Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Moving Abroad

It has been a hectic couple of months since  about a month ago my husband was offered a position to work abroad in Europe beginning July. While we were thrilled, (we had been working on this move for a few years), it kind of threw me for a loop with regards to homeschooling. Ever since I decided to homeschool in early October I have been preparing myself for doing just that....In New Jersey of course....and now everything seems to be so much more complicated. I feel as though I have to start from scratch.

Luxembourg is a landlocked country nestled between the beautiful countries of Belgium, Germany and France. It is just a two hour drive to any of those countries. However, the languages spoken are 3: Luxembourgish, French, and German. While ex-pats make up a good percentage of the population in Luxembourg, it is safe to say that English speakers will be a bit rough to come by. I know that Ameera should have no problem picking up the language(s) quickly being that she is only 4, but I wonder how to transition her properly into our new life there. I have been going over so many different scenarios in my mind, as well seeking advice from family, friends, and those who have been through this experienace before. Many have asked if I will still homeschool and at first my response was surely not. But now that I have become more comfortable with the idea of moving and our plans are falling into place I am exploring all my options.

 The schooling system in Luxembourg differes from the U.S. greatly. Firstly, local children do not begin any formal schooling until the age of 6yrs. And these schools primary focus is on languages with less time dedicated to other academic subjects. However, if you are not a citizen then local schools can be somewhat challenging to get into. On the other hand, there are two international schools that are English speaking and use the British Curriculum, these schools take children from 3yrs old and only offer language as an elective. Then there are the European International schools that accomodate French speaking children, and finally there is one Montessori school (english speaking) and one Waldorf school (German speaking). All these schools I found doing research on the internet, but I will know much more once my husband and I fly down for our 1 week orientation. My major concerns are meeting other moms and children and being able to communicate with them, which is why I thought it might be best to place her in a school for the first year as way to meet people and integrate ourselves quickly. One thing I love about the school systems is that every month or so all the schools have 1 week off, not including major holidays and 4 day weekends. This leaves plenty of opportunity for travel which was another concern of mine. I didnt want to have to worry about pulling her out of school everytime I wanted to travel. And if I placed her in a French speaking school the first year then she would surely have a handle on the language and be able to communicate well with the locals and children if  I decide to keep her home the following year.

My only hesitation is that I really want her to be home with me to be able to experience this whole journey together and be out and about exploring and discovering new people, places and things. And I can always give her language training through classes and other resources I find. It will just be more work for me to find them. The country is very small so there is not a huge variety of resouces but I am sure whatever I do find, I can make work God-willing. Such a beautiful country, so much to see and do and learn. I just pray that whatever I choose I am making the best decision.

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