Why We Are Sending Our Kids To Public School

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This week we continue our series featuring posts from three of our pastors' wives describing what influenced their decision for their children's schooling. Last week, Karen Helmer shared why she and Pastor Doug chose to send their kids to a Christian school for their high school years. This week, Krista details why she and Pastor Eric decided to send their kids to public schools for this season. In the final post, Amy will share why she and Pastor Nate have elected to homeschool their children.

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I am one week away from the first day of school and my heart feels like it might explode. My firstborn is entering kindergarten. He’s ready… but am I?

I think about all the sweet memories we’ve shared these past 6 years and can feel the unexpected moments of joy slipping by as a third of his day will now be spent away from home. In seven days he will head off to kindergarten carrying an oversized backpack and a new normal will begin. I am trusting this next season will be joyful and exciting… but for now this momma bird wants to cry. I know there will be many tears in the weeks to come, but for my boy it’s all excitement—except this thing called homework. Don’t even get him started on that. My son will join the youngest tribe of Warriors at Danville Elementary School and as a family we’re excited about what lies ahead… so onto the next season we go, with tissue box in hand.

Sending Our Kids To Public School

I was asked to share a few reasons why Eric and I chose to send our son to our local public school. Honestly, I wish we could chat over a cup of coffee on my porch. Growing up I went to a Christian school K-12th grade, then onto a Christian university. I taught 5th grade at the same Christian school for 4 years. This means 21 years of my life have been rooted in Christian education. I’m no expert on public schools. However, Eric had a very positive experience attending a public school from kindergarten through his senior year. Ultimately public school helped Eric own his faith and was the primary factor that led him to attend a Christian university. We’re not naïve, we are well aware of the potential challenges of public school, but for our family we feel this is the best option.

Here are two reasons why we have chosen public school for our kids:

1. Community Engagement

As a family, we want to be engaged in our community. One way to do that is through the relationships initiated by our kids at school. A big reason we moved to Danville was so we could be invested in a smaller town where the kids on the little league baseball team and others at the park or library, could also be classmates and friends. I’m married to a pastor and most of our life is involved with the church. We also want to be intentional about forming relationships in the community where we live.

2. Preparation For Mission; Not A Missionary 

We’re not sending our son to Danville Elementary to be a miniature missionary, but we are preparing him for mission. It’s a big mission and there will be times when it is hard. He will have to make choices and experience consequences. His convictions will be challenged. We know there will be times that all we will be able to do as parents is pray and affirm our love for him. As a family, we are in this together! We want our children to be strong in their faith, love others, show kindness to all kids, and we want them to live their mission beyond the church walls. One verse that we pray for our son comes from 1 Corinthians 16:13-14, “Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith, be men of courage, be strong. Do everything in love.”   

Making Every Week Count

A lot can happen in a week; am I prepared for this as a parent? Eric and I have always desired to be the biggest influence in our children’s lives and we are committed to that more than ever. In the season ahead there will be more directing and more correcting on what is taught in the classroom and caught in the hallways. As questions come so do conversations. These are the moments to teach our kids what we believe and why we believe it. A few years ago, Eric gave me a jar of marbles. Marbles? Yes, they are called “legacy marbles” and each week I move one marble from jar A to jar B. There are just enough marbles—936 to be exact—to span a child’s life from birth to 18 years old. Each week a marble passes through my hands and into the other jar. This week as I move one more marble from the almost full jar to the next, it’s bittersweet, but I’m counting the weeks so that I can make the weeks count. 610 and counting…