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Old 25.07.2012, 15:21
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Re: home schooling

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But - given that many families are not planning on settling here - does the child have options outside Switzerland?

(Honest question, from a non-parent who knows very little about the Swiss system.)
With many of the English-speaking mother-tongue countries having very similar attitudes toward schooling as each other it seems to me that a 2yr stay is not a great time for kids in that age group. I think the child will adapt just fine - I think letting go of the "everyone must go to college, the only way to have a successful happy life is with a master's degree" way of thinking may be tough though. I'm not a parent, but I remember some of the issues we had when I was growing up.

And, if (when) going back, it will be tough for the youngin to get back into that college-bound way of things after only two years, much of which will be spent on becoming one with the school system as opposed to traditional studies as would have been learned within that same time back home. After that critical 2yrs of integrating here, probably studies here for a bright child would pick back up in a similar vein as what was being sought prior to coming, and another year or two would find them more able to go back to things without being behind back home.

Having grown up moving around a lot myself, I'll say that a lot of socialization is dependent upon where the children go to school and with whom. The time I didn't go to a local school was when we lived in Japan. I was 7 when we moved there, 10 when we moved back to the US. We lived off base and I went to school on base along with the other military kids who live on that base or in my general area off-base. Only two friends within that time period lived near enough to socialize with at home AND at school.

We did make friends with some of the kids in our neighborhood and we were able to communicate well enough to play, but then, I was 7, there is not really so much soul-searching conversation going on then as there is at 12.

I think it is a tough choice really. International school (if it can be any way squeaked into) is a smart choice for your 12yo, because of the vast differences in the local school system, while the IS usually follow US or UK style curriculum and are designed with the idea that students will be coming and going. On the other hand, for your 12yo the main friendships will be made at school, so the neighborhood will not be so social when attending the IS as opposed to attending local school.

Of course, a further way around this is to make sure the kids are involved in local after-school and weekend activities, whether sports, crafts, "pfadi" (scouts) or whatever. Then home friends and school friends can be had, as well as better comfort with the language in the neighborhood.
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Old 25.07.2012, 16:45
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Re: home schooling

I think i has a lot to do with attitude too. Adults sometimes forget how conservative teenagers can be. And to be fair it's not that easy to leave all friends and the known habitat behind to be forced into a new society, a new language and trying to find a place for yourself. If you need to be reminded how it is, look how many here are complaining and moaning about peanuts. Imagine then how a teen feels. I know of some children who refused just about anything. Sometimes it got so bad, that the parents were forced to go back. On the other hand I know quite a few who forced their parents to take them back to Switzerland.
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Old 25.07.2012, 17:44
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Re: home schooling

It is a pity that many ex-pat parents fight the school when they advise that going back a year would be very helpful. Much much better at this stage - to give them time to catch up the local language + another national language, and then go on.

Same for streaming into vocational education. A child will NOT be discriminated against at a later stage, as it will be very clear to all concerned that this was due to lack of the 2 above languages, and NOT due to a lack of academic ability. In such cases, the teachers and the education system will do everything they can to encourage and enable the child to transfer to the academic stream at a later stage, providing the child is keen and shows they do indeed have the ability.
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