I loved reading Maya Frost’s “The New Global Student.” In it, Frost strongly advocates for families spending time abroad on family sabbaticals as a way to provide kids with a truly world-class education.
No, the book didn’t influence our decision to move abroad at all.
Anyway, I still remember Frost’s advice to homeschoolers when travelling abroad:
Don’t homeschool. Enroll the kids in full-time school so they are immersed. Immersion isn’t really possible if they’re home full-time.
When we first considered going to Argentina, I started researching schools. Because I agree with Frost–immersion is the only way to really experience a new culture.
But after about a month of searching, I decided to do something surprising for me.
I’d ignore the expert’s advice.
- No buy-in. My kids are less than enthusiastic about going abroad.
- It’s a short trip. Six months is plenty, but it’s not a lot for language learning. At six months, my kids would just be getting their sea legs in a new school.
- Limited options. Argentina has some fabulous private schools, which might be a good middle road. None of them accept students for less than a year. Other options, like less well-known private schools or public schools, are of uneven quality.
- Other resources. I have access to my old friends and acquaintances in the city. We won’t be totally isolated.
If my kids had agreed to the trip, I would be more willing to subject them to a less-than-perfect school. If we had more time, I would be confident that they would eventually find friends, language, and success.
As our situation stands, though, I think I could set all of us for a very unhappy six months–and risk them never wanting to try this experience again.
I’m hoping that once there, I’ll be able to find an activity or two (dance, swimming, or even a preschool) that would give us more immersion. But my top priority is to make this experience as fun as possible–so that my kids will be willing to take more risks next time.
Because I’m hoping there will be a next time. And that when it comes, they’ll jump at the chance.