I never thought sending my first born to Kindergarten would be so hard. In fact, right up until about 5 minutes before school started on that first day, I had convinced myself that I wasn’t one of those Moms that would have trouble letting go.
But, as that big, yellow bus pulled away, I realized it. My son was now out in the world without me.
And that bus was taking him to public school!! Not just a room in our home church where preschool had him. This was that government-run, curriculum-cramming, evolution-teaching, prayer-banning, worldly-kid-full, public school system!!
I didn’t cry. I just kind of started to hyperventilate. And prayed. Hard.
My son had a wonderful year in Kindergarten, and I found some ways to embrace public school as a Christian Mom.
TIP #1: Get involved in the classroom. I volunteered to help with reading groups in my son’s class. Not because I particularly enjoy playing teacher (I used to play ‘executive’ as a kid). Not because I was particularly comfortable being 7 months pregnant sitting in a chair built for a 5-year old and watching snot run down the nose of the kid sitting next to me. I did it because I wanted to have a feel of the class, the teacher and to be able to put a face with the names of kids he came home talking about.
Note: My neighbor/friend had a daughter in the same class so we alternated Tuesdays, one going into volunteer, the other watching all our littles, so we both had the opportunity to be there. A great way to arrange for free childcare!!
TIP #2: Get involved with the school. If being in the classroom during the day isn’t possible, then look for opportunities to participate in school events that happen in the evenings. Open houses. PTA meetings. Fundraisers. Read the school’s newsletters and the local news relating to the district so you have some knowledge of the changes and challenges they are facing. If you’ve never paid attention to the policies and politics of education in your community, your state or the U-S-of-A before, now would be the time.
TIP #3: Get with other Moms to pray & serve. My friend Dee was sending her girls back to public school after homeschooling for several years. She didn’t necessarily love all she was seeing going on in our district or in our elementary school, but she decided instead of standing by and complaining, she would use the most-powerful, always-available change agent we have; Prayer. She rounded up a few other Christian Mom friends with children in our school and we started meeting once a month to pray for the school, the teachers, the students. We worked together to bring a blessing to our teachers once a month through food, gifts and encouraging words, all signed from “The Praying Mamas” and left in the teachers’ lounge (a post sharing our projects and other ideas coming soon!). We even started an email address where teachers and staff could send us specific prayer requests.
“Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” – Jeremiah 29:7
Our guiding scripture was this verse. Our group of six Moms may not have the ability to reform education in our country or state, or fix the budget problems of our district, but we could pray for our little school, our “city” because if it prospers so will our children.
TIP #4: Get involved in your kids’ friendships. Some may see this tip as controlling, but instead I view it as an important role of our job as parents while our children are still developing the wisdom, experience and courage to discern friendships on their own. Friends provide a huge influence in a child’s life, even in grade school. If your child is asking to spend time with a friend outside of school, get to know the child, the family and the home life as best as possible. Be nosey if you have to.
“The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” – Proverbs 12:26
The righteous also help their children choose their friends carefully. 🙂
My circle of friends is full of Moms who have chosen all different paths for their children’s education – homeschooling, private Christian schools, public schools. There is no right or wrong way, just the way that works for your family. If you are sending your children to public school, maybe for the first time, know that our public schools are full of dedicated teachers, precious children and other believers too. It can be a great place to begin to teach your children the courage of Faith and the discernment of Truth in the world. Look for ways to love and bless your school.
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