Monday, August 26, 2013

School in San Marcos

A copule of years ago we had a tough decision to make regarding school for our kids.  When we first got back from Ukraine with the girls, our plan was to homeschool them and allow Jacob to stay at the private, Christian school where he was.  He loved it there. It was stellar education, and we loved the people and environment we was surrounded by.  However, as we got used to life with three children, two of whom barely spoke English, we started to feel that homeschool would not be the best environment of learning for the girls.  We found a self-paced, private, Christian school that allowed them to come and acclimate to American education.  Holly got a second part-time job to pay for it, and it worked out well.  When it came time to decide about school for the next year, we were conflicted.

We loved the schools we had been a part of, but Holly was having to spend 4 days away from the kids just so they could go to these schools.  Additionally, staying at the same schools would've ended up with three kids getting out at three different times at two different schools.  That was a difficult season for us in general, and we felt like we needed to streamline and simplify life while also choosing a good environment for our kids.   We decided we wanted all three kids at the same place if at all possible.  That reality came down to either paying for three kids in private school (which we couldn't afford without Holly working full time) or putting three kids in public school.  

We anguished over the decision.  We talked with the kids and included them in the conversation as we met with both schools to see what going forward for our family would look like at either place.  As we prayed it through, another thing started to come into play for us.  We felt like we had been called to San Marcos.  We didn't want to come and only plant a church, be we wanted to come to be missionaries to our city.  We had gone to public school for Jacob's kindergarten, and we still have dear friends from that season of life.  The longer we prayed and discussed, we started to feel like making the move to public school was the right thing for us. 

Along with everyone else, we had heard stories of the challenges of San Marcos schools. We had questions about safety, questions about academic performance, questions about ethnic diversity, and questions of what's best for our kids.  After meeting with the school administrators and some of the teachers, we felt completely at peace about moving forward.

Our first week was met with a rude awakening.  Jacob was stabbed with a pencil.  We immediately questioned our decision and talked about bailing on our plan.  However, it was a fluke.  It was an impulsive kid in the advanced science lab who freaked out for no known reason.  It would've been easy to have jumped on the bandwagon of San Marcos schools being un-safe and left.  We initially wanted to.  However, we felt like we were supposed to stay.  That young man wrote us a letter of apology, and we got to forgive him.  It was powerful. Jacob forgave him too, and he became one of his closest friends that year. 

Last week, Jacob's choir sang at the SMCISD Convocation.  As I sat there, I was amazed at the encouraging spirit among the faculty and staff of all the school.  There are many challenges in serving the families of San Marcos, but there is literally an army of people who are facing those challenges head on with a great attitude.  What was once a place of uncertainty for us has become family.  Our kids have had wonderful experiences at Travis, and we are continually grateful for how God has provided for exactly what the girls have needed to transition into a new culture, new language, and new education system.  Additionally, God has opened so many doors for us to jump in and help serve other kids. 

We know that everyone has to choose what's best for their family when it comes to school.  We have had great experiences in both private and public schools.  We have friends who are doing well with homeschool.  There are a lot of good options.  I guess I just wish more people considered that SMCISD is another good option. The faculty, teachers, and administrators at SMCISD are great.  They are committed, they are great teachers, and they are making a difference.  We have been blessed to be among them, and our kids have had wonderful experiences.  We are glad to call Travis family, and we're grateful for how God has provided for all of our needs while allowing us to be a part of serving our city.

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