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Global Education Explorer Articles
  • Local Schools
    • What are the major differences between international schools and local schools?

        There are many differences between international and local schools. International schools were originally founded to serve expatriate populations. Many of the first international schools were founded as a result of a foreign state department or military presence in a country. In today's global economy, now there is also a demand from multinational companies for this kind of schools. There were various impulses behind the creation of these schools. Most obviously, the schools provided instruction in a specific language if that language was not that of the host country. They also provide choices for families who prefer a curriculum and school-leaving qualification not offered in the local school system. These schools responded to families' desire to preserve their home culture in some sense. Today, financial considerations as well as global awareness make many families more open to local schools, depending on what educational experience the family is seeking for their child. International schools also provide a built-in community for expatriates. International schools can be defined by their curricula: they either offer a national curriculum other than the host nation's, and/or they teach a specifically international curriculum, such as the International Baccalaureate.

    • International school tuition will soon be impossible to provide. How can we assist employees to adjust to changes in schooling policy?

        You are correct in assuming that schooling is a top priority and altering it can have an impact on your success in relocating employees with children, so thinking this through carefully before new policies are set is essential. Assignees often state that having access to good quality schools for their children is the most important factor in deciding to accept an assignment. Parents are more uneasy than ever about relocating with children when international schools are not available. By gaining some understanding of the local educational system and curriculum differences in countries where you send employees, you will be in a better position to create policies that provide children with access to reasonable education.

        Consider these facts:

        1. Some local schools in India consider handwriting so important that teachers may not consider content if handwriting falls short of expectations.
        2. study by the University of New Hampshire indicates in many European countries, parental involvement is not permitted.
        3. So-called "International Schools" may not be truly international. Instead, they may be targeted towards local children to help them acquire language and other skills to promote attendance at US universities and/or may exist for children whose parents do not want them to attend local schools.
        4. In some countries, schools "stream" students into tracks as early as 12 years old, and this could affect the ability to gain admission to universities in other countries. Admissions decisions based on an "entry examination" or prerequisites make this a clear challenge for those who do not have the language or curriculum background.
        5. Religious education is a fundamental part of national curriculum in many countries, such as Ireland. This may meet an unenthusiastic response from families not accustomed to such arrangements, or those that practice a different religion. And, even if considered acceptable, students may not have the religious background to fit in.
        6. Special education is handled in varied ways throughout the world, from mainstream educational options in the United States, to China, where few schools have an open-minded approach, and few teachers are taught to teach children with learning or other disabilities.

        Language is the main obstacle that many companies are aware of when evaluating local school choices, but integrating families into a local educational system where goals, philosophies and methods are so dissimilar requires a different type of preparation on the part of the family, and a more flexible policy on the part of the company.

        Tips for Success:
        Here is a short checklist which is useful to help companies and assignees examine educational options for any overseas assignment, as well as for their eventual return home:

        1. Before moving a family, allow them time and means to review curriculum of the school in the host country, and discuss it with teachers back home. Evaluating where a child may be ahead or behind enables parents and schools to develop programs that assist in entry as well as re-entry.
        2. Recommend that families bring along books, course outlines and any other aids to maintaining academic skills required at home so that kids can keep abreast of knowledge required for repatriation.
        3. Find out the exit requirements for schools in the home country before leaving. These, in particular, will determine curriculum to continue studying while abroad. Can these be satisfied on assignment, and if so, what kind of policy do you need to support these additional costs?
        4. Decide what kinds of supplemental or alternative education your company will allow to reduce hardship for children whose families are sent on assignment, particularly at key grade levels. These may include tutoring, on-line courses, summer school, home schooling or boarding schools.
        5. If schooling is totally incompatible, is it possible for the employee or the family to repatriate either a year earlier or later, as appropriate to facilitate the transition?
        6. Provide opportunity for students to become proficient in reading and writing as well as speaking of the new language well before the move; in fact, as soon as the move is announced is best.
        7. Engage a professional who understands discrepancies in curriculum as well as culture to recommend individualized support so that students can be prepared before returning home.
        8. Repatriation is always difficult for children, since even international schools teach differentcurriculum, have different course sequences, and offer different languages and promote different viewpoints when teaching history. Children who have attended local schools in remote areas may be more significantly unprepared to attend school back home or enroll in university in their home country. Be sure to pay careful attention to home country requirements before assignments begin.

        Conclusion:
        School choices for expatriate children are always challenging, and even more so in locations where the traditional choices are limited, or where funds restrict use of international schools. Families who have overcome these obstacles and successfully educated their children in local schools find the rewards to be significant. Children truly learn new languages, cultures and curricular subjects and enjoy an unprecedented window into the customs of a different country. As schools are a microcosm of the cultures they inhabit, children raised in local schools abroad can be our true ambassadors in the global world of the next generation.

    • I have to move my child out of private school; how can I avoid negatively impacting my child?

        Children are extremely resilient and don't, as a matter of course, suffer long-term as a result of transition, although the anticipation of change and the early stages in a new school are challenging for everyone. In typical circumstances, the children who find change most difficult are those whose parents do, and are therefore overwhelmed by guilt. So it is important that parents make every attempt to recognize and convey the opportunities inherent in change and to address any problems as a family.

        Parents should share as much about the circumstances as children want to know and are able to absorb, using their questions as a guide. It is essential that they are told that neither they nor their parents have done wrong, and that the current economic circumstances are something that the world is confronting together. Parents may explain that many of their friends also will be making life changes as a result. Some will move homes, others will change schools, and different families will make different kinds of choices, but sacrifices will be common among friends and family members. Most importantly, parents should be available to speak with their children and to answer any question they may have.

        Even when upset and preoccupied, parents should be careful to make thoughtful choices about the new school, reflecting on academic and social characteristics of their children and how they have fared in their current school, in addition to family values and logistical circumstances. They should gather lots of information and ask many questions about matters important to children, rather than simply the factors that may be more pressing to adults.

        Before starting the new school, it is wise to engage the head and/or teacher in a conversation about the child so that good class placement decisions are made and the teacher understands the child, his/her needs as well as current circumstances. Curriculum differences may be addressed by tutoring or outside enrichment, but children should be warned about possible discrepancies in their performance in a new school; parents should explain that each school teaches different material so that s/he is not at fault if s/he struggles at the outset.

        Communication, both with the school and with the child, is the key to a successful transition. When families are calm and thoughtful, a change of schools can give children an opportunity to learn essential life skills, such as making new friends and dealing with uncertainty, which are an invaluable part of any education.

  • Choosing a School
    • How do we find a ranking for independent schools?

        We are moving to New York from Germany. I see that the public or state schools' test results are posted on the internet so we can tell how they are ranked. How do we find a similar ranking for independent schools?

        Private schools in the United States are not required to follow state curricula or to administer statewide testing, so, in the primary and middle grades they do not produce any standardized results that apply to a sufficient number of institutions to make ranking possible. Many schools evaluate their own performance by administering tests developed by the Educational Records Bureau or other agencies, and students leaving one private school to enter another typically must take a separate entrance exam administered by the ERB, which varies according to the student's grade. But these practices are not uniform, and the tests are used for different purposes, which makes comparisons flawed. As students enter secondary school, the Advanced Placement exam, associated with Advanced Placementcoursework, originally considered to be based on college level material, is an independent examination that could, in theory, compare the rigor between one school and another based on examination results.

        The problem with this scenario is that schools can choose which Advanced Placement tests to offer and, at present, many of the more competitive private schools in New York City are abandoning the test altogether in favor of a more integrated (rather than subject-specific) approach to instruction. In addition, as private schools are selective at the entry point, it is impossible to tell which schools boast good performance due to good teaching and which simply select bright children who have an advantage in test-taking. But all of this begs the question of what any rankings really demonstrate. Relationships between teachers and students, influences of peers, the match between the approach to teaching and the child's learning style, availability of courses and extracurricular activities that foster a child's passions, as well as factors like class size and teacher/student ratio are known both anecdotally, and based on research, to have a major impact on student success as well as academic motivation.

        Before judging which school is best for your child think about what you are trying to evaluate, and find measures appropriate to his or her needs - educational, social, extracurricular and otherwise. No number will tell you the best school for your child, but a thoughtful assessment of him or her as a learner, and an equally thoughtful set of carefully orchestrated school visits can give you the information you are looking for.

    • What typical mistakes do parents make when looking for a school for their children?

        We find that parents often mistakenly rely too much on their colleague`s experiences or opinions, or ranking of the school without realizing the importance of their child`s learning style, character traits and other family values. Parents also place extra importance on the school`s prestige factor, or physical facilities, which may or may not correlate with the success of a child`s schooling experience. School Choice International feels there is a wonderful opportunity inherent in change. We hope parents consider their child, family values, and logistical concerns along with all their other desired school attributes to make each move, including the return home, a child`s best educational experience.

    • What factors should they consider when selecting and/or reviewing potential schools?

        There are so many factors to consider. For instance: is the family considering local schools orinternational schools? Educational approaches are important; some schools are traditional, with a teacher directing the classroom from the front of the room whereas others are progressive, which may be better for students that learn by doing and utilizing a more integrated curriculum. Needs of expatriate families, th are often quite complex. Here are some of the issues expat families should be aware of: How are newcomers welcomed? How large is the international body? Do teachers understand that children may have learned curriculum in a different sequence, so that they may be ahead in some subjects but behind in others? Are students accepted mid-year? Is the school a social center for the expat community? Is English offered as a 2nd language? What percentage of the class is ESL, or local vs. expatriate?

    • In your experience/opinion, do children of returning expats thrive better in an international school?

        The most important thing about a school search on repatriation is recognizing that the experience has changed the child. The children have studied different curricula, and may have been learning in a different language. In some subjects, they may be ahead, and in others, they may be behind. Advancing them or having them repeat a grade can improve some academic problems but can cause social/emotional difficulties. Some children will thrive in their former school, while for others the return home can be traumatic. As long as parents treat a move home as carefully as they would an overseas school search, reviewing alternatives and talking with their children, a positive outcome is likely to ensue.

  • Emotional Aspects of Assignments and Repatriations
    • My grandson was planning to go to boarding school. Suddenly he does not want to go?

        Is there such a thing as a "gap year" between middle and high school in the United States? My daughter and her husband are going to a remote location in China for my son in law's new job and my grandson was planning to go to boarding school. Suddenly he does not want to go and has asked to do a "gap year."

        I think the question you should concentrate on is not whether there is a "gap year "program that you can substitute for the boarding school, but the reason for his change of heart. If your grandson's reluctance came about after he had attended the new boarding school, I would be concerned and would try to figure out the source of his dissatisfaction. Was he in the wrong school academically, socially, in terms of extracurricular activities? Was he uncomfortable being away from home?

        In this case I do not have enough information to make a judgment, but I would suspect that it is either anxiety about leaving home, about his parents' move to a distant location, or worry about being away from his friends. In any of these cases I would encourage him to go ahead with the plan and, after several months gauge his response to real, as opposed to imagined, experiences. Leaving home and family at a young age is complex for many children, and that difficulty may be short or long term. If it endures, there is no shame in bringing your grandson back home, perhaps to live with you and attend a local school, or see whether his parents can do anything to change their assignment.

        Alternatively, if his friends are all going to different schools and he is worried about striking out on his own, then this is a great experience for him to learn his capabilities. Once he sees that he can and will make new friends, that he can manage the academic work even without his family and his old buddies, and that he can be successful in this difficult situation, his confidence will soar. Give him the chance to succeed, which he very well may, and he will learn that there is nothing he can't do. If the challenge is too much for him at this time in his life, make sure he has a safe landing and that he is supported without any judgments made.

    • How do I encourage my children to maintain their overseas experiences but also fit in with their new peers at school without sounding arrogant?

        When my children repatriate, how do I encourage them to maintain their overseas experiences but also fit in with their new peers at school without sounding arrogant?

        You are likely to find that, initially, your children swing to one extreme or the other. Those who want only to talk about their lives and experiences overseas will quickly get a message that their new classmates are not interested. Before they begin at their new schools, or encounter too much pain, you may want to discuss this with them as well as strategies to handle their new social interactions. Encourage them to ask other children about their life stories rather than simply to tell theirs. Little by little, as they develop relationships, new friends will want to hear about their unique experiences. Or, they can simply ask about things they are curious about in the lives of their new peers - for example, what is it like to have lived in the same place all their lives? A discussion will eventually develop, and they will have a chance to tell their tales.

        During the years in which peer group is really important, you may find that your children want to assimilate and totally abandon their past, to an extent that you find painful, and even rejecting. If this is the case, simply give them time. Once they feel comfortable in their new surroundings, with new friends and are a bit older, they will value and embrace the extraordinary experiences you have given them.

    • Help! How do we deal with an abrupt repatriation?

        Although the merits of sending families home before scheduled repatriation dates are a topic of continuous debate, we know that some companies are resorting to this course of action. Where children are involved, the situation is understandably more sensitive, and companies are struggling to come up with cost-effective, yet fair and reasonable solutions.

        If you find you have to make or implement difficult decisions when it comes to children and their education, preparing yourselves, and helping parents prepare, is the most effective way to handle the delicate task at hand. Three things that parents should keep in mind are:

        1. The resilience of children
        2. Opportunities that come from change
        3. Thoughtful communication

        First, anxious parents need reassurance that children are extremely resilient and don't, as a matter of course, suffer long-term as a result of transition, although the anticipation of change and the early stagesin a new school are challenging for everyone. In typical circumstances, the children who find change most difficult are those whose parents do. So it is important that parents make every attempt to recognize andconvey the opportunities the family has had and will have, and to address any problems as a family. Any concerns that children cannot comprehend should be saved until after bedtime. Parents should share asmuch about the circumstances as children want to know and are able to absorb, using their questions as a guide.

        It is essential that they are told that neither they nor their parents have done anything wrong, andthat the current economic circumstances are something that the world is confronting together. Parents can explain that many of their friends also have been making life changes as a result of the recession. Somehave moved homes, and others have switched schools. Different families will make different kinds of choices, but sacrifices are now common among friends and family members. These are some additional tips that can be shared with parents to provide them with peace of mind: Be available to speak with children and to answer any question they may have. Make thoughtful choices about the new school, reflecting on academic andsocial characteristics of children and how they have fared in their current school, in addition to family values and logistical circumstances. Gather lots of information and ask many questions about matters important to children, rather than focusing on factors more important to adults. Before starting the new school, engage the head and/or teacher in a conversation about the child so that good class placement decisions are made and the new teacher understands the child, his/her needs as well as current transitional circumstances. Address curriculum differences through tutoring or outside enrichment, but first clarify that there are likely to be discrepancies between performance in their new and former schools; parents should explain that each school teaches different material so that the child is not at fault if s/he struggles at the outset.

        Communication, both with the school and with the child, is the key to a successful transition. When families are calm and thoughtful, a change of schools can give children an opportunity to learn essential life skills such as making new friends and dealing with uncertainty, which is an invaluable part of any education.

  • Finding the Appropriate Grade Level
    • How can I get the school to allow him to jump to year 1?

        My family is moving from the UK to the outskirts of Chicago. My son is completing reception and is a very advanced student. We just returned from a house hunting trip and have been told by the school that our son must attend kindergarten when the work he has been doing is far more advanced than the work I observed in the kindergarten class. How can I get the school to allow him to jump to year 1?

        Schools in the United States are very reluctant to advance a child beyond the level of their age peers. The major part of this philosophy is cultural, although a small part may have to do with academic concerns.

        In recent decades, American parents have begun retaining their children if there was any reason to believe that they were not ready to begin their academic experience. Initially, boys with autumn birthdates were the most likely to be retained, as research showed that this group tended to be immature and parents and teachers worried that they would not be able to sit for long periods of time or pay attention to their studies. I believe this trend became popular at the same time as the increasing in diagnosis of ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) when a great deal of publicity was given to attention difficulties. Soon parents in general (including those of girls, and earlier birthdates) began to follow this trend, concerned that their children might not have the advantages of the children who were retained, particularly that they may not be as advanced in terms of maturity, physical and social development. And so the age of the school cohort, particularly in affluent communities where families could afford to keep their youngsters in private nursery school for an additional year and delay non-fee paying kindergarten, expanded from 12 to approximately 18 months. As a result of this extended age span, American teachers are reluctant to advance a child from another country, who may find himself to be the youngest in the class by as much as 2.5 years, a very significant gap, particularly during the younger grades. In addition, a child in transition may revert to more childish behaviors or find it difficult to concentrate on studying at the outset, and putting him in a situation where expectations really stretch him can be a mistake.

        Finally, where curricula don't match up, it is seldom clear that one is simply ahead of another. On the surface, benchmarks may be more or less advanced, particularly at one specific stage or another. But learning at any level consists of a variety of facets which includes facts, comprehension of underlying concepts, and ability to analyze and synthesize all of this information, both verbally and in writing. While one school system may focus on certain aspects of this education, another system may highlight the other components. Students who are schooled in different parts of the globe develop the ability to think in a variety of ways and, in my view have the best of both worlds as they grow into adulthood. However it may not be a mistake to repeat some information in the classroom as they are forced to make a leap in other skills that are entirely new to them.

    • It seems that my children are very advanced compared to where they would be in the local state school. Am I correct?

        We are a family of four moving from the UK to the suburbs of New York City. We are looking at a house in Westchester that we fancy. All of my husband's colleagues tell me that the school district is excellent, in fact one of the best. But when I compare the work that I see school children doing it seems to me that my children are very advanced compared to where they would be in the local state school. Am I correct?

        You can easily compare curriculum and assessments between the UK and the US for your children's specific year groups - both last year and this year by using the School Choice Planner that you will find later on in Global Education Explorer. Nevertheless, you are correct in noting differences in curriculum between the UK and the US. You did not identify the year levels of your children, but in many grades you will find that British children have learned maths skills, phonics, handwriting and other basic skills at an earlier age than their American public school peers. On the other hand, American schools tend to focus on the concepts underlying these basic skills, based on the philosophy that once a child understands these concepts, he or she will easily be equipped to master the facts and will move forward at a rapid pace, ending up at the same place in a relatively short time.

        It is important to understand that schools that may seem best for a local parent may not be what an expatriate family is looking for. Expatriates have many unique needs - transferability of curriculum, ease of social transitions, teachers who can understand that children may be ahead in some areas and behind in others and have both the willingness and the skills to individualize instruction to meet their needs. In addition, most expatriates are worried about their children's educational adjustment upon repatriation, so this should be discussed with school administrators and teachers to ensure that the new school personnel can understand and work with the key parental priorities. Nothing substitutes for asking the pertinent questions and really listening to what you hear in response to them. Don't be afraid of expressing your child's needs because only then can you find out if the new school can meet them. Possible questions to ask on school visits are available to print out and take with you in the Backpack of Global Education Explorer.

        Good Luck!

  • Relocation: Age and Timing
    • When is the best age to move with children?

        We know that our family will be transferred overseas at some time during my husband's career, but we are lucky enough to be able to choose our timetable. When is the best age to move with children?

        There is no single best age to move with children. Different ages offer different stresses but also different benefits. As with anything else, the individual personality of the child plays a significant role in the success of the educational experience at any age. What you can be sure of, however, is that children who are doing well at home will do well in their new environment. Children who are struggling are likely to take their problems with them unless specific interventions are put in place to correct the problem from the source.

        Young children are comparatively easy to move, even though their parents worry about their adjustment both socially and academically. But if they repatriate at an early age their memories fade quickly, and they do not gain as much from the experience as do older children. Teenagers typically oppose moving and play on parental guilt using all of their resources. Nevertheless, those who are open minded, or who recognize the wealth of opportunities an overseas school experience presents to them have life changing experiences that fall into every category - new intellectual challenges, new social opportunities, and a chance to reflect on one's identity that may allow a student to reinvent him or herself in a way that is virtually impossible at home where they have to meet expectations of friends, family and educators.

    • Our two children are twelve and fourteen. Would this be an unreasonable disruption in the education of teenagers?

        My husband's company has asked us to move from California to Switzerland. Ten years ago we would have jumped at the chance, but now our two children are twelve and fourteen. Would this be an unreasonable disruption in the education of teenagers?

        There is no right or wrong age to relocate a child. For the most part, younger children are more malleable, and adjust to changes more readily as long as their immediate family is kept in tact. As long as parents are tuned in to certain sensitivities, and thought is given to the right educational environment for their personality, learning style and age, the move is likely to be a success. Still, except in extenuating circumstances like when the relocation is the first of a series of moves, or the parents continue to speak the new language at home, this experience is unlikely to have the pivotal impact on a young child that a teenager will experience as a result of an overseas relocation.

        Teenagers, on the other hand, are very vocal in their anticipation of a move, and almost invariably their responses are negative. For teens, peer group is a major part of identity, and separating or distinguishing themselves from their parents is the other most salient characteristic of the developmental stage. So a decision that removes them from their peer group and simultaneously throws them into close contact with parents is bound to be unpopular. However, once they know that they are stuck with the decision, that they have choices about particular circumstances surrounding the move but not whether or not the family relocates, they typically settle down and begin to enjoy the opportunity.

        A teen who is happy at school in his or her home country is most likely to have an equally positive experience at school abroad. This is a perfect age to explore a new environment, learn about other cultures, and compare and contrast everything, from people, to language, to art and music. Their independence allows them to focus on their own interests and pursue them in depth; they are like sponges soaking up everything on offer around them. A teenager who has the opportunity for an expatriate experience will be influenced by it for life. He or she will be more open minded to customs and people of other cultures, will look at problems within a more global context and will have the ability to communicate with others whether or not they share the same backgrounds.

        While young children are easier to move, older children definitely gain more from the experience. If, as a parent, you are able to think of education as something greater than schooling, you will find that the transition soon pales in comparison with the learning that takes place when moving your teenage children.

    • How far in advance do returning expats need to look for a school for their children? Are there regional differences?

        FconsidIt is always helpful to be able to plan as far in advance as possible, although many relocating families do not have this luxury. This question is actually very complex, but some of the key factors to be aware of are: Age of child- generally the older the child, the more important the lead time. Families need to consider academics as well as a child's emotional characteristics and interests - Sector the employee works in. Some companies or institutions have affiliated schools that guarantee placement, although not as relevant for repats. Lead time is less important in these sectors than in most other instances. Whether the family is considering public or private school. Private schools often have admissions deadlines that expats may not work for repatriating families. In more developed countries, public schools generally accommodate the relocating family as well as possible, but sheer size forces the public sector to focus on the mainstream children - and repatriating children are, by definition, not mainstream.. Schools in some cities are more competitive to relocate to than others. For instance, Hong Kong is notorious for its long wait lists. For families that do not have the benefit of appropriate lead time, it is very helpful to utilize an educational consultant who understands the schooling options in the new location, admissions criteria, academic and school activities and has relationships with school personnel.

    • Are there age specific issues parents should consider?

        There are many factors parents should consider: curriculum differences, extracurricular activities, social dynamics, tests/assessments are often age/or grade related. Generally, the older the child, the more age specific challenges will be present. Nevertheless, the earliest years of mandatory schooling teaches skills and content that varies considerably by country as well, causing many parents of young children concern that an overseas move or a repatriation will place their child in a curriculum that is not aligned. It is important for families to be aware of key school curriculum changes or assessments at all ages.

  • Country Specific Questions
    • What do I need to consider when moving from the Northern to the Southern Hemisphere?

        My family is moving from Texas to Sydney, Australia in August. I have three boys ages 4, 9 and 11. They will be finishing nursery school, fourth grade and sixth grade in the spring. What grades will they enter in the Australian system? They all have summer birthdays.

        One of the first things you have to remember when you move into any country in the Southern hemisphere is that the academic year is the calendar year, which means their school year starts in late January. Schools in Sydney often have four terms in an academic year. So you will be arriving for the middle of the third term of school in Sydney. Your instinct may be to send the boys to kindergarten, fifth grade and seventh grades, but because you are arriving in the middle of a term, in addition to moving to a new country with a new curriculum, you may want to consider placing the boys in what initially feels like a repeat, although that will only be the case for a term and a half, to allow them an easy transition.

        For your youngest, because the Australian system was originally based on the British system, kindergarten is very strict about a lot of customs including how to sit still and about writing -to the point that they even dictate how the pen is held. It would be a good transition to start him off in nursery school and then begin kindergarten in January when he understands the expectations. (What Americans refer to as "grades" are called "years" in Australia). Upper school begins in year seven, so if you put the oldest in the year six, he will finish primary school and then, in January, move into upper school which encompasses Years 7 - 12. It is easier to move into a new school being familiar with the kids, the academics as well as cultural customs than to join a group that has just begun Upper School as a group. Finally, consistent with the pattern you are following with the other two children, your middle boy should go into year four and finish up the term.

        You also need to be thinking about what can happen when you go back home. Your children will be six months behind their USA peers. So when you repatriate, you will again be off schedule by 6 months and again need to decide either to place them ahead or behind. Without specific information, I assume that your assignment is for 3 to 5 years. At the end of three years your oldest will be in year nine. If the boys feel strongly that they want to come back "home" to the same grade level they were when they left, then they will be forced to move up six months; for the oldest, this would mean 10th grade. This will work as long as you and they understand no matter what you do, they will be ahead in some subjects and behind in others. They need to know that they have done nothing wrong, and it is wise to be willing to hire tutors or do whatever it takes to get them back up to the level of their grade level peers without too much difficulty. There may be subjects like math or foreign language where they lack building blocks on which later study is based, and you particularly want to focus on these areas.

        It is important to be aware that in either direction, the transition will take anywhere from six months to a year for the boys to feel completely comfortable.

    • Report Cards from Around the Globe
  • Parents: Parenting and Parental Involvement
    • Any educational resources/websites you would recommend for parents to consult?

        There are many excellent educational resources available for relocating families. The State Department's Office of Overseas Schools provides excellent general information for US residents. For information on the International Baccalaureate programs and schools please visit The International Baccalaureate (IB). For families preferring direct assistance, The School Choice Group provides many options for school placement assistance. It will assist relocating families in determining how to prep for an interview, how to evaluate schools for your own child, how to determine admissions criteria in a new location, what children wear to school, the academic calendar in your new country, how holidays are celebrated in your new home, what your children will learn by phase/grade, what teacher gifts are appropriate in your new country, what children eat for lunch, and much more...

    • Parents: Parenting and Parental Involvement

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