For many families on the mission field, choosing between schooling options for their teenage children can be a tough decision. Where would they find a school that not only provides a sound education, classroom instruction and social activities with peers, while enabling the children to live at home much of the time in the area where the parents work?
Those who live in a city with an international school or missionary may choose that option, if they can, but their ministry might not allow them to live in the city. Parents may find homeschooling increasingly challenging as students move on to higher levels. Online schooling, like homeschooling, is usually quite solitary, and the students do not have the opportunity to study alongside peers. Boarding school would mean separation from family for weeks or months at a stretch.
In 2004, the Modular Study Group (MSG) was launched to provide a novel way to meet the needs of such families. It is a non-traditional international school that specialises in teaching core subjects (English, Mathematics, Sciences) from Grades 7 to 12. Students are taught through a blended system: students travel to the school for traditional classroom instruction for one week a month, with planned assignments during the three home study weeks in between. During the home study weeks, parents are also able to teach their children other subjects specific to their home culture and interests (music, art, history, geography, etc).
Besides the academic classes, the in-school week also includes various after-school activities for students to make friends, have fun, and share Christian fellowship. These could be ‘movie night’, ‘sports night’, ‘pizza night’, Bible study, etc. Students board with MSG-approved providers during the week, giving them even more opportunities to make friends and share experiences, all within a safe Christian environment.
There are currently four MSG schools: Vientiane (Laos), Chiangmai (Thailand), Hanoi (Vietnam) and Jakarta (Indonesia). Three more are currently being planned. The goal is to start more MSG schools all across Asia to provide missionary families with this educational option.
As with all endeavours, suitable personnel is key. Every school requires staff, both teaching and administrative. Teachers do much more than just deliver classroom lessons and homework; they also become mentors and friends. In the home study weeks, they have to regularly communicate with students and parents to make sure that learning still continues. Above all, they will be playing their part in obeying the Great Commission by enabling families to stay in the field longer.
If you are interested in serving in missions as a teacher of missionary kids, check out the MSG website or contact us for more information.