Thursday, April 16, 2009

School Choices

Last summer, I really wanted to put the kids into private school. Some people said that if we just had faith, God would provide a way for my kids to go to the Christian school. Unfortunately, even with the income-based discounts, there was just no way we could come up with the extra money. Wanting something and having faith doesn't make money appear, and it's not like I could just cut other expenses- there was nothing left to cut. In the end, we decided that having electricity and heat was more important than sending the kids to a school that we can't afford ;-)

Now, I am back to wondering what school to send the kids to in the fall. I've been mostly happy with the charter school that they attend. But I'm not so sure that "mostly happy" is good enough. There are some influences there that I would like to avoid. But is there any guarantee that I would avoid those influences in a Christian school? And even if I could, would we just find a new set of problems?

I can scrape together the money for the school this year, but I don't want to spend such a large chunk of money on the school if it isn't really going to make a difference, you know? I know people who say that the school made a big difference in their kids's lives. But how can you measure that? I think the biggest influence is the home that the kids are raised in. But on the other hand, I don't like that the kids go to school and get exposed to things I don't like. decisions, decisions...

Anyone care to weigh in?


amy said...

There are always things that we don't like everywhere. No matter what our kids will learn things that aren't necessarily for their little ears and eyes, it's how we handle it that makes the difference. If we take those things and turn them into opportunities to talk to our children about right and wrong, and why they are right or wrong, then we have done our job. I don't think that it matters what school they go to when it comes to the secular world, it matters what school they go to when it comes to education. If you are not happy with the education they are receiving then you should be looking for another school that would benefit their future.

Liz Nyenhuis said...

From a teacher's perspective (one who has been in MANY different schools), I can attest to the fact that each and every school has it's "problems" and "less than desirable" situations. Sadly, the private schools seem to have as many (or even more) problems than the public/charter schools (remember, that this is at the middle school and high school level, not at the elementary level).

From this Christian's perspective, I think your kids should stay where they are. Even with the less than positive influences that your children are around in a charter school, I think it gives them the best opportunity to win other's for Christ. They it gives them the opportunity to make friends who spend the night on Saturday night and go to church with you on Sunday morning. It gives them the chance to say "Jesus loves you" to a classmate who may feel like nobody likes them.

From this friend's perspective, I think that it doesn't matter where your kids go to school. Your children have many MANY positive role models around them to influence them (their parents being the best and most important). I think that no matter where you send them, they'll be ok.

From a kid's perspective, I think it would be difficult to keep moving from school to school. You moved them from one school to another last year. Then this year to they moved back to the first school. If you move them to the Christian school for next year, what happens if you don't have the money the year after that? Then they have to move again.

From a parent's perspective (I know I don't have children of my own, but this is how I would like to think I would handle the situation if it were me and my children), I would sit down with them (specifically the older two) and ask them their opinion about it. And really LISTEN to their response. Share with them, in their language, your may be surprised and find out that they have no idea what you are talking about. Also, if they aren't around some less than ideal circumstances now, while they have their parents, grandparents, and other positive role models to help them deal with these situations while they are young, what will happen when they get older (and more rebellious)? They won't necessarily go to these positive people for insight and advice, but at least they'll have the memory of how they dealt with something when they were younger (because the situation was there and you, Tony, or another positive role model was there to help guide them through it).

As a person, PRAY ABOUT IT!!! (Which I'm sure you've been doing for a while.)

That's my input...but whatever you decide to do, I know that you will have the best interest of you children in mind. Good luck as you decide.

P.S. I miss you guys!!!

Mara said...

I totally understand this predicament Kendra!! We had *such* a hard time deciding where to send the kids a couple years ago. We were definitely not ok with them going to the public schools, we certainly couldn't afford to send them to a private school, and I had a panic attack thinking about homeschooling for the 25 years (which was what we orignally thought we'd do). We found a charter school and were "mostly happy" with it, but similar to what you mentioned, found there are some influences there that we would like to avoid. And we weren't thrilled with the test scores they were showing. Then we found WMAAA and while it's a little further to drive, the test scores are outstanding, many of the teachers and staff are Christians (so there's a generally good influence around), and we love the incorporation of all the arts. We've been there for 3 years now and we and the kids are very happy with it! Oh, and it is a charter school and free! bonus! =)

It is really such a difficult decision though. I would like to have my kids in a place where they could be that light to others around them like Liz was saying, but I feel like at the age they are, they're so easily influenced that I want to keep them more protected from bad influences until they are older and know why they believe what they believe.