KINDA FREAKING OUT.
Today is day one of a new era for our family. We have stepped out of the standard Thai education system and are attempting a mix of Thai learning centre and English homeschool. If homeschool is controversial in the Western world, here in Thailand it is almost unheard of. Already we have confused many local Thai's and angered a few teachers. Pretty much the story of my life - do everything different from everyone around you. So long story short - we found a Thai teacher that will give them one on one time and we are teaching them English from Grade 1 level. They will do this every Monday. Every Thursday will be joint activities with our homeschool co-operative, and the rest of the week is English and homework!
WHY? Well its taken us a while, but the kids teachers have finally admitted that at least two of the boys are quite behind in their schooling, and could benefit from one on one teaching. One of them appears to have a learning disability that has him about 3-4 years behind others in his year level (slight freak out here). Also - with living on the farm, we feel that by homeschooling, the kids will be able to get a better education and gain more life skills. It will not be easy. Teaching English as a second language to 3 kids, plus teaching Charlie on top of this already has its struggles, but it means we can be more flexible when we have teams and family visiting. The legal side of things will also be an uphill battle as Thailand's legal guardianship rules are not as clear cut as other countries. However, we feel that God has pulled us in this direction - giving us peace and blessings along the way.
God literally threw a Thai teacher with a heart for helping underprivileged. She has started a learning centre just for our homeschool co-op, letting all 8 kids come into her house to learn Thai. Today is a bit crazy trying to work out the levels of each kid, but the kids seem to be enjoying it. John may have to start helping out with the Thai, but I really think we are doing the right thing for our kids. We'll re-evaluate at the end of the year, but I hope to continue this way as long as the kids are doing well.
So life will definitely busy up with teaching the kids, but it means more time with them, a better understanding of where they are at academically and ultimately more input into their lives. But I gotta tell you most days I want to quit so hard. I feel like each day I try to wipe the slate clean, and the kids literally just spend their whole day trying to crack me. Normally by 8am I'm done ha. Anger management and patience is on the top of my to-do list. It is literally the hardest time of my life, but I'm also positive it is the right choice and I can already see some results.
But saying that - please pray for John and I. It is hard enough looking after a marriage with a huge farm to look after, let alone adding in 3 boys with social and development issues secondary to abandonment and trauma. Its a recipe for strain on a marriage.
The farm is going ok. The rainy season started with HUGE storms that knocked over a big bamboo plant and crushed our bathroom. Luckily no-one was in it. Also one of our roofs was leaking, so we have had to abandon farming work for building bathrooms, putting on a new roof and a massive amount of cleaning all the while getting wet and incredibly muddy. Every item of clothing is damp and gross and we haven't seen proper sun in a while! Some of the animals are struggling with the weather - especially some of the goats. They seem a bit under the weather and the fowl have had a virus go through the flocks. But the piglets are doing great, and love the mud!
We are hoping for a break in the rain soon, but it doesn't seem to be coming anytime soon. So we'll suck it up and trudge around in our boots until it clears up.
Thanks for reading. Keep us all in your prayers.
John, Heidi, Boom Boom, Wakim, Anupong and Charlie.