Mondays is my home school morning. Usually an hour or so of phys ed and then an hour or so of creative writing. Its usually 9.00 when we start and lunchtime when we finish so the ‘hour’ is very flexible and we usually end up having so much fun that it runs longer.
Its one of the favourite times of my week. I have gone off ‘teaching’ in a school but I love teaching my own kids and helping them learn.
As part of the creative writing process I got them to start their own blogs (and yes I did coach them on the dangers of being online…) and they have both been getting into it. Ellie has a bit of a flair for writing – although her spelling is a bit ordinary at this stage, while Sam (the science geek) has actually taken to blogging a little more. He’s a genuinely funny little bloke and his blog reflects a bit of his sense of humour. Fortunately he hasn’t started any of his ‘uranus’ jokes yet…, but his ‘about me’ page is a fair take on who he is.
While all of us are enjoying the the home schooling we’re guessing that sooner or later the time will end and they will re-enter mainstream stuff. The question is ‘where’? Danelle and I are both products of state schools (Port Hedland for Danelle and Scarborough for me) so we’re not at all opposed to state education in fact I’d love my kids to be part of a local school. The question of education quality is the big one and I’m not sure if they would be better off being in a private education.
Everyone I know will argue ‘yes’ on this score but I’m not convinced – and I’m not just being objectionable. I think the bigger issue is one of culture and who are kids become as they hang in different social circles. There’s no question that in their teen years kids are heavily influenced by peers and while I’d like to believe that we have much greater influence I’m not sure what kind of teenagers my kids will be…
I just think private education shouldn’t be a foregone conclusion and it seems that it is by and large these days.
Our kids go to public schools. Most of our friends are shocked that we would do such a thing but I think there is more that is learned in school than curriculum. My oldest is a sophomore in high school and my youngest is in 8th grade. We have rich friends and poor friends. White, Hispanic, Asian and black friends. Christian, agnostic, atheist, Buddhist, and Hindu friends. We know smart kids and no so smart kids. Able bodied, physically and mentally handicapped. We’ve seen fights and we’ve worked to reconcile friendships. We invest ourselves as a positive agent in a school district with decades long problems.
Are the getting the best education (math, English, science, art)? Probably not. Do they have access to the finest facilities, latest technologies, and newest curricula? No. Would I exchange all of that for the life lessons we’ve been able to navigate with them? No.
Why do we go there? Because it is the only way we see to *really* make a direct, meaningful, lasting impact. I think it’s called “an incarnational, missional presence”…
Yeah cool Bob. I’m wanting to make sure whatever we do its best for the kids in the longer term so its an interesting qn.
In our part of the world you can be “an incarnational, missional presence” in both spaces no trouble.
I guess you have to define “the longer term” and “best”.
I have a feeling that what you envision as “the best” for your kids ultimately has very little to do with the school they attend.
Both our boys went to state schools. They both turned out better than OK.
I too think being part of the mainstream, even if it is a dissenting/subversive/creative/prophetic part, is preferable to being cocooned in a mono-cultural environment. Mind you, a lot of private schools these days are broad in their engagement with the wider community than they used to be.
Good question. Tough decision.
Your kids will tell you all about it one day!