Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Micah has been on my heart a lot this week. More than normal, I guess you could say. I realize that this time next year, he will be entering Kindergarten. I have been going back and forth about this in my heart for the past few weeks. Homeschool, Christian school, or public school? I was raised in Christian school from preschool through 10th grade. I really loved it. It was what I needed: small class sizes, teachers who cared, Godly instruction, etc. When I went to a larger public school (in high school) I felt lost, invisible, over-crowded, and I struggled inside. Maybe it would have been easier on me if I would have been in public school sooner, but I still think that the smaller schools suited my personality better. Martin is a successful product of public schools. He had a great experience, made Christian friends, and made good choices. Both options worked for each of us individually.
I am not one who believes in "sheltering" my child from the world or having them live in a Christian bubble (not that all homeschoolers believe that, because I know many who do not do it for that reason). I do see the advantage of homeschooling. I also see some disadvantages not only for myself, but for Micah (I won't go into all that at this point, but there are a few main reasons I do not want to pursue this option for us).
I love his little private preschool right now because he is in a safe environment, learning about the Lord, and in a class with 9 other kids who are (for the most part) really good influences. How I wish he could just stay there forever. However, the Christian schools in our area (above preschool) are all $600-$800 a month. That option is pretty much OUT.
We did happen to move into an area which supposedly has one of the best elementary schools in the entire area. People praise it because it is "small" (500 kids vs. 800) and has great test scores. Those things aren't the most important factors to me. All I really want is a school where my child will be safe (in all senses of the word). When I walk by there and see 200 kids on the playground at one time with the teachers huddled in the corner, "safe" is not what comes to mind. The other kids are what I worry about - kids exposed to things that Micah has no idea about, kids who may make fun of him, but also kids who need Jesus and may be able to see Him in my son. Micah is not like a lot of other 4 year olds. He is especially sensitive, he is what some kids might call "different" because he is quiet and introverted, and can easily be overlooked. He bottles his emotions inside and can get hurt very badly and not let on until hours later when he explodes. He gets overwhelmed in large groups and they stress him out. I can already picture going to school just completely stressing him out.
So how do we make this decision? I mean, the cheapest, easy decision would be option #3. But that is not settled in my heart yet. Quite the opposite, my heart is fighting it. Today I thought, "wouldn't it be great to find a homeschool 'group' where I could pay for someone to teach my child in a homeschool environment, where he'd be surrounded by 10-20 kids each day?" Honestly, I would like that option. For now, we just pray and wait. I am taking walks by this school each week, praying as I walk.
How have you made this decision for your family?