“I live in a safe area”
-The denial mom
“Trust in our lord”
-Clearly that’s not working for anyone mom
“It could happen anywhere, so we need a new plan”
-Seemingly more and more the realistic mom
“Never letting my children leave the house again”
-Overprotective mom that we all fight off being
Here’s the reality… it can, and does happen anywhere. Shootings don’t happen in the “unsafe” schools. They happen in all types of schools. Your school is not the safe school that it won’t happen in.
Here’s the other problem though…
My husband and I 100% do not want to home-school or send our children to private school. It makes me so sad to even look at the home-school curriculum. And we refuse to spend thousands on a private school- even if we could afford it.
It makes me feel so sick to even know that parents are now put in this horrible situation where they feel the need to think about home-school or private school.
I am a former public school teacher. I am a public school graduate. There are so many reasons that I want our children going to public school:
1. Public Education is made up of fabulous teachers.
I want our children exposed to as many influential adults in their lives as possible. Public school teachers aren’t there for the money.
They are there because they have a passion. A passion for their subject, and/or a passion for teaching- hopefully both.
And guess what? It doesn’t matter the test scores of the school. The rankings don’t matter.
Some of the best teachers out there are the teachers that are at some of the “lower ranking” schools. They work their butts off to do their best. Every single day.
For this exact reason, when we bought our hopefully forever home just now, we didn’t even bother to look at the schools.
People always ask me what school our daughter will go to and if we are moving for the school.
NO. In fact, I’d have to look up what school she’ll go to. The only reason I have any idea is because the real estate listing mentions it at the bottom.
I trust that the teachers at any school she goes to will be great. And I know that we’ll make the best out of any school, and any situation.
Our children will get a great education- no matter where they go.
2. It is what you make of it.
The child going to a free public school, can get the same great education as the child going to private school whose parents are spending thousands of dollars each year.
Parents set expectations. Children have expectations of themselves as a result.
Is your child bored in a class? Ask for extended material. Enroll in high level classes.
Take initiative and learn more. Run with what you are given.
Is your child behind in a class? Ask for help. Teach your child to advocate for their education. Get ideas from the teacher, and help at home.
It doesn’t matter what school they are going to, these are things you might run into. It’s how you move forward that matters.
Education should be a collaborative effort with teachers, parents, and students all at the table.
Parents helping to set the expectations and guidance, teachers to teach and do what they do best, and children to rise to the occasion and make something of what they are given by this phenomenal team effort.
3. Diversity and Culture
We live in a very culturally diverse area. I love that.
I loved teaching in that environment, and I love that our daughter will experience it as well. I have no intention of keeping her home where she wouldn’t experience such a diverse world.
4. Social experiences
I want our children to learn how to interact with other people- adults and peers. I want them talking to more people than just family at home, and a few select friends from a home-school co-op.
They need to learn about the real world in this way. They need to learn how to make friends, and how to spot people that are not true friends.
They need to learn to follow their instincts, help others, and do kind things.
They need to experience what it’s like to not follow the crowd, sit alone, and not always be invited to the party.
They need to learn to include others, and be thoughtful of those around them and how their words and actions affect people.
They need to learn about all of this while under our roof. So we can help them learn how to get through it.
They need to learn how to speak their voice in respectful ways, while standing up for what they believe in. These things happen in social settings.
5. Teamwork & Discussions
One cannot enter the workforce without knowing how to work as a team. You just won’t be successful. It doesn’t matter what your job.
School is where you learn to work as a team. Where’s the teamwork when you are doing home-school? Where are the collaborative projects?
I hated doing team projects in school. But I learned a lot. I learned that my way isn’t always the right way.
I learned that other people work at different paces. I learned that I have a hard time speaking up to my peers about things I dislike.
I learned that my natural tendency is to take over. I learned how to overcome that and work better as a team player rather than just doing it all myself.
Those projects were valuable lessons on some of my weaknesses. It was also eye opening to me as to some of my qualities- work ethic, my expectations of a final product, ability to follow deadlines, etc.
And the discussions! Discussions in a class setting are invaluable. Discussions spark ideas. Ideas spark creativity and scientific thought.
6. Exposure and challenges
I was the girl in high school that would get invited to a party, and I’d ask if there would be alcohol. If there was, I didn’t go.
I learned the hard way that parties involved alcohol. I also knew I was uncomfortable in those settings.
I had a few surprises where I didn’t think there would be alcohol but there were. One time I came home with bloodshot eyes because I walked into a room to meet some friends, and they had a bong lit up that was about 3 feet tall.
It was not pleasant and I left as soon as I could.
Were those experiences fun? No. But I’m so glad I had them.
I was able to draw the line for myself as to what I felt comfortable with. I had been exposed just enough that I wasn’t in total culture shock when I went to college. I could handle myself.
I had my parents to call upon when I was in high school. I didn’t have that in college.
I’m glad I was exposed to things when I was under their roof and their protection. I found my footing and knew how to handle things.
Is it essential that we expose our kids to these things? No. But the reality is that they will be exposed to drugs and alcohol at some point in their lives.
It can happen under your roof, or it can happen when they leave for college. I’d much rather it happen while they are still living at home.
In a school setting you also have to rise to academic challenges- projects that aren’t necessarily your style, learning in environments that may not be your ideal situation and ideal learning style, etc.
You are challenged frequently to step outside your comfort zone and rise to new levels.
Character is built through challenges. Whether it be exposure to alcohol, or dating, academic challenges, or seeing others cheating on tests.
Character is built through facing obstacles. I want our children to face some obstacles.
7. Rules, deadlines, and reality
To be successful in the real world, you need to be able to follow rules, meet deadlines, follow instructions, and do high quality work.
You need to be on time, be able to communicate effectively, and even have practice talking in front of an audience.
You need to be able to give presentations, manage your time well, and get things done efficiently.
Children also need to learn how to dress in a professional manner. Yes I said it.
I’m A-okay with dress codes at schools (as a parent and as a teacher). There is a way to express your style and personality, all while keeping your butt cheeks, cleavage, and belly covered up, not wearing shirts that have profanity on them, and keeping your pants belted where they should be.
Sure these are all things we’d teach on our own at home anyway. But public schools provide an extra place to learn about all of the above. And children have an extra push to manage their time on projects, homework, papers, etc.
8. Who am I to think I can teach everything and do it well?
No offense to the parents that home-school, but teachers are teachers for a reason. Teachers are trained experts in not only their subject, but how to teach!
I was a high school chemistry teacher. I certainly won’t pretend I know how to teach Kindergartners to read, or how to teach calculus.
Could I figure it out? Most of it, sure. Would I be as good as the teachers? Most definitely NOT.
Public Schools Aren’t Perfect…
Public schools are far from perfect. As a teacher I saw that first hand. I’d love for the standardized tests to go away.
I’d love for project based learning to be the reality and not infiltrated with “busy work” requirements.
Elementary schools have far too little time for play.
Class sizes are too large. I taught in a high school with 7 periods, and 35+ students per class. I couldn’t make an impact on every child. It took me far too long to learn all of their names.
And clearly, the shootings are unacceptable. The safety of our children should be the number one priority in this country.
It’s not perfect, but the advantages far outweigh the negatives for us.
So no, I don’t want to live in fear. I know it’s far more likely for our child to die in a car accident than it is for her to die in a school shooting.
I know that we could be at a concert, or at the mall and get shot there. I know those things.
But I also know that school shootings are far too common in the United States.
And so, I’m scared. I have nightmares about this reality that has become our nation. I think we all do as parents.
I have nightmares about not feeling able to put our children into public schools, even though I don’t feel there is another option.
It makes me sick to my stomach that we have to teach active shooter drills.
As a teacher it was just unreal to do these nonsense drills and to think…“should I be a hero and save someone’s child, or go home to my family?” These drills won’t save our lives.
And as a parent, I can’t imagine our daughter’s first year in Kindergarten having to learn something so horrifying.
Such innocent little hearts learning such scary things.
There’s no good answer. There’s no solution right now. I’m sick of hearing thoughts and prayers. I’m sick of moments of silence.
I want to feel like we can send our children to public school- to high school. I want some action so I don’t have to make myself sick worrying about things like this.
I want to be able to feel comfortable sending our children to school. I don’t.
I have even more than these 8 reasons for preferring public school. Yet this one thing is making me so fearful.
In the end, we’ll choose to not live in fear. We’ll choose to send our children to public school.
I hope so much changes in our country by the time they are in school. We have a long, long way to go.