October 7, 2013

School Choice {Book Review of Going Public}

Public school is not the best choice for every family.  However, it is an option.  For many of us choosing public school is not "because we have to" but because we make the active choice to do so.

I should probably remind you that I am a former school teacher.  The eight years prior to staying home with my children I was a teacher.  My oldest students were ninth graders and my youngest first graders.  My teaching experience was in environmental education, Christian schools, and a private college-prep school.  I worked with some fabulous families and staff.  I value the education and environment Christian and private schools provide!  Some of my best friends homeschool.  I admire my homeschool friends and know they work hard at providing a solid education for their children.  Yet my husband and I are sending our school-aged child to a public school.  It is actually a charter school with a focus on discovery learning.  We are in our second year and have had a positive experience.  (For preschool we have used a great Christian preschool.)



If you are considering or have chosen to use a public school for your child, I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND you read Going Public: Your Child Can Thrive in Public School.   Stop reading this review right now and just go and read it for yourself!  Quite honestly, I took so much more away from this book than what I can share here.

David and Kelli Pritchard's book doesn't tell you why you should send your children to public school.  Instead, it shares how they have embraced the public school experience-with eight children.  They share how they have responded to the situations that have surfaced that leave many parents worrying and full of fear...and withdrawing their children from public school to enroll them in a private school or to homeschool.  Though it is written from a Christian perspective on public schools, I do think that any concerned parent could benefit from reading it.  (This book is full of parenting advice!)  Going Public is actually the first parenting book that I have requested my husband to read, and I have enjoyed many!

The Pritchards believe that the public school is an opportunity to train our children into young men and women of character and purpose.  (p. 23)  Allowing the children to understand situations and learn from them is far more important than the situations themselves according to the authors.
"The issue is not whether we trust school officials to always do the right thing.  The issue is whether we trust 'that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.'"    ~ p. 127
One of my favorite chapters in Going Public is "Everyone Should 'Homeschool'".  The authors encourage much teaching at home, especially focusing on the following areas.

  1. Biblical Worldview
  2. Creation
  3. Sexuality
  4. American Heritage
  5. Spiritual Life and Devotion
Not all parents will feel equipped to teach about each area.  Yet, I do not want to leave any of those topics to be discussed only at church or school (even if our children one day are in a Christian school).    

Some parents consider sending their children to a public school so the children can have a mission field.  Going Public does address this.  The Pritchards recognize that most children are not capable of evangelizing to their peers in an effective manner.  However, the authors say that when they enroll their child in the local school, they are enrolling their whole family.  They also don't discourage taking advantage of opportunities to share the Gospel of Jesus, especially when positive relationships have been established.

Going Public: Your Child Can Thrive in Public School is honest about some of the ways that  public schools don't do the best by our children.  However, they share honestly how they, as a family, have been able to fill in the gaps where the school falls short.  For any of us, we need to carefully consider (and pray!) over school choice.  And whatever choice we make, we need to be actively involved in our children's lives and their schools.

In these days when fewer Christian parents choose public school instead of homeschool or Christian or private schools, it is really good to have a resource like this.  Again, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND it!

I will be linking this up to the Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon.

~ Annette {This Simple Mom}
Disclosure: This book was purchased by me as a GREAT investment.  I was not provided the book to facilitate the review.  This post contains affiliate links. By purchasing an item through a link, I will earn a small percentage. Thank you!

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