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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Comments

Wo Chin Win Ka

Kristen,
I just stumbled onto your site because through my FB account. I read your post and would like to echo the sentiments of the others that there are others of us who struggle with those same questions.
We live in a very good area with access to both Christian and private schools. I and my husband are products of Christian Schools however having been down each path with our own kids first public, then private, and now homeschooling we know that God has reasons for each of these options. I kept the out of private because the private schools in our area are also rather narrow in their thinking and due to my husband's Catholic background and my Protestant we often hear that Catholics are not Christians from many from within that school system. Also there is a strong anti - immigrant viewpoint among our fellow brothers and sisters in our churches in our area. While we value a Christian education we know we have to combat the idea they seem to promote in their church bubble world. And in the public schools there are other challenges but we value the relationships they make with people of different customs and world views. But when your little ones are little we also see them taking home some "group - think" mentalities that not all of our kids are able to decipher as a negative influence.
We value homeschooling but as most homeschoolers wonder "are we doing a better job than a qualified teacher?" is a question to struggle with at times. We have had 2 children (1 graduated with a 3.7 GPA) in a Christian High School. Both are very different students with different bents and they have done well because of the emphasis on personal responsibility we placed on them in the home to do well at whatever task God has given you. We have also at times done some duel enrollment so that they could benefit from our education system in areas we felt inadequate to move them forward. But homeschooling is definitely not for everyone. I have 7 children, one is adopted and we have homeschooled 5 of them. Both my husband and I have done parts of it and at times our children have become more self-directing in their studies. I have worked part time jobs so to help out with the family income and they have continued to learn and develop in their own individual ways and naturally in areas I have been interested I have developed that interest in their lives. I loved music and my daughter is a gifted musician and will soon be learning under the tutelage of college professor in the 8th grade because in 3 years she was no longer able to be taught by her piano lesson teacher. I also am Native American and have a special interest in issues related to Native Americans and had my daughters read books in grade school about the Native American experience. My 16 year old is thinking she will go into Native American studies with her bent in History and Film who knows what she will do with that combination. I am not trying to convince you to homeschool but to expand the way that you consider the choices you have. I don't believe there is only an either/or choice. But one that works for your family. I don't have a teaching background or even college. My husband is an accountant and artist. So he is able to help in the evenings with art lessons and math questions. I love reading, writing and music. So that is where my strengths lie. I hope that you will find what works best for your family and children. One thing I have gotten from my experience with homeschooling that is worth more to me than grades or future career choices is that I know the hearts of my children. I know their strengths and weaknesses and passions. It was like I got an education in who they are when I choose to homeschool that I didn't have with the children that I sent off to school for education. I knew what the teachers told me and often had no idea what they were studying unless they brought it to me which they often don't in high school. But I still value both of the other systems I just know that this works best for us and while there are things they are missing that they could have in those choices I am confident that despite that disadvantage the advantage of having them secure in who they are in our family and in the eyes of God they can conquer those disadvantages when they become older in high school and college and don't have to deal with them in grade school where they are being formed socially in the classroom. One more thing and sorry this has been such a lenthy post. I am involved in the immigrant issue in our town locally and have many friends in the hispanic community and they (my children) are learning first hand because our Hispanic friends and their children sit around our table often for dinner and discuss these issues of justice and the biblical mandate to love our neigbors as ourselves as well as our police department and the racial profiling that goes on for our hispanic brothers and sisters as well as my own children who are singled out because they look Hispanic to a white cop. But to anyone who knows the Native American peoples would recognize them as native and never as Hispanic. Either way it allows us to have first hand knowledge and understanding of racial profiling and how it makes you feel and we don't have to worry about being deported but we have to worry about being pulled over whenever we drive and see a cop heading our way.

Shelley

Kirsten,
You raise the question that all parents ask. "am I ruining my kids?"
I would love to gently remind you that your kids are getting an education that cannot be replicated anywhere. The experience they have living missionally is one that cannot be questioned. Certainly they are getting love and attention, and education is something that they can choose on their own. Pick up a few recommended books and read them with your boys. I bet they will have a wonderful learning and bonding experience with you. You could even start a neighborhood book club if you really wanted to make an exponential impact. (its an idea....)

Fight for better education for impoverished neighborhoods, but don't let the devil tell you that you aren't giving your children a priceless education by living the lives that you live.

As always, praying for you.

Dave Lewis

Kirsten we have struggled w/almost exactly what you are going through. We weighed the option of putting our 2 boys, 6th and 8th graders, in the local public school where we are planting a church, or in a private Christian school. They were both excelling academically before we came here. The school they are now in has tested below the state mandated average for many years, which added to our concern. They have both become active in school sports and extracuricular activities, and although they do not have access to many of the "gifted" classes that would have been afforded them at the private Christian school, they are learning so many other important lessons. With them being enrolled in the nearby middle school, we have gotten to know many kids and families that we probably would not have met otherwise.So is the trade off worth it? For us, it is a resounding YES! God placed us here and he has a plan, not just for me, the church planter, but for my wife and my children as well. I am convinced that the sacrifices we make for His kingdom will be well worth it in the end. I believe your boys will benefit in the same way mine are, as they learn how to minister to their own peers...much more effectively than I probably will.

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