Monday, October 6, 2008

Backpack Armor

As a follow up to my last post, I have learned that the situation in which my daughter learned such a lovely new word was not in fact at school. It was in a situation outside of school with some neighborhood kids. That whole situation segues nicely with what I am about to discuss....

Last summer when my kids were at Vacation Bible School, my daughter came home and asked me if the schools in Virginia were among the worst in the country. I about choked. I asked her why she would ask that. She told me that one of the little girls in her VBS class mentioned that she was being homeschooled because her Dad said that Virginia was among the worst schools in the country. SIGH... Oh that SIGH wasn't loud enough for you...let me SIGH a little LOUDER. My reply, "No sweetie, you are fortunate to live in a part of the country and in a part of the state with some of the TOP public schools in the nation." Umm. Mister, thanks for nothing. And you shouldn't tell your kids fibs like that.

Here's a newsflash folks. I am a born again Christian, and, gasp, I don't homeschool. And I don't intend to. Ever.

Why?

Because that isn't where the Lord wants my kids.

And He has made that abundantly clear to us. What about private school? Nope. We've paid money and enrolled them them in a private a Christian school before only to have Him slam that door on us making it clear that HE wants my kids right here. Right now. Where they are. In our local PUBLIC elementary school.

I have never, ever been led to homeschool. I am fascinated with those of you who do, and I applaud you for heeding the call to do it. Your curriculum is rich and interesting and you don't have to deal with all the admin/behavior issues of a class with 25 differing personalities and backgrounds. And, most importantly, you are doing what is right for YOU and YOUR family. But as a friend of mine from church who lives in my neighborhood and actually does homeschool has reminded me over the years, WE CAN'T TAKE ALL THE LIGHT OUT OF THE SCHOOLS, and she is right. My kids are a light, and my daughter is sensitive to the fact that not everyone believes the same things we do. Even at a young age, it saddens her sometimes that not everyone knows Jesus in a real and personal way...including members of our own family. She gets it. She is 8, and she gets it. That is why HE wants HER in the public school. And there is one thing I am sure of, she will be used in a mighty way one day to witness to her friends.

So what do I do to protect them from a world that celebrates Halloween like a national holiday but doesn't allow us to acknowlege Christmas in our public schools?

We pray every.single.day.before they leave the house for school. We pray together as a family for a veil of protection over them, the school, and the teachers. We pray that He will roam the hallways even though He's technically not allowed to. (Ha! He is God. He's roaming those hallways even though the government says He can't.) We give thanks for the wonderful teachers we have and their willingness to not only work with these kids but with the parents around here who are highly educated and expect alot. We pray that the kids' eyes and ears will be closed to the things He doesn't want them to hear and opened to the things He does want them to hear (I guess I better start praying over play dates as well, as a result of , ahem, last week's little situation) And you know what? The Lord honors those prayers.

You know what else we do? We put Jesus in their backpacks.

Yup.

Both my kids went to a Christian pre-school where one of the songs they sang everyday was "Rise and Shine and Give God the Glory Glory. Rise and shine..." In the transition to public school kindergarten my son came home singing, "Rise and Shine, and say good morning to my friends" or something along those lines and didn't understand why the words had changed. I explained to him that you aren't allowed to use the words "God" and "Jesus" at school.

"But why, Mommy?"

Sigh.

"It's hard to explain, Buddy, but you know what, you can take Jesus with you to school anyway."

"How, Mommy?"

"Let's just put Him in your backpack. " And without blinking an eye, we pretended we were putting Jesus in his backpack.

The next day, I heard him packing his snack bag and folder in his backpack. And the last thing he said was, "OK, Jesus, it's time for you to get in there."

My heart just melted.

Oh how I want to keep them in a bubble forever. But alas I can't. So all I can do is give them the armor....

11Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. Ephesisans 6:11

and leave the rest to Him.

I don't know where you are spiritually, but pray over your kids. Everyday. You'll see a difference in your life and theirs.


Note: Please know that this post isn't meant as an indictment on homeschooling. No way, no how. My point is that all of us need to do what is right for our own families, but most importantly, we need to be praying over our kids no matter what we do.


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70 Comments:

oº˚ Queen Bee ˚ºo said...

The Lord as led me to Homeschool my kids. I have prayed and prayed about it and this is where he wants us. Thanks for sharing

Much Love
Anissa

Sharon (sk) said...

I hear ya! Even though we homeschool I still get the flip side of that coin... Why do you homeschool? When are they ever going to go to 'real' school (that one really chaps my butt) and I have the same answer you do... this is where God has us... this is the path he has MY family on. I don't know what he has designed for my girls 20 years down the road, but I know if I'm obedient to Him then they will have the tools needed to discover it. We take it year by year and pray over it endlessly. God will honor all of your hard work as a momma... just walk in faith and obedience and your kids will do awesome things in His name!

Kendra said...

And I guess I can say the Lord has led us to send our daughter to the local Catholic school (even though my girls and I are not Catholic). My 5-year-old spent 2 years at a private preschool with a strong faith program and would come home talking about God and Jesus and the Bible. She was so interested in it all and loved telling other people about it...how could my husband and I send her to a public school where she could have gotten in trouble for telling another child that Jesus loved him/her?

Even though I may not exactly agree with Catholic doctrine, I feel comfortable with my kiddo in the Catholic school. She still attends church and Sunday school at my church and learns the United Methodist ways, but she's also learning the Catholic ways. Unless they start preaching that she's destined for hell unless she's baptized Catholic (and I really don't foresee that happening), then I'll be very happy with her finishing out her education in the Catholic system.

And for the record, I'm not being led to homeschool, either. My daughter and I both need for her to GO to school. She needs (craves) the social interaction and the opportunity to learn from people other than Mommy.

Tiffany said...

We are in public school as well. And, in a little part of so cal that still allows Christmas in school Public School.

The principal has basically said that until someone complains, we will celebrate all the holidays.

We have looked into private options, but nothing we've seen has felt right.

Our public school has an API score of 914. Most of the students have parents very involved.

Of course, nothing is perfect, but we feel incredibly blessed.

Gina said...

That'll preach, Sister. Amen.

And we have one foot in both arenas- and our third foot in Christian daycare. Um, yeah. That's all three feet.

Julie said...

we do family devotionals together before Eli leaves for school, which means we all have to get up a bit earlier...but it gives a good example and gets all our hearts right before the day begins.

Lynn - the piggy bank painter said...

Great post : ) You gave me a couple things to think about...

Have you entered to win Petunia Pig?

Amy said...

My girls go to a private Catholic school and that is where I know they were meant to be also. This will be my oldest daughters last year there, but she's gone for 8 years. We raise our children the best we can and pray that they turn out to be wonderful grown adults. IT's all we can do :D

Sniz said...

I have one in public school and I homeschool two. We take one year at a time and follow the Lord's leading, just as you do! Other people's opinions don't hold a candle to the Lord's, do they? God bless your lights in the dark world and I hope they always keep Jesus in their backpacks! (That is one of the sweetest things I have ever heard.)

Tracy P. said...

Oh, preach on sister! I'm headed off to Moms In Touch this morning to pray those very things with some other moms from our public school. There are groups all over the country doing the same thing. I couldn't recommend it more highly!

Courtney said...

umm..my FAVORITE FAVORITE post of yours. for sure. and my heart echoes everything you said (and i'm thankful our kids are at the same school! :-))

amen, sister!

heather said...

This might just be my FAVORITE post ever! And I hope you won't mind when I link my readers to it, because -oh, actually, do you think that you could open up that little option to email this to a friend button at the bottom. I want everyone to read this. I really, really do.
Please?

Caroline said...

I definitely want to look into all options before we decide where to send the redhead in a few years. I know people who have kids in all three settings. Its really what the Lord tells you and what's best for your family. Good post!

Jaci said...

I'm giving you a standing ovation right now. Can you hear it?

"We can't take all the light out of the schools." I LOVE THIS. I never heard it put so eloquently, and it's exactly what I've wanted to say.

I'm loving this post. I'll probably look at it several times today. (So, no, I'm not stalking you.)

This needs to be a sermon, or at least a little speech at your next women's bible study!

Kathi said...

Well said Debbie! I sometimes think that some, not all, homeschoolers are less tolerant of others than the other way around. Like you said, homeschooling is wonderful if it is where He wants you to be...it doesn't mean that ALL Christians should be homeschooling their kids. I worry about those who homeschool their kids out of fear...sometimes we grow and learn the most from uncomfortable situations. Not necessarily the warm fuzzy perfect situations. The same is true for our children.

I love the Jesus in the backpack too! You are inspiring.

Rene said...

Debbie -- Like you I've always felt that my place and my family's has been out in the world rather than secluded behind the Christian curtain. We gird ourselves with prayer and ask God what impact we are supposed to make. From there we have to place our trust appropriately with Him and step out. I truly believe we are doing His will in our lives and I also believe you are as well.

Elena said...

I am a very firm believer of letting my kids' "light" be out there for all to see. They're going to learn about the nasty world one way or the other unfortunately. And I also applaud great home schooling moms, but it's not what we will be doing either unless the Lord drops a brick on my head. :)

oº˚ Queen Bee ˚ºo said...

For all that has commented -- Just because we homeschool does not mean our kids are sheltered from the outside world and everything is perfect for them. My kids have friends and do get out of the house. It's not like I have them locked in the attic and don't let them do anything but school. I don't look down on public or private school and feel that some of you are looking down on homeschooling. It was my choice and my kids. They are welcome to go to public school if they would like. But they don't want to. We did do public school for 5 years and it wasn't for us.. I taught at school for 4 of those years and I have seen more than I would like to share. Hope everyone has a wonderful Monday

Much Love
Anissa

Jenni said...

I don't think the point is whether you homeschool or not, but how you prepare your children. Which you clearly get. I love the Jesus in the packpack story. They have to exist in the world outside our protection at some point and the "Light" they shine is so important. Just like the scripture says: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven." Great post.

"The Queen in Residence" said...

what a great post. I too cannot send my kids out the door without asking and pleading for protection from above. It is the bubble that I hope will protect them. I remember that song from girls camp and will have to teach it to my kids. Maybe when they are in a bad situation they can sing it and find strength....
Thanks for starting the week out with such a great thoughtful post.

"The Queen in Residence" said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Katy Lin :) said...

AMEN!!! so well put! thank you for sharing this point of view!!! it is so refreshing that not every Christian parent believes that we have to keep our children in a protected vacuum to make sure that they "keep the faith" i'm a product of the public school system, and praise the Lord, i think i turned out ok!

Michelle said...

Your post has got me a little choked up, only because spiritual warfare is something I have a hard time dealing with. I cower a little bit, even though I know I shouldn't. I like the Jesus in the backpack idea. Hope there's no Debbie copyright on it, cuz I'm stealing it!

~~tonya~~ said...

Well.....for me and my family, God had nothing to do with my decision to homeschool.

It had everything to do with the school environment(drugs, alcohol, sex, violence), the "no child left behind" act, the "lets study for the year end test starting on day 1". I was fed up with my child learning how to take a test with results depending on funding for the next year. I was fed up with my child finding drugs and alcohol in the restrooms. I was fed up with violent behavior displayed at the school with knives and guns. I was fed up with those in authority not executing their power to take control because of fear. I was fed up that my children were not receiving the education I was sending them to public school to get. So, yes, there are some crappy schools out there.

My youngest daughter was a freshmen in high school and didn't know how to computate fractions--that is not acceptable. She got passed over year after year after year. My oldest daughter who is a junior in college says all the time that her high school did not in no way prepare her for college and she graduated top of her class with a 3.7 average. That's sad. Her college professors lecture with the assumption that these kids have learned what they needed to in high school; and they didn't. She said in high school, when they would hand in tests, the teachers would look at them and if they had missed some, she would hand it back to them and tell them to try again. She sees know that that action only hurt her in the long run. She struggled through her freshmen year at college; having to "learn how to study". While her homeschooled roommate did wonderfully, because she knew how to study and learn for herself.

We tossed around the idea of homeschooling for about a year. We went ahead and sent our children to public school at the beginning of last year. They went for about a month before my 15 yr old called and begged me to come get her and homeschool her. She had had enough of the drama and learning how to color circles. She does her work at her own pace now and if she doesn't understand something new, we work on it together until she does. Public school can't do that, you don't learn it, tough, maybe you will get it next year when they do it again. And, now instead of being forced to be with kids she didn't really like at school, she chooses who she prefers to hang out with outside of school.

We are in our 2nd year of homeschooling now and while it has been challenging (getting a 9yr old boy to sit still and do work) it is more rewarding knowing that I will make sure they will be adequately prepared for college; and that they will especially know proper grammar and how to do basic math.

So..religion was not the reason we chose to homeschool. We did it to make sure our children get the education they deserve, not just the knowledge required to pass a state governed test and nothing more.

JourneytoFamily said...

You're doing a fantastic job! If it weren't for my husband's work schedule, I probably wouldn't be homeschooling. As it turns out, it's perfect for our family, but I definitely won't judge anyone else who doesn't. (but I might rub in the fact that we don't have to do homework) :)

Connie said...

Debbie, what a great post! You nailed it spot on when you said:
..."Because that isn't where the Lord wants my kids."
As parents we are called to pray for God's will in their lives...and He will direct our paths. Some have been called to home-school, some have been called to send them to Christian schools, and some are called to public schools. None of the choices are better/worse than the other unless you hear God leading you somewhere you're not and then you ignore that direction. I truly believe in all 3 choices for the individuals involved. Eighteen years ago we prayed about where we would send our 5 yr. old and we heard God's direction LOUD AND CLEAR to send them to the nearby Catholic school. It has been a HUGE financial commitment to send 5 children through private school and we have never looked back. It works for US, but it's not for everyone. I could never homeschool my kids because it's not for us, but I have many friends who have chosen that route and I respect and admire their choices as well as the Christians who have chosen the public school route. Be ye light wherever you are. Thank God for praying parents who are obedient to where God leads them.

...and don't even get me started on the celebrating a pagan holiday like Halloween vs. not allowing us to celebrate Christian holidays.

Shannon said...

Jesus in the backpack... that is awesome.

Tara @ Living A Dream said...

That melts my heart, too! I'll have to remember to put Jesus in my kids' backpack when we have them! What a terrific idea. My mom is surrounded by homeschooling friends and she and my father have/had chose, (and prayed and were led) to send both my brother and me to public school. Jesus is in the schools - He is everywhere! Great post - loved it!

Vicki said...

I'm standing with Queen Bee here and I take issue with what some of the moms are saying about homeschoolers putting their kids in vacuums and Christian bubbles. Maybe they don't realize that they're making a sweeping judgment when they're saying that. If we're not part of a seclusionist sect then we're not keeping our kids in vacuums or bubbles.

We have chosen to homeschool because we feel that is what is best for our family, whether God guided us there or not (and for me He definitely did or I would not be doing it.) That being said there are some great advantages to homeschooling. One of those is not having our kids "exposed" as much at such a young age. We know though they will still be exposed to differet influences. They are out of our bubbles when they are over at a friend's house, at Sunday School, at play groups, at the soccer games, at dance class, on a field trip, listening to the radio, watching tv or even driving along looking outside the car window.

So, it's an unfair statement to imply that our choice to homeschool is based on the fact that we want to shield our child against every influence that might affect them. It's a benefit of homeschooling that we get to control those influences for a little bit longer time period...but we're not clueless as to what our children face even when they are taught at home.

I don't think homeschoolers are less tolerant either of people who choose different methods of schooling. We all think the schooling choice we made is a good one. Homeschoolers are tired of hearing about the downsides of homeschooling and may stick up for it. This may come across as being less tolerant of other school options. And there may actually be parents out there who are judgmental. But please don't assume that it's only homeschoolers making this mistake.

Lula! said...

Best. Post. Ever.

I refuse to explain the reasons the Lord led us to putting Libbey in public school. He did it. The end. I don't have to explain. My little public school missionary is getting the job done...at the age of 7. Amen and amen.

I love you, Debbie. I do. Forever and ever and ever. It's not only Captain & Tenille keeping us together...it's also the Lord.

Sissy said...

I am happy that someone expressed how it feels to put their kids in public school. I attend a church where there is a huge homeschool contingent and some of the moms (not all) ask if I plan to quit teaching when I have kids and homeschool. Resounding NO. I am not called to teach one or two children. I am called to teach 728 children and my kids will be in that group someday. God calls us all to different things and I applaud those who can homeschool and get their kids AHEAD. But I have also seen the flip side where kids come to school eventually and are behind and have no social skills. Homeschooling is a ton of work, but I am not made for it. And it sounds like you aren't either. Amen.

Amy Kay said...

I know that my boys are where they are supposed to be, in public school. Being a great example to all they come in contact with, they have both recieved many awards for good behavior each year. I unfortunately don't think I have the patience to homeschool my children. My home daycare is enough for me right now.

We pray and read scripture everyday. We pray for guidance, and for safety from all the bad in the world, and also for their teachers to teach what they need to be taught. I totally agree that God roams the halls of all our childrens schools. He has to be there to protect them.

I also agree, your best post!
Hugs from Georgia,
Amy ;)

Anonymous said...

Great post! I agree with you that God needs His people EVERYWHERE! My children also attend public schools in VA. It is a lesson in trust for all of us. You can bet we spend some time on our knees about it. I love the Jesus in the backpack idea! Thanks!
Jenny

Darcy @ LWM3B said...

Bravo, Debbie. I applaud both your choice and the manner in which you expressed it.

To the commenters:

Words like "bubble", "vacuum", "seclusion". "Christian curtain" are sweeping generalizations. It isn't necessary to put down one camp to justify your own.

Does your condescension lift you?
Does your righteous indignation justify your choice?

I, too, know families that behave that way. I don't agree with those families. I, too, know of churches that preach such messages. I don't agree with that church.

Prejudice: adj.
pre: before
judice: judgement

Pre-Judgement.

Don't breed ignorance. Don't breed prejudice. It matters not the group you're targeting: race, sex, age, religion, education. Making sweeping generalizations about a huge, diverse group you know very little about is prejudice by definition.

Being offensive wins you neither friends nor respect. Being ignorant may be forgivable, but being condescending and judgmental gains you nothing.

-Darcy
who doesn't care where kids get their educations as long as they are fed, clothed, bathed, read to, embraced, shown affection, taught right from wrong and told every single day how much they are loved.

Britt said...

Amen, Debbie .. I'm so glad you wrote this post. This (in a round-about sort of way) has been on my mind for a while. Mostly just the irritation with those who think that because God called them to live a certain way, that their lifestyle is above all others.

There are many things God speaks about in His word .. many things He tells us to avoid, and to do. Where to send our children to school is not one of them. He has created each and everyone of us and has made us each equal yet unique. We each have a personal calling.

As a homeschool graduate, I've seen both sides. The homeschoolers that are so polarized and small minded that sinners are to be avoided and prayed for from afar. The public schoolers that believe that told me that not only was my education sub-par, I was also a bad witness because I wasn't out 'in the world'.

Both view points are hurtful because they alienate others, and pit us against each other. We should be united in our love for the Father. We should be holding each other up in prayer, and supporting each other through every trial and hardship our particular path has found us walking through.

Thank you for writing this .. and blessings to you and your family.

EEEEMommy said...

This was a bold post and I give you kudos for writing it. I think it is very unfortunate that such issues as education divide brothers & sisters in Christ! But they do, and I've seen it happen. It grieves our Lord and our Father!

The only issue that I would take with your post is in regard to this line, I explained to him that you aren't allowed to use the words "God" and "Jesus" at school. That is an inaccurate statement, a common but completely incorrect misunderstanding. Your son (and any other child) can most definitely talk about Jesus & God in school, they can write about Him in their journals, they can mention the Bible in creative writing, they can tell their friends about Jesus on the playground, they can organize prayer groups before and after school.... Their teachers' rights are unfortunately limited in the majority of instances (although if asked their personal opinion about say Evolution, they have the freedom to answer truthfully and honestly and can mention God as Creator at that point). There have been court cases defending the rights of teachers and even more so the rights of students. Students do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate!!! (Tinker v. Des Moines)
Know your kids' rights! Encourage them to be themselves and let their light shine without fear that they'll get in trouble by bringing up Jesus or God! And then be prepared to fight for their rights.
Can you tell I get fired up about this kind of stuff?!?! ;)
Love you, friend! :)

Hot Tub Lizzy said...

Umm... yeah... if I attempted to homeschool Essie...

Yeah... let's just not even go there.

I have a good friend who homeschools one kid, and not the other, because she knows her kids SO well, and her relationships with them SO WELL, that she knows this is the way that is best for each of her kids.

She's my hero like that.

Hot Tub Lizzy said...

Oh, and Moms In Touch TOTALLY rocks... go check out their website (how do you link in comments???) www.miti.com

My sister works for them.. and she rocks too.

Michelle said...

Great and interesting post -- except for getting the song going through my head! I know it'll be there for days now. It's so catchy :)

My husband is a public school teacher, and we live in district, so anything but public school is not an option for us. And luckily, both of them love it.

And for the two weeks (sick this week) we've been at Sunday School, they've both loved that, too. I LOVE the idea of sending Jesus to school in the backpack.

Piggy said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts as always! I appreciate, respect, and am open to varied perspectives. I had exchanged messages with Susan Keller regarding homeschooling, which is a relatively new concept to me having recently heard of several blogging moms who homeschool their children. I never knew that there was any other option besides public and private school. My husband didn't consider it since his mom is a teacher. They feel that Drea would not get enough social interaction and real life experiences. I like the flexibility of homeschooling. There's no better way of learning history than our own backdoor here in the DC area and family trips across the country and around the world when you don't have the limitations of a school schedule, but then again my husband and his family are used to working in an office with limited vacation time and everything that's reflective of a school environment. I prefer working remotely from home or wherever I go and not having to deal with commuting, suits, politics, etc. I don't think Drea will miss much if she's not exposed every day to catching buses, wearing uniforms, dealing with peer pressure, etc. I remember the adjustment I had to make when I finished school and there was no more curriculum to follow. It was like what now? I didn't have a problem learning how to deal with the real life because I learned more from watching how my parents react than watching how kids in school reacted. The northern VA school system seems to be good though just like NJ where I grew up, but what I don't like about these areas is the lack of diversity. I loved going to college in Brooklyn, NY. I went to a technical school that had a male-to-female ratio of 12:1 made up mostly of first-generation Americans. I learned so much about other cultures and loved eating new cuisine. As for academics and extra-curricular activities, Drea is advanced for her age. She's 14-months-old now and has already completed all milestones on the 13 to 18-month-old chart, both intellectually and physically, so the benefit of homeschooling is that she can learn more at her fast pace. I was a gifted student and found myself bored in classes. I think it may have contributed to me being a "global" learner where I try all sorts of new things and am pretty good at a lot of them, but don't master any particular activity because in school, you learn a little about everything, but unless you continue learning on your own about something of particular interest, you just keep moving from one thing to another. It seems our decision is to send our kids to public school, but I plan to help my children dive deeper into any particular areas of interest and enhance what they've learned by hands-on experiences through trips and such. By 14 months, Drea has already taken vacations to Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. She's learned so much from her trips like how to say fish by visiting an aquarium in Hawaii and "duck duck" by feeding them at the pond in Arizona. Just as I do not believe than any one religion is the perfect fit for all people, I don't agree that any particular schooling is best in all cases because there are good and bad teachers in public and private schools as well as homeschooling. What's more important is that the religion or school provides the guidance that's required for the person to effectively live and learn. Ethics and education begin at home with values that will help children process the information presented to determine what is right or wrong.

Karen said...

Wonderful post Debbie !! Well said.

My kids all went to a Catholic school, in NZ. for the whole of their schooling life. My daughter did spend a two years at high School here in the States and was rather bored, as se was repeating stuff she'd already covered in NZ, except for American Govt.

I think if Christina and my son-in-law had decided to stay in the States, then the grandkids would have been home schooled. Schools are not that great in this area.

As it is, they're going to a public school in NZ. However, they do have the option of attending religion class. That is offered.

Sacha, may be going to a Catholic girl's high school next year.

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

Awesome post.
I don't know why anyone would be offended by your post... you were just saying how much you love your kids and how they do great in public school. I didn't hear anything negative about Homeschool. I think some folks just find a reason to get fired up, that's all.

And, can I tell you, I substitute taught at a public high school last year. I was reading my bible to myself, and a student APPROACHED ME, and asked me what I was reading. I told him, "The Bible" and he said, "You can't read that. This is a public school. What about separation of church and state? What if I'm offended by that book?" and I said, "Then go to your desk and sit down. I'm not reading it out loud. I'm not making you read it. I didn't even mention it - YOU were the one who asked ME about it, you twit." Okay, I didn't say the twit part, but I did say the rest.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH OUR EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM IF THEY ARE TEACHING KIDS THAT THEY CAN'T EVEN CHOOSE TO READ A BIBLE ON THEIR OWN TIME??? That is so wrong in so many ways.

Becky Welch said...

Love this!! We are blessed to live in a very Christian city and while my kids don't have as many of the traps as others there are some. I agree with you full heartedly!! How are others to know Jesus if all the lights are at home!! May God continue to bless you and yours! What a valuable lesson you gave us!
thanks for stopping by and letting me be a stop on today's tour!!

Denyse said...

Oh, Debbie! I've been traveling around the world with you for a few weeks now and I just stopped by this blog. I will be back. Often. I love, love, love what you said! It is so nice to know that there are other moms who also feel strongly about having their children in public school. I wouldn't trade the experiences and life lessons my girls are learning. Its not always easy, but then neither is life...even the Christian life. You have made my day!

Heather said...

We have our girls in public school and feel strongly that God has lead us to have them there. I LOVE this post. And from now on we will also put Jesus in their backpacks. That is brilliant.

Rhea said...

My kids are in public school. And I think you have to do what's right for your kids. And different people need different situations.

And I love that you put Jesus in their backpacks. Awesome imagery!

One Wired Woman said...

Great post!! Jesus in their backpacks... love it!! ~Jill :)

Mandy said...

Reading these comments of homeschoolers vs. public schoolers just makes me sad. I really don't like others to assume I am against public school just because I homeschool. I know there are homeschoolers out there that do act like that, but it has been my experience that they are the huge minority. They probably just stand out more because they are making sure their opinion is heard by all. Most of us are just minding our own business and not worrying about yours.

Please don't put homeschoolers in a box.

Susie Harris said...

Boy you hit straight to the heart on this one! We are so quick to judge one another when we should be lifting each other up. Blog ladies.... lets get it together and have each others back not stab it. Debbie just put her heart out there and put no one down for their choice. We all love our children and want to do what we feel is right for our child. What is good for the goose my not be good for the gander....It's our babies we are talking about. It doesnt matter where I have my kids in school. It matters that they are learning in a safe place and they are learning. kudos to all of you for loving those babies and giving them the best you have got!

Blog Stalker said...

Jesus in the backback? Great idea. Take it even farther and lets take Jesus to work with us. Anyway, I think you hit the proverbial nail on the head when you said you were doing what was right for you and your children.

We all need to follow that sane and rational example. What is good for our families in our situations is what is RIGHT. What is right for me is not neccessarily right for you and vice versa.

Great post. I am sure you have caused a lot of people to stop and think about why they do the things they do and whether they try and critisize those who do differently.

Gina said...

I just have to revisit this one...
I read your post and did not see it as an indictment against anyone's choice of schooling. As public schoolers in the Christian World i often feel like I need to defend my choice to have my kids in public school. As a homeschooler in a human world, I often find myself in that same position as regards to why I homeschool our eldest. Can you beleive I also catch flack for having my "baby" in daycare when my job does not require me to leave the house.
The point is that each of us has to make the choices that we feel are best for our kids.
And to pray for them.

Brian and Staci said...

What a great post Debbie! My heart would've melted too if I'd heard my kiddo say that! I'm with ya...every day, gotta put on that full armor no matter where you go!

Kimba said...

As always, Debbie, you hit the nail on the head with this one. What a wonderful post. I am so grateful that there are children like yours in the public schools that spread the love of Christ.

Steph said...

hey deb, I sent you an email...so check your spam folder!

Brenda Jean said...

My kids are in public school, and they are doing fantastic. We have a super school system. I know quite a few homeschoolers and I respect them SO much. When it's done right it's awesome! But it's not for everyone. I KNOW that I don't have the patience to homeschool. Instead I volunteer at school and we've always been active in teaching the kids "lessons" at home. You are right, we each need to do what is good for our own family.

Gramma 2 Many said...

So well said. Can't add a thing to what you or all of your readers said.

Karen said...

Okay, Debbie ... remember that game of tag you played as a kid? Well, I just tagged you, so come on over and find out what you have to do to play.... :-)

Jennifer P. said...

As a homeschooler--I took no offense. I know full well it's not for everyone---and the schools DO need good spirits in there. I'm so glad you made the right choice for your kids and that you give them such an awesome send off every day. I think you'll find they'll put that bubble around themselves as they grow older---out of their own choice---because they like how it feels :)

Best to you AND your little ones Debbie!
~Jennifer

Lizzie said...

we're in SC, i think we beat you on the "worst schools" scale, not 100% sure, but I doubt flannel wearing, and how to lose all your teeth by age 10 aren't usual public school curriculum :)

hey, i tagged you on this survey thing (SORRY, I HAD TO!!) come on over to my blog and check it out.

Meaghan said...

Stopping by through SITS! Great blog :)

-Meaghan

Jen - Balancing beauty and bedlam said...

Oh, my fun, interesting and wise girlfriend....did you ever stir up a hornet's nest with this one.
Isn't it so ironic how people can read whatever they want into a post. I don't think you stirred the pot as much as the commenter did. And as interesting as it is to read varying views, I feel I have to defend my reasons to home school all the time, rather than the other way around. I definitely think it must be the circles people surround themselves in. I would never surround myself with legalistic home schoolers, so it doesn't come out in who I am as a home schooler. In fact, I speak at home school conferences, and I think I SO break the mold on this one that people are drawn to that.
I do have very strong views on home schooling for MY family, but would never tell anyone what they need to do. And as far as words like vacuum or sheltered...love Darcy's comments. Have they been in my home when I take my boys to football every day where half of the boys are inner city kids taken off the streets to try and keep them out of trouble? I love that my guys have the opportunity to put Jesus in their "gym bag" each and every day, and I am sure they have learned more with 15 year olds in one football practice than they ever could in a day at public school (much to my chagrin). Whoops - didn't mean to post anything, but oh well...I am a fast typer. I LOVE that you are my blogging friend, Deb, and that we can sharpen each other with all of our varying view points.

Evi said...

Here Here Debbie!
I have plenty of friends in both camps...or all three with Christian School included in this discussion and we are happily able to respect each others choices. THAT is what we should be teaching our children...YES?
My children are learning from very young to be a light (even IF they do stumble sometimes and teach your kids how to swear...*blush*)

Sidney said...

I firmly believe in homeschooling, although I don't do so currently. I homeschooled two of my children when they were in elementary school, and my current elementary-aged children would like to be homeschooled, but I don't feel like I have the fortitude or grace to be doing that at this point. I struggled with the decision to place them back in public school, and did so a week after 9/11. I was told at that time that my kids needed to be a "light" as well. I would much rather have them learn about this big, bad world while having the benefit of still living at home and being involved in activities that they will face as an adult. While my children were by no means sequestered when we homeschooled, they were not exposed to what they have been in public school, both bad and good. My kids are fortunate to have a majority of teachers who are Christians, and our superintendent is a devout Christian, and that is evident. I know their hands are tied with the state "big brother", but they do what they can without overstepping their boundaries.

And about the protective "bubble"...one day I was telling God that I just wish I could keep them all in one, and he answered that that is what prayer is for. I know that I can't hold their hands through life, and frankly, I wouldn't want to. I just pray that I am giving them the best foundation that I am able to right now.

Melissa Lester said...

Oh, Debbie, we all love our children so passionately, don't we? And it's so easy for our parenting choices and opinions to sound judgmental to others. Knowing your heart, I completely agree with your post and appreciate your message. And I get what others may have missed -- that your family made the decision that worked for you. And that you respect that other families may make different decisions. I think we all need to support and affirm each other in doing what is right for our children.

With the boys in public school, I talk to them often about being lights and being leaders. Carson, in fourth grade, sometimes comes home wanting to talk about the language he has heard or decisions friends have made. He has recently befriended a boy who is the class "troublemaker." Although some moms would want their children far removed from a boy who gets 40 strikes against him in one week, when I hear about his behavior I see a little boy who really needs a godly friend. So I encourage Carson to be friends with him, while realizing that in that relationship he has to be the leader and not a follower. He has since told me that this little boys's parents smoke and he has burned himself lighting cigarettes for his dad. That precious boy needs to know Jesus, and I would love for Carson to be the one to introduce them.

Thanks for making us all think, my friend!

Joy in the Burbs... said...

Debbie, I'm with you girl. I went to a Christian School my entire life. I never experienced public school until my kids went. We live in a wonderful school district also. We're blessed to have a lot of believers in our school and employed in our school. I know my kids hear things that I wish they wouldn't, but we talk about it and spend a lot of time praying for classmates and schoolmates. I see Tracey already gave a shout out about Moms in Touch. But I highly recommend it to any mom whether you child goes to public, private, Christian or is Homeschooled. It's a wonderful time each week to focus prayer on them and their school. www.momsintouch.org.
I don't know how to do that link thingie yet, sorry.
Love ya girl. You keep blessing us all the time,
Joy

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

What a blessing this post is. My husband and I practice this same idea in our family.

Please stop on by my blog. I am currently on post #99 so a suprise will be coming soon.

Kathi said...

I love your boldness Debbie in sayin' it like it is. All four of mine are now in public and that's where God wants them. We are going to send Jesus in backpacks from now on, thanks to you!

Garrett and I read a few stories at 5:30 am and one is always a Bible story. We pray, but we are going to pray harder and more specificly. Thanks Debbie. Kathi

Kathi said...

Oh, and I have been so timid in the past about all of this. I'm hoping to gain some courage and feel that it's okay that I am not homeschooling anymore. Oh by the way, some of the worst behavior and umm bad words were learned at our homeschooling gatherings. It's a shame, but true. Kathi

Tranquility said...

Wow - that is one of the best posts, filled with some of the best practical ideas I've read in a long time (regardless of the homeschool vrs. public school debate that seems to be taking place in the comments).
The Jesus in the backpacks was hillarious (Jesus, get in there) - too funny!
I don't know why, but it has never occured to me to pray with the kids BEFORE school, but now I can't think how we've managed to go on for so long without doing just that!
Thanks!

Heather said...

Well... this is fun to weigh in on!

I echo Darcy's comments and the wariness of sweeping generalizations.

Though I have to say that even I, as a homeschooling parent, have wanted to use these same generalization when describing some of my fellow homeschoolers. :)

Homeschooling is not the savior of or for our kids - only Jesus is. However, aspects of homeschooling are calling into question America's educational system, challenging church programming and structures, as well as addressing some cultural family weaknesses... I am convinced, the full effects and purposes of home schooling have yet to be entirely revealed and understood.

Regardless of schooling choice/path - the family has the greatest influence and impact on the children. Something upon which we all agree!

Bottom line - follow Him
(not the crowd, not popular opinion, not the easy way, etc...)

To Him and Him alone do we each give an account when all is said and done.