In the fall of 2016, it was reported by the National Center for Education Statistics that approximately 50.4 million students attended public elementary and secondary schools. About 35.4 million were in prekindergarten through the eighth grade, and 15 million ninth through twelfth graders (https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=372). This is astounding because it’s about 16% of the United States’ population. In fact, if you were to start a brand new country with those students it would rank in the top 30 most populated countries in the world. It is my firm belief this is the greatest mission field in the United States of America.
I’ve heard it said “Youth are the leaders of tomorrow”. I’ve heard this said by teachers, preachers, and politicians, and I would contend they are wrong. Youth are not the leaders of tomorrow, they are the leaders of today!
Teens are amazing people! Teens have the ability to lead and to be strong leaders at that. Teens are inventive, ingenious, and innovative.
The end of another school year and what a wonderful year it was too! It seems like just yesterday that the boys started the school year and then I blinked and it was over.
Two things that stood out the first few weeks of school that made me really appreciate the school system we are in and the teachers at our school. I felt from the beginning of the school year that it was going to be a really good school year and that the teachers my boys were blessed with would show great love and care, while also being a great example of Christ. Here are the two things that lead me to feel this way:
- The day we met Alex’s teacher, she unashamedly had Christian music playing in her classroom. This spoke volumes of her testimony and her love for Christ.
- At a youth gathering of students from the local churches coming to pray together, Aric’s teacher was there as a sponsor from her church and prayed along with the students from her church.
To see our teachers being unashamed of their Christianity and being open about it makes me realize that those years of worrying what people thought of public school or my presupposed ideals were in vain, and that God knew perfectly what He was doing when He guided us to the area we are in and to put our children in the Public school system.
Aric and Alex both had excellent years academically, and they are looking forward to Alto starting Pre-K next school year and being able to go to school with them.
This year Aric (3rd Grade) was one of a few 3rd graders to be selected to be part of our school robotics program (Our school is one of a few elementary schools in Georgia to have a robotics program). Aric loved this and enjoyed building a robot the 1st half of the year and displaying it with his partner at the Fall Festival in November. In the Spring he was able to participate in a rocket challenge he decorated his with Mario and one 1st place for best in show!
Alex (2nd Grade) was able to perform in this years Christmas Play, he was a reindeer, unfortunately he got a little stage fright and forgot his one line he got to say “Generous, and don’t forget generous!”, But he insists he still would love to act. He also had perfect attendance this year! He has really improved in his reading. (remember my Something Clicked article)
I was able to participate in the S.T.E.A.M. day again at school in May and teach about graphic design. Every year I have done this I have given out information about our church including a Gospel tract. I was able to do this once again this year and also offer an audio Bible to the student who could answer a question at the end correctly. The students LOVED getting the prize (I designed the packaging for the audio Bible).
I look forward to what the 2017-2018 school year has in store for us!
In the recently popular book The Mockingjay (book 3 of the Hunger Games) Katniss and Peeta go through an exercise to bring a sense of trust with each other. Peeta would ask a question and then ask Katniss “Real or not real”, to try to return to that trust Peeta once had with Katniss before the capital hijacked (brainwashed) him.
What does this have to do with anything about raising children in the Public school? I’m Glad you asked.
School for our children starts next week (ugh it is the first week of August and already back in school). I have been praying not only for my own children but also for the teens in our church as they start back to the school year. My own children and most of the youth group kids are in the public school system and I am praying for them to have a wonderful year with many opportunities to share Christ with their friends.
The other day as I was listening to the radio and a song came on about “Prayer”, as it came to the second verse the words were “Well they tell our children not to pray when they walk through the school-house door, according to the Constitution, you can’t do that anymore.” Honestly when I heard these words I though “That is an outright LIE”. REAL or NOT REAL? NOT REAL.
For years I heard it said from respected Christian leaders that the public schools were evil, that children could no longer pray, that students could no longer share their faith, that no Christian had business sending their children to the public school because God was not in any way, shape, or form allowed to be mentioned or talked about. REAL or NOT REAL? NOT REAL.
I am sure there are a minority of schools (especially in more urban areas) that would try to put a stop to the Christian influence in school, however in the majority of schools today students still have every opportunity to share their faith with others.
Children are not usually told they can’t pray when the enter the school.
The Constitution doesn’t say that students can’t pray.
In fact here is a reminder to our students of what the LAW DOES SAY about Christian Students and their rights. REAL OR NOT REAL? REAL.
- A student may wear a T-shirt or Use a pencil with a religious message, Bible verse, or Christian slogan printed on it.
- Christian students are also able to pass out Gospel tracts to classmates during non-instructional time in the same way they are allowed to pass out non-religious materials. This should be done in a way that doesn’t disrupt the normal events of a school day.
- Students can discuss religious matters or pray at any time when they are permitted to interact with other students- before and after school, during lunch, between classes – as long as the discussions don’t constitute harassment of a particular person or group. Any time a student is permitted to discuss non-instruction matters, he may also discuss religious matters, which includes witnessing and praying with others.
- Prayer is protected under the first amendment. A student may pray before eating lunch or silently before taking a test… as long as there are tests, there will be prayer in school.
- Christians are able to read the Bible in school whenever other non-instructional books are permitted to be read – at lunch or during study hall for example.
- Christians may express their religious beliefs in any written or oral assignment. If the views of all other students are allowed, the teacher may permit a Christian to share his views, as well.
- Public secondary schools must give Bible clubs the same privileges as any other school club, as long as the club is led by a student and not by a faculty sponsor. Bible club meetings may include prayer, Bible reading, and singing.
- Christian students may be excluded from a lesson or activity which would “substantially burden a student’s free exercise of religion, and if the school cannot prove a compelling interest in requiring attendance, the school is legally required to excuse the student from that lesson or activity”.
The principle of all these guidelines is that you can not disrupt classroom or school order. It’s not illegal to talk about God or the Bible in public schools. The more you know about your rights as a public school students, the more you will be able to exercise those rights in witnessing to non-Christians and fellowshipping with other believers.
So STUDENTS you have a REAL opportunity to share Christ this year at school. Are you going to make your faith REAL or NOT REAL?
This was a great read. When I read it a few months ago, I was able to read the whole article,
now you can only read part of it, but still the part that you are able to read was very good. The author was kind enough to give us open access to the entire article! At some point of time I will have Kim Harms write a guest post for us.
Reading for Alex has been a struggle! I don’t want to compare my children to one another, but when Aric started school he immediately took to learning to read, write, and do math with very little effort on our part. However with Alex it seemed like an almost impossible task.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
This verse is a hard one to follow some times, especially when things don’t go your way, but God was clear, the will of God is for you to give thanks in everything. Good and bad. Happy and sad. Whether you understand it or it makes no sense at all. God has asked us to give thanks.
I first learned of Jonathan Park through facebook friends sharing what a great Christmas gift this would make for children. I took a look and was interested, but was afraid to spend $25 on something I wasn’t sure my young children would be interested in at this time. So instead of purchasing them myself, I told my mom about them and she bought them for the boys for Christmas.
I grew up listening to the likes of Patch the Pirate and Adventures in Odyssey on the Christian side and Old Time Radio on the secular side, so I have heard and enjoyed the production of good quality Audio Dramas. I would now add Jonathan Park to that list of quality Audio Dramas.
It seems like almost every week there are news stories that slam the public school. So when I can, I want to take a “Current News” story and give my little take on it. This week is a story about a boy who was given detention for being late to school.
This is the headline that was put out on Facebook by Fox News
Above the headlines was the following description:
First let me say this about the media, as much as I like Fox news, they are just as guilty of blowing stories out of proportion as the liberal media is. In fact I would say mainstream media as a whole loves to draw people using deceptive headlines and playing on emotions.
In just about a week, the school year will start back. I anticipate this to be a good, but busy year. Aric our oldest (6) will be going into first grade, Alex our middle (5) is starting Kindergarten, and I am serving as the Communications Chair for our PTO (Parent Teacher Organization). When I started the blog last year I had planned on posting something every week, but there wasn’t much to post some weeks. I plan on continuing to post this school year on things that will encourage and challenge my fellow Christians to greater heights. Here are some tips for the start of the school year.
1) Go Back-to-School Shopping Early
I know there is the tax free weekend in many states, and I am all for saving a little money, but let’s face it unless you are planning on buying a TON of school supplies, you may only save a few dollars. You will already be stressed enough the week before school starts, why add more stress by going shopping the same time everyone else is doing their school shopping? Many stores start their back-to-school sales at the beginning of July. For our family we try to purchase most of what we need online and then purchase the remaining items toward the middle of July. (For back to school clothes go to the thrift shops, why spend 100’s of dollars on clothes when you can get all you need for 2 children for $50).
2) Let the school know they have your support
You don’t have to be on a PTO board or school board to let the school know that you support them. Write and email to the principle, tell him/her that you support them as a parent and are available to help with anything that they might need you for. As I have said in past posts, schools really do want you as parents involved. Don’t overstep and over push, but find way to volunteer and help. (Even an hour helping put books on the shelf in the library once a week is a great help to the school)
3) Show up for meet the teacher, reassure the teacher that you support them
Meeting the teacher isn’t a requirement for a child to go to school but you should require yourself to be there. Going to this event gives you a chance to meet both your child’s teacher and some of their classmates. While there ask the teacher what ways you can help them through the school year. Let them know that you are glad they are your child’s teacher and that you support them.
4) Join your PTO
Why should you join your PTO? Because as a member you have the opportunity to show your support for the school and have a collective voice with your fellow members to voice support, concern, questions, and opinions to the leadership of the school. Take time to join them, you aren’t wasting a few dollars for a decal or magnet, you are showing your support for the school.
Certainly you should pray more than just at the start of the school year, but the closer it gets, the more you should pray for your children and the challenges they will face this year. It helps prepare your heart for the school year and helps your children prepare their hearts. Let them tell you things they would like you to pray for, no matter how “small” their request may be, pray for it, God cares about them enough to give an answer.
What type things do you do to get ready for the beginning of a school year?