When it comes time to pick a school for your kids, there are so many things to consider. Where is it located? What’s the morning commute like? Does it bus? Does it offer other languages? Does it offer extra help? What are the teachers like? What values does the school uphold? Catholic or public? Policies on bullying? Etc.
We chose a Catholic school, which does not bus as we live outside the bussing zone, and is not at all close to our house. It started out as a convenience thing for my partners oldest, as their daycare is across the street. When I picked it for my preschooler, it was because that school had the same preschool teacher for the older boys, and she had a great reputation. But over the couple years we have had opportunities to move the kids to new schools opening closer to home, schools that bus, public schools, etc.
We are not at all religious, and people ask us why we chose a Catholic school, and why we don’t just send them to the neighboring public school. Well, there’s a lot more that has gone into our decision than proximity and convenience at this point.
1. We do not want to limit our children’s futures. Just because we are not religious doesn’t mean that religion doesn’t work for some people. It fits well into some people’s lives, and we want our children to feel like if it is right for them, they have the opportunity to welcome religion into their lives.
2. We want them to learn about other people. Not only do we want our children to be able to choose for themselves whether or not religion is right for them, we want them to understand that there are many other religions and lifestyles in the world, and that you can live yours while respecting and acknowledging others.
3. We want them to make informed decisions about religion. We want our children to be able to learn about religion, and what better source than a Catholic school that lives and teaches by it’s religion? I know very little about Christianity and Catholicism, but I want my kids to have at least a basic knowledge. We don’t want them to choose to accept or reject a lifestyle based on anything other than knowledge.
4. The school has an amazing reputation. Regardless of whether it is Catholic or public, our kids’ school is amazing. The teachers are amazing, the curriculum is great, and we have had no issues with bullying.
5. We want to spark our children’s curiosity about other lifestyles. Hopefully in learning about one religion, and seeing that we live without religion, it will peak their interest into how other people live their lives all over the world. The best possible outcome would be a curiosity about other religions and cultures, because the best way to foster respect for others is to seek understanding via a curious mind.
All that said, we love our school. Our kids love the school. And when my daughter is old enough, she will go there, too. It has become a community to us. It’s also nice that our kids can come home and teach us!