Have you ever asked a question and then instantly wished the words would fly back into your mouth? Yeah, me too. Sometimes we just say the first thing that comes to mind without really processing it, only to regret that we didn’t pause a moment longer to think it through. While I’ve experienced my fair share of regrettable questions, I’ve also been on the receiving end of them. It’s what happens when you’re a missionary kid and people try to understand what your life is like in another country.
Some of my favorites have been: “What was it like to grow up with the Philistines?” (Side note: I grew up in the Philippines, which is nowhere near Philistia.) Or “What was it like living in the Bahamas?” Well, I wouldn’t know, since the Philippines is in Asia, the opposite side of the world from the Bahamas. I’m sure you get my point. There are far too many more anecdotes to share, and some of them would either make you groan in shame or, maybe, actually answer a question that you’ve secretly wondered.
Questions like, “How do missionary kids get an education if their parents are living in the remote jungles of some foreign country?” I’m here to help set the record straight. No matter where a missionary kid lives, they’re receiving an education somehow. Parents want their kids to grow up to be successful and have an impact on the world. And there are actually a lot of different options for schooling, such as:
- Homeschool — This is a great way for kids to learn, especially if they either (a) live in a remote village and their parents don’t want to send them to boarding school; or (b) have a mom who wants to invest in her children by teaching them at home. I was homeschooled for many years, and it was great! (And no, I’m not an awkward homeschooled missionary kid, thank you very much). Wonder what this might actually look like? Let the Pehrson family will give you a glimpse of what it’s like to raise their kids in a remote village in this video.
- Local schools — Some missionary kids go to school in the community they live in, which can be awesome! They get the cultural experience as well as an education, though it is at the country’s pace and not that of their passport country.
- Boarding schools — Not all parents want to send their kids to a big city for schooling, but depending on the situation (like parents living in a remote village and kids needing to learn more than their parents are able to teach them), they might get sent to a boarding school.
- International schools — Sometimes there’s not a school within the country that can give kids the education they need, especially if they’re planning on attending college in their passport country (like the U.S., Australia, England, etc.). That means a student might get sent to another country to go to school, or might be lucky enough to attend an international school in the same country they live. Take a look international school is like through the eyes of Alan and Amanda in this video.
That’s what happened for me — I went to an international school (Faith Academy) that doubled as a boarding school. Thankfully, my family was living in the Philippines, so I neither had to board nor go to school in another country, but received all of the perks of an international school, like having classmates from different countries.
So don’t worry! We missionary kids aren’t just a bunch of hooligans running around barefoot, eating bugs and climbing trees. Chances are we’re doing all that while getting an education (and a pretty great one too, if I do say so myself!).