My kids went to Turkish school for two long years. We chose to send them to a private Turkish school as opposed to a public one for several reasons. The public school closest to us had overwhelmingly large class sizes. Like 50 kids in a class. We knew that our kids would be overwhelmed enough without throwing them into something like that. By choosing to attend a private school we were choosing smaller class sizes which we hoped would translate into a better education as well.
Day one of Turkish school was a nightmare. Erica and Will both cried. I cried. I was asking my kids to do something I wasn’t even doing myself. 7 hours in a room full of strangers speaking Turkish. My own Turkish lessons were on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. And they only lasted 2 hours each. Those two hours seemed to last forever at first. I couldn’t even imagine how long 7 hours would feel. Every morning that first week started with tears. Then it was the weekend. We played. We had fun. And we pretending like Monday didn’t exist. When Monday rolled around there were more tears. We promised the kids that every Friday they would get a prize…some sort of award for finishing another week of Turkish school. By the end of the week there were no tears. They still weren’t looking forward to school, but they were learning how to get through the days.
It wasn’t long until we were hearing about kids in their classes. The names all ran together in our minds, but the kids had friends. Actual Turkish friends. And our kids could speak Turkish better than we could. It was amazing to see the transformation.
Kids are amazing little beings. They’re like sponges soaking up everything around them. After a couple times learning new languages mine got to where they looked forward to a new country’s schools. The private schools are almost a requirement for non-native kids, at least at 1st. In Japan they did go to public school in the small town we lived in as there were no private schools near enough for them to commute. Today they have a leg up on others because their employers are multinational.
You lived in Turkey? Your story sounds SO HARD & SO AMAZING! Not everyone gets the opportunity to visit another country, let alone live there for a period of time. It was probably pretty traumatizing for the kids on the one hand but it sounds like you went out of your way to make it a positive experience for them. I would think looking back, the knowledge for all of you was invaluable. I look forward to hearing more about your time there!