(Thoughts from Bethany M, M.Ed-serving as a Regional Education Consultant & Liaison for TCKI member families in Eurasia. )
Serving in Central Eurasia is a true joy. Each country has a rich and ancient heritage. The culture and languages of these lands reflect mainly Turkish and Persian roots and a continued influence of Russian in former Soviet countries coupled with the beautiful gift of hospitality. Each countries’ culture and language are unique, and so are the educational opportunities for our TCKs. As more and more member teams are scattering across this area, there is a trend to find the best local schooling option for the purposes of engaging in the culture and language as a family. However, this often depends on the age of the child and the educational practices of the schools. The younger the child, the more opportunities there are to start the child in the local school system. At the same time, we have families with older children who are homeschooling while engaging in local activities and language lessons. Many of our children are using online homeschooling platforms which often solve the issue for shipment of heavy schoolbooks and lightens the parents’ load as the primary teacher. Even in some of the private schools, online programs are part of the curriculum.
I visit all our member families throughout the area and it is exciting to see how each family educates their children while engaging with the people around them which they have come to reach. Just the other day, a parent sent me a video of their son reading a book in the local language. The next time he was showing me his reading skills in English. WOW! For those who are homeschooling, many are engaging in local sports and activities to learn the language and make friends. For one family, while their son is participating with his friends in martial arts, the Mom and Dad are engaged in a language exchange (they teach the locals English one week and the next week the local parents teach the non-Turkish speakers Turkish while waiting on their kids) which is opening wide the door for relationships amongst locals. If you are intentional, the relational opportunities with locals can be a great blessing through the doors of community interaction with the whole family.