I’m Terrified of Public School

The best thing about being a public school teacher when you send your kid to kindergarten is that you know what to expect.

The worst thing about being a public school teacher when you send your kid to kindergarten is that you know what to expect.

In light of recent public school tragedies, I’m terrified of public schools.

Based on peer pressure I know gets stronger every day, I’m terrified of public schools.

Based on the lack of play because of the pressure to perform on standardized tests, I’m terrified of public schools.

Most importantly, based on the lack of Jesus in public schools, I’m terrified of public schools.

But that lack of Jesus is one of the main reasons I’m sending my kid to public school kindergarten anyways.

We chose to keep Cooper at home for the first 5 years and 11 months of his life.  And that was intentional.  Research tells us that 80% of the brain is fully developed BEFORE entering kindergarten.  80%, ya’ll.  As a teacher, I realized that meant that parents were truly the first teachers.

And as a parent, I realized that meant I had to decide how I was going to fill that 80%.  Was it academics? Play? Or something else?

In the end, the decision to keep our son home instead of sending him to formal preschool was a decision made out of conviction.

Because the fact is that I wanted to fill my son’s 80% with what public school wouldn’t fill the other 20% with (despite many Christian teachers who desperately wish they could do more).

I wanted to fill my son’s 80% with what I felt mattered most:  Jesus.

So, from his earliest years, to the last 2 years I’ve been out of the classroom at home with him all day everyday, that’s just what we’ve been doing.

We’ve helped Cooper form the habit of having his own personal Bible and prayer time in the mornings and family devotions at night.  And we’ve had the best conversations about God, eternity and the big–important–questions about life.  Questions that he’ll be challenged with and asked in public schools.

We’ve listened to Bible songs, Christian radio, and worship songs in the car together.  We’ve sung hymns together at nap time.  Because we believe that “meaty” Christian songs–both old and new–are mobile theology for our child.  So, when he is playing legos in his room, and I hear him burst out in a worship song, my heart just melts.  Because, that’s Biblical Truth that he can carry with him in his heart to public schools.

We’ve disciplined him using the Bible as our guidebook.  We’ve shared scriptures with him to help build a strong foundation with him as to why we discipline the way we do.  We’ve intentionally given him the why from God’s Word because we believe it will not return void.  We believe that it’s a light to his paths.  He’s even asks to post some of the verses on his bathroom mirror like we do to read every day.

We’ve looked for hands on ways to serve others in our community.  We’ve trained him to use his eyes to look for needy people and then use his heart and his hands to love and serve those people.  And we’ve counseled him to do those things anonymously, without bragging, and with a humble spirit–so that only God gets the glory.

And while we would’ve done this regardless of our choice about preschool, having him home all the time has given us more time to instill Truth in him and strengthen his foundation.  It’s allowed us to be 100% responsible for the 80% of brain development that is “on us” anyway.  Because my husband and I are the ones that will be held accountable for our son at the end of this life.  Not a preschool teacher.  Not a babysitter.  Not a grandparent.  But us–mom and dad.

So, why?  Why is it so important to us to build a strong foundation built on the Truth of Jesus before he starts kindergarten?

Because I’m terrified of public schools.

Yes, I realize my child could “get more Jesus” (or not…) if we sent him to private school or homeschooled.  But that’s not our heart.   Because when Jesus was faced with where to go, he didn’t choose people just like him to hang out with.  He didn’t choose to just stay home.  He chose to go out and seek out the ones who needed him the most.

So, we’ve sent our baby boy into public schools terrified and excited all in one.

Terrified that he will be met with resistance for his beliefs and pressure to conform to others’ morals.

But excited because we’ve spent the last 5 years and 11 months preparing him for this day and covering him in prayer.  We believe that his strong foundation in Jesus will continue to transform him to be the hands and feet of Jesus in public school.  To reach out and be a friend the lonely kid on the playground, to encourage the sad friend in the corner, and to pray with the hurting kids around him.

In short, we have purposefully wired 80% of his brain to be a light in the public schools mission field.  We are sending him out and have prepared him to GO.

So, GO, sweet boy.

Go and shine your light for Jesus in the darkness like we know you will!  We cannot wait to watch you shine bright for Him!

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