Posted by: monsonmadness | July 25, 2011

My new job

Yes, you read that right. Wow! Can you believe it? I haven’t had a real paying job since exactly eight years ago when we adopted the boys which was July 2003. I have had the privilege of being able to stay home with my kids and “work” there with them. For most of our married life, this opportunity was a luxury that didn’t require much sacrifice. Sure we could have done lots of other things had we had two salaries, but to us, those things were not as important as being at home with the children. Michael had good paying jobs and we made it a big priority that I could be home with the kids. There have, however, been several times over the last 8 years when living on one income was a big sacrifice and it was hard to do. Twice Michael has had to find a second job so that I could stay home with the kids, and we feel blessed that we have been able to make it work. It was worth it. I know that not everyone is as fortunate as we have been and we are very grateful that I have been able to stay home with our children.

Many of you know that when we looked into schools in American Samoa we learned that the public schools would not really be an option. They still use corporal punishment in the schools, they don’t have much funding for supplies, and academics are extremely low. We found some private schools that were better, but with tuition rates at $300 a month per child (and we have 4 school aged children) that wouldn’t really be an option for us. We decided that homeschooling would be the best option. I really liked the Saxon math program that the kids had been using in their charter school, so I bought some used curriculum off ebay and brought that with us along with lots of other supplies and materials. I already had enough preschool and kindergarten supplies to start my own school, and I brought almost all of those with me. I knew it would be a challenge juggling all 6 kids, but I also thought it would be a great opportunity. So that was our plan…

Well, there is one more option that I have been pondering over for the last few weeks. There is a new private Christian school that has only been going for 1 year which offers much lower tuition than the other private schools. I made contacts with some of the board members there who encouraged me to submit a resume to be a teacher at the school. Teaching would give my kids a tuition discount which makes attending school more affordable. The school is small, with very small classes, only 6 students per teacher. They combine grades, so there are two preschool classes, one kindergarten, then 1st and 2nd grade meet together, 3rd and 4th together and so on. When I met with the principal and vice principal, they wanted me to teach the 5th and 6th grade class. I was glad that I had already made my mind up what I was going to say because I think that when you feel wanted and important, it’s harder to stick to your morals and beliefs. I was tempted to accept, but I had already talked to Michel about it, and as you probably all know, I am a firm believer that the most important learning that a child does is with the mother in the home in the preschool years. I have chosen not to send any of my children to preschool, and couldn’t bear the thought of doing that now. I find great joy and satisfaction in knowing that I was the one who taught my children to count, their ABC’s, to read and to write. If they know a funny song or rhyme, it’s because I taught them that. I love being their preschool teacher.

I know I am not the norm in this thinking, and I was one of the only people I knew in my neighborhood who did not send their children to preschool, but I am so glad that I didn’t. I cherish that time with my kids. I believe that my children have plenty of social interactions and have never had problems making friends and getting on with other kids. I don’t think any of them have missed anything from not attending preschool. In fact, when Matthew was diagnosed with Autism the professionals were adamant that Matthew needed more social interaction in a formal preschool setting. Against my better judgement, I sent him to one, and after going and observing for two months, promptly pulled him back out again. (Long story) I felt like I knew my son better than they did and knew what he needed and what he responded to. I recruited some neighborhood children and volunteered to have them come to my preschool once a week so that Matthew could have the social interaction that the professionals said he needed. Much more successful. I have never regretted that.

Anyway, the thought of sending Mary and Emma to a babysitter or to childcare just so that my older four kids could go to school was horrible, and I knew that they needed me to be with them at this age of their life. I really did want my older kids to go to this school. I feel it will be a great experience for them to have interaction with kids from other cultures and to learn Samoan. I know that their education will be more varied than what I can offer them at home, and they will be so much happier with friends, recess and all of the other fun things like music, art, and computers. I also love that they will be taught good Christian values. I miss that from school in Wales. I loved learning Christian songs and poems in the schools, and reciting the Lord’s prayer each day.

So the bottom line? I have been hired to be the teacher for the 1-3 year olds at the school. This is for the teacher’s children who are not old enough for preschool. I have a class of 5 children including Mary and Emma. I told them that I am not planning on this being a day care setting, and that if I was home with my own kids, I would be teaching them, so that is what I plan on doing. We will learn numbers, ABC’s, opposites, colors, days of the week, weather, and animals. We will play games, do crafts, sing songs, read books and have fun. Yes, for a whopping $18 a day, I will do with a small group of children what I would be doing anyway at home, and as a result, my older 4 children will be able to enjoy a new and exciting school experience. My salary will cover the school tuition. Could it get any more perfect than that?

The school is called Ta’aila Academy, and you can find more information about it here: My hours are Mon-Fri from 7.30am-11.45am. Breakfast and lunch are served at the school. We have a school uniform. The school is about a 12 minute drive from our house. It is a converted house, with each room being turned into a classroom. After lunch each day, I will bring Daniel (half day kindergarten) and the two babies home with me for naps. I can maintain my precious schedule and everyone will be happy. I am thrilled. I am so excited to get to spend so much quality time with my two little girls, and to get to love three new children as well. We are going to have a great year. School starts on Monday 15th August. Hooray!



  1. Helen– It is so amazing that when you are committed to doing what you know is right, the Lord will open up a way for you to accomplish it. What a great solution and great opportunity for you and the kids. I love your posts!! You give me hope. If Helen can do hard things across the sea with 6 young kids, I can do hard things at home with 5 kids (some not so young.) Keep it up. 🙂

    • Carol,
      Thanks so much for your great comments. You are such a boost for me. you have been so complimentary, I am glad we are friends!!!! Thanks for all of your love and support.

  2. That is incredible. What an ideal situation for everyone. Wonderful!

  3. Yay! That worked out perfectly!!!

  4. What a wonderful situation! Good luck with your new job!

  5. It seems the blessing continue to be poured out…I am so happy for you!

  6. Everything just seems to be falling into place for you! Well done, Helen. I found the website very interesting.

  7. How wonderful is that???? The Lord knows you and your family and it seems that he is watching out for you. I’m so excited for you!

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