On schooling for our kids

Olivia and I are in the middle of a big discussion over what school we should send our kids to (in the middle as in "months of conversation", not "she's talking right now and I'm typing at the keyboard instead of listening to her"). I'm using this post to hopefully document some of the thoughts I've had.

It's important to state at the outset that the main goal is that TJ and Maya and our other kids (when they come) should have the best schooling possible. The way I see it we have two major choices: private or state school. Olivia and I were both schooled privately, and can recount good and bad experiences.

The "best schooling possible" means more than just the best math books. To me it means that the environment to learn in is safe, teachers are encouraging and pay attention to each student, kids are taught well and appropriately to their age and development, and there's opportunity for diversity, among other things. Importantly, I see school as an extension of what goes on in the home in terms of values and principles (as in, I as a father should not leave character development up to others).

Right now I'm reflecting on my own school experiences and thinking that I was "sheltered" in a "good" Christian school, and almost not ready for the world-at-large that loomed just outside. I feel like I was only exposed to "good" things, and when I started getting outside of my Christian friends and saw people doing "bad" things (and not getting struck down by lightning), the temptation was too strong. This certainly points to a low-self esteem and confidence problem in my late teens and a lack of discernment on my part. But, maybe I would have benefited from being told about the "bad" things, and learnt to say "no" (I'm just writing what I think here).

I also strongly feel like a "sheltered" environment of Christian curriculum isolates people from the outside world. I found it hard to "integrate" after I left the comfortable confines of High School. I guess nowadays I don't worry so much. I do know it is possible for me to listen to only Christian radio, read only Christian books, hang around only with other Christians and be pretty clammed up at work about my faith, and have absolutely nothing in common with those in my neighbourhood or suburb, and that that's a bad thing.

So that's where I'm at right now. Next time I'll talk about my perceptions of state schools. Time to go back and talk to my wife...

(p.s. I'd love feedback on this matter - where do your kids attend school?)

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