December 11, 2007

Diversity Training: The Public School Field Trip Review

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.

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Sara D said...

Bravo. I love your "not proud, but thankful". I've met a lot of homeschool families that think they are superior, and that is definitely not a trait that goes with the lifestyle they are going for. Personally I think this might be one of the most valuable field trips yet. I bet all the public school kiddos were VERY curious. :) What grades did you visit?

Isaiah5513 said...

Thanks for sharing about your field trip. I wonder if LV would let us? Heh! My kids aren't arfaid, they're curious to the point of daring me to send them :/ Anyway...I really appreciate what you said about pride, that's a good thing to remember when I'm listening to all the ps parents at practice complain about school ;)

jewlsntexas said...

This was neat to read. I am so glad you had a great day. I was wondering when I read the original post how the day would go. Did it make your kiddos want to go to school?

Bolina Stretta said...

I bet your kids had a lot of fun, by the time we are back to the USofA, ou r kids are going to beg us to homeschool them !

Say HI to big K, and watch your mailbox...

Ciao from all of us !
R,A,F,O,I,A, ..;-)

dana said...

Very nice...I am always uncomfortable answering my daughter's questions about public school because I do not want to inadvertently paint too negative of a picture. My words are all she knows and it can be easy to pass on negativity where none is intended.

Principled Discovery

Lady Why said...

That sounds like a wonderful and educational day out! I use to work in an inner city school and it really broke my heart... but I sure did LOVE those kids!! They were priceless!!

Thanks for sharing your update!

Jen said...

This was great info! I liked it so much I posted a link on my blog-

Gooblink said...

What a great post and field trip, Heather. This is one I should arrange for my kids, who do seem to have a fear of "public" school. I am thankful to be free to home school, but should anything happen to change our situation, I would want my kids to be comfortable where ever they're educated.

Sprittibee said...

sara d... yes, the superiority thing bugs me. it is one thing to have bragging rights for your kids, but entirely another to stick your nose up at anyone else's kids - especially in front of their parents or teachers. We visited elementary kids on our trip. I don't think it would have been as good of a trip if it had been older kids. Not because of the kids - but because they would have been older than my kids.

isaiah5513 - my daughter had to look your verse up. :) yes, it is easy to fall into a prideful attitude. i have to watch it, too... because i love what i do and it is easy sometimes to think that it is the "best" way - but sometimes getting to know the "other" ways (ps and private) helps you to keep a level headed perspective.

jewlsntexas... no, the kids are glad to be homeschooled... but it was a good experience, none-the-less.

bolina stretta... i'll say ciao if it means hello as well as goodbye. i'd love to say hello to you all. ;) hugs and kisses from TX! So what does bolina stretta mean, anyway?

dana... :) i have been much too negative in the past about ps due to my own bad behavior problems in school! after all, i was a really bad kid until I met Jesus.

lady why... you are most welcome. glad you enjoyed it. :)

jen... thanks for the hat tip! ;)

gooblink... yeah, i have thought of that before... just in case something happens to mom and they have to go to school - i wouldn't want them to feel like the sky was falling.

Sisterlisa said...

Wonderful Article! Thank you for sharing with us.



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