Initially we looked at an Independent Private School in our local area, that offered an alternative education to mainstream schools. The glossy school brochures and welcoming gorgeous school grounds were so attractive. The fact that this school recognised that the current education system is outdated and needed to change, we thought we may have found a happy medium between homeschooling and mainstream school. On further investigation though, it appears the school that claims to not have any religion attached to it, has all sorts of religion - girls and their 'connection' to the moon, hindu rituals and praying to saints. More research into the curriculum showed that they were taught about all religions in the curriculum, including the bible. But interestingly they only study the Old Testament and not the New Testament which covers the life of Jesus! Hmmmm, suffice to say, we withdrew our application from this school as we did not feel comfortable putting our boys in such an environment.
We talked about sending them to a Christian Private School. The only one in my area is a Catholic school and I wasn't comfortable in sending my boys to a Catholic School. Having been to Catholic School for all my schooling, I came out of school with a very confused theology which took me years to undo when choosing to follow Christ as a 19 year old. The underlying message of penance and condemnation was very damaging, and it took me over a decade to fully understand His grace after I became a Christian. The other Christian Schools close by would take me an hour to drive there and back in peak hour traffic, which isn't really going to get me much rest. And the idea of putting the boys in school is so that I can remove a lot of stress from my life and rest.
So we have decided to send the boys to a local State School. After meeting with the Principal, (and crying in the meeting), I was reassured that this school offered a nurturing environment for the children. I was impressed that the school was adding a part time chaplain to the staff in the new semester. On the tour the Principal took the boys and I on, the children would excitedly call out the Principal's name and she would refer to them as "Darlings" and speak sweetly to them. When correcting a child for having a jumper on his head, she spoke firmly and in a kind way. She seemed to be more than understanding that the transition from homeschooling to school may come with teething problems, and assured me that the school will be sensitive to that. The next day I rang the school and left a message. She returned my call within half an hour. I was impressed that the Principal is so accessible to parents. During the phone call, I voiced some of my concerns, and she made a statement that she had been thinking about our situation the night before. That's the kind of Principal I want for my children.
Courageous Boy Warrior(7) is excited to start school in July. He has never been to school before. Leader Boy Warrior(9) is a bit apprehensive as he went to school in Prep for 6 months and again in grade 2 for 3 days. In those 3 days he had a teacher that constantly yelled at the class. He also got a 'Time Out' on his second day, for not putting his colouring in away in his desk straight away and getting another subject's book out. Considering he wasn't used to a classroom environment after being home-schooled, there was no grace from this teacher for a transition period. There has been lots of reassuring conversations with Leader Boy Warrior, that things will be different this time. I have been speaking to a lot about knowing that he will never be alone, as God will always be with Him. Yesterday he purchased a crucifix with Jesus on it out his only pocket money. When he asked me if he could buy it, I encouraged him to do so. We talked about that when he feels anxious, touch the cross and feel it against his chest under his school uniform to remind him that God is there too.
We have decided at this stage to not enroll Fearless Boy Warrior in Prep. He just turned 5 in May and we don't feel there is a pressing need for formal classroom environment for him right now. I have applied for him to go into Pre-Prep kindergarten which offers a 5 day fortnight programme. We may continue homeschooling Fearless Boy Warrior in grade 1, and send him to school in grade 2. We are not sure. We can see the benefits for holding off school in the older 2 boys and would like to give the same opportunity to him. At this stage though, no decisions have been made. We will get through this year and then reassess the situation.
Overall, having had a very emotional week last week (I cried when I purchased the school uniforms), I am feeling a whole lot better this week about sending the boys to school. I am glad that I allowed myself a time of grieving for the old season last week. I am a big believer in letting emotions out rather than holding onto them. I feel very optimistic for our family's future and excited to embrace the new season that awaits us.
Still taking lessons from the King,