Prior to Covid-19 we had already decided that if possible, we would not be sending our kids to public schools. With the state of the Fall semester in many school districts in flux, I think there are many parents who are-for the first time-considering an alternative to public education, so I thought it might be helpful to share our decision in this matter. But first, a lot of disclaimers.
I grew up overseas and over the course of K-12 did homeschooling, a homeschool co-op, Christian schools, and a private International School. Of all of those Christian school was my least favorite, and I say that with no ill feelings toward that school or its staff/administrators, many of whom I still know and greatly respect. My wife attended and graduated from public schools in Michigan. In general, I think the way any parent educates their child is a matter of Christian liberty and we should put a greater emphasis on the parent’s wisdom in helping their child navigate the educational system chosen. I also don’t want to make it sound as if I think everyone involved in public education is an evil or corrupting influence as I personally know and respect both teachers and administrators in that field.
Having said that, there are specific reasons why we decided we did not want our kids attending public schools. As orthodox Christians, there are things that we believe which differ dramatically from the public education system and its curriculum. All of this really came to a head with the transgender madness of the past ten years. While it might be possible for a thoughtful sixteen or even fourteen year old to have respectful disagreements over homosexuality, evolution, and transgenderism, I could not ask my young kids to navigate that landscape.
Somewhere along that time-line we also became foster parents. I’ll write some other time on fostering, but the experience has left me profoundly grateful to all those who give of themselves to try to help these kids. For a short season we had a girl live with us who was, all things considered, about the easiest foster you could imagine. But even at that we saw the influence she was having on our young children. This led us to imagine letting our kids be exposed to a group of 20-30 kids for 40-50 hours a week and we did not like where that was going.
Suffice it to say (until another post) we were not enamored with the choice of sending our kids to public school, but where exactly did that leave us? We were also not enamored with the idea of homeschooling, and I continued to harbor some reservations against Christian schools. About this time I came across some literature on Classical Education and it peaked my interest. The more I read, the more I liked the concept.
I had a conversation about it with Katie and then just let it marinade in my mind until I decided to see if there were any Classical schools in the Springfield, MO area and discovered that one campus of Gloria Deo Academy was meeting at a church facility a block from our house. So one day I just stopped in to say hi. The campus principle talked with me for about fifteen or twenty minutes about her experience transitioning from working in the public schools to working at a classical school and the impact it had on her. While talking to her I was also able to observe a student assembly and I liked the way the students were interacting with each other and with the teachers. So my first impression of actually being on a campus was positive.
Tomorrow I will go into more detail about Classical Education and the challenges of making a choice besides public education.