My Perspective On Education: On Private School

This is a guest post from Kristin Hill Taylor. She lives in Murray, Ky., with her husband, Greg, and their two kids – 6-year-old Cate and 3-year-old Ben. She can often be found trying to beat her husband in Words with Friends, playing games of Settlers of Catan with her best friends, listening to her daughter’s stories, reminding her son to be careful, or texting her friends. She believes in taking road trips, living in community, and documenting real life. You can keep up with her at www.kristinhilltaylor.com.

For more information on this series and submitting your own perspective on education post, click here.

I argued with my husband about where we would send our kids to school before we even had kids. I should have known then not to say “I will never send my kids to private school!”

I was raised by a public school teacher and a public school principal and spent every school year from kindergarten until I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in public school buildings. My aunt was a high school English teacher and my grandma worked for a board of education – both in public school districts.

Certainly, I would raise the next generation of public school students when I had kids.
But, of course, making plans for my life has never really worked. Most every time I’ve said “never,” God has said, “How about this?” He’s led me on paths I never expected and some I never thought I wanted.

My daughter recently finished her first year of kindergarten – at a small, private, classical Christian school. And she’s looking forward to first grade there. I didn’t even know what classical meant educationally speaking until the year before we enrolled her. But when the principal – well, she’s called the head of school, but, you know, I was raised in public schools – described the school’s philosophy and mission and introduced me to the curriculum, I sat there listening to her sum up my beliefs about education that I hadn’t yet been able to put into words.

Since becoming a Christian as a public high school junior, I’ve slowly realized God doesn’t fit in my box. He wants His truths to transform every area of my life – including my kids’ educations.

Yes, we chose a Christian school and my girl has memorized scripture and sang hymns. But she’s also started learning how God created the world (science), how God is a God of order (math and logic), how he loves all the diverse people in our world (geography), how God communicates through the Bible (reading) and gives us the gift to communicate through others (speaking and writing).

In kindergarten alone, she’s learned to read, started telling time and counting change, alphabetized lists, learned about other countries, and discovered she likes art much more than gym. The classrooms have centers and small tables with chairs. There is lunch and recess.
Some elements are similar to what you’d find anywhere else, but the heart and philosophy are different.

I want my girl to be a thinker and problem solver. I want her to learn reading, writing and ‘rithmetic, but I also want her to be transformed to become more like Jesus. She’s already learning that God has a place in our everyday moments – something we’re praying she learns at home and at school. We’re so encouraged that what we’re trying to teach at home is being echoed in her classroom. They take standardized tests – this is school, folks – but they also encourage the students to trust God.

Y’all, I was determined to send her to the public school down the street from my house. It’s a good one with high test scores. She would have excelled there because she’s the kid who was made for school. But God got ahold of my heart. He convicted me to start questioning the long-term meaning of why we do what we do.
guestpostfirst day of kindergarten 2012

Enrolling our daughter in this still small school that was only a few years old and absolutely nothing like I had personally experienced was a step of faith for me. Yes, it was a good kindergarten school year for my girl, but it was also part of this momma’s faith-building journey.

Comments

  1. Thanks for having me today. 🙂

  2. What a great post! I can speak personally – I went to a private school for K-8 and then public for high school. I agree with your statement; “…but the heart and philosophy are different.” It really is different from public school and that has always stayed with me throughout my life. I would love to send our children (if we are ever blessed with them) to a private school if we can afford it financially. It certainly had an impact on my life.

  3. I went to school with Gina. Kindergarten through 12th, private and public. I got a taste of both worlds. And looking back, I’m glad my parents sent be to private school. It shaped the person I am today, in my beliefs (religiously) and values (society). I may not have always like wearing the boring old uniform, but it put the focus on education versus fashion.
    And I’m glad I went to public school too. Some of the lasting friendships I have today are from attending a public high school and participating in extra curricular activities, both educational and athletic, it provided. I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

  4. Kristin,
    so well presented. The moment I think I’m saying “well, yes, absolutely” is the moment God usually whispers, “not so fast.”
    Bless you for your open-hearted obedience.
    Love my dreaming systers.
    Peace and good to you.

  5. Hi Kristin, I love learning more about you and your sweet family. I am so grateful for the opportunity our kids have to go to a charter school around the corner from our home–a school that blesses us with a rich, creative, nurturing place for our three. I could not have dreamed of a better place for them. . . and I love how God continues to surprise and bless and provide. He so knows what our kids need! (And I am so grateful we have any choice at all.) Love those photos of your precious, beautiful girl!

  6. Thanks, everyone, for your comments.

    I didn’t really even speak to the uniform thing. As a mom, I totally love the uniforms. Her dress code is navy or khaki bottoms (skirt, shorts, pants, jumper) with navy, light blue, white, off white, yellow or gold polo shirts or sweaters. Polo dresses, my girl’s favorite, also are acceptable. It makes getting ready for school simple in the morning and all her school clothes can go with each other. Plus, I do think it keeps an educational focus throughout the day.

    Jennifer, you’re so kind. And, yes, the way God knows us yet lays choices before us is so amazing.

  7. I love this line the most:

    Most every time I’ve said “never,” God has said, “How about this?”

    This is true for many areas in our lives. You are one smart lady to be listening!

  8. Christy says:

    Follow along as this parent of 2 talks about her decision to enroll her children in private school.
    http://bit.ly/1auJ4cw

  9. Very interesting to hear others’ perspectives!

    Samara, I think in our state the school choice situation is made extra complicated by open enrollment!

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