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Old 02-10-2019, 09:48 PM
 
Location: Andorra
76 posts, read 14,536 times
Reputation: 69

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Does anyone have advice for those of us raising kids abroad? Currently I live in a country where English is not an official language.

My kids will go into the school system in Andorra, where they will learn Catalan first, then French, then Spanish. English will come much later in Year 8.

I think this is a fantastic opportunity for them, but I don't want to mess them up for life either. English does seem to be "the global language", so I don't want to hurt their chances at doing well in life by not giving them a head start in English.

I want to raise my kids to be fluent English speakers, will they just pick this up from their home life?

I have many more questions but I think this is the best place to begin!
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:04 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
21,508 posts, read 38,543,578 times
Reputation: 21976
Starting young, they will be OK and if English is used in the home and when traveling they will master that as well.
Kids are very resilient. Give them adequate opportunities to learn. (mature stuff / not classroom specific lessons).

While Expats, we homeschooled, since we traveled a lot (everyday) ...(Asia, Canada, Catalonia, Switzerland, Germany (and USA))

+/-, but we had a lot of fun! and saw a lot of territory. We purposed to engage our kids in learning and mentoring others, and in cross generational volunteering / service projects (2x / week). Work with the school to have your kids teach their classmates English in little doses. (International Classic children's books work well. )

We returned to our home state (WA USA) when the kids were age 14, and they designed and built their own homes, then went to college @ age 16 full time for free (Available in WA State since 1991). They survived and graduated U as Magna (in spite of all their handicaps!) We got a lot of ..."Oh, my... you would risk you kid's future by living internationally while they are CHILDREN? !"

Thank goodness! (for them) they were NEVER age segregated, USA dumbed down learners(?)

To do over again... I would suggest they do an International U. (USA U's are turning quite into extended babysitting. )
I hire international grads, including when I was in Catalonia.
There is a marked advantage in some technical majors to get that edu abroad.
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Old 02-11-2019, 04:13 AM
 
Location: Andorra
76 posts, read 14,536 times
Reputation: 69
Wow StealthRabbit, that is one confidence inspiring story! I cannot homeschool (it's not legal in Andorra), but I plan to "top up" my kids education at home.

I love the idea of having my children teaching their peers English - just simple book reading sessions. That's a really nice idea.
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:25 AM
 
967 posts, read 604,004 times
Reputation: 1582
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaa555www View Post
Does anyone have advice for those of us raising kids abroad? Currently I live in a country where English is not an official language.

My kids will go into the school system in Andorra, where they will learn Catalan first, then French, then Spanish. English will come much later in Year 8.

I think this is a fantastic opportunity for them, but I don't want to mess them up for life either. English does seem to be "the global language", so I don't want to hurt their chances at doing well in life by not giving them a head start in English.

I want to raise my kids to be fluent English speakers, will they just pick this up from their home life?

I have many more questions but I think this is the best place to begin!

I grew up as one and I can safely say if English is spoken at home, you have nothing to worry about. My parents took the opposite approach of most expats at the time and lived fully among the locals most every time. We went to local schools lived mostly in non-expat communities except where expat housing was required/ dictated. Where there was a choice, my parents chose to fully delve in. My mum often tells people that English was not my first language.

Around what would be middle school, international schools/ boarding schools became the way forward. Still, they picked diverse schools full of locals and expats from everywhere over homogeneous ones. That said, every country we lived in had english as a subject in one way or another even if the main language of instruction was something else.

In the end, all of us got at least an 85th percetile score on the SAT Verbal with no formal American education. Many of the kids i grew up with did about the same or better; we were not an anomaly. My siblings and I each speak at least 3 languages with native fluency (which language varies...but there’s overlap) and it has had no impact on our grasp of English. Some of us even have more than one accent.

So, unless English isn’t spoken at home at all and there are no English books, or internet; there’s zero chance you will “ mess them up for life”. Btw, ‘for life’ is a decades long time in most cases....so.. no.(I actually lol’d at that one but I understand the concern.)

Last edited by BLDSoon; 02-11-2019 at 09:26 AM..
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Old 02-11-2019, 12:55 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
75,324 posts, read 67,105,367 times
Reputation: 72313
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaa555www View Post
Does anyone have advice for those of us raising kids abroad? Currently I live in a country where English is not an official language.

My kids will go into the school system in Andorra, where they will learn Catalan first, then French, then Spanish. English will come much later in Year 8.

I think this is a fantastic opportunity for them, but I don't want to mess them up for life either. English does seem to be "the global language", so I don't want to hurt their chances at doing well in life by not giving them a head start in English.

I want to raise my kids to be fluent English speakers, will they just pick this up from their home life?

I have many more questions but I think this is the best place to begin!
How old are your kids? And what language does your spouse speak with them? The best way to raise them speaking English is to speak only English with them, and to speak only English with your spouse, so that they don't know that you speak the local language.

However, if you want them to be prepared to have the option to attend university in English-speaking countries, or to do business with English-speakers (and write business correspondence in proper English, for example), you should home-school them in English grammar and writing and reading. Or perhaps find an expat group that has a weekend or after-school program for its kids. Though I don't think English speakers abroad do this. It's common in some immigrant communities in the US and some other countries, though; Russians and Ukrainians organize that kind of thing, or home-school their kids this way, for example.
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Old 02-11-2019, 01:49 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
21,508 posts, read 38,543,578 times
Reputation: 21976
Homeschooling was 'illegal' in nearly all the countries we lived as well... but since we traveled a lot, we were not about to be stuck in school obligations, (bound to a classroom), so we did not comply with local 'rules', (since we were only temporarily "in country"). We did several trips to Andorra since it was close to where we were living in Catalonia.

This was 'pre-euro' so our kids were in charge of our budgets / and daily shopping / fresh market purchases. Shopkeepers were surprised they were not in school, so took it upon themselves to teach the kids phrases and monetary exchange. Was good for the 'season', but nothing ez about homescholing while on the road.

Your kids will do fine, be sure to spend your holidays engaging them in other cultures.
Keep up the English lessons at home. My mom (retired English teacher... now age 90) just gave me a stack of letters I wrote to my grandparents (retired English teacher too) while I was age 7-10. A Nice read! Plenty of ways your kids can continue to learn and exercise their English. They can team up with some USA classrooms as penpals. Let me know if you need some contacts. I have several teacher friends in Colorado who are in private elementary schools and would likely take on that project. Learning about Andorra is a benefit to the USA kids! I am always fascinated with international 'local' schools. We have had a lot of Swiss teachers in our home and meet with them as we volunteer at international schools for young adults. (post HS pre-college). Interesting that they follow their classes through first 5 yrs, rather then 'throw-them-over-the-fence' to the next teacher. +/-. I also like the mid-day LONG breaks! (going home for lunch). we (USA) are so 'herd' focused and so little 'quality' focused. so sad.
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Old 02-11-2019, 11:00 PM
 
592 posts, read 532,448 times
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My wife and I have the same issue with raising our daughter here in China. She currently attends a international school, but I don't see my job lasting too much longer. The international schools in China cost between 20 to 24k USD for annual tuition. My employer pays for this now, but say, in 2020, when I'm not employed, we need to find a place that has more schooling options for our daughter. I'm not a huge fan of homeschooling, as I just think daily interaction with kids her own age is very important. Also, my wife would never be able to handle my daughter in our home all day long...ha


555www- Keep me posted on your findings of schools for your child. There must be international schools that teach in English no?
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Old 02-12-2019, 12:02 AM
 
Location: Andorra
76 posts, read 14,536 times
Reputation: 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by BLDSoon View Post
I grew up as one and I can safely say if English is spoken at home, you have nothing to worry about. My parents took the opposite approach of most expats at the time and lived fully among the locals most every time. We went to local schools lived mostly in non-expat communities except where expat housing was required/ dictated. Where there was a choice, my parents chose to fully delve in. My mum often tells people that English was not my first language.
BLDSoon, can I ask: what language do you think in? Have you always thought in one single language or do you find yourself switching?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BLDSoon View Post
So, unless English isn’t spoken at home at all and there are no English books, or internet; there’s zero chance you will “ mess them up for life”. Btw, ‘for life’ is a decades long time in most cases....so.. no.(I actually lol’d at that one but I understand the concern.)
This is the assumption I also make. It's parents that are the problem, not the kids.

We have a house full of English books, English music, we speak English, their relatives speak to them in English, we travel often to English speaking countries, etc.
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Old 02-12-2019, 12:06 AM
 
Location: Andorra
76 posts, read 14,536 times
Reputation: 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
How old are your kids? And what language does your spouse speak with them? The best way to raise them speaking English is to speak only English with them, and to speak only English with your spouse, so that they don't know that you speak the local language.

However, if you want them to be prepared to have the option to attend university in English-speaking countries, or to do business with English-speakers (and write business correspondence in proper English, for example), you should home-school them in English grammar and writing and reading. Or perhaps find an expat group that has a weekend or after-school program for its kids. Though I don't think English speakers abroad do this. It's common in some immigrant communities in the US and some other countries, though; Russians and Ukrainians organize that kind of thing, or home-school their kids this way, for example.
Currently both are under 4. Both of us speak English with them with the odd bit of Catalan thrown in. If anything, it's an opportunity for us to learn Catalan with them but I don't think they will be fooled into thinking we can speak fluent Catalan any time soon.

Good point about the group community sessions, I'll investigate that.
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Old 02-12-2019, 12:11 AM
 
Location: Andorra
76 posts, read 14,536 times
Reputation: 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRabbit View Post
Homeschooling was 'illegal' in nearly all the countries we lived as well... but since we traveled a lot, we were not about to be stuck in school obligations, (bound to a classroom), so we did not comply with local 'rules', (since we were only temporarily "in country"). We did several trips to Andorra since it was close to where we were living in Catalonia.

This was 'pre-euro' so our kids were in charge of our budgets / and daily shopping / fresh market purchases. Shopkeepers were surprised they were not in school, so took it upon themselves to teach the kids phrases and monetary exchange. Was good for the 'season', but nothing ez about homescholing while on the road.

Your kids will do fine, be sure to spend your holidays engaging them in other cultures.
This is essentially our plan - to have our kids in school full time in Andorra, but holidays spent abroad and possibly some exchanges with international schools abroad (I'd love to expose them to Singapore, Japan, Taipei or Hong Kong at some point - but no rush!)...

The Andorran education system is fast changing, they are introducing International Baccalaureate into the later years and plan to do this across all years in future, so there's hope that we may be able to take a year out here and there.

Thankfully outside of schooling we can live anywhere, so we can follow the kids around.
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