About two weeks before school was to start I moved my sons from the county public school to the private Christian school from which I graduated.
I’d been interested in sending my children to Christian school since my oldest — now a fourth grader — was preparing for kindergarten. But their father (my husband at the time, now deceased) was a product of the public school system and believed the public schools offered greater opportunity. He also didn’t like the high price of a private education. I agreed to try the public schools, influenced by him but also by my own experience of being “different” and not going to the same school as my neighbors and church friends.
We’ve been blessed with good teachers and a pretty good school but last school year I noticed more and more things about the public school that made me reconsider. The thing that pushed me over the top was the powerlessness of the public school. When my son had a conflict with another student, the school told me they were limited in what they could do. It came across to me as apathetic. The emphasis in our public schools is on test scores and funding and equality and fairness and not the student or students’ success. Supposedly all of those things are to add up to successful students, but they don’t.
I contacted my alma mater and was delighted that my middle school math teacher was now the elementary principal. She was tough then and tough now, and I like tough yet loving in a school teacher/administrator.
I applied and put out my fleece, so to speak, that if the doors opened and everything lined up then this is where’d they go. There was potential for things not to go smoothly, so if there were hiccups then maybe God didn’t intend this path for them.
For example, I was concerned that they wouldn’t have a slot for my children, They did, and in fact, they had such a need for fourth grade slots that they had opened up a third class of fourth grade which allowed ample room for Finn.
I was concerned also that Caden may not have been academically where he needed to be to place in the private school first grade. If he didn’t pass the choice would be have him repeat kindergarten (which would have made him a really old kindergardener and pushed his high school graduation further out) or keep him at public school another year and try again for private school in second grade. If that had been the case, then the decision was going to be do I keep Finn at public too or send them to different schools. Well, I didn’t have to worry about it. Caden passed the evaluation just fine.
So then I was concerned about transitioning. Finn, in particular, has a history of anxiety-induced migraines when making major changes and has been known to have a bad attitude about doing things he doesn’t understand or want to do. I prayed for good attitudes and loving teachers and a smooth transition and was amazed! He loved it! He was most excited about getting a locker. I know that made him feel good and “big.” On his first day, he knew several of the children in his class from the Christian preschool years ago, from summer day camp and from church. One girl in his class was even in daycare with Finn as babies! God provided a comfort in old friends at a new place.
They transitioned well to the dress code, which has them dress with no art on their clothing and for the older elementary no athletic shorts. There was some resistance to that but also some excitement about hunting for cool clothes that still met the guidelines. They look so handsome every day and now they actually kinda like dressing nicer.
It occurred to me as we all adjusted to the new school’s culture that what the Christian school offers that the public school doesn’t/didn’t is what used to be in all the public schools but that the government has taken out. When we were “one nation under God” we prayed every morning in school to God, not a moment of silence to pray to a god of your choice or reflect, etc. Children learn the Bible, which is the foundation of our laws. That may be one of the reasons lawlessness runs rampant in our society because schools no longer teach the foundation of our laws.
While taking care of some business in the school office on a few mornings, I’ve had the privilege of hearing my former math teacher/now principal share a math fact over the intercom each morning as she welcomes the children to school. I love it! Little things like that indicate to me that she cares about children’s education and enjoyment of school and learning, and not because she has to, because it’s a job, but because she chooses to. She doesn’t have to share that fact but she chooses to because she wants to; it’s above and beyond.
The attitude and environment of everyone I’ve met at the Christian school is loving and inviting and with students’ best interest in mind, from the principal to the school secretary to the teachers to the librarian. I feel loved-on as a family and know that my children are being loved-on and encouraged all day long.
Caden, who used to bring home yellow or red behavior lights several times a week at public school, brings home a green light every day! Finn who used to argue with me over math homework doesn’t argue near as much.
The Christian school decision, for me, came down to desiring teachers and a school administration who care about the student and the family and not just state standards and the test and getting by, what all schools probably used to be about and what some public schools still try to do but that our government has taken away or drastically limited.