Deciding where to send your child to school or whether you should homeschool is a hard decision. There are the normal fears that parents have when it comes to schooling. Then there are also the opinions and pressures of others.
When our oldest was heading into kindergarten, we decided to check out the schooling options. Even though my husband worked in a public school, we wanted to see what the options would be.
From the start, I knew I was not called to homeschool in that season. I had a strong-willed 5-year-old, 3 year 3-year-old, and a newborn. I knew my limits. This led us to visit a local public school and a Christian school.
As you try to decide what to do for school, I highly recommend you visit the schools. So many parents make decisions based on what they hear from others or on the news. It is very helpful to go into the schools, talk to the administration, and see what goes on.
After touring the schools, we realized public school was the best fit for our son and family at that time. Other than homeschooling our younger two for two years during the pandemic, we have had our kids in public schools for the past ten years. This does not make me an expert, but I have learned some things that can help!
Today, I want to encourage you that your kids CAN thrive in public school. It does not have to be something that creates fear in you.
Tips to Help Your Kids Thrive in Public School
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Be a part of the school.
There are so many ways to be involved. Depending on your personality and time, you may want to be involved in different ways. Some ideas to get you started:
- Join the PTA
- Attend School Improvement Meetings
- Chaperone on Field Trips
- Send the teacher, office staff, and administration thank-you notes or small gifts
There are plenty of other ways too! As you are involved in the school, it will help you to feel connected and like you understand what is going on.
Keep open communication with your kids.
This is a key tip! From day one, encourage your child that you are there for them and want to hear about their day. It can be helpful to ask for a high and low. Ask your child what they like to learn. Often, it is throughout the course of an evening that a child will open up about their day.
When our kids go to school, we remind them that we want to be a safe space for them. No question is off-limits. If they hear something at school that confuses them we want them to talk to us!
Read the books your kids are reading.
Your kids are going to read a great variety of books! This is a great chance for you to expand your reading. At the start of the year, ask the teacher what books they will be reading. Then you can read these books as well! We have found this a great way to add extra communication with our kids as we know what they are reading.
Teach important values at home.
At home, you can focus on teaching your kids important values. This helps prepare them for being at school. One thing we often talk about is that hurting people hurt people.
When one of my kids is dealing with a difficult person, we talk about why that kid may be acting like that. We do not excuse the behavior but simply work on empathy and understanding there is a source behind it.
Let go of fear.
Yes, sending your kids out into the world, can sound terrifying. There are scary things that could happen. However, one way to view it is that they are out there hearing things and learning things, and then coming home to a safe space where you can talk and process through it. They have a safe haven to return to.
From my perspective, I would rather my kids be exposed to things when they are living at home so they can discuss it with me, rather than learn things in college and I am not there to debrief.
We have talked through SO many things with our kids. It has been amazing to see them grow and mature as we discuss things.
Yes, your kids are going to hear some words you may not want them to hear. They may learn some things that you did not want them to know. But we are training and preparing the kids to be leaders in the world and in the world they are going to have to learn to deal with differences.
Your kids will hear things and learn things at school that may not align with your values. Instead of panicking, view this as training time!
Be intentional with the time you have together.
I often hear people say they do not want to send their kids to school because they feel like they will be missing out on so much time. Honestly, I struggled with this concept as well at first. However, one thing I realized is that when my kids are at school, I am much more intentional with them when they are home.
When I homeschooled, I was around my kids more but I was more tired and distracted. Now, they are getting a mom who is refreshed and ready to dive in with them. Everyone is different, this is just an observation I had personally.
Obviously, I am not saying that every minute your child is home you need to be together. However, you can find little pockets of time to connect.
- Have a regular family night.
- Take your child on dates.
- Use car time wisely.
- Pray for them and together!
Get to know the other parents.
One thing that has been helpful is to connect with the other parents. This takes time. You do not have to be best friends, but you can make some new friendships.
As your friends make friends, find ways to connect with the parents.
Encourage your kids to be involved.
Everyone does better when they feel like they are part of something. Every child is different. Look at your child and see what activities may fit them best!
What tips would you add to the list to help kids thrive in public school?
Your child’s time in school is not going to be perfect. There will be heartbreaks and friendship troubles. There will be struggles, but as they go through them, you can be there encouraging and speaking truth into them. Make sure to grab this book to help as it is an excellent resource!
Make sure to check out this post on affirmations for kids!