Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pros and Cons

Last week we had a family meeting to discuss the pros and cons of the various schooling options that are available to our boys in France. I labeled pieces of notebook paper with headings such as "Home School Pros," "Home School Cons," "French School Pros," etc. Each family member was given a different colored marker to write personal thoughts and opinions on each page. As we wrote, we discussed. We also had a page for questions. I found the exercise very enlightening, and both boys, while open to Home School or Boarding School, expressed an aversion to going into the French school system, where language would be an obvious handicap. After the conversation, we agreed to pray about the options for a week, and then talk again.

In the meantime, David and I had scheduled a Skype appointment with GEM's Educational Specialist who lives in Budapest. This woman knows all there is to know about educating American kids in Europe. A few months ago she had sent us an Educational Profile Packet to fill out for each of our boys. This packet asked questions to help us identify Graham and Chandler's learning styles, personality types, and academic strengths and weaknesses. While we already knew most of that information about our own boys, we did not know how it would play into their education as expats.

In our conversation with the Educational Specialist, we learned that boarding school is not permitted in the first year abroad (happy dance from mom) and that homeschooling would inhibit the boys' integration into the French culture (an obvious con for missionary kids). Her recommendation was that we put the boys in the French public schools, but have no expectations on them for grades; rather, allow them to spend the year focused on learning the language without academic performance coming in to play. She said that we may choose to supplement with some homeschool basics such as Math and English, but given their ease with school in general, we would not have to worry about pushing them too much.

Today we had family meeting number 2 about the schooling issue. David and I simply shared with the boys what we had learned from the Educational Specialist. I was nervous about informing them that the very option they despised was the one that came most highly recommended. They listened. They asked questions. They took it in. And then we, again, agreed to pray for another week, and then continue the conversation.

And that is where we are today. Please pray for our family as we make this most critical decision. God has a great plan for Graham and Chan, and it is our job to discover that plan. We trust Him.


  1. I so love this! God's timing is my favorite....... And I so appreciate how you and David involve the boys so much in decisions. The responsibility that they assume, the character building that is a result, the closeness of family......such a wonderful thing. I am blessed.

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