Friday, October 28, 2011

Updates on Japanese schools

So I  know  many of you asking me what the status of the kids' schooling was, so I wanted to give you an update:

When I started this blog, I came to Japan intending to send them to the Japanese local schools. Whenever I would tell this to other colleagues and even Japanese friends, they would be shocked and a bit concerned.  I didn't know why people were shocked at the mention of Japanese schooling... well, not until now, and I see clearly why it's a bit shocking:  It is completely different from any schools you would find in the US. (But then I knew this too, but I guess I didn't know how much of a gap there was?? )

So if you read my blog from the beginning of this school journey, you would see that they are now in the public elementary school in Japan, but we pulled out my oldest son this coming school year due to numerous reasons: number one is not having close friends. He is my sensitive and timid child, and needs a lot of nurturing. He is also my brightest child too, so even though Japanese academics was the perfect mix of challenge and understanding, he wasn't developing friendships beyond the classroom. Also, because he was older, and kanji was more advanced at his grade, he was falling behind in his reading, although I commend him for his third grade level of kanji. We decided to home school him for now, and he attends a co-op Christian program once a week with other American home-schoolers.

However, the younger two still attend the Japanese public school and attends the co-op homeschool group every week (I pull them out of the Japanese school once a week), so they can keep up with their English skills. This has been great for them because they were falling behind in English, however, it's a very intense program of a classical education, (trivium philsophy of grammar, rhetoric, & logic) and so, they work doubly hard at their Japanese and English schools. If I had to start from the beginning, I'm not quite sure if I would have sent them to a Japanese school considering we are going back to the States. However, I never signed up with this in mind, I signed up for my children to learn about character, culture and to enrich their minds in learning differently. I know they have benefited from Japan as a result, and I am really grateful for that.

An example is during our month off in California, I was teaching my younger son how to subtract numbers beyond 10, and because he can't use his fingers, I couldn't figure a way to teach him how to subtract other than physically show it with little cubes and memorization of subtracting higher numbers after he understood the concept. But today, he brought home a math paper that showed how to do it, and I was amazed. I have never seen the strategy the Japanese used to subtract (another post), higher numbers. It's quite simple, and simply brilliant, and these are the things that broaden my mind to think differently and to be enrich by another culture. It's the simple things in life that make is so fun to educate my children in Japan. I'm grateful for the opportunity.