I get the question a lot whether or not I home school or if my kids go to an American school or if they teach in English at their school. I thought it would be a fun and interesting post to explain our situation.
My kids go to French school. Just the regular French public school system. My six-year-old is bilingual. I honestly don’t say this in a bragging way because obviously he wouldn’t be if we didn’t live here. And it’s not that he’s super extra smart. I mean, he’s smart, but he’s not a genius or anything. Gosh, that sounds really bad, but you get it, right? He’s a normal 6-year-old kid. No special language learning abilities.
I am emphasizing his ‘normalness’ because of what I’ve learned over the years. Kids are so resilient! It’s truly incredible. To think we spend most our lives as parents sheltering and protecting our kids from what we think is gonna screw them up and a lot of times it what will teach them and grow them more.
For example, growing up I lived in two houses I can remember. My parents are still living in (and probably will be for a while) the last house I lived throughout high school. I grew up in the same city and went to the same school K-12th grade. My dad had the same job from start to finish (a fireman) and we didn’t have too many things ‘rock the boat’ if you will. My parents protected me and as a result I was pretty naive. I don’t say this as a bad thing, not at all. My parents were excellent parents and love the heck out of them to this day. My momma is my best friend and I’m still a daddy’s girl.
So when I married this Bahamian dude and he moved us to France for his job I thought for sure I was going to screw my kids up. I thought for sure the fact that he’s been in a different house every year of his life and been in a different school each year for as long as he’s been to school would mess him up entirely.
But here’s what I learned. Kids are exceptional. They can do things that adults would never dream of trying. Kids bend and adjust and adapt in ways we didn’t even know were possible. My kids are continuously showing this to me.
In fact, we don’t have any American friends where we live. I am the only American around, unless you count my kids, but I’d hardly consider them American. It’s only what their passports read. The friends here they see the most are Swedish and the kids only speak Swedish. Instead of trying to speak English to them, Tae asks the mom how to say things in Swedish so he can communicate with the kids. He’s getting to understand that there are complete worlds out there that he doesn’t even know about. There’s more to life than his little world.
Religiously too, I think it’s fantastic. Although I miss the closeness of church and Christian friends and that community, I think it’s neat to not be in a Christian bubble. I think it’s neat to have conversations with my kids about how some people don’t believe the same things we do, and that’s okay. We need to be loving and accepting to everyone and still have confidence in what you chose to believe. I also want my kids to choose Christ because they want to. Not because it’s all they’ve know for all their life. I want them to understand from an early age that it is their choice.
I am writing this post not to say how cool and unique my kids are because like I said, if we weren’t living here, their experiences would be quite different and they most certainly wouldn’t be speaking another language or have friends from all over the world. I guess I’m just in awe of little people’s minds. They grasp so much more than we give them credit for. All these things that I thought were screwing my kids up are really growing him in ways I can’t even understand. Hopefully, he will have a much broader view of the world through his experiences.
I only wish I could have had the same experiences my kids are getting. To effortlessly learn to speak another language? How fantastic! To not have an accent in that language at all? Awesome! For me it is very different! I don’t speak nearly as effortlessly and most definitely have an accent.
In fact, it’s giving me a much broader view of the world. It’s opening my eyes to new things all around. Even just living in France has changed my perspective on so many things! I love America, but it’s so neat to see how the rest of the world does things.
All this to explain a little of our life situation, why we do what we do with our kids, and how it works for us. And really, bottom line, I think that if are showing your child love at home, if they have the security that you are there for them as a family, as a mom, dad, whatever, if they know you have their back, it doesn’t matter how many times you move.
Home truly is where the heart is!
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