There are so many choices that we have to make as parents. Some are easy, and some . . . not so much. Sometimes we make the right decision, and sometimes we have to re-evaluate and change our course. One of the decisions my husband and I made for our children is to attend public school.
We have friends with kids in all types of schooling and definitely recognize that public school is not always the best fit for everyone, but, up to this point, it has been a great experience for us and for our kids.
We have three children. They are about to start 4th, 6th, and 7th grades. (Holy cow, typing that sure is a reality check . . . two in middle school!?!) My husband and I are both products of public school, and we had very positive experiences there. When our oldest started kindergarten, we were zoned for a very good public elementary school so the decision was pretty easy for us to send him there.
We have moved twice since our first started kindergarten, so we have been in three different school systems in three different states. Thus, I feel like we have seen a variety of schools. We have worn uniforms and not worn them; we have ridden the bus and not ridden the bus; we have bought school lunches and brought them; we have been involved in the PTA and not been as involved. One of the factors in our house hunting has always been the school district and landing where we would be zoned for a good school.
Our initial reason for choosing public school, knowing that it was a school with a good reputation, was financial. We were not in a place financially where we could justify paying for school when we felt they would receive an equal education in a positive environment for free. (Well, kind of free, might as well be able to take advantage of what we are paying for with our tax dollars anyway.) However, if we felt like it was necessary, we could make some adjustments to choose a different type of education, but, up to this point, public school has proven to be a good fit for us.
Another reason we have stuck with public school is because it has allowed our children to be in an environment that looked a lot like the real world. They have been in classes where they were the minority, and I watched them not think a thing about it. I have seen them befriend children from different countries and backgrounds. This variety has fostered opportunities to talk about what our family believes and how we live that out in the world around us.
Another benefit is that there are programs that public schools offer to assist with learning challenges. I have had friends whose children have benefited from special programs offered by the public school system. We are just now entering the world of school sports and extracurricular activities, but we feel like public school offers a good variety of opportunities, such as music, drama, sports, and academic clubs, etc.
There are some things that I look for when finding a school for my children. Some of those things are strong leadership and good parent involvement. There is a definite difference when a school has strong parental involvement. Each of our schools had an active PTA, but it wasn’t until we moved to Texas that I began serving in leadership roles. I have seen the tremendous positive affect that strong PTA can have. Our PTA has raised money to provide iPads for classrooms and send children on educational field trips, supported and encouraged the teachers with various events, and provided extra activities to promote strong families.
We have also been blessed with some amazing teachers who have helped teach my children not only the academic necessities, but also about character and life skills.
I know that we do know always know where life will lead and what other decisions we will have to make but for now, public school has been a good choice for us. I have no regrets in choosing that for my children.
What questions about public education do you have for Amy? Did you choose public school for your children? What were your reasons?