We have a rather unusual schooling situation here. The education for our children has created the hardest bump on the road to making the decision to move to Osijek.
But, as we look back on this last year, 2016- 2017 we see that something remarkable has unfolded. When I wrote a post about homeschooling fun or failure, and someone in the middle of Malawi was reading that post and got the call to come over and help us. Marieke came last October to be the teacher of our children. She lives here in Osijek and is supported by friends and family in her ministry of teaching Mission Kids. She simply loves her job, although it has been a rather challenging year.
The first thing Marieke did was set up the Dutch Christian School. After that came the details. And, there were a lot of details that came up as it is unusual to have this combination of a teacher partly staying in touch with both a secondary school in the Netherlands and some agreement with the Wereldschool. (The one and only option to give your Dutch children a proper education abroad.)
We decided to do a mix of all this. After this year, we can say it has gone very well. But, it was quite a task to set everything up.
As we look back, we just want to say a Big Thank You to Marieke.
But, it would not be fair to leave out the 10 teachers behind the scene who are guiding our girls from a distance. Sister-in-law Esther’s specialty is French, and she corrects the test and gives guidelines where needed. Brother Joost helps with history. Brother-in-law Michiel corrects the tests for another subject. And, my very own dad is sitting every week on Skype to teach math—a big commitment.
And then, there are the teachers from the Christian school we left in our hometown. They agreed to correct the tests and help out where needed in Biology, Geography, English, Dutch, and Religious Education.
And so, together, we give our children this kind of unusual education. They do miss their peers. So, we have to fill that gap in other ways, like visiting other families here and making local friends. It is not as much interaction as they would get in a full classroom every day. But, when there are moments together, we enjoy every single moment.
As we look back, we see a few things we actually really like about this way of education:
- There is a certain balance between structured school life and the flexibility and adaptability to commitments or sickness.
- We are able to tune in to the character of the kids, adding to the program or playing with it to make it more suitable.
- We get more personal time with the kids and endless conversations about one or another topic.
- Last but not least: The kids are responsible for their own study programs. Rather than just receiving, they have to study everything themselves before making the test. It is the one and only option.
It would not do any harm to also say a thank-you to the girls. What an adjustment to study in this way, and how well you did! (Except before that final test in economy when someone really lost their appetite for diving into the books before an upcoming trip)
So, with the help of a whole army of teachers surrounding us, we hope to continue in the year ahead. Thank you very much! Laurens is getting ready to learn how to read and write. Working for a two hours with Marieke and for two hours going to the Kindergarten, we again try to take the most out of everything.
So, the year is over. Summer is in full swing. We better close this year properly with a big thank-you to all who have added to our girls’ education in whatever creative way: sending postcards, guiding them on a tour to Rome, walking with them in Roma villages, wandering through Belgrade, or just diving into the schoolbooks.
While we were on a three week trip in the Netherlands, everyone just went back to regular school life. Here Laurens with his class.