Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Right or Wrong?

As a mother of 5 relatively small children, I sometimes struggle with the decisions we've made or are going to make in regards to our children. I guess we all do. Homeschooling was a decision we made years ago when our first daughter was just a baby. It's worked well for our family. Not without the normal struggles, however. Homeschoolers are excepted for the most part. They have the same liberties as children who attend public schools. But things have changed....

We've moved to another country where our children are already feeling the isolation from the cultural barrier. The differences between us and the average Portuguese family are significant. They have one maybe two children, they work constantly and the children are either in school or in after school programs. When they are home they eat, watch TV and go to sleep. They watch us through the windows and wonder why we're here and why on earth our kids aren't in school.

The decision to put them in school wasn't an easy one. It was made with much prayer and consideration for what was best for our kids.

They've already had friends come to play several times and the playmates have spent hours here in our home. These friends are my best tutor! I'm not embarrassed to try out my Portuguese on them and they think I'm funny when I mess up. They like me..I guess they think I'm crazy....but it's great practice! They help my girls with the language as well, always sticking an English word in every now and then.

Today I received a comment on my blog. I don't know this nice lady but her words were like a balm to my concerned heart....'did we make the right decision?' Read her words for yourself....

"Hello! My parents were missionaries in Portugal when I was a child. They sent me to a Portuguese school only knowing about 10 words in Portuguese. I am so excited to hear you sent your children. I like to share this experience with those who are curious. It was honestly the best decision my parents ever made for us children. We spoke Portuguese fluently within three months. All of us children had a burden for the Portuguese people (my brother is returning to Portugal as a missionary, and my husband and I are going to England. Anyway...I'm very happy for your children. They will relate to the Portuguese children and brake the barriers that lay between them. They will grow to appreciate the Portuguese customs and culture. I'm thrilled for your family. You will find things are very different in school over there....sometimes my teacher just wouldn't show up! I am still close to my classmates and when I go to Portugal to visit my brother I'm planning on visiting my teacher (you keep the same teacher 1-4 grade). We were able to see many of our classmates come to Sunday School and visit with there families to share God's plan of salvation. Also, my father had the privilege to teach English in our school. This gave him many opportunities to make even more contacts. Wow, this is long...I'm sorry, it's just very special to me! My blog is "theruwersmafamily.blogspot.com"

Thank You Anna! God Bless you for your words of encouragement! We will be in prayer for you and your husband as you go to England and for your brother as he comes to Portugal! Praise the Lord for fellow laborers in this barren field!


Grace said...

It wonderful how the Lord always sends encouragement just when we need it.

Sandy Sellers said...

I am very proud of you. I know it was a hard decision to make but with much prayer it has worked out wonderfully.
Love ya,

Tori said...


Your children will learn much faster in the public school there, that's for sure. Sometimes I wished our Hannah would have had some sort of meetings with other kids, she struggles with the language even after 8 years. She is a bit slower than most children and tends to have problems understanding complex situations so maybe that's why. Either way she would have learned faster in school.

Don't know that I would even be as brave as you are to send them but I'm sure it would have benefited them. My kids are 11, 8 and 6th grade now so it's a bit late for me anyhow!

Tabatha said...

I know Anna! Okay, well I met her, but I don't know if she would remember me. She was at Temple in Powell. Anyway, it's neat to see how blogs get around to people and people get around to blogs...

I plan to share this link from my blog, but I want to share it with you (and any other commenter who reads this): http://audreycaroline.blogspot.com/
It's lengthy to read from the beginning of her story, but well worth the time (get lots of Kleenex!)

Love you,miss you, praying for you,

Jungle Mom said...

My children were born on the field and picked up the language naturally, actually, they did not speak english much until their first furlough.

I have watched some people struggle wit their children not fitting in and agree that school may be the best option for them, at least temporarily.

I would also caution as I have observed children pick up many bad influences in foriegn schools which are often very anti American and have seen MK's grow up to despise their own country due to this. Humanism is a given in most of these countries.

I am not trying to dissuade you as I am sure this is the best thing for your children, at least right now.

I am just mention a few pit falls I have observed in my 25 years of missionary service.

Please know this is not a criticism as I have sent my own children to local schools for short periods of ti me myself, just a call to watch closely for attitudes and philosophies which they may be exposed to. In the mean time, enjoy watching them learn the language, glean form their cultural adaptations and enjoy!

Nina Andrzejewski said...

Thank you for your advice and I respectfully appreciate your wisdom.

We do intend to "watch" our children closely while in the schools here. The school they will attend (if we choose do go this route) is only through 4th grade. They have a fairly "innocent" environment and we plan to stay active with each of their classes and get to know their teachers. I truly believe this experience will be beneficial for them all.

I agree with you that keeping them in school "forever" may not be the best route, but right now I believe it will work well.

I loved the Ye'kwana marriage story you posted. It was so interesting and your son and daughter in law look beautiful together...congratulations on a new daughter added to your family.

Lora's Life said...

That is so cool about the kids coming over. I can just see you with them. I am so excited for you. I want to come back with Jimmy and by then you will all be speaking portugese and I am sure will be "messing" with me.
For what it is worth, I'm sure you made the right decision. Public school is a scary thing but I know that you and Bro. Michael will be on top of it, and...It is not the United States. Sadly enough It is horrifying what they are teaching here. Keep your eyes open and your head up, you'll do great.
Love ya

Anonymous said...

The greatest advocate a child has in school, whether homeschooled or public, are the parents. Parental envolvement is the key ingredient to a successful education. Remembering back to the time when I first encountered evolution in school and how my parents helped keep my thoughts on the right path is an example of how good 'ol mom and dad can protect their children in any learning environment. After praying for you, in confidence I'm sure you and Michael have made the right decision for this time in your life. Your children are blessed with the parents they have. I love you.


Anonymous said...

What a lovely family and blog you have. I have enjoyed looking around. I have not done mission work in another country although as i type this my 16 yo daughter is flying to the island of Tonga to do mission work for 2 1/2 weeks. I really admire mission families and the work you do. I am pleased you are at peace with the decision to put your children into school. I will be visiting you again.
blessings from Sandra in New Zealand