When you’re planning a big move abroad, the list of things you must organise can seem never-ending. Plus when you’re moving an entire family, there’s even more that must be taken into consideration. One of the first things families who want to emigrate have to consider is what schooling options are available to suit their expat children. It can be a tough choice.
To help make your decision a little easier I have looked at the pros and cons of the most common options.
Sending your expat child to a local school
Most local schools teach in the local language and often English is taught as a second language. If your child doesn’t speak the language, it can be tough on them at first. They may even be put into a lower ability group. That is until they’re able to communicate and this can be a drawback for many parents. However, if you’re moving overseas permanently or even semi-permanently, there are a few pros to consider.
· Children tend to pick up languages easier than adults. Younger children might learn to speak the native language in a mere few months.
· Becoming immersed in a new environment is a good way to settle into it. By sending your children to a local school, you encourage them to make friends from the same area.
· However, some academic qualifications gained in one country may not be transferable to others.
Sending your child to an international school
There are a variety of exceptional international schools in Thailand for example, which is a particularly popular choice amongst expat families. Just some of the pros include:
· Your child can grow up in a culturally diverse environment. They benefit from mixing with a variety of global lifestyles when attending an international school.
· Most international schools usually follow a curriculum that is globally recognised and accepted around the world. This means your child would have the opportunity to continue his or her education in many countries, if necessary.
· Most international schools place strong emphasis on extracurricular activities compared to mainstream schools. The aim of an international school is complete development. Your child is encouraged to learn creatively, academically and socially.
Home schooling your expat child
If you only plan on staying in another country for a short period of time, you might want to avoid enrolling your child in a new school and consider home schooling. While it’s not for everybody, and it requires a great deal of commitment from parents, there are some pros:
· Home-schooled children usually follow a pre-approved curriculum. But they do enjoy more educational freedom when they are home schooled. Where and how their subjects are taught are up to you, the parent. So there’s not sticking to strict school hours. The work can be done according to your schedule. There are plenty of resources to help you like Smartick.
· In a home school setup, there is no risk of bullying like there is in mainstream schooling.
· Home schooling might build stronger family ties.
This is just a brief look at the pros of the three most common education options for expat kids. Hopefully, it’s a good starting point for you to work from when it comes to making a very important decision about your child’s education.