Friday, February 6, 2009

Educate yourself on your children's education

"What did you learn in school today?"

This is a question asked by thousands of parents around our nation around 6pm every single day.

I know when Ethan was in the public school system for 2 years, I asked him that a number of times. But I never really got an answer.

I trusted that the lovely teachers who were spending so much time with him had his best interests in mind, and that he was learning things that any 5 or 6 year old should learn.

But as Ethan was approaching the end of Kindergarten, I had to confront myself with a truth I had been struggling with. Why is someone else doing my job? God gave me and Greg Ethan and Emma as gifts. Gifts that we are to train, to educate, to disciple in such a way that God is ultimately glorified.

At 4 months, do we send our newborn away to a school to learn how to roll over?
At 8 months, do we send our baby away to a school to learn how to crawl or to walk?
At 1 years, do we send our toddler away to a school to learn how to talk?
At 2 years, do we send our little girl to a school to be taught how to go to the potty?

Then what PROGRAMS us to enroll our 4 year olds in Pre-School? By law, we don't have to enroll children into an educational program until they are 6. So why do we start them out at 4? Well everyone else is doing it????

Most people say they need the income of two parents to make ends meet, and that school helps with child care. I'd like to know then, are all these people out of work suddenly pulling their children out of school?

I'm not trying to be condescending. I know some of you reading this have children in a school system outside of your home, and I would hope you know I'm not attacking your parenting ability. I have every right to speak up on this issue, I had a very poor view of home-schooling not that long ago. I read many articles like this one I am writing, and I thought to myself, who are you to judge me? I hope that you are involved in their education outside of the school, and that you are more concerned with the condition of their heart than you are their ability to add and subtract. Just don't trust that the school system knows what is best for your child. You know what is best for them, and we need to ensure that we are just as involved in their training as their teachers are.

At 4 years old, I sent my Ethan into a school with hundreds of strangers to learn how to socialize. Right? Isn't that why we do it? That is what they say Pre-School is for. To learn how to interact with other children and to learn some basic skills in order to be able to function well in Kindergarten. Question: Why would I want hundreds of strangers to teach my son how to behave? Why didn't I just teach him how to behave? When a kid gets in trouble in his teen years, do the parents say, "I'm sorry, he has been running around with me and his dad and, well, I just don't know what has gotten into him." Or do they say, "He's a good kid, he has just gotten in with the wrong crowd."? Where did that wrong crowd come from? Yes, that is right, that crowd is the crowd you asked to teach your Johnny how to behave.

This is hard to swallow for some. Believe me, when I was facing the idea that I would give up a career I had worked so hard to build so that I could be full-time mom and full-time educator, I was confused. I was close to having my schedule opened up to mornings at the gym, lunches with friends, and afternoons of chores before an evening and night of children. Now I would go into weeks, months, years of having my children by my side. Oh my, can you picture the majority of moms at the soccer field screeching in horror as you paint the picture of being expected to tend to your children's needs all day long? I hear moms complain about summer because they will have to deal with their offspring. A snow day to some is exciting because they can sleep in and don't have to be annoyed with getting their children off to school, to others it is a nightmare because they will be the ones expected to entertain their gifts for the day.

I know this seems harsh. Maybe you will read this and become upset with me and never visit my site again. I will say I am sorry if you feel such anger because of my questions or my challenges.

But if you are set on your children receiving an education outside of their home, please, take the time to educate yourself on your child's education. Know what their science books are going to tell them about us coming to life through evolution. Know what their health books are going to tell them about reproduction. Know what their kindergarten reading books are going to teach them about same-sex marriages. Yes, you heard me right.

This will shock you, but my dear reader, anytime now - it could be your 5 year old reading about a young Prince finding himself another fine Prince to have as his husband.

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