The field trip to Public School was fabulous yesterday. We got there around 9:45am and stayed until nearly 2:30pm or so. We helped sort text books, deliver supplies to teachers, listened to the choir perform their Christmas song for the upcoming program, did lunch duty, tied a few shoes, met lots of teachers and classrooms full of curious kids, sat in the office while one or two of them got discipline referrals, met the friendly office staff, and even got some free art textbooks that are no-longer used in current circulation for the school. We worked pretty hard sorting and stacking textbooks for an hour or so. It was good for the kids to feel like they helped out.
Another interesting thing about this school is that it’s a school where nearly 80% of the children are on free or discounted lunches (and the ratio of whites in the school is only about 5%). It was amazing to see how much hard work the teachers are putting in to their classes, the classrooms, the library and in keeping the school up to standards. It was clean and colorful. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the kids. There were so many sweet faces and pretty smiles. Even the little boy that had to walk with us while we did some textbook delivery was a cutie (he was one of the discipline referrals).
This field trip has been my favorite so far this year. The kids enjoyed eating a cafeteria lunch (their favorite part was the chocolate milk). I ended up eating their leftover hamburgers (it ‘ain’t McDonald’s, folks… if you can imagine worse!?). The green beans were wonderful, though. Certainly, you can’t complain for a 2$ meal! We weren’t allowed to take any photos (and I don’t blame them); but we have fond memories. I asked my kids what they thought and they said they were glad that I took them to see a school, but they still wanted to homeschool. What kid wouldn’t? Despite the fact that we want to homeschool still, I’m glad my kids have seen behind the scenes and are not afraid of public school. Some of the reasons I think many homeschool kids are afraid of it is just because it is “unknown” – and they assume that it is all bad because Mom and Dad chose to pull them from it or never let them go. Sure there are bad things in school… but there are bad things everywhere. No one has the corner on perfection in education. There is always room for improvement – even with homeschooling.
I want my kids NOT to feel proud to be a homeschooler – but to feel THANKFUL. Pride is not a quality that Christ desires. I want them to know that the kids in public school are just as good as they are – no matter what their color or social status. Just because their parents chose not to homeschool them for whatever reason doesn’t mean they aren’t valuable kids. I think our field trip to the “other side” was a positive way to drive that point home. They even got to shake hands with the custodians at the school… and Morgan told one of them that “mopping the lunch room looked like a lot of fun”. That is the kind of courteous across-the-ages “socialization” I’m aiming for… just for my kids to truly love and respect others – including those who are different.