21 April 2012

Unintentional Ambassadors

Not the diplomatic sort, but the educational sort.

A couple of month ago our family were the foreigners featured in a weekly news article that the main paper in town does about a foreigner/foreign family living in Kyrgyzstan.  The university we're affiliated with arranged the whole thing and all I had to do was show up at the office with my family and smile for a few photos, and then I left with the boys while my husband was interviewed.  They ended up talking a lot about homeschooling- my husband thought that was probably because they were trying to find something that was different about our family since the articles can get a little repetitive.  The other option was to play up the fact that we're here to study Uzbek, but that may not have been the best angle.

I had no idea if very many people read that weekly article, but apparently people do because we keep meeting complete strangers who know who we are.  It doesn't happen that often, mostly since we're not often all out together, and we're not very identifiable on our own.  But unquestionably the thing people remember most from the article is that we homeschool.  The man we talked to today remembered us only after homeschooling came up.

Homeschooling is practically unheard of here; I don't think I've ever met a local who homeschools, and most foreigners don't either, although there are many who do.  It's common for people to ask where the older boys go to school, so homeschooling comes up pretty often, with or without the article.  And the article was pretty good about it, explaining why we do it and that I'm (hopefully) capable of doing it.

I'm certainly not homeschooling here to plant any seeds in anyone's mind about whether they ought to do it, but there have been a few times when we've gotten an unusually positive reaction about it- especially if someone is currently having problems with their local school.  There would be some major obstacles to homeschooling here and I wouldn't want to be the one trying to get past those.  But it's been interesting to talk to so many different people about it.

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