A Kindergarten Mom’s Experience
It’s Worth it
By AFA Mom
It was time. Time for kindergarten. I was getting ready to enroll my firstborn in the local public school just like all my friends. And yet, I had an uneasy feeling about it. I attributed it to first-time mama jitters and tried to dismiss it. But the feelings persisted throughout the summer. Why was I uneasy? I wanted something more for my daughter, but did she really need it? She was a pretty normal kid, right? Her preschool teacher gave her glowing reports. Sure, she was a little rough around the edges, definitely in need of some character development. But, don’t all children have sassy attitudes and an aversion to authority at age 5?
Despite my discomfort, I enrolled her in public school, was put on the waiting list and told that she’d likely attend a different school and maybe another one the following year due to rezoning. This was when I really started praying and talking to friends. I applied to a local Montessori school and didn’t get in. What was going on? Was God closing doors and giving me discomfort for a reason?
A neighbor asked me once while we were at the park, “If you could put her anywhere and money was no object, where would you put her?” She concluded, “That’s where you ought to go.” So, I thought about it, and I realized the answer was Christian school. I wanted her to go somewhere that would develop her spiritual life and character just as much as her academic life. After all, God doesn’t require straight A’s and a well-paying, socially respected top-rung job. He does, however, require us to live a life of humble service to Him (and if we get straight A’s and other perks, that’s a great bonus).
Christian school would be great, but no one around here does Christian school. No one can afford that. How do you pay a Northern VA mortgage and tuition at the same time? We had just bought a house. None of my Christian friends were doing it. So, I dismissed it again.
Then, I went to meet my Christian friend at the park to talk. I waited and waited, but she never showed up. Turns out I had an appointment with God, not my friend. Another lady was there. I didn’t know her, but she was the future Parent-Teacher Association President for a local Christian school, Ad Fontes Academy. We began to talk. “You need Ad Fontes Academy” was the clear message.
I looked into it, but it was already August. How was this going to happen? And where would the money come from? God answered within a week.
My mom randomly asked me one day, “If money was no object, would you send her to a Christian school?” I said, “Yes, I think so.” She replied, “Then I will pay for half of it for the first year.” A few days later, we got an unexpected letter in the mail from my husband’s side of the family. Without any knowledge of our situation, his great aunt had decided to give an advanced inheritance to her relatives. The amount was exactly what was left on the tuition bill.
God’s plan is perfect, and my daughter began attending Ad Fontes Academy a few days later.
I knew my daughter’s character had some rough edges, but, in the first few days of kindergarten at Ad Fontes, I realized it was rougher than I thought. The school gave her the iron that sharpens iron of Proverbs 27:17, but they did it with godly love and nurturing. Coming from a source other than me, the school’s life-giving cultivation helped my instruction take root in my child, and the Holy Spirit formed something I couldn’t do on my own. Before kindergarten was over, she was a new child. Her heart was soft for the things of God. All of my friends, relatives, and even her teachers noticed the difference. She is now in fifth grade and becoming more and more the young lady that God intended her to be.
I’m thankful for all that my children are learning–our daughter and two sons go there. My youngest son who is in now in kindergarten reads excitedly to me, pronouncing the letters of each word carefully using his phonics skills. While reading, he’s said, “That’s a voiced phonogram, not unvoiced. My teacher taught me.” I just looked at him in amazement. He had to explain because I didn’t understand what he meant. Every day that my children are at Ad Fontes is truly a gift. And the best part is… my kids think so too.
When people ask us why we send our children to Ad Fontes, I have so many wonderful reasons that I can’t usually get them all out in one conversation. Most people think I do it out of fear and want to shelter them from life. But that’s not it. It’s about intentionally pouring life-giving truths into their hungry spirits every day. When these children learn to read, they read books such as life in the time of Jesus, or they read fun, but morally instructive books. When they learn history, they learn how the Pharaoh’s Exodus fits into the history timeline. There are no separate timelines for the Bible and the “real” history. Every subject is woven together to create a firm foundation and worldview that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. I don’t know where we would be if God hadn’t started my children on this track at their youngest and most impressionable ages.
If God gives you the grace of an uneasy spirit as you’re making decisions for your child’s future, listen to Him. He guides, directs, and provides. Private school is not the answer for every family, but your family will never regret choices made for His Kingdom. The tuition bill has become the one bill that I’d rather pay than any other. It’s worth it.