As our oldest two kids head back to school this week, I wanted to share our family’s reasons for sending our kids to public school. This will be our kids’ 3rd and 5th years, respectively, in public school because they attended two years of public preschool before beginning kindergarten. We have never regretted our decision to send them to public school!
I know some families face community or family expectations about where and how to educate their children and sometimes have to make a decision that goes against those expectations. I hope that sharing our family’s story about sending our kids to public school will be an encouragement to you if you are making a similar decision for your kids.
My alarm went off this morning for the first time in almost 3 months. I have so enjoyed the glorious days of no alarms and sleeping in this summer! On this first day back to school, there’s a small part of me that thinks, Maybe we should homeschool our kids, then I wouldn’t have to wake up so early every weekday morning and we could enjoy lazy mornings all year just like we did this summer! But then I remember that kind of wishful thinking is just that, wishful, because I know that for our family, at this time, sending our kids to public school is the absolute best decision for us.
4 Reasons we choose to send our kids to public school
We understand my limitations.
As an ENFP personality type, I am WELL aware of my limitations when it comes to planning and following through with things. I’m just not good at it, and I am perfectly okay with that. Just the thought of planning out a year’s worth of curriculum to teach my kiddos at home makes me want to scream in terror, put my hands over my ears, and run in the opposite direction.
As a mom, I’m honestly just not cut out for homeschooling. No guilt. No shame. I send my kids to school because it’s the best thing for me, and therefore, also for them.
I can’t pretend like this is not also a reason we send our kids off to a public school in an urban, less-than-stellar school system every day. It’s free. (Except for some book and practical life fees that help cover materials at the school).
Honestly, when our kids were at the age that they were ready to begin preschool, we could not have afforded to send them to school if we had to pay for it. Even today, it would be a stretch for us to pay for them to attend school. And we recognize that for many, many people the choice to homeschool or send their kids to private school is not even an option. So in a way, we have made that knowledge an intentional part of our decision. If our public schools are good enough for other people’s kids, then they are good enough for our kids too.
They are getting a Montessori education
On the other hand, we have been so fortunate that our kids are able to attend a Montessori magnet school within our public school system. So while our public school system definitely has it’s flaws and it’s failing schools, our kids have been able to get a great education at a thriving school where they can work and learn at their own pace, and find joy and pride in the independence and self-directed learning the Montessori method teaches.
We love Montessori and think it is an excellent way to educate children, and so we recognize that we are very lucky to have the chance to send our kids to a public Montessori school, and that our kids were accepted as a part of the lottery system, and we are extremely grateful.
They are being exposed to diversity
Because we live in a diverse city with an urban public school system, our kids’ school and classes are diverse both racially and socio-economically. Diversity is very important to us and was something we intentionally looked for in deciding where to send our kids to school.
We want our kids to have the experience of growing up and going to school in a place where everyone isn’t just like them. As a family, we are passionate about racial justice and economic justice in our country, and we want to be able to instill those values in our kids in a tangible way, not just as something we talk about.
We are not afraid of the things they could possibly be exposed to. We don’t think they will lose their innocence, and we believe and hope they will be gaining empathy, understanding, compassion, kindness, respect, and bravery through their experiences. We have seen this to be true already for our oldest as she heads into second grade and we are so proud of her.
As we choose to send our kids to public school, we definitely understand and recognize that our decision is our family’s alone. We cannot, and do not, expect that every other family should make the same choice. But we also realize that sometimes families feel pressure to make a schooling choice that doesn’t work for their family for one reason or another, and so we wanted to share the reasons why we send our kids to public school and why it’s important to us.
We have been so encouraged by many other families within our community and school district that have made a similar choice for their kids for similar reasons and we hope that by sharing our story we can, in turn, encourage others who are also sending their kids to public school.