Sunday, November 05, 2006

Ch-ch-ch-changes!

Our life has had dramatic and unexpected changes this week. For many years we have homeschooled our children off and on...mostly on.... We're not the super-achiever homeschoolers you read about sometimes, but just the quite ordinary variety. We struggle with motivation, math, motivation, attitudes, motivation. We've been very blessed living here with families that have moved in over the past 3 years that have added to our number and we've had a small but effective, close-knit homeschool group.

Last week, the husband of one of our homeschool moms was hired as the academic director at a new-this-year private boarding school here on island. The school's target market is Korea, China, and Japan--"send your children here and they'll receive an American-style education as well as immersion in the English language and still be close to home." The problem was that they wanted a core of native-English speaking teachers and students and they didn't have any. They had a few island kids who speak English, but it's kind of a pidgin English.

At any rate, Dr. Brown (the new academic director), called last weekend and asked if I would be interested in sending my children there for school (it's K through 6 right now, but potentially through 8). He said that he could make an arrangement where I would work part-time in the office in exchange for their tuition. I would never have to be there when my children weren't there, and it would be great if we could start ASAP.

Casey and I discussed it and thought that it might be a wonderful experience for the kids, so here we are! We started Thursday--me (in the office from 11-3:15), and the three youngest in school. They're expecting 100+ Chinese and Korean students beginning in January, but right now there are only 20 students.

Eden's first-grade class began the day she did and includes her American friends from church! The only "new" person was the teacher! She's having a ball and probably feels like she gets to go to Primary every day.

Ezra's third-grade class consists of him, the director's son, and a Korean boy. Their teacher is a very sweet Japanese lady--on our first meeting she commented that his math was "weak". I agreed and said that was true of our family in general (I didn't mention that I don't worry about math too much until they get older:) She smiled and said to me, very intensely and quietly, "Oh, but I love math and I want Ezra to love math, too!" If she could give him that it would be a wonderful gift. I asked Ezra how his first day went and he said, "ok". Typical Ezra-answer. He did finally allow that, "I guess I would have to say it was good."

Kait's experience was somewhat different. Before we actually began, she had asked if we could just try it...if we didn't like it could we quit? I assured her that if it didn't work for our family we would quit, but we could not quit over a bad day or a difficult assignment. She is in 5th grade and there are (counting her) three girls and three boys in her class. She is the only American and the others are Korean boarding students. After her first day, she was practically gushing. "Oh, Mom! They're so nice! Every classmate was sooo good to me... and so helpful!" She says that her teacher (American) is "brilliant at explaining."

The first night, they had so much homework that I was wondering if this was going to work. I'm not a big homework fan and have been known to send in notes to teachers requesting they excuse my children for not completing a homework assignment because we were having a family activity. I felt better when I found that there is a general school policy for no Friday homework and there are study halls built into the day in which they can complete their assignments. I can live with that.

Okay. So. How do Mom and Dad feel? Well, the first day that Mom came home from Seminary and found her little kids gone she got a little teary-eyed. Dad, on the other hand, said, "It was great! I got so much done!" We'll see how it goes after the fun of new school supplies, etc., wears off. . . .

15 comments:

Lee said...

Hay that sounds GREAT!! In a few years maybe they will want a native speaking English teacher. Let me know - I will be there!!
Also sounds like you can have some quality time with yourselves. I think that is also important. Kids are great but you need time too.

ML said...

Seriously, you could get a job here right now Lee. Let us know when you're ready.

Anonymous said...

Wow! That does sound like an excellent opportunity! Good for you guys!

Lee said...

I am going to continue to struggle with these courses for now but it certainly gives me some light at the end of a VERY dark tunnel.

Mallory said...

No homework on Fridays?! That's sweet! When I start teaching high school English, I'm gonna go easy on the homework. Make it more like college - papers and stuff, but none of this diddly-squat, pointless dribble most teachers hand out. Not that Mr. Thornburg was ever like that... it was mostly Mr. Fauls.

Lee said...

Megan goes to a pretty challanging school where they expect a lot from the students. She has 3 to 5 hours of homework every day. I think it is a lot. She doesn't have much time for friends and church things. I think homework is important but it should be carefully considered. Not all homework is productive.

Lee said...

Hay Ml, that ch-ch-ch-changes is like really dated. I don't think the kids get that one:)

ML said...

Yeah, I got it from Mal--she's pretty much a square like her old Ma...

Anonymous said...

I believe that was actually the theme song for my high school graduation. I wonder who picked that old fogey song? I mean, shouldn't we have had something Boys to Men or something?

Lee said...

Old fogey song? Do you see that ml? Gueez, well my kids don't know who Boyz to Men are. :)

ML said...

Ahem....neither do I kids...

Mallory said...

Just to set you all in your places, music is in retro right now. I mean, yes, of course the music world is rushing forward, and a lot of the new music is excellent, if you watch movies and such the soundtracks are "dated." Examples: I Am Sam is alllllll Beatles songs. Shrek, especially Shrek 2, is a lot of old songs, including "Changes" and if you look on most kids computers and mp3 players they have the new stuff right next to all the good oldies. It's huge.

Oh, and I beg to differ Mum... I do know who Boyz to Men are.

ML said...

It's LEE'S kids who don't know Boyz to Men...them and me that is.:)

rinda said...

What a great opportunity for learning!

Selena said...

How exciting for all of you!

...

But now I have that Ch-ch-ch-chaaanges song stuck in my head...

*sigh*