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Old 08-06-2014, 10:23 AM
 
Location: SD, VA, West Texas--staying awhile
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My husband will be able to retire in a few years and two of our children will just be starting jr. high. I am younger than he is by several years so I could potentially still keep on working. We have just started exploring countries like Costa Rica where it's retirement friendly but also has good international schools. We would love to give this experience to our children and also have it be financially beneficial for us too! Has anyone retired abroad with children still in school? How has your experience been? We all really want to learn Spanish too and we could even try out a summer there first like one of those family Spanish immersion programs to test the waters since we are about 5 years or so away from retirement. Thanks for any
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Old 08-06-2014, 04:06 PM
 
Location: Sierra Nevada Land, CA
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My parents moved from San Francisco to LA when I was that age. Nothing like being separated from your friends and then being the outsider at the new school. Not a pleasant experience for a 12 year old. I think it would be even worse to have moved to a non-English foreign country.

We relocated when our kids were still in elementary school and they did fine. I think I would have been fine if my parents didn't move us when I was 12. Much easier to make friends when you are nine, then you begin Junior High with your circle of friends. If you could move a few years earlier, your kids will be happier.

Something to consider.
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Old 08-06-2014, 05:15 PM
 
Location: Kountze, Texas
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One of our moves was between SW and SE Texas when oldest daughter was to enter 7th grade. She threw the biggest fit you ever saw - she is now 24 and firmly entrenched in SE Texas - was fine once she made a few friends. 10 years later we move from SE Texas to So Cal - high desert - 1 daughter entering 9th grade the other entering 6th - they both did just fine. No tantrums no issues - made friends quickly. A year later I move and older daughter moves with me to change schools again for 10th grade. The following year 1/2 into 7th grade youngest daugher joins us. Again - no problems.

My point is - each child is different - it can go great or it can go poorly like Mr. 5150 experienced. Good Luck.
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Old 08-07-2014, 02:41 PM
 
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What an interesting question !

I'd go very slow and really think things over. If you moved to Costa Rica where would you live ?. Would you be in an ex-pat retirement area.? Then where would your children find friends ? I wouldn't want them to be the only kids amidst a bunch of age 55 + people . If you moved into a local town or outskirts of town, again where would your children find friends. Would they be of the same socio-economic condition as you ?

Where would your children go to high school ? Do you have college plans for them ? Would they want to go back to the states for that ? You may essentially be kissing your children good -bye forever if they go back to the States for college and then for employment.

As far as speaking Spanish- you're in Texas, there have to be plenty of classes teaching Spanish that you could take now. You don't have to wait.

You have a unique set of circumstances as most people don't retire to another country with school age children. Costs Rica is considered to be a third world, but developing country. It is not America and retirees tend to be in their little enclaves. Real Costs Rica may be something different than you expect. It does have some serious problems.

I would suggest many more trips and lots of trips off the tourist paths.
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Old 08-07-2014, 03:16 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
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I haven't done that but my BIL did as an expat for AT&T many years ago in Taiwan. He enrolled the older children in an International Baccalaureate School, the younger ones went to the local grade school. This assignment was for a year, more or less.

The little ones picked up Chinese quickly and developed Chinese playmates, none of the kids had any problems academically - but then they are smart as whips. The eldest girl played international girl's basketball - the school kept her after the parents returned home so that they could finish out the season as she was their best player. Because of that experience the eldest was told by his US high school in his junior year that he was ready for college, they didn't have any higher level academics to offer. His parents felt he was too young so they enrolled him in a high school in the metro area offering an international baccalaureate program. All of the kids did very well in college, the girls are homemakers whose children speak English, Spanish and either Mandarin Chinese or Korean. My nephew went on to do very well at Microsoft.

I advise that you enroll your children in a Costa Rican school that meets the International Baccalaureate academic standards. They will not have a huge social adjustment as the school will teach in both Spanish and English. I don't know these schools specifically but here is what I found: American International School of Costa Rica Costa Rica, San Jose: American International School of Costa Rica ; general discussion : Private Schools Costa Rica - English Speaking Schools | High Schools } College Prep | Secondary Schools | Lincoln School

Schools in Costa Rica meet their children's needs, they won't be adequate should your children wish to return to the US for employment or college. Keep in mind the fact that an international school is just that, the students often travel internationally.
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Old 08-07-2014, 03:35 PM
 
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My understanding is that International Baccalaureate (commonly referred to as IB) high school programs were originally developed to meet the needs of traveling diplomants and other persons who found themselves moving around the globe with their families. Because it is standardized (the curriculum is orignally developed in Geneva, I believe), the child of a diplomat could attend freshman year in one country, move the next year, and then the next and be confident of the curriculum and the high quality of curriculum. This facilitates consideration by colleges also since they can be assured of the type of education the student had when comparing them with their counterparts from other areas. Where I live in the US, international baccalaureate programs are a popular high school option for students who enjoy a challenging academic environment and want to work hard. In other words, IB programs are not for all students. I have often wondered how the international students fare in high school if they are not really IB material. Are other viable options available for them? I don't know.
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Old 08-07-2014, 08:46 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
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In Portland Public Schools one K-8 has an IB program as do two high schools. And yes, the students work hard. In the US a student who is enrolled in an IB program must pass an exam to graduate with an IB certificate, otherwise they receive a normal diploma and their SATs speak for their knowledge.

Keep in mind the fact that the children of diplomats are not necessarily in the top 10% of IQs, they fit the 'normal' curve. It is important to review the program of any school you are considering, even in the US. The problem you have when a child is educated abroad is assuring colleges that your student has what it takes academically to be successful. Having ****-poor SATs as a HS Junior is hard to remediate.

Honest, the typical American public school does not educate its students to their potential.
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Old 08-07-2014, 09:27 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
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Our kids gained a lot by living internationally. traveling much of the time, and homeschooling. (International schools can be pretty smug),

We came home (WA) for HS so they could get free college instead of HS. But would have been OK to stay away.

They are 10 yrs beyond HS and doing great and have had terrific jobs and experiences (More travel, international jobs)

Definitely get as many languages as possible.

I Consider academics very secondary, I really am not too keen on the busy work of IB curriculum. YMMV. My kids managed (And graduated in top5% of College class), Our homeschool was PRACTICAL everyday, very little 'study' / busy work.
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Old 08-08-2014, 12:08 AM
 
10,812 posts, read 8,056,502 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pammybear View Post
We all really want to learn Spanish too and we could even try out a summer there first like one of those family Spanish immersion programs to test the waters since we are about 5 years or so away from retirement. Thanks for any
English is so prevalent in CR that you'll have to go out of your way to help your children become Spanish proficient. Just living there won't do it, and even an immersion program will be short-lived if you don't follow up and conscientiously work at it. The same is true of many popular expat countries. Way back when, we spent a summer in San Miguel de Allende MX, expecting it would enhance our teens' Spanish. Didn't happen.

It's a worthwhile goal, I wish you well.
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Old 08-08-2014, 08:46 AM
 
Location: Miraflores
781 posts, read 892,668 times
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We are thinking the opposite. I retired to South America 11 years ago and now have a 9 year old and baby on the way. We are contemplating the Austin area for our son's HS and University. While IB schools are good and expensive, we went the Parochial school route as the IB kids are all from privileged families and we can not afford their lifestyles.
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