I find myself talking about PCA to other parents frequently. Usually the conversation starts with the question of where my kids go to school followed by a look of confusion because they’ve never heard of Pinnacle Classical Academy. From there we typically talk about how the school has only been around for a few years and it’s small but great and what grades my kids are in. At this point in the conversation, the classical approach to education tends to come up and all the great things PCA does to implement a classical Christian education in an effective way. After the basics have been covered, there are a couple questions that I’m finding parents ask me repeatedly. I’d like to address one today.
The question usually goes something like this: You seem to really know your stuff and the school is so small, why don’t you just homeschool your kids? An excellent question that I can’t wait to answer! I could homeschool my kids. I know I could do it, I know it can be a great choice for many families, I even think I could do it well. But there are a few key reasons my husband and I have intentionally chosen not to homeschool our kids.
The first and most personal reason is simply that I know the personal bent of each of my family members, including myself, and I do not believe homeschool would be a recipe for better things in our home. Quite the contrary. I thrive on having personal space and time to be alone with my thoughts and meditations and prayers. It’s like pressing a reset button. Without it, I get overloaded and tend to not be such a nice mommy or wife. Having my kids at school, even though I still have one at home, gives me a little bit more space to recharge so that I have more to give to my family.
My daughter started school in Kindergarten very shy and withdrawn. Going to school has encouraged her to blossom in her social skills while simultaneously being challenged academically. I knew from the beginning I could not provide that for her, no matter how many weekly clubs and classes we joined. School has been very valuable for her academically and socially. Learning social skills is not something schools teach intentionally, but they are learned experientially.
The second reason we chose not to homeschool our kids is because we believe it is good and healthy for our kids to be regularly exposed and influenced by people outside of our family who hold the same values and beliefs that we teach our kids. At PCA, they have teachers who love them and teach them through their words and actions to love Scripture and prayer and Jesus. They also have peers who teach them that singing about Jesus is cool, that making games to teach people about Jesus is fun, and that being kind to others is valuable. Kids don’t look to Mom to tell them what is cool. I love having a school that is full of families who help promote the messages we try to teach our kids at home, which means our kids are influencing each other and our values are suddenly “cool.”
I’ve watched both of my children start Kindergarten at PCA now and each one of them did something I had never seen them do before. They got to a point very quickly where they loved going to school and their chin lifted. It was like someone had given them the keys to the car and told them they could drive. They had a world of their own, responsibility, a place outside of our home that was their own. “Mom, guess what I get to do this week? I get to change the calendar,” they say with great pride and a sense of accomplishment. I give my kids responsibilities at home, but this is different.
At home, Mom is in charge. At school, Mom is not present and they have a little part of world that they can navigate on their own. This is the third reason I do not homeschool my children. I love watching them take personal ownership of their actions away from home. I also love that they are “test-driving their cars,” or exploring their freedoms in an environment where I know their teachers are going to steer them in the same directions I would if I were with them, which leads me to my fourth reason.
PCA holds the belief that education is ultimately the parents’ responsibility and I agree. PCA also values training our children to think well and to be equipped to love the Lord our God with all our minds (Matthew 22:37), which I also agree with. In effort to take responsibility for my kids’ education, and do my best to equip them to love God with their hearts and souls and minds, while changing diapers and preparing food and washing sheets, and have a little space to remain sane, I need help!
My husband and I have chosen to partner with PCA in educating our children. Having help means we can aid in the rough patches when they’re learning something complicated or need extra study time. It also means we have enough distance from their day-to-day learning that we can see when there are holes in their education, whether that’s academically, socially or spiritually, and we can add extra emphasis to those areas at home. As one homeschool mom told me several years ago, I am homeschooling my kids all the time even though it may not be intentional. Except now I have PCA as a partner. Together we make a great team!