We just finished the second week of a new school year. We are not settled yet though. For Ryli, this school year is very similar to last year. Her bus still comes at about the same time. She has a new teacher and a new class, but still gets to see many of her same friends from last year.
For Abbi, on the other hand, it feels like we're coming into a new territory of elementary school life. Now she is in third grade. For the Japanese school system, from what I’ve heard from other moms, the first and second grade students are still seen as fairly young. Usually by third-grade though, there is a new level of homework and expectations.
Last year we worked it out with the school to pick up Abbi just before her last period every day, at about 1:30 p.m. This gave Abbi an opportunity to study English, reading and writing, during fifth period at home. It was really valuable to have that extra designated time to study English.
This year however, she's going to school full days, walking to and from school with her friends, doing normal homework (in Japanese), and attempting to practice English reading and writing on top of that. Juggling learning to read and write in both languages at the same time is a huge challenge. Sometimes I, Casi, feel like it’s too much. From time to time, I question, “Is this unreasonable??” Even with the challenges though, Abbi truly loves school life and is reading and writing in both languages. When I really think about that, I am amazed and encouraged. Nevertheless, discouragement still comes from time to time.
The times when school life in Japan feels like too much and/or like we can't do, we are often then reminded that God is indeed helping us and working things out that we don't see. Toward the end of second grade Abbi’s teacher approached Dan and I. He told us he had been thinking about Abbi’s situation and third grade. The idea to have Abbi go full days, but for one or two periods a day leave the class for extra help with a teacher’s aide, was suggested. This would allow for extra help on Japanese, and possibly even an opportunity to do independent English study with worksheets we provide.
We were so touched that he took the time to consider how to help Abbi succeed in both Japanese and English studies. It also showed us that God is making a way for us, and we recognized we didn’t do anything to help it along.
During the times of discouragement, we are also put in a place for our trust in Him to grow. Abbi is learning more and more how to depend on God herself too. Being in a place where you have to rely on God for so much, in our humanity, is a hard place to be, but at the same time it is a glorious place too. School is hard for Abbi at times. Through the struggle though, she is trusting God and praying at school on her own. For that, I am truly thankful.
We are just starting and figuring this out. If our family, comes to your heart, please pray especially for schooling. We really want to be able to continue doing Japanese school, despite the hard work ahead. We pray for perseverance for all of our kids, and for us too.