September 3, 2013

Report Card

First Day of School
First Day of School
After lots of trepidation and waking up a full 45 minutes before my alarm clock bugled its way through my sleep-deprived haze, the first day of school dawned. With one very excited little boy, a freshly-washed uniform, and a Mickey Mouse lunchbox, the morning was largely a success, especially once you consider that I made it all the way back out to our car before I broke down into a puddle of estrogen and tears.

It was a tough day, made slightly easier by the fact that we had spent the last couple years making a decision about where to send our children to school. Despite the fact that we live in one of the best school districts in the state, my lack of confidence in our state's public schools left me breathing into a paper bag after even the thought of shooing my kid onto a bus and hoping that what he learned at school would align with the things we teach him at home.

In large part, my panic was due to the negative experiences I had in a public elementary school- such as a class of impressionable second-graders being subjected to movies about tolerance that included Nazi propaganda. I wish I was being sarcastic or making a blog-related joke, but I'm not; it's a very vivid memory of an "experimental curriculum" that I will always carry with me and one of my biggest reasons for being downright scared of sending my kids to a school where I have no say in what they learn.

In all fairness, my husband went to a public school, had no experiences with Nazism, and came out just fine, but since I had experience going to a Christian school (after my parents found out about said public school experimental curriculum and I switched schools), we decided to explore all options. We looked into our local schools, we (briefly) considered homeschooling, and we visited a few of the Christian schools in our area before making a decision. In the end, because we want what we teach at home to be supported in the classroom, we decided to send our kids to a Christian school. For us, that means driving our kids to and from school each day, being involved through a required number of volunteer hours, and the financial sacrifice of cutting back in other areas of our lives so we can afford the tuition. It wasn't an easy choice to make, especially when we took a hard look at the cost of tuition over the years compared with a free state education, but we kept coming back to the same conclusion: we only have one chance to educate our children. If that education means sacrificing some of the extras in our lives like big vacations or going out to eat regularly, then at least we have confidence in the teachers that are spending their days pouring into our kids' lives. It's certainly not for everyone, but for our little family, it was the right choice.

So this morning, after a few hours of therapeutic-thrifting with my little girl, we were back at Nathaniel's school to pick him up after lunch. He was having the time of his life playing on the playground and couldn't wait to show me the stamps on his hands he had received for obeying his teacher. It was like pulling teeth to get him to leave school and I accomplished it only after promising he could come back later this week.

Report card for the first day of school: success.

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