be given the opportunity to meet otherwise. We also get to meet their parents, which has been absolutely wonderful for us. I honestly feel that this has been a bigger blessing to us than we have been able to be.
Lastly, we better understand the lives of our church people. We better understand the hectic schedules that rule their lives and the workload that often weighs them down. We are better positioned to understand their position, serve them, and also to set an example for them. We look forward to joining them at school events and amplifying the light of Christ we are shining.
I agree that some of the above could be achieved in a private school setting or a homeschool setting, but my wife and I have determined that these are best achieved in our home through the public school. I’m curious, how have you chosen to approach your children’s education and why? Sound off in the comments!