Not Perfect, But Right for Us by Joy Fisher


A few days ago I took my kids to play with some friends at the elementary school playground in preparation for school starting back this week. Watermelon and popsicles helped the children ease back into the group dynamic. Moms and dads stood around in the shade talking about how quickly the summer days have rushed by.

Construction has been ongoing on our school campus all summer. A new classroom wing is being added, and the older sections are getting cosmetic upgrades. The day we were there, the parking lot was still littered with construction equipment and storage trailers. It’s pretty safe to say that conditions will be less than perfect on the first day of school.

That experience is a good picture of how I feel about our choice to send our kids to public school. Every year, there’s a lot of pleasantness, but also a bit of clutter. Like many parents in the public school system, we did our homework and moved into a school zone we felt good about. We didn’t know it then, but eventually we needed special education services that included a program for our son who has Down syndrome as well as academic enrichments for our two little scholars.

My children entered grades 2, 4, and 6 last week. The key for getting off to a great start is the same formula I’ve used for many years: Be positive! Greeting administrators with a smile and signing up to help in my kids’ rooms sets the tone for the entire year. When those inevitable imperfections arise, I try to be a part of healthy solutions.

Enrolling in the public school system means there will always be frustrations regarding zoning, aging facilities, larger classes, and budget shortfalls. That’s the clutter. The bright spots are teachers who love kids, interaction with families from other cultures and walks of life, and the challenge of teaching our children to make the best of situations that are sometimes less than ideal.

Joy Fisher was part of the editorial team of ParentLife’s premiere issue over 16 years ago. These days, she serves as contract Content Editor of Bible Teaching for Kids Special Buddies, LifeWay’s Sunday School curriculum for children with special needs. She and David have been married since 1995 and are the parents of Samuel, Jacob, and Lara.  

Do your children attend public school? Tell us about your public-school experiences.


  1. Mandi Terry says

    Beautifully written!! We plan to send our children to public schools when the time comes. As a public school teacher and public school alumni I feel it is the best option for our family. Very sweet picture of kids!! Keep being positive:)

  2. You hit the nail on the head with this post. It seems like there is a mass exodus out of the public school system, and I’m just not convinced this is the best thing for kids. Kudos to you for making this decision and following through. I was researching info about this subject and looking for tools for parents to help deal with the tough questions and scenarios kids will encounter, and I came across some wonderful books. For example, there is a book called “Ben’s Big Bang Botheration” by David Millette that covers the teachings in science class that contradict biblical beliefs. It’s the beginning of a whole series by the author called Today in Science Class that’s for the benefit of children and parents alike in addressing teachings such as the big bang theory, evolution, etx. I think with tools and resources such as this, children in public schools can thrive while still maintaining beliefs. Many blessings to you and your children, and thanks again for your post.

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