What does your family want from this experience?

Traffic, Paris, FranceToday some members of our team viewed a presentation about helping families decide which school may be the best fit when relocating.  School Choice’s unique philosophy is that there is opportunity inherent in change, and consultants strive to help families view relocation as an opportunity to evaluate what will best serve a child in his or her education.  For example, if a child is struggling in school there may be an opportunity to repeat a grade, or choose a less academically rigorous school. 

Our consultants also talked about what they would value when looking for a new school.  Not surprisingly, academic quality, a welcoming attitude, and student/teacher ratio were all noted.  These are the things I hear about most when our families articulate what is important to them during a school search.  However, I have been intrigued by a few cases where families (often on shorter term assignments) place equal, or even more, importance on the education that comes from living in a different part of the world.  One family, moving to a European capital, stated outright that they would prefer a less academically challenging school because they placed more value on their daughters having time for a culturally enriching experience.  My question is whether or not other consultants have confronted this, or if expats reading this have struggled with the balance between academic rigor and personal enrichment for their children. – Lauren

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4 Responses to What does your family want from this experience?

  1. Karen says:

    I am currently working with a family who also requested not to match their children in an academically rigorous school. I suspected the kids had average grades. On their school reports though, I was surprised to see positive narratives on their academic achievements. The parents simply wanted their children to be balanced and were looking for strong art, sports and music programs. Their values and what they desired in a school were a refreshing change!

  2. Doreen says:

    What a timely presentation for me. I am working with a family who has a child struggling with reading. I never thought to approached the family and discuss that the relocation could be an opportunity to help their child with the least amount of disruption to the her self esteem by repeating her current grade at the new school. I am currently in discussion with mom and dad about this issue, and they are appreciative of my perspective of their relocation. Mom and dad plan to approach this topic with the school when they meet with them next week.

  3. Jeannie says:

    What a refreshing approach to look at the entire lifestyle experience rather than solely focussing the educational rigor.

    This demonstrates that some truly believe that life is an experience, and not a race.

    Great food for thought for all of us!

  4. Trish says:

    My daughters currently go to a school that places a lot of emphasis on community involvement, music, sport, debating, public speaking and other activities to develop self-confidence and innate curiosity. We have an excellent public school system here in Canberra, Australia, with consistently high academic results, and to be honest I can’t imagine finding a ‘better’ school anywhere in the world! So I wont be trying to find the ‘best’ school according to academic results; I’ll be looking for a school that embraces the same holistic approach to teaching children about their world, and their part in it. We are moving overseas by choice and one of the major factors driving this adventure is the benefit to our children in terms of broadening their horizons. I work in recruitment and interview a lot of university graduates; the students who have spent time living in another country (or traveling extensively) have a maturity and poise about them that the other people (who may have outstanding grades) simply don’t have. Employers are often willing to choose the mature, internationally-aware student with good marks over the graduates who have outstanding academic records but have never been anywhere and never been challenged.

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