Education Options for Expat Children
For most parents, the decision over what school to choose is complicated. And even more so when you are not in your own country. Expats who work overseas and have chosen to have their families with them, may have a difficult time choosing how to educate their children. The common choices are local government school, home school, or an international school. There are pros and cons of each, and the dilemma can be, what is available, and what can you afford? International school is more expensive, but when the full value of the experience is considered. It is usually the better investment.
Government Schools: There is no comprehensive statement that can be made about government schools. All countries have different commitments to education and different curriculums. In the west there are a lot of similarities, but the difference between Canada and the United States is considerable, and these are two generally similar cultures. If you are in Asia, you might find that the government school option is not even available. The language issue alone can make it impossible. In places like Thailand expats usually choose an international primary School in Bangkok, or other major centre, and avoid the government option all together.
Home School: The home school option is popular among expats as well. Home school has been known to produce excellent results in the right situations. Home School children frequently finish school early and are well prepared for post-secondary education. There are some issues with home schooling overseas though. For one, you need to have a teacher. Not all of us are talented, and not all of us have the time. And it is best to have both. Another problem with home schooling overseas is compatibility with college entrance requirements in different nations. Most Home School programs are designed to work with Western colleges, but special certification is required elsewhere. Home schooling could limit your child’s future educational choices.
International School: International schools were created for the needs of expat children. Although they are usually more costly than other local options, international schools solve a lot of problems too. International schools usually represent the best educational standards. They know that their students could be heading off to college in any country, and they need to be prepared. International school also provides an educational experience that is rich in culture and global awareness, in a manner that will never be achieved in a government school, or likely a home school either. International schools are also excellent choices for the native residents of the country the school is in. An international education is a tremendous advantage in our shrinking global market. And mastery of English is assured as well.
Deciding on the best path for your child’s education should be considered carefully. The benefits of your choices will affect them for the rest of their lives. Children should be given all the advantages that you can afford. International schools can provide an education for your children that surpasses even what was available in your home country.