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Jun 02

School Daze

Summer break from school started yesterday here in our little town. We have completed all of the end-of-school activities, including a third grade music program about a regular ol’ day at school and a fifth grade music program about the joys and adventure of reading.

There have been field trips to the Fire Safety Village, track and field day, an all-day read-a-thon, and a couple of days to honor our principle who is retiring this year. One day the kids all wore ties to school, and then the next day all of the students created their own version of a mustache to wear to school in his honor.

There has been a great deal of discussion far and wide for many years about whether or not Christian families could or should stay involved in public education. I remember when my older children were still in school, the discussions about whether to have our children in private school, home school, or public school reached a fever pitch. Often times those conversations generated much more heat than light, and I remained confused as to what was best for my children.

When we read about or hear about some of the stories coming out of public schools, we shudder to think that our children are being taught values that are completely at odds with those our family holds close to our hearts. We are fearful of the influence that will come into the life of our family through contact with other students who will expose our children to ideas, language, and behavior that we deem inappropriate at best, and perhaps even dangerous.

We realize that all education in a public school will be presented from a secular, worldly, materialistic perspective. And it is becoming increasing apparent that, in some places, even history is being re-written so that it is “politically correct.” All of that creates a situation that can be extremely stressful for parents!

In our family, there are teachers in both public and private schools; families whose children have attended both public and private schools and been exceptionally successful; families who have chosen to home school with excellent results; and families who have experienced the heartbreak of a child making dangerous choices, whether they went to public, private, or home schools.

I have concluded that each family must decide what God has called them to do for their own situation. Here in our rural community in the heart of Indiana’s conservative farmland, we have discovered that most of our children’s teachers, administrators, coaches, janitors share our values and our faith. They are daily caring for our children with gentleness and kindness, and yet with the discipline that makes school a fun and safe place to be. Our girls love their school!

As I drive the girls to school each morning, we travel around a lake and through fields planted with corn and soy beans. This is one of those areas of America where the farmer works from sun-up to long after darkness steals over the horizon and the fireflies flit among the corn stalks. In the pasture beside the school playground the cows are grazing peacefully and the dogs race around, barking at the kids to get their attention. The neighbors all shout “Hey!” as we walk down the road, and ask us what the girls will be doing this summer.

I know it’s not like that everywhere. But here in our little corner of a cornfield, we love our public school, we love our teachers, and we are truly grateful that God has brought us to this community. We feel safe and embraced; our children are connected with other adults through our church and school and know that there is always someone around who loves them.

As this school year ends and we contemplate the prospect of middle school in the fall, this mama’s heart struggles with a bit of anxiety about what is next, but with God’s guidance we will make the right choice for our little girls. Each child is different, each school and community is different, every parent must do what they believe God has called them to do, and I am so grateful that we can all support and encourage one another, no matter what choice God has put on our hearts. Have a blessed, joyful, and safe summer!

All photos used by permission and attribution to www.freedigitalphotos.net

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