Back in the day, I had a whole lot of educational philosophy that was one hundred percent correct and better than your educational philosophy. Or your neighbor’s. Or your mom’s.
I was on the ball.
It was a philosophy that was developed over the course of a few short seasons. It was grounded in the foundation of “Homeschooling Is For Crazy People”. And then it was fleshed out with a few more other well-informed diatribes about educational choices and a functional society and some other stuff I can’t remember now.
Facts and opinions. Truth and feelings. You know how all that can get tumbled around, right? And what comes out the other side seems to be solid. Until it’s not.
We kicked off our schooling journeys with our oldest child in a top notch private Christian school. She enjoyed it, had wonderful teachers, a loving community.
But here comes the part that may not be immediately obvious.
Private education of any stripe is, uh, expensive. As in, very. And because my particular educational theory required that top notch designation, the price tag reflected that curriculum couture. Which was then reflected in a bank account that couldn’t take the pressure.
Okay, so we regrouped. Checked out the local public elementary school. Found that it was a good place, nice people, sweet kids, involved families. And already paid for by our property taxes.
We made the Big Switch.
For two years.
Two very good years.
My daughter Madison enjoyed the traditional classroom very much. Was supported and loved. Learned a lot.
And asked to come home to school for her third grade year so she could focus more on dance.
No, no, no. Wait. Remember? Homeschooling Is For Crazy People. It was the cornerstone of my educational philosophy. An educational philosophy that had already taken a philosophical hit when we transitioned from the private schooling model to the public one.
But sure enough, the fall of Madison’s third grade year, we made another Big Switch.
And stayed that course until she began attending the University of Texas.
Unintentional career homeschoolers.
So here’s the takeaway, a couple of decades in the making.
It’s all good.
I’ve been there, I still talk to so many parents, who have a misplaced school pride. The education they are providing their child is so much better than those a) private schoolers, b) public schoolers, or c) homeschoolers. Take your pick.
Or, there are those who have school shame because they think that one of the choices above is superior and they can’t provide it right now. They wish they could afford that gilded private Christian education. Or they desperately wish they could homeschool, but health or work or life situation has rendered that a non-option. Or they wish they could be in that ‘other’ school district, with its reported better public education platform, but housing prices strike that an impossibility.
Here’s the deal. My homeschoolers are no better or smarter than your public school kids. Your public school kids are no better socialized than my non-public school ones. Your private school kids are no more spiritual than your Christian neighbor’s public school ones. And you are no more a better parent or a worse one for the educational choices you’re making for your kids.
Stop the school pride. That’s my new educational philosophy. We’re all swimming upstream together, making the best of our life situation and calling and season. We love our kids. We’re making sure they are equipped. That’s something to be proud of. Not where that equipping is taking place. Stop the school shame. That’s the other prong of my new educational philosophy. There’s no reason to beat yourself up because you think your education choices for your kids don’t measure up. Regardless of where they spend their classroom days, let’s read to our kids. Help them with their math. Nurture their curiosity. Take them to see great art. Play a little Beethoven.
Let them learn. Let them learn how to learn.
And let’s call it good and link arms as part of the same team.