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Putting child in school overseas


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Ok it looks like we will be putting ds in a local school when we move overseas again in January. He already knows some of the language, but more around a 2 or 3 year old level. He will be 7 when we put him in. 

Is half a year long enough for learning language? Or is a whole year better? 

I really have loved homeschooling as expats because it gives so much travel and learning freedom. I am mourning the loss a bit, and don't want to do local schools forever. Just get him surrounded in the language and get him better in that area. I am planning to continue our read alouds and history as there are so many ancient sites to visit. We also probably would need to continue learning to read in English as ds is still on short vowels and most cvc words. So he still needs work. What else should we continue while he is in local school? 

What should I work on now until January when we move? 

Any other advice on what to do and expect? Anyone have some been there done that experience? 

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We've had several friends that have done it.  He's still *so young*, I'm guessing he will pick up the vocabulary that he needs soon.  I would definitely continue reading lessons in English.  All of my friends' kids integrated beautifully. It's a bit harder when the kids are high school aged, etc. but elementary aged kids have brains like sponges!

 

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I learned a new language when moving to a new country as a kid.    It was not so difficult, but it was very tiring.   I would not expect to do much afterschooling with a child who is in a foreign language school all day.

My child is going into 2nd language environment.  To help her prepare I;

- bought her a Fluent Forever language trainer which teaches the ear to distinguish the different sounds of a language
- provided her with a frequency dictionary to learn the most common words of the language
- provided her with a language grammar book which she works on with her dad
- provide a list of common phrases to learn
- try to expose her to easy language exposure (video/audio)

A little prep can make the transition a lot smoother but kids learn quickly when put into the situation.

Kids can make great progress in six months.   .  

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Do you speak this language fluently? If so, I'd really work on speaking the language - speaking it together at dinner and breakfast every day, reading books (perhaps picture books) in that language, watching short, age-appropriate TV in that language.

He probably won't retain this language forever if you move soon and don't keep it up, but the practice learning a new language will stick with him.

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One semester in a local school is definitely not enough time to learn the new language.  

Our local school is particularly impacted by local language learners.  The school has the students participate in the normal classroom, as well as being pulled out once a day for intensive language lessons.  Most kids need those lessons for around 3 years before they are 100% integrated into the classroom.  Unless you continually challenge the child with local language materials and social opportunities, they will stagnate when you pull them out.  

I agree with a previous poster that your child will be exhausted and to limit after schooling to maybe just reading lessons in English.  At least until you can judge just how much brain rest the child needs.  

I don't mean that to sound too grim and dire, but I do have a lot of experience in raising bilingual kids and observing our neighborhood kids who were monolingual in a non-local language until going into school and then how they have really blossomed into learning and using the local language after a few years.  If your child has been studying the target language already, things will go much faster, but the mental fatigue is still very real.    

 

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One semester was enough for my kid (well 4 months) but he also lived with a family speaking the language (exchange program) AND he knew some of the language going in.

i wouldn’t plan to after school. Their brain would be fried. It’s a lot to do school in a language you don’t understand. I couldn’t really afterschool in the native language after about grade 4 anyway. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I attended 3rd grade in Sweden and knew very little going in (similar to your son) ... I did not complete the year (probably about 6 months) and learned a ton, did fine, really enjoyed it. - My parents did not try to have me "keep up" on English although we did speak English at home. The only Swedish instruction I had after that was being part of a "book club" that sent me a book in Swedish every month that I thoroughly enjoyed reading and would sometimes need some help with words from my dad (native speaker). I then returned for 7th grade and again did fine. (also did not subsidize with English that year). Managed 8th grade middle school in USA just fine the following year and went on to AP classes in high school etc. 

I think it may be too confusing to keep up learning reading for him in English at the same time. I would let him focus on one or the other... when he learns to read English is going to have very little impact on his reading in the long run. If you do decide to continue with English reading I would take it at the speed he can handle without pushing. 

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On 9/6/2018 at 1:29 AM, TrustAndLove said:

My husband was in an Austria school for a year before moving back to North America. Without accessing to German, he totally lost the language. So for a long run, it will just be a blip in his life and will have little impact for his language skills.

It may have a lasting effect on his brain though.  

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On 8/21/2018 at 6:33 AM, madteaparty said:

One semester was enough for my kid (well 4 months) but he also lived with a family speaking the language (exchange program) AND he knew some of the language going in.

i wouldn’t plan to after school. Their brain would be fried. It’s a lot to do school in a language you don’t understand. I couldn’t really afterschool in the native language after about grade 4 anyway. 


I have slowly come to realize how individual this is.  I became fluent in German with doing afterschool lessons with my mom at home and then a couple of 6-week stays with relatives in Germany when I was a kid.  I had 'forgotten' how to speak it by the time I was 18 (after 7 years with no lessons), but then I did a gap year there.  But I was fluent again within two weeks - I just needed the pump primed, I guess.  I thought that was fairly normal if you learned it as a young kid, because it wasn't hard for me.  And I haven't lost the language since then either.  I'm still fluent.

Teaching my own kids and hearing others' stories about how long it's taken and how they've lost language after not using it.  I've slowly realized that maybe my experience isn't the norm even if you have immersion young.  Younger is always easier, though.  My mom was an ESL-K teacher, and I think most kids were in the program a couple years or so before they were mainstreamed.  But even then, some kids pick up language really easily, and some take longer.

I would definitely say a year is better, even for someone who picks it up easier.  The full school year in Germany really got it in my brain.  I did a semester in Spain, and while I am also fluent in Spanish, it still doesn't feel as organic to me as German does.  I'm not sure how to explain that.

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