Tuesday, May 27, 2008

To Home School or Not to Home School...

That is the question.

Now that we know where we're going, our first order of business is to determine where the kids will go to school. The options are varied and mostly very expensive. The school we are looking into with most interest is BISS, also known as Beijing International School. It is the closest school to Běidà--a 20-30 minute commute. Apparently, all the universities are on the west side of town and all the international schools are on the east side.

Steve and I toyed with the idea of sending them to a local school--I guess that would make them "CHISOL," as opposed to ESOL. The thought of them interacting with the local kids and being immersed in Mandarin sounds fantastic but this may be too challenging for two reasons. First, they probably wouldn't be allowed to attend since these schools are for Chinese kids only from what I've read. And second, this may be so difficult, given that all subjects would be taught in Mandarin except, maybe, English, that it would be counter-productive to our overarching plan of spending a lot of family time together learning about the culture and wonders of China.

This leads to the final option which is to home school. This option has definite pluses and minuses, but is a plausible choice given that Steve and I could collectively cover the curriculum without too much trouble--both of us being educators does have some perks! In addition, our Pastor provided us with information about a program called "Seton," which is actually a Catholic home schooling program recognized by a local diocese.

All in all, this weekend we discussed all the options and are leaning toward a "combination approach." We passed our idea by the kids...BISS for the first semester and home school for the second semester. This would accomplish our goals of having the kids enjoy an international school experience--meeting other kids from around the globe--and the nurturing that a home school experience would provide. I look forward to early rising, thorough learning, and lots and lots of live event learning (also known as "class trips.") There's no substitute for either.

Happily, the kids agree!



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