Thursday, 21 August 2008

Which one to choose?

I've been pondering about Josiah's schooling lately. Probably some of you screaming "He is just about to turn 2 years old this Dec, are you mad??". Rest assure, I can hear you. However, if you know how public or government school placement works, you'll share the same dilemma with me.

In order for your child to be admitted into a good public school, you need to be in their waiting list. To be qualified in their waiting list, you must stay in the "catchment area" or stay no where close to any other public school. To my horror, some of this waiting list require you to put your name there a year or two in advance. And this is no joke! I talking about free school with good standard here (note : 80% public school in UK, as much as "sekolah negri" in indonesia, were no were near the standard of independent school, so I have to be picky), so you'll see it's very competitive even just to put your name on the list.
Unfortunately for us, there is NO good public school around our area. When I say "good" I demand it must be at least the top 10 in UK. Why can't I relax my standard a little bit?
If you ever came to public school which is "usual" or "not good" you'll be shock. Start from little girl acting britney spears sensual dance, school bully, and playing truant. The children have absolutely no respect to adult, and that's including their teachers. And don't start the topic about manner (what manner?!?!?) I guess they have no time for it.
There is a very good public school in Kettering, but that would give me a question of "where would I work??" say I move the the catchment area for the sake of being in the waiting list. For the past 3 years I've been living in UK, there is no job in radius 40 miles from Kettering. Absolutely none. Zero. Nil.

So, then my option came to Independent school (or fee paying school) or home schooling. Actually, the only good thing for me about home schooling is the ability to teach Josiah about our faith, which obviously not many school in Britain has the capability of.

The money issue
After I see how much it cost to send my son to independent school, I drop the idea of home-schooling. Probably it would make sense if I have 2 kids or more, but for only one? I am going to be one super expensive teacher!

Will I be a good teacher?
Another thing that put me off is my own credibility to teach. I probably had no problem with Math, Chemistry, Biology or Algebra. Not for a 4 year old probably. But how about English? Writting Skill? How can I teach my son a good english when I didn't even know English as a language in depth? Would someone send their children to certain school given the knowledge that the teacher is not even qualified to teach the subject? What about subject that I hate? I can't imagine I have to teach my son History when I hate history to death. To me history as a subject is merely a non-sense (well at least in my country it is). I don't see the point learning it, not even until now. Then will my son end up being very weak on the subject?
Will he ever been better than me in science, geography, or other subject? I am not convince that I can be a good teacher to my son.

What is the pathway ahead?
Teaching a primary schooler math, english, history etc might not be as intimidating. But imagine when he is 15 years old! I remember that my mom couldn't catch up with my chemistry when I reach high school stage (yes, chemistry is the knowledge of the"exception"). She could not memorise more things as I do with my biology. Being a good teacher is NOT about reading the textbook ahead of the pupils, but about demonstrating deeper understanding. And being a pupil myself I've experienced a bad teacher who can't teach or implant passion and understanding of the subject. My statistics lecturer in university was a good figure for it, which cause a big disaster now because I grow to hate the subject!!! So, doubt came to me : How if my son become less able because me, as his teacher, is not able to give all the answer he is after? And will a good school like Oxford and Cambridge will ever admit my son if he is home schooled BY ME? Will he end up struggling finding a job?

What my families may have in mind?
Both me and my husband is not brought up in the culture where home-school is a common thing, make it even more difficult. Education (going to school) is a previledge in thrid world country, because not everyone can afford a good education. I believe my parents and my in laws giving their financial priority when it comes to our education, and so that what they expect me and my husband to do with our kids. And, who can say what happen if tomorrow I have to return to Indoensia? what would happen with my son since educational sector in Indonesia didn't acknowledge home school?
While my biggest fear is to see my son heading to hell, on the other hand I always wish he had a better life than me. Then my second question,

is going to school and not doing homeschooling is evil after all?
The answer is none (well at least bible never anything about it) so I start to ponder about the matter more deeply.
Me and my sister always went to Christian school most of the time, not because my parents are Christian back then, but rather because good school are normally either Christian or Catholics school. Both me and my sister first encounter of Christianity were through friends in school. And later on my mom came to church regularly after both of us get saved. Our missionary friend Joe and Abbie came from government school in states, but none of them (nor their siblings) questioning their Christian faith. 99% of national pastor in indonesia sending their children to christian/catholic/secular school. And how did I know about Baptist church? again, through a friend in school! The nicholson told me that their parents testimony were the one that affect them the most when it comes to Christianity, not the school. May God help us too.

Now, by concluding this I didn't say home-schooling is bad or less educational. I've seen some well rounded men who graduated from the system. And I can see how it can fit to many christian missionary families really well. I just think it might not be for us. So my last option, Independent School. Pros, some of these school are Christian school, some of them even ask regular attendance the pupils and their parents to sunday service (obviously to enforce lazy parents who claiming to be christian but never go to church except for wedding, christmas or funeral). Another pros is you can choose whatever school you want as long as you prepare to pay. Cons, very obvious, it's not free. And unfortunately not many Independent school has a strong Christian emphasis. Meanwhile I am shortlisting a few school in Brackley, Bedford and Northampton. Currently the list are :
Winchester House School (probably we need to move??? let's hope Yusdi work in somewhere near!).
Overstone Park School (ideal location, but I am not convince this school is as good).
Slapston Prep School (ideal location, but I am not sure how "Christian" they are).
Thorton College (my fear is this school is actually a Catholic school).
We hope God may grant us wisdom in choosing a school that is best for Josiah and not too far out of the way.


agustina said...

Iya je.. jangankan elo yang josie d mo 2 taon.. gw aja, lom punya, d mikirnya jauh banget.. tar anak PR ga ya? kalo ga PR.. susah cari sekolah, mahal pula.. makanya gw cari lokasi rumah, juga deket2 sekolahan.. soalnya sama kaya elo, priority rumah deket juga, PR ato ga juga termasuk list.. belum yang lain2.. kalo PR, tar kudu NS kalo cowoq.. fuh.. jia you jeje!!! :D U'll find a way, for sure! :D hehehehe

J.H said...

huahaua, maksudnya elo mengaku lebih kiasu daripada gw?? Hahaha, tengkiu2, you dons make me feel better!
Iya nih, 2000 GBP setiap 3 bulan gus.... gawat kan? Tapi si Aileen bilang sekolahnya si zach 1000 SGD tiap BULAN! Berarti murahan di sini donk :P
Elo mah punya anak dulu, kalo perempuan, abish perkara lah :-)

agustina said...

hah?! 1000 dollar sebulan?! mana sangguuppp!!! waduh, anak gw masuk tk standard aja deh, hahahaha.. ga usah yang bagus sampe gimana *tk gitu lo* :p
kalo sd si harusnya ga mahal je, sepupu gw, 5 dollar sebulan :p yang bikin bete si sekarnag belom masalah children's financing je. tapi ngadepin nyak gw yang teurs2an minta cucu.. i've just married for 2 months! *gelenk2*

J.H said...

hahaha... di sg pake yang standart ok kali yah. Kalo di sini sama kaya di indo gus, standart -> kualitas sekolah negri, gw benernya dun mind kualitasnya deh kalo masi tk/sd sih, cuman lingkungan pergaulannya rada parah kalo no paying school di sini... so :-(
HAHAHA, udah penuhi keinginan nyak elo SEGERA!