Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.
My oldest child will be entering kindergarten in the fall. I never imagined what a process it would be!
When he was about 2-years-old, I would think, “Time sure is flying, pretty soon he’ll be in kindergarten. I should probably start looking into that in the near-ish future.”
Well, time truly did fly by, and I hadn’t given much thought to kindergarten in the meantime. I just enjoyed my time with him (most of the time!). Then he turned four. It was a little before Christmas and something prompted me to start looking into the different options for kindergarten. Then all of the options flooded my mind with questions. Should we put him in the neighborhood elementary school? Should we homeschool? Should we try for the Christian private school? Is a public charter school where he should go?
Since then, I have done quite a bit of research, and honestly, I am still seeking the Lord about it (though I finally feel like we are gaining some direction on the subject.)
But something that was on my heart through it all was the fact that there seems to be so much judgment from other parents about what you’re going to do with your child when it comes to school. I am sure most don’t mean to be “judge-y” but sometimes it comes across that way. Why can’t we just share our thoughts and experiences without hindering somebody just because they want to do something different than we are doing? What works well for you might not work well for my family and me. And what works for us might not work great for another family.
Some that have their kids in public school mock those that are homeschooling their children. They make comments that their kids won’t be “socialized” or know as much as the kids that go to “real” school. Then there are those that attend private school, and they talk down on public schools, that they aren’t run efficiently and the children won’t be prepared for college. Then there are the charter school parents that often think their specific charter has the best options for academic success. And even homeschool parents who comment that putting your child in school isn’t the best option because they will only be exposed to so many dreadful things or they will become corrupted.
I suppose there could be some truth behind those statements in each of those categories. However, we all need to be mindful that other families are not the same as our family. People somewhat understand this because there simply areso many options for school for our children. But just because there are options doesn’t mean we should look down on each other for a decision we are making about how our child(ren) will be educated.
Parenting is hard enough! We should be supporting each other through each stage of parenthood. Just as it was so extremely difficult being a new mom with a newborn, it was relieving to receive help from somebody who had already been through that season. The same should go for toddlerhood and the preschool age and heading into kindergarten and beyond. We should be coming alongside each other instead of tearing each other down.
Through this “kindergarten hunt” of mine, I received so much support in helping me to make a well-informed decision about where my son will be in the fall. I’ve sat down with mothers who have mapped out different schools with their pros and cons, chatted with others who are excelling in their homeschool journey, and spoke with others whose children are succeeding in private schools as well as public schools. It has been this support that encouraged me that I amseeking the Lord about the best option for my son, and it will be what’s best for ourfamily. And if it’s not, who is to say we can’t reassess and make a change if necessary?
Though sometimes I did feel like some mothers were condescending toward certain options, (some of it was probably just in my own head and my own perception), it was the support that most impacted our journey. It was those mothers that came alongside us and said, “This is what I have found. This is what is working for us during this season. Let me share it with you. But it may look different than what is best for your family.” This really impacted me.
Let’s partner with each other on this parenting journey. It’s hard enough as it is.