Don’t Homeschool? Take Home to School

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At cafeteria lunch a few years ago. Both kids are making the school’s mascot sign of a wolf. Addie’s has whipped cream lips–of course.

I don’t homeschool.  I don’t really want to. My husband is a public school music teacher, and my kids attend the school he teaches at. It is practically spitting distance away, and it’s a great school.  They have great teachers. I have no ability with early elementary subjects, and buying homeschool material could literally break us financially.

Yet, in spite of that, I do sometimes feel guilty when I hear about homeschoolers who are able to personally cater their child’s education, let them finish their schoolwork by noon, and take fun field trips that my public school kids might never take.  I know that I don’t WANT to homeschool, but occasionally, I kind of feel that I should . . . or I feel that I should want to.

But, then I go in to volunteer at the school, doing easy jobs like filing, cutting, or reading to the kids. I alternate between my older two kids’ classes once a week, which isn’t much, but right now, it’s what I can manage.  Today I kept busy, walking around the room, helping kids spell, and distributing squirts of hand sanitizer before lunch.  And then there’s the other thing I do.

Today, one little girl ran up to me, throwing her arms around me. She usually does. Her nose was crusty. Her skin was ashy and cracked. Her clothes weren’t warm enough for today’s chilly air. Her hug seemed desperate and fierce.  Everything about her just craves attention.

Another boy smelled like dogfood, stale cigarettes, and neglect, but his eyes shone when I complemented his handwriting.

A third child noiselessly worked, catching my eye tenatively for just the merest praise, beaming shyly.

For just a few, a select few of my children’s classmates, school is the safest, most loving place they will be.  Only a few adults will show them love.  Some of these kids aren’t hugged at home, or snuggled. They aren’t washed often or read books. They aren’t fed healthy food or given supervised outside playtime.  It’s not MANY of the kids, but it’s too many. They CRAVE love because they know its lack.

Sure. All children want hugs, and love, and attention–not just needy ones. All the children croon at me about being married to the music teacher. They want to stand next to me, talk to me, and treat me like a celebrity. (I LOVE it!)   And certainly, if you were to come observe children based on appearance alone, mine aren’t the epitome of cleanliness or fashionability, appropriate dress or even fresh-scentedness, but there’s one thing that glows from their sweet faces. They are loved and secure. 

Our home is a happy, safe, warm place, full of Jesus’ love.  If by putting my kids in public school, I am afforded the opportunity to carry the tiniest bit of our homelife into the day of another less fortunate child, then it is worth it to educate our whole family in this kind of life sharing.

So yes, I’m sure my kids spend inordinate amounts of time waiting in line, hear words and jokes I wouldn’t use, and might not be challenged to the uttermost. But I am so thankful that God has given us an opportunity, however small, to take our happiness to school and love on children who might never cross our paths.

It’s not much . . . giving a hug, offering a compliment, smiling to encourage, and taking a few minutes to help them spell, but I’m proud of being a public school mom and carrying God’s love there personally and through my kids.

If your kids attend a public school, take the fabulous opportunity to share the love from your home, God’s dwelling place, at school.


25 thoughts on “Don’t Homeschool? Take Home to School

  1. This is such a different perspective from what we typically hear. You are so right about being able to share God’s love with those in need. Thanks for writing this!

  2. Thanks for sharing! I have sometimes felt the guilt of not home-schooling, but have always known it is just not for me. I like to pray each day that my children will be “leaders in the Light and not followers of the world”. We as Christians are supposed to be the salt of the earth and are not to hide our light under a bushel… I have prayed and prayed for my children, over their schools, the other students and especially the teachers. It is a great opportunity for my children to see God at work. Thank you for sharing your Light and the Light of your children with all the other students!

  3. Thank You!!! Our church has a large home school population and a large number of kids go to private Christian schools. Those of us that send our kids to public school are in the minority. I’ve been asked “Wouldn’t you rather home school your kids? You don’t know what they are being exposed to at school.” My response is this: School is their mission field right now. They can go to school and show God’s love to others. You never know what my kids are exposing those other kids to. In our community, there are Muslims, and a lot of atheists. And this is the South?!?! These kids are in the classrooms with my children. And my kids are showing the love of Christ EVERY DAY. It may be something small, picking up dropped books when everyone else walks on by. It may be befriending a non-believer in order to build a relationship in which Christ can be shared. I love that my of my friends home school and that many attend private schools. Those kids are smart and loved. My kids are sharing Love with others.

    1. I go to a large church and am the only homeschooler. I’m constantly asked, “wouldn’t you rather send your kids to public school?” hah – I think both sides need to do a better job of showing grace to the other and not assuming one way is best for everyone. So much good can come from both.

      1. I agree Angie. I think there are advantages and blessings to both approaches that we should all acknowledge and appreciate. This post was just an encouragement to those who sometimes despair of not being a homeschooler. I cringe at the idea of starting up debate, which I think often leaves people feeling defensive when most of us agree it’s a personal choice that we can support each other in. 🙂

        1. Totally. I love all my public school and home school friends and hope to become better at supporting everyone all the way around. 🙂

        2. YES! It’s too bad that even these wonderful and refreshing perspectives from well-rounded and happy families, who are interested in supporting a community that contains both home schooled and public schooled kids, often get twisted or misunderstood as a vote for one or the other. You are truly encouraging and you never, ever point fingers. It’s such a wonderful blessing to live near a public school where you know your children are safe and well cared for, and it’s also a blessing to be equipped with the desire and capability to home school when that call has been placed on a family for any reason. Thank you again, Katrina, for helping all of us Moms to feel a little less shame for making the choices we make. Love you and all your posts!!

  4. this is a fantastic post – thanks so much for reminding me that all of the things I feel I “should be” doing don’t matter … what I do take the time to do does matter and it’s good 🙂 thank you!!
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  5. I have heard of some people say that their kids are missionaries to their school. I sort iof roll my eyes at that inwqrdly…. Maybe some kids are, but thats a choice they have to make, not the parents for them… But what i hear you saying is entirely differen to met. You are taking warmth into the school, the heat and light of the Saviour of the world…. THAT i love.
    I’m the adult in the room that is often ill at ease with other children, i dont clamour for them… But quite often i’m also the one that that ‘unfriendly’ child will walk up to and ask to be held.
    They are looking for something safe and see it…. And these kids see that in you, the safeness, the love, the warmth… Tey see Jesus, even if they dont know it. And your kids project Jesus, even if they dont know it.
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    1. Crap. I just read the comments above my comment..!!!. ANd realized that one of the commenters said exactly what i said i was ‘rolling my eyes at’…. Not what i intended!!!! Feel free to delete my comment!!! I am not someone who uses only one type of schooling… And have no interest in offending another mom… I just havent ever identified with that statement… Having been missionaries…. Having had to choose that- i know no one else can choose that FOR You. Missions must be a heart conviction for that person. That’s all i was trying to say….
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      1. Anita, I think your meaning is clear–not as one of offense, but just as an expression of how you feel. I agree that we shouldn’t commission our children on our behalf in an “Onward Christian Soldiers” type of way (in spite of liking the song). But I do think we and our kids will shine our homes values and beliefs just as a matter of course, not as an “agenda.” I’m sure that is what you meant. 🙂

  6. Thank you so much for this article! I’ve been a public school teacher for 25 years and I love where I work. I don’t often hear this kind of sentiment from the community that shares my faith. I mostly hear criticism about public schools or public school teachers that I’ve never seen or experienced in my career. It can be so disheartening. Again thank you for the encouragement.

  7. I love this. I wish more public school parents were like you. Unfortunately, this is not what I see.

  8. What a beautiful and well spoken testimony! I homeschool my boys and love the time I get with them. But I also have friends that aren’t called to homeschool – and bless their children’s public school classes just like you do. It’s amazing to see how God works in each family in so many different ways. I agree it is time for us to embrace that neither public/private school or homeschool is right/wrong, but God expects each family to be faithful in living out what he has called them too. Here’s a shout out to all you public school mamas faithfully being a light in your community!

    1. I love the way you said “God expects each family to be faithful in living out what he has called them to.” That’s the point. 🙂 The body of Christ should never feel like a competition. Thanks for reading.

  9. I really enjoyed this article and I can so relate to the guilt of not homeschooling because I, too, don’t really want to homeschool. The real guilt gut-check is this though: I was home schooled myself from 1st-12th grade. I had a good experience overall but I don’t really want to homeschool my kids. It is often hard to balance these feelings with my past homeschool experience and the fact that most of my friends homeschool.

    Our kids attend our neighborhood public school, which is just around the corner from our house. Our experience has been great! They love it and I love it–which continues to surprise me since I was “taught” growing up that public school is basically the devil’s playground. 😉

    Sometimes it is hard to be the public school mom, like I have to convince others (mostly in my head) that I can still teach my children about having a relationship with Christ even if they go to public school.

    Thanks for a great article!

    1. Thanks for reading. Yes, much of our area here homeschools too, so it is hard to say, “YES. I love public school!” I was there again today and remember thinking that, warts and all, the schools are trying hard for our children and we can help them by going in and giving our teachers a hand.

  10. Thank you so much for your words. That is exactly how I feel, but don’t always feel comfortable saying. I praise God and thank my husband daily for being able to stop into my boys’ school regularly and help out. The children are familiar with me and LOVE it when I know their name and take a minute to talk to them. I know all of my childrens’ friends. I am so happy to be able to support our fabulous staff. They work SO hard and provide our school’s population with an exemplary education and I’m blessed to be able to cut, laminate, copy, and glue things for them. I was educated as a teacher, but am a much better volunteer. I could homeschool, but we feel our kids are getting a better education at school and they love it. Thank you for supporting our decision to support public schools.

  11. I shared this post on fb and can’t tell you how God used it in my life! I was a public educator in a very poor school and was a bright light in a very dark place. I know the kids you speak about! And I know the teachers who brought their light to school. We didn’t have parent volunteers.
    Our eldest will be in k5 next year and I have prayed for clear direction if public school is where God wants her. it’s where we want her, but I’m not really concerned with that. Reading your article reminded me about those kids, andIcan’t wait to bring Light with my kids beside me! With 3 kids, and 1 on the way, I’m constantly asked if I homeschool. I now have a great article to reference when I mention our decision to public school. thanks for sharing!
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