Category Archives: parenting

Going Public Book Review

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I recently read the book, “Going Public, Your child can thrive in Public school” by David and Kelli Pritchard. It’s a brilliant title, don’t you think?  The book has popped up a few times within my circle so I resolved to read it through. My goal in reading the book was to find a resource that would help parents with  practical ideas to be intentional in their child’s education within the public school system.  I was  a teeny bit nervous that I would be compelled to change direction in our children’s education and when the girls saw  the title of the book they were more than nervous of the implications of my reading material.

Do I recommend that you read the book?

That depends on what your looking for.  If your children are going to public school, and you’re not considering private, Christian or homeschool education then you should read the book. The  book is written in a tone that will encourage parents to be proactive in their child’s education, give ideas about  communicating with the school, having discussions with your children and staying ahead of the curriculum. The Pritchard’s are sincere about parents taking  ownership of their children(s) education regardless of where they’re being educated either public, Christian  or home school.  My heart soared with agreement when the authors wrote about parenting children in character, obedience, respect to authority, biblical truths, creation and sex education.  As a note, they have excused their children from the sex education classes because they see sex education as the responsibility of parents and want to be the first to talk to them about sex from a biblical view point.  (The book was written in 2008.  Parental rights are being challenged in the courts today regarding parents excusing  their child: here, and here are articles regarding my local school board)  The authors also  give examples of how they’re supplementing and compensating secular viewpoints, such as evolution.  Excellent stuff there!

However, if you are in the process of deciding where your child will be educated than this book is not the book. I will say that they did their best at making an argument to “go public” but it lacks logic and the  verses that are sprinkled throughout are taken out of context. ( I don’t know of a verse that encourages parents to have their children be educated from a secular view point….. It may be permissible to have children educated within the government system using it as a spring board for conversations, knowing where to  compensate and supervise their education with in the system, but there’s no verse that will actually encourage or support that decision.) The tone of the book is  pro-public school  the authors communicated negatively regarding those who chose alternative education options. The following are a few of the arguments they discuss regarding  having your child, “Going Public”. And this is where the book falls apart, in my opinion.  If the authors had kept their script to  “how to help your child thrive in public school”, the book would be a better resource. Instead, it seems that that one of the goals of this book is to convince the reader that placing your kids in the public school is a God honoring decision. Here are a few of the authors arguments as to why your children should “go public”.

  •  Government schools have been around a long time.

  • Test scores need a context (i.e. some kids didn’t eat breakfast, don’t have home support, and by the way the U.S was not the only country which lagged behind Japan in math – other countries did too).

  • Admittedly some public school teachers  have done sickening things but what about so and so which involved a Christian school teacher? They do bad stuff too.

  • Public schools have some good hard working people….

  • Like it or not, 9 out of 10 kids today go to public school.

  • Staying in the public system builds community which strengthens our communities [the authors states that it’s a better approach than moving your child to a better school: “those who follow the path (of leaving the public school) can unwittingly end up hurting their own property values if the local school district keeps falling down and gets a bad reputation.”  – I laughed with horror when I read this. I mean, really?]

  • Nobody’s perfect.  Jesus was obedient to imperfect parents, Mary and Joseph. Mary and Joseph showed their imperfectness  when they lost Jesus in Jerusalem after the Passover and found Jesus after three day’s of searching.  The authors write.

    ” The Son of God voluntarily placed Himself under the authority of a less-than competent mom and dad. He knew this was His appointed station in life for the time being, and He would submit to it. The application to school life is obvious. We have been assigned to live compliantly with less-than-perfect school authorities. We are not subversives or undermines; we have been called to show a Christlike attitude by humbly and willingly submitting to their authority.”

    This rhetoric is confusing. It’s a legal right for parents to choose alternative education for their children. The authors seem to be implying that those parents who choose alternative public  education are  unwilling to be under Christs authority  by choosing to not go public.  Our first and final authority is God himself, not the school system which is under the direction of the government.

To close this post I  recommend that you read this book if your children are in the public  school.  You may  find inspiration to parent intentionally, take ownership of your child’s education and be encouraged. The book may become a conversation starter with other parents regarding their family rules, attitudes and conversations they are have with their children and resources they have used.  I appreciate the authors convictions to help parents raise Christian children I share the same conviction and passion.  However, I wish they didn’t add their apologetic regarding why you should placing your child in the public school because it lacks logic.

By the way, we’re  staying the course with the girls education.

 

 

 

Walking in the rain

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As a child mom made rain and snow  storms into  an adventure and party. She excitedly flung open  the curtains and called us to watch the storm  and wind howl. When we finished our school work she would  teach us baking  and cooking skills.   The louder the cracks of  thunder and lightning  that lit up the sky the better it was as our entertainment.

The weather report  came to my slumbering sisters and I via the songs dad would sing.  “It’s beginning to rain, rain, rain hear the voice of the Father”. Do you know that song?      ” There shall be showers of blessings”.  He never complained about the weather despite how uncomfortable it  made his outside jobs.   He  decidedly headed out into the weather saying something like , “Well, it’s still the day that the Lord has made.”  He also  reminded us to be careful about questioning God for  His weather choice as though we might have more wisdom that God. It stuck with me.

 

So Like my mom, I often warm our home with baking and sometimes dinner, ( much to hubby’s disdain that dessert comes first and there may be no dinner) enticing the girls  to come closer to me in the warm kitchen  and enjoy the camaraderie that the storms provide.   And like my dad I typically don’t complain about the weather. But realistically  I’m protected from its uncomfortable side.

 

Children also love the rain , likely its their strong  magnetic  pull towards any thing that creates a mess for their  dear mothers to clean up.  As moths  are  drawn to  a light bulb so are  children pulled to  water and mud.  Unless of course they  are caught in the rain walking home from the grocery store, library or moms group.  Then they stand there  wailing their heads off .”I’m too tired”, ” I  can’t walk”, ” Pick me up” and on and on they lament  coming up with  excuses for standing there in the heat, wind, rain or snow while , mom’s blood sugars drops  and her patience evaporates . Kids  can be so immature !

As  exasperating as these experiences could leave me I  valued how weather  provides opportunities to teach  a few points with the girls.

 

  • To be flexible.  Weather changes plans and I think it’s the perfect scenario  to walk though with  children despite our laid out plans the Lord is in charge.

 

 “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps”  Proverbs 16:9

 

  •  Experiencing  discomfort produces empathy.  As we  walked home in rain, snow and wind, instead of complaining I’ve encouraged the girls to pray for those who do not have a warm home, dry cloths, food and  family.  I’ve reminded them about  a character from a book we’ve read together pondering how she or he must have  felt.

 

  • To Persevere, the only way I know  how a person can learn perseverance is by persevering. Of course children need lots of encouragement, hand holding and pick ups.  I want the girls to realize  they  often have more stamina than they first  believed of themselves. Using accurate vocabulary like persevere will hopefully help them understand the concept of these words which will help you communicate with  them in different situations such as picking up the toy’s and school work  when the time comes.

 

  • Complaining doesn’t help.  By redirecting the complaining and enticing the girls into conversations they  slowly begin to realize  that complaining interferes in their ability to persevere  efficiently and attitude is everything.

 

 HOWEVER, when  your stuck  have way between places non of the above teaching opportunities are going to actually help you get home. 

 

  • Always bring a snack with you, I save Halloween  candy packages to divvy up while on outings. I will offer one candy and then use the rest as a reward when we get to a marker. The advantage of a small piece of candy is it boosts the blood sugars quickly and it doesn’t make everyone thirsty like a granola bar does if you don’t have water.
  • Bring water not juice, or  pop.
  • Have your child walk as far as she will,  before picking up. Jason and I witnessed a child complaining to her father about walking before they even left the building. The father asked her, (4 or 5 years old) do you want me to carry you for a while first?  Jason looked at me and said,”  Oh oh, dad’s going to be tired after carrying her all the way  home”.
  • Use  the strap on the side of your stroller or add one. the strap needs to be  long enough that your child is not kicking the stroller wheels but short enough that she is still beside you.

Your child needs to be comfortable . The length really makes a difference, please don’t require your child to hold her hand above her head it would be  so uncomfortable in that position  and she does   have something to cry about when she is getting pins and needles in her hand and arm from being held to high.   Or in a pinch have your child hold the bottom of your coat or pant leg .  My girls walked so much better when they were not allowed to lag behind.  My girls will still hold my purse, back pack or coat  when we are walking in a crowded, interesting location or the snow is blowing in her face. She can hid her face from the wind or she can concentrate on  looking around with out getting lost or left on her own lagging behind.

When a child is lagging behind  I  give one  or two reminders  that she needs to hold the strap or walk beside me.  I  told the girls  walking is about relationship as well as getting somewhere and when shes  lagging behind it hurts my feelings… I’m a mom with feelings too after all.

 

So enjoy what could be our last cold spell the sun is shinning the sky is blue.

 

Karyn