Much like Shelby, talking with Krystal at a work gathering earlier this year planted a seed for this series. She and her husband, Scott, both work alongside me, and they are kind, smart, funny, intentional – and exactly the kind of family you want in your village if you’re choosing a somewhat countercultural schooling route. I loved what she had to say below about finding friends you can trust to make schooling decisions with and walk alongside, and I’m glad we can do that in a small way for each other. I hope hearing from her family offers that encouragement to you, too!
Krystal, I’m honored to have you here – take it away!
Just a note: if you haven’t read the intro post yet, start there!
Tell us about yourself and your family.
My husband Scott and I just recently moved to the north Houston area of Texas with our two boys. Cal is in 4th grade and Judah is in 2nd. It is such a fun stage of life for our family and we are loving every minute of it!
Why are you choosing public school for your family?
We seek to make the best decisions for our family with the information that we currently have, including our school district, our financial means, and our kids’ educational needs. I abide by one of my friend’s education mottos: “Every child, every year.” Meaning, we evaluate the needs of our family each year. When we made a decision to send our kids to public school in kindergarten, we knew that they might graduate in a completely different school environment.
I have past teaching experience in almost every schooling environment: Christian, private, charter, and public schools. That has influenced our decision, as well, in recognizing that one truly isn’t better than the other—it all comes down to what is best for each family. Each type of schooling has its strengths and weaknesses. A particular school does not guarantee a particular outcome. Schooling is a personal decision based on your family’s needs, your individual child, and where you live.
If anyone is interested, I would highly recommend a Risen Motherhood podcast episode with guest Jen Wilkin about public school. Regardless of your school choice, Jen brings some great points as someone who made the decision to send her own children to public school. That whole series is great, as they talk about several different schooling choices!
What has been your experience with public school so far? Give us an overview.
So far, we have loved it! I have enjoyed getting to establish relationships with teachers and other parents. Though I work full time, I try to be involved to the best of my ability through sending school supplies, writing encouraging notes to teachers, going to events, etc. Right now, we are in a new school meeting new friends and family, and when we moved, we made the decision to live within walking distance of our school. We want to invest in our community, and that includes our school!
What has been one of your favorite parts about your school experience so far? Has anything been challenging?
My favorite part might also be one of the most challenging, which is having my children meet, interact with, and become friends with other kids who are very different from them. I want my kids to see experiences outside of their own, but it can also bring up some difficult conversations. I was very nervous for my kids to hear or see things that I couldn’t control, but over the years I have seen them become opportunities to enter into my kids’ lives as they share those things with me. I pray that they see our home as a safe place to be able to talk about whatever is going on in their lives or at school.
What do you wish other Christians knew about your life as a faithful family in public school? What might surprise people about your journey in public school so far?
As is the case with many families, we feel that we are sometimes labeled in extremes. For example, we are not sending our kids into the public school system so they can be little missionaries. Though we pray that they would have conversations about Jesus, they haven’t professed faith themselves. That is a lot of pressure to put on kids at this age.
On the flip side, we are also not handing our kids over to “the world.” Sadly I have talked with some people that believe we are not being faithful Christian parents because of our school choice. (Again, go check out Jen’s episode on Risen Motherhood! She covers this well.) I think we have to remember that many of us are in a place of privilege to even discuss school choice. Many do not have this option, let alone have a safe place for their children to attend school. We seek to trust the Lord with the decisions we make for our family, and we believe God is sovereign over the school, teachers, and classmates that our kids interact with.
What does faith formation look like for your family outside of or alongside school? How are you helping your kids to know and love God and their neighbors?
We try to incorporate spiritual formation in normal conversations in addition to more structured family discipleship rhythms. With our kids in public school, it has allowed discipleship to be a part of our everyday lives as we navigate situations they are experiencing with teachers or other kids. Being a part of a school that is (literally) in our backyard will hopefully create more opportunities to develop gospel relationships with families in our neighborhood!
What are your hopes for your kids and their education? What’s the best-case scenario?
For us, education is not ultimate in our family. Loving God and loving their neighbor is. We care deeply about education, but regardless of what schooling they receive, my hope is that as parents, we are involved in connecting what they are learning in school to the God of the universe. I think the best-case scenario is that they love to learn and read, and that Lord willing, they live out their faith as they mature.
Do you plan to continue with public school indefinitely, do you plan to change course in the future, or do you hold it with open hands?
It is definitely with open hands! I have friends who have kids in all different schooling environments and friends whose kids attend all different kinds of schools. And yet, each school reflects steps of faith for those families as they pursue the Lord in their decisions! It is very humbling and encouraging to know that we can make a different decision if it is needed. We have no idea what the Lord has in store for our kids. But we will revisit as needed. “Each year, each child.”
Anything else to add?
Remember that you are held accountable to the decisions that you make for your family, but you are not responsible for your friends’ or neighbors’ decisions. We can each focus on making sure we are walking in obedience for what the Lord has for our families—even if it looks different than the people around us.
Also, find friends that you can trust as you process schooling decisions for your family. It can be difficult navigating public school as a Christian family, so seek out ways to connect with other believers. It has been a huge encouragement for us to know that we are not alone!
Krystal, you are a gift to me and to many! Thank you for taking the time to share your family and your thoughts with us – it truly means so much.
Friends, please feel free to respond to anything Krystal mentioned in your usual kind and thoughtful way. Grateful for you! And just to orient you in this series, know that we have one more interview coming up next week (from my absolute GEM of a friend Ginna – you won’t want to miss it!) and then I’ll share my thoughts to wrap things up the following week.