Why Our Family Chose Public High School

Guest post by Julie Terry

BY: JULIE TERRY

Being the philosophical thinker that I am, I have dreamed of homeschooling my children…since before having children! Even before I was married, I would contemplate the eternal impact of a LOT of my time being invested in a few kids (my own), or a little of my time being invested in a LOT of different kids (my school students). Of course, I saw value in both, but I felt that God was leading me to teach whatever children I may have, at home. Once marriage happened and babies were born, my husband and I were in full agreement that homeschooling was the best option for our family. It fit our circumstances in ministry very well, we loved the freedom it offered, and chiefly, we wanted to help our children build a biblical worldview, and to protect them from unnecessary negative influences.

For the past 11 years, our family has been a “homeschooling family.” We’ve used a variety of methods- from seasons of many outside activities and classes to seasons of quiet, routine life and an occasional field trip. We homeschooled in 2 different states and 3 different homes, and really didn’t consider other methods a serious “option.”

Due to many circumstances, observations, and much prayer (and a move to a 3rd state), our family felt led to put our teenagers in public high school, for at least a school year, and probably for the remainder of their high school years. (We also put our youngest in a private Christian school at our own church, and she is doing great! But for this post, I’m focusing on our teens).

As we were contemplating the change to public high school, I scoured the internet for others who had gone through this transition, and was very encouraged by the few I found who shared their experience!

It is my desire to challenge parents to look at their situation with honesty, and do what is in the best interest of their child- even if it they have to let some of their own dreams die. For me, it meant letting go of being able to tell my grandchildren that I homeschooled their parents “all the way through!” For someone else, it may mean letting go of helping your daughter get all dressed up for proms and pageants…because you see that homeschooling is the best option for her. You may find yourself overjoyed at how your children blossom as a result of your willingness to make a change.

So far, we are glad we made the change to public high school for 3 reasons:

1- Our relationship has been more peaceful and pleasant.

For our family, the outer accountability that school and team sports has provided has taken me out of the equation for being accountable for simple things like getting out of bed, being on time, preparing lunch, and having clean clothes.

At home, I was the one who decided whether their tardiness was consequence worthy. I was often the “bad guy” if I held them accountable because they would have really good excuses- often referring to other chores around the house they were busy doing. It created a lot of confusion and conflict in everyday life and hindered our ability to have meaningful conversations…a key family value in our home.

Now, they have to go through an “act of Congress” if they are tardy, just to be allowed into class, and know that larger consequences are looming if they are tardy too often. They haven’t had any tardies! They can’t stay in their p.j.’s if they are out of clean clothes…they do not argue with me about getting up in the morning…they must keep up with their own homework responsibilities (rather than myself, who was constantly in limbo about whether to remind them at night, let them fail, or let them put it off a day)…and best of all, we are back to having meaningful conversations!

 

2- Our Teens’ Educational Goals are Being Better Reached

As parents, my husband and I desire to send out wise, courageous, and skilled adults that will impact eternity for God’s glory, as well as add value to their homes and community. The avenue of service they choose isn’t so important as their strength of character and use of their potential. We want them to be prepared to face adult life head-on, with joy, confidence, and ability.

When it comes to skills and reaching potential, public school does allow our kids to see a greater variety of career opportunities than we were able to keep in front of them at home. They are able to be a part of clubs, sports, special interest classes, and “groups” of friends that organically form, that had to include Mom or Dad driving them across town in the homeschool community, and often meant they just did 1 extracurricular at a time. By high school, they are ready for more, and in that way, public school has been a blessing.

Finally, the opportunities for college preparatory classes and tests, free dual enrollment classes (in our state), and just help for parents to know when deadlines are, is pretty great. With two students only one grade apart, keeping everything straight without was becoming a huge challenge, and we appreciate the community of helpers.

These opportunities and classes do ABOUND in many homeschooling communities as well! The difference is, it is the parents’ responsibility to seek out what is needed next, which year/semester is which test or class, registering ahead of time online, deciding whether each class is worth the cost, etc., so organization, planning, and budgeting are a must!

3- Our kids are getting a chance to apply the Biblical principles they have been taught.

When it comes to the morals at a public school, let me be clear: It is worse than “they” say it is. So far, my teens have heard foul language, references to drugs, sex, homosexuality, gender confusion, condoms, eating disorders, cheating, divorce, and heartbreak.

But there really is a silver lining…

We’ve already discussed many of these issues at home! Our kids have read their Bibles regularly since they could read. They have been a part of great churches and kids/youth church programs. So, our teens have each developed a strong moral compass, a sensitive conscience, and a great deal of discernment.

Since they are still living under our roof, we get to be the safety net for them to come home to! Our kids are coming to us for reminders of a Biblical worldview after being taught from a secular perspective and sitting around many peers who are making unwise choices. We are grateful for this season for them to process with us before they are sent out to college/independent living and would have to face these things alone. We believe this will strengthen their resolve as they enter college and adulthood, and the arguments against truth will be even more compelling.

What has always been hypothetical is now a stark reality. Just as the church always grows under intense persecution, we have seen our teens grow spiritually in an environment where they have very little encouragement to walk with Christ. They see firsthand the hurt that sin brings. They see lack of hope in eyes. They see value in nurturing Christian friendships! They see how transforming the gospel of Jesus really is. They are using opportunities they are given to share the truth, to reach out, to be influencers. And that brings us, as parents, great joy!

Altar Ministry Guidebook

The Frontlines of Ministry

Below is a downloadable copy of our, “Altar Ministry Guidebook”. At First Baptist Fernandina Beach, our Deacons and their wives serve alongside our Pastors in meeting with individuals who respond during the “invitation” portion of our service. This guidebook covers the key issues that we wish to convey when ministering to these individuals.

Alter Ministry

 

ALTAR_MINISTRY_TRAINING

SMARTER GOALS

According to Mark McCormick’s book, What They Don’t Teach You in the Harvard Business School, There was a study done at Harvard between 1979 and 1989. Graduates of the MBA program were asked “Have you set clear written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” The results of that question were:

•Only 3% had written goals and plans

•13% had goals but not in writing

•84% had no specific goals at all

10 years later Harvard interviewed the members of that class again and found:

1. The 13% who had goals but not in writing were earning on average twice as much as the 84% of those who had no goals at all

2. The 3% who had clear, written goals were earning on average 10 times as much as the other 97% of graduates all together. The only difference between the groups is the clarity of the goals they had for themselves

Here is a guide to help you set SMARTER goals.

(S) Specific: 

For a goal to be helpful it must be clear. Get clear on what the goal/win is.

CONSIDER INPUT GOALS AND OUTCOME GOALS

  • Outcome Goals – I want to loose 20 lbs
  • Input Goals – I will workout 3 times per week

(M) Motivational:

The goal has to be motivational enough to cause you to press through the inevitable obstacles that you will encounter. If you goal is too small, you will not have the emotional fuel to stay the course.
(A) Achievable:

Some things just aren’t God’s will for you. Be wise and allow that to inform your goals.

(R) Recordable:

You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Documenting your progress (or lack thereof) makes you accountable and shows how far you’ve come and what you need to work on.

(T) Time-specific: 

When do you intend to have your goal met. Attach a date to your goal. Reverse engineer, then realistically set benchmarks.

(E) Evaluated:  

Review your goals weekly (or daily if you’re struggling). That way you can trouble-shoot early, and change direction when necessary.

Howard Hendricks – Experience will not make you better only evaluated experience makes you better.

(R) Recited :

Make sure you communicate your goals to the correct people. One of the greatest source of stress on teams is unclear goals.

 

Principles of Church Growth

Human factors that can cause a Church to grow.

When it comes to church growth, there are four factors primary factors that determine the growth of your church. By church, I am referring to the gathered church, or in other words you weekend attendance. These are the factors that influence the growth of your church gathering. Keep in mind these are s

  1. Attraction – Getting new people to attend.
    • 80% of all people who attend a church and join were invited by a church member.
    • Only 5% of people who regularly attend a church invited someone last year.
    • Many times we try to make up for the lack of invites by financially investing in marketing campaigns, but the return is FAR less and the cost is FAR higher. It is inefficient.
    • Advertising and marketing can be helpful in that it give credibility to our personal invitations – but Marketing is NOT a substitute for personal invites.
  1. Assimilation – Getting those that have attended to return and join.
    • According to Outreach Magazine, 1/10 people who visit your church will end up joining the membership.
    • If you had 100 guest families (avg. 2/week) you will have a net gain of 10 families.
    • You can greatly increase the assimilation rate if you have a system in place.
      • If you can get the families to visit a 2nd time, your attrition rate goes from 1 in 10 to 1 in 4 who join.
      • If you can get them to visit a 3rd time almost half will join.
  1. Attendance Frequency – Getting those who attend you church to come more often.
    • What would happen if everyone who calls FBC home all showed up in one Sunday?
    • When do we see all of them show up at one time? Easter! Easter isn’t so large because of a TON of guests, but rather because the folks who come sporadically all show up at one time.
  1. Attrition – Getting less people leaving your Church.
    • People leave via death, transfer, conflict, etc.
    • We must make sure we guard the backdoor – make it TINY but still existent.