With schools starting for many in Dallas/Ft Worth area this week and next, I thought it would be helpful to hear these lessons from Going Public again. I look forward to greater engagement in our public school this year based on what I learned in this book by the Pritchards.
My wife and I are both products of the public school system and have never really strongly considered anything different for our kids. While deciding whether to public school, private school, or homeschool our children, the best counsel we received was to make the decision on an individual basis for each child. With three (soon four) kids in public school, we know our roots are firmly planted in the public school system for the next 10+ years.
Three years ago, Kristen read a book about education that she has since encouraged me to read, many times. To be honest, a book about public school education was not high on my list of reading priorities despite the fact that all four Kedersha boys will be enrolled in public school this fall. She finally convinced me to the read the book, and I am glad she did.
Going Public is written by David and Kelli Pritchard, a couple who together are raising eight public school children. As Tim Challies says in his review of the book, “The purpose is not to convince you that you ought to place your children in the local public school. Instead it seeks first, to show that your children can thrive at public school and second, to provide a parent’s field guide for helping them do just that.”
I really enjoyed this book and was HIGHLY challenged by it. If you have children in public school, or are trying to decide which route to choose, I would encourage you to read it. Below are a few of my (many) highlights/favorite points.
- Wherever our children go to school, the parent is the primary teacher and the home is the primary classroom.
- Most teachers go to work day after day, without a large salary, because they love helping children “get it.”
- The most important thing to teach your child is what Jesus said was the greatest commandment of all: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength (Mark 12:30). Nothing is more important or foundational.
- The second most important thing to teach your child is to obey you unconditionally. Children need to know they are not the boss and sometimes parents delegate their authority to other responsible people (I.e. Teachers and babysitters).
- The third most important thing to teach your child is self-control. Self-control makes it possible for a child to thrive in all areas of life.
- More important than scheduling or grading decisions is the need for school personnel to see a Christlike spirit in parents.
- Dads have a unique opportunity to hit a home run at your child’s school by volunteering, chaperoning school trips, and serving in any capacity. Dads should take ownership, guide their kids to guard their hearts, and anchor their families to a biblical perspective.
- It is a privilege to love school personnel out of a genuine interest rather than from a desire to manipulate or push an agenda.
To the right are pics of me enjoying a school lunch with them. I love these times together with them. I typically think I’m too busy to drive to school to have lunch with them. Yet every time we eat together at school, I wonder why I don’t do this all the time!
After reading this book, I am challenged, encouraged, convicted, and hopeful for the education my boys will receive and the opportunities that lie in front of them in the public school system. One of my hopes for the fall, and moving forward, is to free up time to be much more present in my kid’s public school. I know the day is soon coming when the opportunities will cease and my kids won’t be as excited about me coming around!