Enjoy The Education Cafe
Families living overseas face a variety of challenges. Living in cross cultural spaces can be exhilarating and it can be exhausting. Educating children overseas is a similar kind of opportunity. Knowing one’s options helps parents make wise decisions about their children’s education.
- Local public or government schools can be great options in some countries. They’re free; children learn the language and make friends quickly; they’re usually nearby so transportation isn’t an issue. But the quality of education, class size, oversight of the children, the worldviews assumed or taught can vary greatly. These schools are definitely cross cultural spaces.
- Local international schools are mostly found in capital cities or major cities. Some take only residential schools. Others only day students. Some both. They can be quite expensive. but are not always. Frequently the student body and even faculty are international and so they represent cross cultural spaces as well.
- International Boarding Schools located in other countries can offer superb education, but not without the cost of separation from family, travel to and from school and tuition with room and board expenses also. Student body and teachers can be from various backgrounds, but tend to be more homogeneous than 1 or 2 above. However, depending upon where the school is located, it might represent a third or fourth cultural space for your child. Depending on the child, that can be good, or it can be overload.
- Online Schools or Internet Schools are becoming quite popular. Students order books, then study at home with online instructors, graders or sometimes in virtual classroom situations.
- Homeschool is also an option that requires ordering books and curriculum but provides flexibility to learn from local persons, and take advantage of all the opportunities in a cross cultural space. Homeschooling is done in so many different ways overseas that it’s really difficult to generalize about it these days.
- Some combination of the above. Often parents will homeschool some in their native language and send their children to local schools for several years. Homeschool supplements the local school education so that a child will be prepared to study in their country of citizenship some day, should they so choose. Or sometimes homeschool is combined with online school classes.
Of course it depends upon the child’s age, adjustment, academic interests, hobbies, personality, and the parents’ resources (financial, experiential and educational), philosophy of education and worldview commitments.
During our years living in cross cultural spaces, we’ve encountered families with very well adjusted, delightfully interesting and mature children from each one of the six educational options listed above.
If this is a topic of interest to you, I can do no better than refer you to this website (The Education Cafe). My wife recently wrote a review of one online school called the Potter’s School. The site is really an excellent one stop resource for kid’s education issues, options, opportunities and questions.
Enjoy The Education Cafe