I often get asked why I chose a PSP over a Charter, and every time, my heart speeds up just a tad before I answer. This topic can be a touchy one, and opinions can be strong about it. Multiple friends chose a charter school and loved it because it has worked best for their families. I still adore these friends, value their opinions, and am still amazed at the work they do in their lives for the Lord. That choice was right for them. My decision to go with a PSP had everything to do with the convictions the Lord laid on my heart regarding my family. This is my truth, my answer to that often-asked question.
I didn’t always know that I would homeschool. I knew of homeschooling long before my girls were born through my closest friend, who was already homeschooling her children. I had honestly thought I could not educate my children, but that is a topic for another day. My husband and I knew with absolute certainty that we did not want to send our children to public school, so we planned to send them to a private Christian school. God had another plan. Between pricing out local schools, watching my friend home-educate her kids, and consistent prayer, I felt the Lord lay the calling on my heart to home-educate my girls.
Now that we decided to homeschool, I dove headfirst into praying and researching my options, and there were so many options to wade through. My first order of business was to figure out where to go for support. See, I already knew I did not want to go to this homeschooling thing alone. Of course, I had my friend who was there any time I needed her, but her kids were much older than mine. I wanted my girls to have friends, and I needed the support and friendship of other moms in the same stage of life. So that leads me to the state Charter Schools or Private School Satellite Programs (PSP). As followers of Christ, we know that our children belong to the Lord. He has entrusted them to us to train up in His ways so they are fully equipped to follow His calling on their lives. We also know that children learn more from examples; as their parents, it is our job to be that example. This weighed very heavy on my heart the entire time I was researching the local charter schools. I’m not going to lie. The charter schools were very compelling because money was tight, and the charter was free, including the curriculum. Through my time researching and praying, there were three main factors that I could not get past.
First, it felt like I would be lying. In researching the charter schools, I discovered they are directly connected to the state public schools. The charters get their funding from the state, so, in turn, they need to follow the state’s rules. This meant that all the curriculum I got through charter would have to meet public school standards, so I could not use faith-based materials. Now I know that charters will tell you it is ok to use the faith-based curriculum. You have to purchase it with your own money and print out non-faith-based worksheets to turn in to show your children’s work. However, all the curriculum I wanted to use was faith-based. I wanted to instill in my children that Christ is the foundation for every area of our lives, not just Sunday school at church and Wednesday night bible study. He is the foundation for our grammar and mathematics. He is the God of order. I wanted them to grow up seeing how God was at the center of every moment in history and the orchestrator of science. So I would have to purchase my own curriculum, which was fine. But I couldn’t get past the part about printing off the worksheets and turning those in as my children’s work because the truth was it would be a lie. Those worksheets were different from the curriculum we were going to use. Not only would I be lying, but what would that teach my girls in the end? That lying was ok when it meant we could benefit from it? That whole thought just put a pit in my stomach.
Second, I could not hide Him under a bushel. This one hit me a little harder. Choosing not to turn in the faith-based curriculum we were using was denying Christ (Mark 8:38). When my children were still in diapers, one of the first songs I taught them was This Little Light of Mine. You know, the one who talks about letting your light, the Lord, shine so that you can be a Light for Him in this world. The song makes a point to demonstrate how we are not to hide our light. Hide the Lord from the world. And that is exactly what it felt like I would be denying Christ, just hiding my light under a bushel because the state told me to. Just like lying, I felt like I would be setting the example that denying Christ for money was ok. I knew I couldn’t do that.
Third, Which king do I serve? We all have grown up hearing our parents say things that, at the time, seem random or silly. My father was a big fan of the saying, “If you take the king’s gold, you do the king’s bidding.” I used to roll my eyes and just nod and say, “I know, Dad, I know.” Well, that saying slammed to the forefront of my mind years ago while I was trying to decide between a PSP and a Charter. If I took the money the charter offered, I had to follow their rules. And who knew what changes could come up later down the road? What requirements on curriculum would be passed on to those that schooled through the charters? They are directly linked to the public schools, after all. But what truly sealed my decision was a question that came screaming through my mind in the middle of the night, “Which king do you serve? Which king’s bidding are you going to do?”
I am not saying charter schools are bad or Christians should never join a charter school. That is not for me to say. Everyone has to make that decision for their own family. It was not the right fit for our family. It did not line up with what our goals were for our homeschool.
Of course, choosing a PSP did have its challenges; mainly, money was still tight, and I had no clue how we would swing it. But here’s the thing about following the Lord’s calling: He will provide for you if He calls you. And that is exactly what He did and is still doing six years later.
The Lord leads us to Revival Christian Academy, and we have called RCA home ever since. If you are still trying to decide what is best for your family, seek the Lord’s guidance, I promise He will lead you to exactly where you are supposed to be, and He will provide the way for you to get there.
Written By: Millie Hickman