I Give You Permission: Education
No matter which choice you’ve made, I am positive you’ve been criticized for it. Today’s “I Give You Permission” post is one of the most hotly debated parenting issues, and EVERYONE has an opinion. Today, I’m talking about SCHOOL, and I give you permission to educate your child in the way that is best for them.
Whether you home school, go to public school, private school, online school, a co-op, a charter school, you are doing what works best for your child…and that is all that matters.
(You also have my permission to ignore everyone who is telling you you’re making a mistake, doing it wrong, or messing up your child….The way I see it…If someone speaks to you in a disrespectful way, their opinion is likely not worthy of respect. )
Education is one of those topics that everyone likes to weigh in on….and I mean EVERYONE. From family members, to people at church, grocery store clerks, neighbors, friends….they’re all there to make sure you know whether they agree with you or not. Why the way in which my child learns to read and multiply is anyone’s business is beyond me…Don’t people have their own lives to worry about? You as a parent KNOW your child. You UNDERSTAND your child. As parents, we are able to determine which type of schooling will work best for our child based on their unique learning style, learning preferences, personality, etc. I know and understand that deciding how to educate your child is not a decision you made lightly. You care about your child. You want what is best for your child. You made the decision that worked best for them, and for your family. You made the right choice. (Regardless of what ANYONE else thinks.)
We as parents need to try to block out the negativity from those around us who disagree with the choice we’ve made. (And, it doesn’t matter how we choose, it will always be the “wrong” decision in the eyes of someone..)
My daughter attended a private Christian school for kindergarten. After evaluating her needs and what worked for our family, we decided to pull her out and enroll her in our local public school for first grade. She thrived. Hannah opened up, faced new and interesting challenges, and was able to shine. It was the right decision for her. For us. We were questioned right and left. How could we leave a private school? How dare we make our child adjust to a new school – heaven forbid you change your mind or re-asses a situation!
When our son started preschool, he began to ask to be home-schooled for kindergarten. When some learned of this, they immediately jumped in with their assessment and opinions. But, we wanted to do what was right for HIM. What was right for Hannah, might not be right for Henry. (And, I’m here to say, it is OKAY to choose differently for each of your kids!) I have heard it all. While some have been supportive and understanding, others have made sure to let me know that we were “making a mistake” or that there was only ever a singular choice to be made.
It’s okay to mull it over.
It’s okay to consider your options.
It’s okay to try something, and then change your mind. (Kids are wildly adaptable, and a little change is healthy for the soul!)
It’s okay to stuff socks in your ears and tune out the opinions you’ll undoubtedly hear when you begin to talk about your schooling choices….
Here are some of the comments I’ve heard about our schooling decisions… (and my feelings about them!)
Please tell me you are NOT going to homeschool. I mean,how could you possibly do it with little kids at home? There is no way you could do it. You’d never get anything done.
Wow, thanks for the vote of confidence.
You don’t want your kids to turn out weird do you?
I don’t want them to turn out like YOU.
You’re definitely going to homeschool right? You have your degree, so naturally, you’re going to want to teach your own kids right?
A teaching degree does not determine whether your child is a good candidate for homeschooling, nor does the lack of one. What I chose for a profession has nothing to do with my kids.
You’re a Christian with lots of kids….that makes you a homeschooler right?
Oy. Yeah, and I sew all of my own clothes, run a cooperative garden, and read by a kerosene lantern…Sheesh! Not all Christian families homeschool!
Oh, your kid goes to private school…..What, are you too good for the public education system?
I don’t think anyone is too good for public education. I, and dozens of other teachers I know were/are amazing public educators!
So you want your kid to be one of those stuck-up rich kids huh?
Yes. That’s exactly what I want….(sarcasm)
You’re a public school teacher….how can you decide not to support the public education system?
This doesn’t deserve a response.
WHAT?! You’re giving up private school? How is this going to affect your child? Don’t you know public school will ruin her?
Really? Didn’t YOU go to public school? Don’t MOST people?
How will your child ever learn about her faith if you pull her out of private school?
Hmmm….She has two PARENTS who can share our faith with her, and CHURCH!
Your kid will probably end up smoking and pregnant if you put her in public school.
I do hear that first grade pregnancy is at an all-time high. She’ll probably be on crack by second grade.
I wish I was joking. I’m not. Here’s the thing… People like other people to make the same choices THEY made. We’re insecure. When we see someone else make the same choice we made, it somehow validates us. What people are failing to understand is that what I choose to do with my child’s education is not about them.
I like most parents, will ALWAYS act in the best interest of my child, doing what I believe to be the best decision for them.
Any decision made in the best interest of your child, is the right decision.
You KNOW. You do. Trust yourself. Make the choice that works for your child and your family. I know it can be hard. If you live in a community where everyone makes one choice, and you want to make another, it can be difficult. You can feel pressured. You have to do what works for your kids. As a former teacher and a parent, I one million percent give you permission to choose any type of education that will help your child learn, grow, and succeed. That will look different for every child.
Here are some of the lies/arguments people have with some of the different education choices…(And, I’ll bet you’ve heard some of these…)
Homeschooling Parents May Hear:
- I guess you want your kids to grow up without social skills.
- Are you a crazy hipppie? Communist? Amish?
- Oh, so your kid sits around and watches tv all day?
- Do you actually do any real work with them?
- You’re not a REAL teacher, so how can you possibly be teaching your child?
Homeschooling your child does not mean you live out on the prairie, running through the fields in your bonnet while gathering fresh beans. Home-schooled children are not weird, socially inept, or at a disadvantage. Your child will not lose out on opportunities, or “miss out” on an educational experience. I always told parents that they were the first teacher, and any parent with a willing heart and dedication CAN teach their child. Home-schooling families work hard, put in lots of time and planning, and have many creative and engaging learning opportunities. This is the best path for some kids and families.
Public Schooling Parents May Hear:
- Your child is going to pick up lots of bad habits at public school.
- Public school teachers only care about teaching kids how to take tests.
- There are so many kids in public school classrooms, that basically it’s like your kid is in daycare.
- Public school is inferior to private school. Your kid will be way behind.
Public school is my home away from home. There are MANY schools and teachers around the country that truly care about kids, and are passionate about helping kids learn. Teachers know how to manage large classes,and work around the clock to create dynamic lesson plans and individualized instruction for their students.
Private Schooling Parents May Hear:
- Private school is only for snobby kids.
- Private schools don’t provide a well-rounded education.
- Your child will grow up to exclude people.
Private schools are a wonderful option for many families. Kids are taught the core academic subjects as well as an added faith component. Kids from all walks of life and different faith backgrounds attend private school.
- There will be good and bad teachers at ANY type of school.
- There will be good and bad influences at ANY type of school.
- Kids will work hard and waste time at ANY type of school.
- Kids will be focused/engaged and bored/dis-interested at ANY type of school.
- Testing will exist at ANY type of school.
- Budget and time restraints will affect every type of school.
There are pros and cons to each type of education. That is why it is imperative for parents to simply do what they know is best for THEIR child.
You know. (So trust yourself!)
how your child learns
how your child interacts with others
what components of learning are most important to you
your capacityWhatever you decide, is OKAY. Kids are adaptable. They can roll with your choices. Someone told me something once that really helped….You can make a decision, and then change it. You aren’t stuck with something forever. If you try a schooling option, and it doesn’t work for you, it’s okay to change. It’s okay to choose something for one child, and something different for another. Just make the choice that works for YOU and your kids. Any decision made in the best interest of your child, is the right decision.
Education is YOUR choice. Your choice is VALID. No matter how you are choosing to educate your child, if you are choosing in their best interest, you are right, and you have my permission.