An Interview With 4 Public School Moms

On Monday I shared with you a veteran homeschooler’s thoughts on educating our children at home.Today, I am excited to continue our back-to-school week with words from four public school moms. These ladies have different stories, live in four different states, and share different perspectives. But they have one common goal. The same goal we all have as mothers: to raise their children to love and obey God.

Whether your kids are in a public or private school, or even at home like mine, I know you will be encouraged!

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1. Have you always sent your children to public school? What are some of the factors that contributed in making that decision?

With our oldest child, we started off with an Online Charter School at home. While the year was a growing experience for both of us, I really struggled with switching from being teacher to mom throughout the day. After much discussion with my husband, we decided that my relationship with Grace as her mom was far more important to us and we put her in school. We reevaluate yearly, to determine what each child needs most. While all 3 of our older kids are in public school right now, we are open to change at anytime. ~Shaunna (5th, 2nd, K5)

Yes, we have always sent our oldest daughter to public school.  She began attending at age 3 1/2, the primary reason being that she could participate in the special education programs offered within the public school system. ~Rachel from This Journey Your Life (3rd)

Yes, we started out with our children in public schools. I was raised in private school, and my husband had several different types of education. Due to our experiences, we both felt led to the public school system. Neither of us, however, have been in that environment so we are proceeding with caution, and are evaluating yearly. ~Kristie (3rd, K5)

Our two oldest children went to public elementary school for a couple of years, then I home schooled all three children for 4 years before putting them all back into public. Some of the factors that played into putting them back in were financial, and my own health problems. ~Becky (10th, 8th, 5th)

2. What are some of the fears and challenges you face and how do you conquer those?

Our fears of sending our kids to public school are the usual. Our kids are being influenced by people other than us.They are learning things about the world without us there. Ultimately, we trust daily that the Lord will protect them. We have learned to be very intentional in the conversations we have with the kids, and try to address topics we know they will face without us. For example, sex is a big topic. We have had this conversation with our two oldest kids in 1st and 2nd grade. Also, daily, we ask them if there was anything they saw or heard at school that they want to know about (cuss words they hear is a topic that comes up quite frequently). ~Shaunna

Having grown up in a Christian home, and having only attended Christian schools for my education, my biggest fear is sending her alone into a secular environment on a daily basis. However, I rest in the fact that the Lord is watching over her and protecting her. ~Rachel

One main challenge we face is making sure that our children seek and form the right type of friendships.We want our children to build relationships, see needs, and be a testimony, but not to the extent that they are pulled away from what is right, and pulled away from our family and faith.We try to conquer that by keeping the communication flowing, and being involved in a great local church! ~Kristie

3. What is the biggest (maybe even most surprising) blessing you have had with your kids in the public school?

It has been a huge blessing to have many many opportunities to talk about God with the kids. We have also been able to see God answer some big prayers for the kids! Last year Grace really wanted a new backpack, but we could not afford one. She decided to pray for some way to get a new one. She won a drawing at school for a backpack full of school supplies! We have also seen answered prayers for new friends at school, and even for patience for kids in their classes who are hard to love. ~Shaunna

I have been blessed at how accommodating and understanding our daughter’s teachers have been of our Biblical beliefs and worldview. Though at this stage in her schooling we haven’t encountered too many incidents which would challenge our faith, there have been a couple of assignments that my husband and I asked for our daughter to opt out of and replace with something else.They were very willing to accommodate our request–no questions asked! ~Rachel

We have loved being able to get involved in the school and the community. ~Kristie

We have been blessed with fantastic teachers–some of whom are Christians! We also have had absolutely no evolution being taught either. The closest we came to that was when one teacher explained that she teaches everything as a theory–even creationism. I’d rather have everything be taught as a theory than to have false teaching being taught as fact. We don’t know if it will always be this way, but so far we have had an excellent experience. ~Becky

4. How do you keep the lines of communication open, so that your kids share about peer pressure, bullying, etc.

My daughter has some challenges in the area of communication, but we keep in constant contact with her teachers/therapists (she has several) as to what takes place at school. ~Rachel

We talk A LOT with our kids about the things they are facing or will face at school. We constantly remind them that there is nothing they can’t ask us. We will even address issues and do role playing so they will know how to handle a situation. We set aside time to go out and talk with just one child at a time so we can have more open conversations about their lives.This creates a more intimate and open time to connect and talk. ~Shaunna

I make sure that I am there when the school bus arrives. I want to be the one at home who hears how the days events unfolded while they are fresh in their minds. We also make it a priority to have dinner as a family every single night. We try to simplify our schedule so our children see that we have time for them and what is important.~Kristie

At the beginning of each year we talk about specific issues, and give some examples. We also, throughout their whole lives, have tried to talk openly and honestly about everything. I try to have some one-on-one conversations with each of the kids every day. I am very vigilant about keeping my eye open for any behavioral changes and then start careful, but purposeful question asking. ~Becky

5. Do you feel like your kids are getting what they need academically in the public school setting?

Yes and No! The school the kids are in has been really good at challenging them in certain areas, especially reading. Math has been a tougher one, though, as the state is implementing new standards. It has not only thrown the kids for a loop, but the teachers as well. We have had do do a lot of extra work at home in math. ~Shaunna

I think there are a few areas that are not being addressed as much: handwriting and some English/grammar/phonics. I do what I can to correct any errors at home. ~Becky

During the last school year, we relocated from the Midwest to the East Coast. Prior to our move I was really questioning if our daughter was being academically challenged. I was helping in the classroom weekly and was not pleased with the daily running of the classroom. When we moved, we really researched the school system, and positioned ourselves in a fantastic district. We are very pleased with our new public school. ~Kristie

Yes, the homework and projects have been academically sound and challenging in most subjects, though I’ve noticed a lack of emphasis on phonics. ~Rachel

6. What is one piece of advice you would give to other public school moms?

Stay involved by participating in as much as you are able to, and keep the lines of communication open with your child’s teacher(s). ~Rachel

Talk, talk, talk to your kids. Care about their homework (especially when they get to high school, where it’s easy to assume they will do all assignments on their own). Make sure that you keep God central in your home. Make sure your kids know that God, the Bible, and the church (both local and universal) are top priorities and the filters in which you will make decisions as they arise. Also, check in with them about topics being taught in each class. We also encourage our kids to be friendly at school, but that their close friendships (going to people’s houses, etc.) will be with kids from church. ~Becky

Be involved. Be very involved in the school, in the classroom, and in your child’s life. God has blessed us with children and they are a precious gift. Be aware and attentive to your child’s needs. ~Kristie

Cover your children daily in prayer! They are going out into a world that is hostile to the gospel. Prepare them to interact with the world in a loving and Godly way and not be afraid of it. And, just be involved! Know and pray for the administration and teachers in the school. Volunteer in their classrooms, know their friends. Have conversations daily where you find out what is going on in their days, and how they handled different situations. Talk, talk, talk and pray, pray, pray, with and for your kids! ~Shaunna

Thank you, Ladies, for your thoughtful answers!

Now it’s your turn to share your stories! Share your experiences, nuggets of wisdom, and words of encouragement! And if you were encouraged by these ladies’ words, please let us know in the comments!

Related posts:

  1. 3 Reasons to Choose Public, Private, and Home School
  2. An Interview With A Veteran Homeschooler (My Mom!)
  3. Is School Killing Our Childrens’ Dreams?

Comments

  1. Steph says:

    I’m so impressed by the intentionality shown by all the moms in this interview. It’s so encouraging to hear about parents who are taking the time to role play with their kids, encourage open communication, etc. I love it!

  2. Jenny Manley says:

    This was so helpful and so encouraging! Shaunna, your intentionality is so beautiful and helpful to me!!

  3. Jan says:

    Thank you for the encouraging words. I have a high schooler that is learning to run to Jesus daily. It is so important for children to learn who the source of wisdom is before they enter the working world.

  4. Stacie Crust says:

    I loved this! My oldest has always been in public school; however this year it was a more difficult decision. We are fortunate to have a great school and families from our church work and attend the school. This was quite encouraging for me. Thank you all for sharing.

  5. Ashley Wells says:

    I was so nervous to put my kids in public school. It has been a great blessing, so far. I still hope to homeschool in the future, but for now this is what works. I picked up a book by recommendation called “Going Public” that I hope to read soon.

  6. Polly says:

    As a Christian family surrounded by homeschooling friends, my husband and I really talked to the Lord about whether or not we were supposed to homeschool. He led us to a wonderful public school. (With 6 young children, private school is not an option.)

    What I have been amazed by is how the Lord has used the teachers and staff at this school to show us His love. Over Christmas break, I had our 6th child, and then contracted a severe case of pneumonia, chest tube surgery and all. While I was in the hospital for 1 1/2 weeks, one of my son’s teachers set up a “child watching” schedule for my husband, who had to deal with me in the hospital, his work, and a newborn at home. At one point, the principal and asst. principal were even watching our children! I was released from the hospital 2 days before Christmas, and as the teachers watched our children, my husband and I were able to stop and get the children’s gifts on the way home. When we arrived home, the teachers had wrapping paper ready to go and we set up our own little workshop. Then, I was able to sit down and enjoy being home with the family for Christmas. The Lord has lavished His love on us through this little school.

    He has also alerted us to problems. I found out there was an older child in my son’s class who scared him. I told the teachers, and my son and I had a chance to talk about how maybe this boy had someone at home who scared him. I told my son to pray for him everytime he was scared of him. He came home the first day saying he had prayed for him 18 times that day. By the end of the year, the mean boy had become very nice to my son and even began to look out for him. When he moved away, my son said he was going to really miss him. Isn’t it neat how the Lord works?

  7. Thanks for doing this post and the interviews! Helpful stuff.

  8. Carrie says:

    Ditto everyone’s comments about intentionality. I know I need to be more intentional as a home school mom.

  9. Kristi Lee says:

    Thanks for sharing, Jo! We’re actually praying about sending Aubrey to a public school next year (it will be her first year in kindergarten, and our new county is reputed to have really good schools), so this is good to read.

  10. Kirsten says:

    Hello,

    I just read this post now, after searching the homeschooling topic online. My husband and I will be sending our kids to public school, but lately have been having the homeschooling discussion and seeing so many great aspects of what that would look like for our family… the topic has come up as our oldest will be going to kindergarten in September.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for sharing this and taking the time to get perspectives from homeschooling moms as well as public school moms. It’s sad to say, but from my own experience and as I’ve been researching this, I have found more judgement in whatever choice I will make rather than the support I was hoping for. Whether it’s judgement from my own family (a large group of home-schoolers who are terrified for my children that I will be sending them to public school and say this means I will not be raising my own children), or judgement from the public schoolers who have misconceptions of what homeschooling is… it seems there are few people able to support those with DIFFERENT choices from their own in this area and understanding that God may lead us each in different directions.

    Anyway, sorry to be long-winded, but I was so blessed and refreshed to find you, someone finding and sharing encouragement from those who have gone down both paths.

    Thank you.

    • Johanna says:

      So glad you find it, and so thankful it was an encouragement ! I, too, have seen (and sometimes felt) the judgmental spirit on both sides of this issue. So thankful that God calls us only to choose what is best for our own family and not other families. We just need grace to be gracious when we are on different paths and still be able to learn from each other.

      I hope your year goes well next year. My oldest will be starting kindergarten as well!

  11. Kirsten says:

    PS. For all those who mentioned ‘Going Public,’ I am currently reading (and loving) it!

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