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As a follow- on to my last post.... 

Scrap the idea of having live-in child care (we really don't need that many hours), the local private school is looking for host families. Can anyone share their experiences? Things to think about? My kids are 7, 5, and 3 and another due in Dec. It is our first year homeschooling. I really like the idea of being able to expose my kids to other cultures as part of our homeschool experience and the stipend would allow me to not work if I didn't want to. I feel like the time we invest in a student would fit better into family life than my work schedule, but I have never had a teenager before let alone one from another country. Thoughts?

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26 minutes ago, omishev said:

As a follow- on to my last post.... 

Scrap the idea of having live-in child care (we really don't need that many hours), the local private school is looking for host families. Can anyone share their experiences? Things to think about? My kids are 7, 5, and 3 and another due in Dec. It is our first year homeschooling. I really like the idea of being able to expose my kids to other cultures as part of our homeschool experience and the stipend would allow me to not work if I didn't want to. I feel like the time we invest in a student would fit better into family life than my work schedule, but I have never had a teenager before let alone one from another country. Thoughts?

 

It’s a big thing locally, though here there don’t seem to be stipends and 3 meals per day plus transport to school / activities as needed is required.  

What exchange student group are you dealing with?

The one used in our area, you can put in a lot of details about your family and try to get a good match

A person I know who does it has had some trouble with regard to kids from wealthy backgrounds with servants to deal with things like water splashed out of shower onto floor...  So tries for kids from less privileged backgrounds now. Iirc. 

 

Eta my Ds got to know one exchange student girl who was a Buddhist from Thailand and just a delightful kid. At start of yeareven though she’d studied English in school she couldn’t actually communicate very well, but by end of year she was quite fluent.  A lot of gesturing and so forth was needed.  She was very extroverted so managed the language deficit fine .  

Some kids can be into anything teens are into— music, make up, piercings, whatever.  Just for you to be aware...

Edited by Pen
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You are currently pregnant so that would be the first no for me. Adding in the first year if homeschooling along with a newborn, a huge no.  And the places I know that do pay a stipend, it is very little.  Instead, take this time to enjoy this stage.   Maybe in a few years but not right now. 

 

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I had a relative who did this almost 10 years in a row. I would wonder if they would qualify you? With a baby on the way? You might be gone (hospital, busy with newborn). 

Hosting actually made my relative really busy.  There were events to take them to for the exchange students in addition to the regular high school activities. None of her students got driver's licence and public transport was not an option where we lived.

Were you hoping the exchange student would help you around the house or with the kids? I found most of her students would clean up after themselves, but were too busy to do anything beyond that.

And the agency that placed them were very big on finding families that would go out of their way to provide them with "typical American experiences" , like take them to a sporting event, tour local famous places or parks, etc. We were in the midwest and I know she had a plan and every weekend that they did not have exchange student things to attend, there was a planned outing for the whole family: a baseball game, took them to Branson, took them to an amusement park, took them to some historic sites, etc, etc. And I know the small stipend did not cover all that. I mean my relative would do maybe 1 thing a month with her kids usually, but with the exchange student it was 2-3 times a month.

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Where I live, they want host families with kids fairly close in age to the exchange student, or older couples whose kids are grown and who have lots of time to devote to taking the student to activities and on outings.

I personally would feel stretched pretty thin with three little kids and a newborn, and can't imagine adding an exchange student to the mix. 

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1 hour ago, Um_2_4 said:

I had a relative who did this almost 10 years in a row. I would wonder if they would qualify you? With a baby on the way? You might be gone (hospital, busy with newborn). 

Hosting actually made my relative really busy.  There were events to take them to for the exchange students in addition to the regular high school activities. None of her students got driver's licence and public transport was not an option where we lived.

Were you hoping the exchange student would help you around the house or with the kids? I found most of her students would clean up after themselves, but were too busy to do anything beyond that.

And the agency that placed them were very big on finding families that would go out of their way to provide them with "typical American experiences" , like take them to a sporting event, tour local famous places or parks, etc. We were in the midwest and I know she had a plan and every weekend that they did not have exchange student things to attend, there was a planned outing for the whole family: a baseball game, took them to Branson, took them to an amusement park, took them to some historic sites, etc, etc. And I know the small stipend did not cover all that. I mean my relative would do maybe 1 thing a month with her kids usually, but with the exchange student it was 2-3 times a month.

 

I hosted only for summer vacations for 3-4 weeks.  But all of the above was true for me, even for those short amounts of time.

The stipend sort of did not cover all the activities for the student.  It was expected that you’d take your student on outings.  And the stipend covered the costs of the student on the outings...but not for me and my dh and my kids.  For example, we took him to a rodeo, but the rodeo didn’t cost the $20 (or whatever) that the student cost. The rodeo cost $100 for us.  So, we got a stipend that covered the $20 for the student, but not the additional $80 we had to pay.  We wouldn’t have gone without the student, so that was $80 we wouldn’t have normally spent.  It was like that over and over.  Sure, the stipend would cover the cost of the amusement park for the student or going to the pool for the day, but not for the rest of us.  The months that we hosted were expensive, even with the stipend.  We did not vacation to see my family those years because we spent all our vacation money on taking exchange students places.

And I was exhausted at the end of that month. Driving the students to their activities or to classes (the Chinese kids have to attend classes even while on their vacations, as that’s the Chinese culture), taking them on outings, having things to do together at home: playing games, teaching each other recipes from each country, teaching the student how to use the washing machine (they all wanted to learn to use the washing machine for some reason,) etc.  I felt like I had very little downtime.  And I also had to share a bathroom with the student, which meant I would get up an hour earlier than usual to be sure I had cleared out before the student needed it, but I was also getting to bed late making lunches for the student when they went on outings without me.  I was just so tired.

A friend of mine hosted a girl from China for a year, and she attended school, did after school activities, and then studied until 10:00 at night.   So, my friend experienced an odd mix of the student being busy and studying until late at night so you don’t see him/her, but you’re also driving the student all over the place for the activities they do without you, and you’re also busy taking the student on outings.  It’s like being busy busy busy for a day or two....then not being busy except for some driving...then a burst of busyness again.

 

You’ll need a lot of energy and extra money if you want to host a student.  There’s nothing wrong with wanting to do so, and you will probably have a great time overall, but you’ll also probably be crazy-exhausted that year, especially with a baby who may or may not sleep well.  Knowing now what I know, I personally wouldn’t do it with a baby and such small kids and the first year homeschooling.  But I’m not necessarily high energy and I just don’t have the extra money that I think it’ll take.  

I think you should host for a month in the summer and then decide.  There might even still be time to be a host family for a summer group near you.  I’d start searching ASAP to see if you can host in July.  

Edited by Garga
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1 hour ago, Mabelen said:

Yeh, host students are paying a handsome sum for the experience, so, no, they will not be taking care of any kids in the house.  


Definitely not.  They are the guests and you are the host - it's extra work, not help.  And if they're on one of the pricey programs where you get a stipend it may be that they're expecting to be catered to a bit.  Most bad stories I hear are from people who hosted rich, entitled kids who are the type who can afford programs that give stipends.

I've hosted lots of exchange students, and been one myself, but when my kids (and I) were teens and peers, and I've never gotten a stipend!  (guess that's why we've not hosted rich kids...)  But it's parenting an extra kid, not getting a helper.  And they'll want to experience the country doing things that are fun for teens, not little kids.

I am very pro exchange student, but I'd wait till your kids are teens themselves.

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4 hours ago, omishev said:

As a follow- on to my last post.... 

Scrap the idea of having live-in child care (we really don't need that many hours), the local private school is looking for host families. Can anyone share their experiences? Things to think about? My kids are 7, 5, and 3 and another due in Dec. It is our first year homeschooling. I really like the idea of being able to expose my kids to other cultures as part of our homeschool experience and the stipend would allow me to not work if I didn't want to. I feel like the time we invest in a student would fit better into family life than my work schedule, but I have never had a teenager before let alone one from another country. Thoughts?

Wait. Are you thinking that the exchange student would be a mother’s helper in addition to going to school and experiencing a slice of American life? Or was that just a weird segue? 

And please listen to others who have experience with exchange students — you have 3 very young children and another on the way and you’re in your first year homeschooling. This isn’t a recipe for success. 

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39 minutes ago, Matryoshka said:

 

I am very pro exchange student, but I'd wait till your kids are teens themselves.

Right.  I’d wait until the youngest was 9 and then I’d do it.  Then the kids would be 9, 12, 14, and 16.  Maybe even 8, 11, 13, and 15.  

Edited by Garga
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Some of whether it could be workable could depend on whether you are walking distance to your local school or have school bus service.

If it’s a private school, who pays their fees and tuition? 

Do they have enough activities and trips to keep an exchange student busy without you being a chauffeur? 

It might also work better if you weren’t also trying to homeschool. So you could be alone with newborn during day.  Also if you did second semester exchange hosting only — after baby is born and you’re both home . 

Remember that teens esp boys eat a lot.  I was asked if I could host and after looking into it am not sure about the added food costs, airport trips and other demands on energy— even though we have school bus and plenty of school events, plus enough hosts that other families could take an exchange student to special events. 

Also teens tend to be up later at night than young children

Edited by Pen
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35 minutes ago, Garga said:

Right.  I’d wait until the youngest was 9 and then I’d do it.  Then the kids would be 9, 12, 14, and 16.  Maybe even 8, 11, 13, and 15.  


We got our first exchange student when our oldest two had just turned 14 (and my younger one was 11) - the exchange student was 16.  That was also just a quick 6-week summer program.  We did the full year exchange when the older two were 15 (that student was also 16).  That was one of just two years the older two were in school - I was only homeschooling younger dd.  I drove all three of them back and forth to school, and I drove the exchange student anywhere she needed to go (she did some afterschool clubs, joined a Venture Crew, and took dance lessons).  It was just like having another kid for a year.  It was very helpful to have my own kids at the same stage for that level of commitment.

Edited by Matryoshka
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If you do decide to try exchange student, and if you have a suitable  bedroom and bathroom, my understanding is that for families without a child of similar age to exchange student, 2 similar age, same gender exchange students are actually easier than one because they entertain each other, may be able to travel or try out public transport together, etc. , not necessarily from same country as each other. 

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I was an exchange student in high school and, by most measures, very successful. 

That said, it was a stressful time for both me and my host family. There were *so* many cultural misunderstandings between us and *so* many expectations that didn't line up. We had a shouting-in-your-face fight during the first week of Christmas break, though it at least broke the ice on some communication problems we had so that we could deal with them after that.

I don't think they did tons of things to help me on a regular basis with extra things, though they had to take me to the doctor once, the dentist, help me settle my school classes, etc. It didn't seem to me like a lot at the time, but it adds up. They expected that I would take public transportation places (so they helped me get a monthly student bus card, which I paid for). When I joined a basketball team, I had to arrange carpooling. They expected NO help from me around the house, and wouldn't even let me peel potatoes when they saw how poorly I did it (worried they would have to take me to the doctor again).

One exchange student I knew had such bad placement that she literally changed families the day before Christmas. Another one had sibling rivalry with similar-aged siblings. My first host mother, which was planned from day 1 to be short term, would negatively compare her daughter to me ("Sylvia, why can't you be like Emily?"). Some kids used the exchange time to go out drinking and partying. Others never bothered to learn the language, preferring to hang out with people who spoke English (which led to a jock and the nerdiest nerd I've ever met becoming best friends).

For me, there are a few red flags in your situation that I see as absolute NOs.. Having a baby is a huge adjustment for the family and mom. That would be a deal killer for me. Second, homeschooling is a huge adjustment for the family. That would also be a deal killer for me. Also, if the goal would be to quit your job, it means you have no way to back out if the student placement is terrible. 

Next year? Sure. But not this. Or, try a short term stay, maybe a summer student?

Emily

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I have never hosted, but DS18's current girlfriend was an exchange student at our school this past year so I had the opportunity to see/hear about much of her daily life.

She is a wonderful girl, but one of her goals was to be immersed in high school life in America (she is from Brazil). She got involved in everything - on the volleyball and soccer teams, service clubs, going to watch other sporting events, dances, etc. Her original host family did not have a teenager and the logistics of supporting her activities was too much for them. (Honestly, they also seemed to have no interest in her high school life - never came to watch her games or anything.) The other students stepped in to help with the transportation and all, but the host family did not like it that she couldn't meet their dinner schedules etc - it was not that she was demanding, she was fine with buying her own fast food on the way home from something, they just thought she would spend most of her free time with them. Fortunately, she was able to move to another home of a student at the school, and it all worked out.

She was not from a wealthy-with-servants family. At our house, she was the first one to jump up and do dishes. She was so kind and easy going that everyone at our school loved her. She was smart, quite a bit ahead of the other kids in most classes, although she was pretty low-key about it. And extremely enthusiastic about any and every opportunity.

You have small children, so I imagine your family's schedule is much different than that of a highschooler. It would be good to think through your expectations and make sure you are matched with someone whose goals as an exchange student match yours.

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19 minutes ago, linders said:

I have never hosted, but DS18's current girlfriend was an exchange student at our school this past year so I had the opportunity to see/hear about much of her daily life.

She is a wonderful girl, but one of her goals was to be immersed in high school life in America (she is from Brazil). She got involved in everything - on the volleyball and soccer teams, service clubs, going to watch other sporting events, dances, etc. Her original host family did not have a teenager and the logistics of supporting her activities was too much for them. (Honestly, they also seemed to have no interest in her high school life - never came to watch her games or anything.) The other students stepped in to help with the transportation and all, but the host family did not like it that she couldn't meet their dinner schedules etc - it was not that she was demanding, she was fine with buying her own fast food on the way home from something, they just thought she would spend most of her free time with them. Fortunately, she was able to move to another home of a student at the school, and it all worked out.

She was not from a wealthy-with-servants family. At our house, she was the first one to jump up and do dishes. She was so kind and easy going that everyone at our school loved her. She was smart, quite a bit ahead of the other kids in most classes, although she was pretty low-key about it. And extremely enthusiastic about any and every opportunity.

You have small children, so I imagine your family's schedule is much different than that of a highschooler. It would be good to think through your expectations and make sure you are matched with someone whose goals as an exchange student match yours.

 

This description matches with what I’ve seen of  many of the exchange students at our local school. Exact activities may be different, like cross country and track are standard for the exchange students, and a particular music group, and drama...   It also made me recall that a half brother of mine was an exchange student to Brazil (for a summer as I recall),  and that the family he stayed with did have some younger children.  I met his “Brazilian little brother” when he visited USA.  So it can make interesting relationships that go beyond just the time of the program. 

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