In a few weeks my son is due to start school here in Thailand. I’m dreading it. In a previous article I vented my fears about the local education system ( read about this here) , but this is not what is playing on my mind at the moment. My son is about to take his first steps into the real world and there will be no turning back. He is now going to be spending most of his waking hours with strangers and that is sure to change him. Perhaps my feelings are a bit silly but there is no doubting that this is how I feel.
Delaying School for a Year
My wife is experiencing similar emotions, but she is more pragmatic about it. Last week she did suggest that we hold him back a year – after all he is still only 3 ½. She dismissed the plan almost as soon as she suggested it though; her fears that he would fall behind won out. I held onto the idea for days as if it were a life raft. I would love to keep at home for another 12 months. I’ve even come up with plenty of reasons to justify it.
My number one argument against sending my son to school is his age. What’s the rush? I can understand that some parents have work commitments, but my wife and I both work from home. He is going to have many years in school and it seems reasonable that he be allowed to enjoy his early childhood with us. My wife teaches him his ABCs and Gaw Gai (Thai ABC) and we make sure he has a stimulating environment. He even has a few friends in the nearby houses to play with.
The Thai School Day Is Too Long for Toddlers
Even though my son is joining Anuban 1(called Junior Infants where I grew up) he is still expected to attend school from 08:00 until 15:00. This is an incredibly long day and I can’t understand why it is required. I didn’t spend that much time at school until I reached secondary level. They do get a couple of hours sleep in the afternoon so why can’t they just finish at noon? I’m just not convinced that seven hours at school is what is best for him now.
Why My Son Will be Starting School This Year
Despite my reservations we will be sending our son to school this year. This is the way things are done in Thailand and we did make the choice for him to grow up here. Keeping him at home for another 12 months would just be postponing the inevitable – at least this is what I tell myself. I can’t stop him growing up (I talked about these fears here here). All his friends have started school and I don’t want to get in the way of his education because of my own selfish needs. I guess this is something that all parents must face with their first child. We will miss not having our son at home during the day, but his needs must come first.