Thursday, July 31, 2008

God's Only Plan?

The following post is a response to what my friend Rachelle wrote. Have you ever started to write a comment and 30 minutes later you are 1/2 way through a mini novel? Yeah, that's why I put it over here instead. Go check out her post first!

Public school for us has been a HUGE positive. I can honestly say, I LOVE my kids school. I am SO glad I listened to God and not my own fears and sent them to PS. It took me nearly a year to let my guard down enough really appreciate the positives though. At first, all I could do was search for the ways it was ruining my kids. All those years of homeschooling had conditioned me to think it was an evil government institution, ready to ruin my children. What I didn't count on was that real living people actually worked there.

There are great kids in the public schools! Oh and yes there are the bad ones, but once you stop fearing "the bad kids" and spend a moment to get to know them, they are just scared and often unloved kids, FULL of God's potential!

I disagree that public school can't be in God's plan for our families. I KNOW his plan contains both public school AND homeschool. I also know we are called to be a light unto the world.

As parents it is our responsibility to educate our children in the way of God. Oh but the lessons they are learning now about God, the lost, and love FAR surpass those I taught them in the safe confines of our homeschool bubble.

My 12 year old daughter has brought 7 unsaved kids to youth group... four of which have become regular attenders, three of them saved. I have no doubt we are well within God's plan.

My kids have learned bad words, heard s*xual comments, been told about evolution, heard the cries of neglected classmates, seen the anger in the fatherless.... They have been teased and had their feelings hurt. With all that we are still VERY happy with PS.

My children have made GOOD friends, but still love the hurting. They are learning to love those who hurt them. They are learning you don't have to agree with the authority, but you do have to respect their position. Even my 5 year old is capable of learning these things and acting as a light to his classroom. Oh, and here is the shocker.. my kids are learning academics! Yes, it's true! The public school can and does teach my children! While my kids are advanced in many areas, they don't know it all, nor do I. Everyone had different gifts. I actually attended my 10 year old's science class on Wednesday's last year, and learned right along with my daughter. Also, my children were far more motivated to do a good job on reports, assignments, etc, because they were publicly recocnized by the school and classmates for a job well done. That was HUGE for us.

Now I say all these things not to say that homeschool is in any way inferior to Public Schooling. It's not, and in some ways it is better. Yet the point here is that there are MANY positives in public school. Your kids CAN thrive... just like in homeschool, they CAN fail. It's all about GOD'S will and purpose for your family.

I spent years miserable in homeschooling, because I inncorectly beleived it was God's ONLY way. I personally beleive if homeschooling is NOT going well for several seasons... I'm not just talking one or two bad months here, but consistently... that you should prayerfully seek a different direction. You MAY be missing out on your family's purpose.

Our kids success has far less to do with where they go to school (or don't), but where they come home to. My kids come home to loving parents who love them AND the Lord with all of our hearts. We are involved, and CONTINUE to teach them what we know. We are nowhere near perfect.. but we know a lot about grace...
Public school hasn't changed any of that. If anything, it's made us stronger. ~Karlie


Chelle said...

It's so encouraging to hear a good report from someone who's made the switch to public school! We have never taken the stance that home schooling is God's only plan for our family...and yet I still find myself fighting several years of fear.

Thank you so much for sharing this. No matter which way we decide, I am learning to release a lot of fear based beliefs...again.

Urban Girl said...

Hey, I'm Rachelle's SIL and fellow blogger (Urban Girl in the Country). What a great encouragement and testimony of what God can do through our kids. It's very cool how your kids a being a light. It supports the point that kids in PS don't have to be sucked into thinking that is taught there (evolution, etc.) Congrats on being a bigger influence on your kids lives than their school is. :)

Anonymous said...

You know my stance. You need to do what you need to do. I have home schooled and public schooled. Each has their own gives and takes.
When it was November of my daughters fourth year in public school and I realized we had the most deadbeat teacher on the planet. We knew it was time to pull her out. When we moved to another district and heard such wonderful things about the middle school. I was time to give it a try. It is never without a lot of soul searching.
In Karly's case, she waited until her children were strong enough to withstand the bad affects of public school (and it helps when you live in a population of 17,000)
Even her youngest has leaarned so much from the older children that he too is strong.
That is the sign that your children are really learning things. The moment they take what they have learned and teach someone else those things. Keep up the good work Karlie!

Lainie Crabb

Becky said...

Well stated, Karlie! (I have a vague recollection of wading in on this very topic back when you made the switch with your kids. It seems I, too, wrote a small novella.

I would second what you said, adding that we as believers are called to be Salt and Light in our communities. To not let our light be hidden, but to shine like a city on a hill. Sadly, there are many older communities that go downhill fast because the "salt and light" pull out of certain areas of town. That's why there are often vacant churches in run-down parts of town.

With our older son (and my teacher/administrator husband) in the public schools, we have seen our fair share of 'problems'. We, too, have dealt with evolutionary teaching, liberal 'values' being shoved down our throats, certain people hostile to Christian values, etc.), but it's also been enormously positive on the whole.

We've met a lot of wonderful people, and had opportunities to witness to others, and as part of a "Moms in Touch" group for about a year, we met weekly and prayed regularly for our local public schools, teachers, staff and students, specific things going on, etc....and in spite of being PUBLIC schools...we saw incredible things happen. God things. Like the adaptation of a MAX LUCADO children's story made into a play (put on by public school children) that gave the Gospel straight out, the Principal siding in favor of the God-fearing parents with regard to keeping certain books with witchcraft themes out of the school library...and tons of other things that only the Lord could have orchestrated...using His strategic placements in that environment...US! As a teacher, my husband always appreciated the Christian parents offering prayer support and encouragement...(it can get pretty rough in the trenches and a the front lines of the war being waged for our children's souls!)

I believe that having Christian families involved in the public schools as room moms, students, parent volunteers, staff, teachers, and T.A's, etc.), play a huge part in preventing those areas, particularly older and economically depressed areas, from becoming total cesspools.

It also provides our children with very important opportunities to share their faith with others who might never have heard otherwise (putting feet to our children's blossoming faith). My older son has had AMAZING conversations about the Lord with other children on the playground and over lunch through the years, and is bold in standing for what is right...which has been helped from having had 'on the job training'.

We live in a sizeable city in Southern California, and have seen or heard about it all...gangs, bullies, drugs, homosexual parents (two moms) pre-teen pregnancy, suicide, alcohol related accidents and sexual name it. But rather than recoil and hide our children away, we use those times as HUGE teaching opportunities to explain to our son how we as believers should rightly respond.

Our son is only 12, and handles himself VERY well where standing for what is right is concerned. We are very 'frank' about things in our home. While we were cautious about discussing sexual situations until more recently (feeling it was too heavy a topic for him as a younger kid) we now just address every issue that crops up as we hear of it, talking it through, praying about it, and then ask what our son thinks he should do about that situation...and are amazed to find that he's usually dead-on with the appropriate Christian response.

I can see how it would be a fearful thing making the switch...but the best antidote for that is to just be proactively involved. "Moms In Touch" is a great way, as is just being a regular volunteer (while they are in Elementary in particular). I also can't stress enough the importance of welcoming your children's friends in your home...being the "Kool-Aid Mom", making your home a welcoming environment. I have found that my sons (and nephew's and niece's) friends LOVED hanging out at our house because I would listen to them, advise them, encourage husband, too. Also, because many of these kids are fatherless, having my husband play catch or throw footballs out front was HUGE. It brought out kids we didn't even know lived in our neighborhood. As a result, we've had lots of opportunities to invite them to church, Awana, VBS, etc., and have see a few get saved.

My siblings and I spent the majority of our school years in Public Schools, and saw several friends come to Christ over the years, and were influential in helping a couple of other friends to get out of horribly abusive situations that they thought was normal and just put up with.

There is just so much ministry potential for the serious Christian just by being involved in the Public Schools...I can't reccomend it enough.

Yes, it's an exercize in trust, and you have to be vigilant, always keeping your eyes and ears open and then addressing issues of concern...but how better to provide our children with 'practice' for sharing their faith,so that when they are older they will have no qualms at all about standing boldly for our Lord?

Halfmoon Girl said...

Great post. We have had a very similar experience to your family's. You expressed your thoughts very well here! I agree with what you had to say- our children have had more opportunities to be lights since they went to public school, and for sure, our daughter was more motivated and happier in her work. There were many positives. I still fight some fears though, but I fought doubt when I homeschooled too.

Kimmie said...

Hi Karlie;

So glad that God is blessing you with his peace and giving you wisdom in how to train them in the way they are to go.

Your children are on the right road, yeah!

mama to 6
one homemade and 5 adopted

Anonymous said...

Whether homeschooling is God's only way I can't speak to. He doesn't really speak directly to it in the bible. Some would say he infers we should public school e.g. "our kids should be salt and light.". Some would say He infers we should homeschool saying something to the effect of "God created families to raise children, not the U.S. Government.". However, since he does not speak to this issue directly I believe it is a matter of conscience. We should not judge or allow ourselves to be judged by our decision in this matter. That having been said, my family homeschools. I suppose the main reason is that I am a very jealous Dad. I just do not want to compete with anyone as the primary influence of my kids. Some may be offended and say that you can public school and still be the primary influence over you kids. Probably true, but I know it was not true for me. I cared far more what my friends thought of me then my parents. Maybe that has to do with me or my parents less then the public school, I don't know but I'm not going to experiment to find out. I do want my kids to be a light in the world, but I also no for every Christian kid I hear who has influenced a friend to the good I hear at least one Christian kid who has been influenced to the bad. However I supposed both sides of this argument have their on personal stories. In the end I hope to send my kids out into the world after they have their habits established. Then I will have the satisfaction of knowing that almost all of their bad habits came from me...yippie. So for now I will try to walk the fine line of not playing the Holy Spirit to other peoples consciences and being a cheerleader for homeschooling.

His Girl said...

amen, sistah!

Gayle @ thewestiecrew said...

The bottom line is that each family is different and God's plan isn't cookie cutter.