An 8 month furlough means we had to make schooling decisions for the kids. During our last furlough we were homeschooling which meant that simply continued and didn’t require any great transition.
Since the kids now attend the Portuguese school in Nampula we knew we needed to put them into a school while Stateside (the school there want to see transcripts that they were in school). As we considered the situation, we assumed given all the extenuating circumstances:
- they’ve never been in an American school
- they don’t study in English
- they look and sound American but in many respects aren’t (they’re 3rd culture kids . . which will merit it’s own post at a later date)
- they technically missed their last trimester of this school year (so while the school there still said they could pass on we don’t have transcripts showing they finished their current year)
- we’ll return to the field 2 weeks before a fall semester of school is truly finished so they’ll need to take finals early
that perhaps we’d need to put them in a private school so they’d be in a smaller class and we’d know the teachers well to form a team with them and help the kids in their transition. Our parents were willing to help cover the tuition and we’d talked with the private school who was super flexible and willing to help us.
I should say we, but particularly Dan, had wrestled with the private school choice. We both agreed that if we lived Stateside all the time we’d most certainly have the kids in the public school system. By no means to criticize those who choose differently but we want to rub shoulders with those not in the church. We want to be engaged as much as we can with the community – to be salt and light in as many ways as possible. BUT we don’t live here all the time and . . . .
Then we arrived Stateside. Dan continued to wrestle the matter but off we went to the private school to begin the registration process. We walked in the door, check in hand, and Dan stopped short. He really felt we couldn’t register the kids there, at least without making inquiries at the public schools.
Off we went . . . .we first investigated the 7/8th grade school where Josiah would be and were super impressed! The guidance counselor felt transferring in and out wouldn’t not be a problem. She commented how due to the refugee population that teachers are used to working with kids who don’t have an English education language. We discussed foreign language options and sports teams and took a tour. Then we visited the elementary school for Esperansa and were equally impressed (plus the vast majority of the teachers we met were making comments of, “oh my church supports missionaries in ____ and ___)” or “I go to church at ______.” The 5/6 center for Asher was also nice and we walked away feeling most certainly the kids could attend the public schools (at least these 3; we still needed to think about Karunia – but that’s another story of it’s own).
So our kids will begin school this fall in the public system. We’re excited for them. We know there will be adjustments and we know there will be issues to work through but we trust the Lord to protect them and pray Christ is seen through each of us as we engage in the schools and rub shoulders in this community.