Education VS Quality of life

(74 Posts)

I am posting this in education as I want to address the educational aspect of our issues.

Some background:

Ds1: He is 11. Currently thriving in Y7 in an independent school. He is academically minded and doing well. His favorite and best subjects are maths, IT and science, especially physics and chemistry.
He did Reception and Y1 in London, then moved to Norway after Y1, where he started school from fresh. They start aged 6 in Norway, the educational system is much slower on ks1 and ks2 level than in Britain.
We returned to Britain for him to rejoin his class in Y5, after 3 years away. He had a massive gap in his learning to close, and did so easily by help of a tutor, and achieved L6 in maths.

Ds2: He is 8. Currently doing well in Y4. Went straight from Norwegian nursery to Y2 in London. Spent Y2 learning to read and write, and were just above national average at the end of Y3. His favourite subjects are also maths and science, biology in particular. He is very practical, and sporty.

We are currently pondering whether to return to Norway.

This would mean a choice of:

A. Bog standard school for both of them. Most likely put a year up due to higher abilities. No fees to pay. Free UNI, ranked 306 in the world, after Oxford and UCL.

B. International School with an IB programme. Free Uni.

Ds1 is happy at his current school. Ds2 is the type of child who could be happy anywhere.

How disadvantaged will they be if we do this move?

We are not really happy in London. Life in Norway is much more outdoors, with a much better work life balance. Our financial situation would be much better.

But right now, I just want to try understand the educational implications. Do we stay in Britain in the understanding that we are purely here for a good education for our children, or go to Norway where they will have a different education but most likely a better quality of life.

HamletsSister Sun 12-Jan-14 17:52:54

What happens to them after university? What would employment prospects be? What do they think? I would put quality of life first, myself.

For ds2, the local university is specializing in the polar region, with stuff like snow physics, arctic biology, marine studies, etc. Lots of research regards to aurora borealis, planetary, atmosphere, environmental studies, global warming, avalanche, etc. Both the university and the polar research institute are major players globally within polar research. Ds2 is adamant he wants to study environmental studies and mammology, he is very concerned about global warming and polar ice melting and the effect on animal life in the region.

Ds1 does not have a specific thing he is interested in, he likes the idea of engineering and computer studies. But work wise? There are jobs, not just fishing and local government.

marialuisa Sun 12-Jan-14 18:09:43

How did they find school in Norway before?

DS1 did not have a good experience. DS2 never experienced school there.

If we go back it will be to a different school. DS1 will either go to a local secondary, or the International School with IB. DS2 could also go there. Otherwise he will go to a different school which I know is better than the school ds1 went to.

NK5BM3 Sun 12-Jan-14 18:14:39

Are both of you Norwegian? Would you have the added advantage of grandparents, relations that they'll enjoy connecting with?

They sound bright tbh. I feel that means that they'll survive in whatever 'educational' setting they are in.

I'm an academic and a lot of our European students thrive here, but they would have thrived in their home country too (which was why they got chosen to go overseas for a year I suppose).

ZeroSomeGameThingy Sun 12-Jan-14 18:33:41

Ok - how about this:

Don't move DS1. Because he's old enough to mind being removed from a school he's happy at. If you disrupt that he may never forget it or forgive you. (Experience speaking here...) Obviously don't know your financial situation - but I would suggest you seriously consider boarding for him, either quite soon or at 13+. (Is he clever enough or are you poor enough for bursaries? If needed.)

That way the rest of you can proceed to Norway - and you'll have plenty of time to decide about DS2's future as he'll be happy with you for the moment. DS1 will have your preferred lifestyle for pretty much half the year...

Is there any reason why they could not take advantage of the Norwegian university even if educated here? (Is is only free if you've been at school there?)

titchy Sun 12-Jan-14 18:36:08

I'd prioritise quality of life I think, with the caveats that you have given London a good go - I'm not sure you've been here that long have you? And you take ds2's current aspirations with a very large pinch of salt - he will probably change his mind and strengths several times before he picks a university, ds1 also. How do they feel about a move back? Would they want to stay in norway, or would the older one resent the move and try and get back to the uk at uni stage (very expensive!)?

I was born in Norway, went to school there, started at the university of my home town, and could not continue in my chosen field and applied to UCL. I moved to London in 1993, and met my husband here.

Both children were born here. DH is Polish. Our sons are English Norwegian bilingual. They have grand parents in Norway and Poland. Some family in Britain. My sister lives in Spain. Next year her dd starts Uni back home, she wants to do biology and environmental studies. In Norway we have my cousins and their children, my childhood friends with children similar ages to ours, so a much larger network.

I have only lived in Norway for 3 years since 1993, have lived here most of my adult life.

I had not thought about boarding for ds1. There will be funds for that. He does not adapt as easily as ds2. This caused him issues adapting the first time we moved to Norway. But he is older now. He has friends in Norway, in fact more friends that he sees outside the family setting there than here. Boys he can go to the cinema alone with, or meet at the ski lifts and just leave him to it.

We have to make a choice soon, as we either have to sell our home in Norway and stay here. Or move there.

I think ds1 would want to move back to the UK.

I do take what ds2 say with a pinch of salt as he is only 8. He has said the same thing for 2 years though, and has always had an interest in animals, plants etc, so feel quite sure he will eventually settle for something related to natural science. Or be a stunt man. hmm

KatyMac Sun 12-Jan-14 19:29:03

Quint; I don't know about Norway but my Brother understands that in Sweden (where he lives) the Maths/Science taught at school then uni is lower than some of the rest of Europe (Germany/UK)

Is this a risk in Norway or is it a better system?

I think it is the same in Norway. The Norwegian school system is not great, though not that much worse than the UK if we are to believe the Pisa tests.

ZeroSomeGameThingy Sun 12-Jan-14 19:32:17

I think you might have to accept hat you may not be able to have everything you want and some compromises might have to be made....

But you're in a very fortunate position since it seems you can afford to fund any of your options.

Please do think carefully about DS1 in particular for now. Titchy raised an interesting point about university. If DS1 - who seems happier educationally in England - wanted to attend an English university the cost would be astronomical if he has not been living here. (Whatever the rules are by then...) So be careful not to wipe out his options by choices you make now.

But I'm sure the happiness of parents has a pretty big influence on children as well. Why not start from the assumption that you will move - and then work out how to do it in a way that causes the least disruption?

KatyMac Sun 12-Jan-14 19:34:43

So for sciencey DS2 moving might not be ideal?

I think ds2 would take the move best. Ds1 would perhaps struggle socially like he did the last time. But I am not sure.

When we are in Norway for holidays they both say they want to stay. When we are back here, they both say they are happy to be home.

We have not discussed it with them, as I think it is too big responsibility to put on their shoulders.

But I guess we should ask what they think.

ZeroSomeGameThingy Sun 12-Jan-14 19:43:15

I'm assuming you must already have had all the usual conversations with DS1's school - or is he now already in the first year of senior school? (What I mean is - would boarding be a natural progression to the next stage or is he already settled through to 18?)

Because the more I read from you the more I think you must try to let him stay here. He can do all the lifestyle stuff every single hoilday.

And it's good that you have some family here. Would they be close enough to manage exeats and short breaks for him?

Verycold Sun 12-Jan-14 19:43:46

What motivated you to return to the UK last time? What has changed for you to think of Norway as the better place to be again?

NK5BM3 Sun 12-Jan-14 19:48:38

What does your dh think? I'm assuming his job is fine wherever he is located? And yours?

I'm in a slightly similar position in that I'm foreign and dh is from here (although not where we currently live). In this country we have the
grandparents and some family although not v close at all - see them twice a year etc.

If we relocate to my home, we will have the grandparents and my brother, his kids, my cousins and their kids all living pretty near to each other so we will see each other pretty often (at least once a month for extended family birthdays, and weekly for the grandparents). Standard of living much higher too. But education would be v stressful (if the Pisa tests are to be believed) so kids will be under tremendous pressure to work hard etc.

Sorry - didn't mean to hijack!! blush

I would do what pp suggested and maybe shift your mindset to if you are moving and then see where that takes you in terms of how you feel etc

How long have you been here anyway? I understand that it takes at least 2 years for people to feel comfortable.

Dromedary Sun 12-Jan-14 19:55:37

Reading your post, OP, its seems very clear to me that you should move back to Norway. There is masses in favour of that, and very little in favour of staying in the UK. Plus let's face it England isn't the nicest place to be in the current political climate.

Zero, he is in the first year of senior school. This school offers no boarding. We are in London. He moved to a private school after going to an RC primary.
Boarding would mean a move to a new school.

VeryCold.
There were many issues that led us to leave Norway:
1. ds1 was bullied in school and not happy. But, he was also bullied in his primary upon his return, and did not feel part of the class at any point. He said later that that the bullying in the RC primary was constant and categorical, whereas in Norway there was just the odd incident and he still had friends.

2. My mum had gotten her formal Alzheimer diagnosis, and deteriorated so much in the space of 6 months that she was given a place in a carehome. We got a good care package for my dad at home. He had a stroke 12 years ago and is paralyzed in a wheelchair. Mum was his carer. We moved to Norway to get their situation under control when we discovered mums Alzheimer back in 2007.

3. Double taxation issues. They were driving me nuts. I now know how to avoid this.

4. Work. We have a uk company. Impossible to run from overseas. DH has had enough and is keen for new challenges. Looking for somebody to run it for him/buy it.

I am currently doing an MBA, distance learning at the UNI at home. I will be more employable after I complete this.
DH is keen to rejoin the red cross mountain rescue.

ZeroSomeGameThingy Sun 12-Jan-14 20:00:48

Ah. That's not so good. I'm sure there's a solution but DS1 has done quite a lot of moving....

WeAreDetective Sun 12-Jan-14 20:02:45

From what you write, I think you should move back to Norway. Your pros outweigh the cons. Are the reasons that DC1 didn't settle in the school in Norway due to the country or that particular school?

newgirl Sun 12-Jan-14 20:03:18

Would you consider moving to more rural area of uk? Eg Suffolk where fab schools and housing - depends on your jobs. Best both worlds?

When we came to Norway, he was 6, he did not speak that much Norwegian. This set him out as the only child in school who could not speak the language. He had also had two years of maths at his school in London, and he was soon branded a "maths genius". He had extra help in Norwegian literacy, and praised for his English and Maths skills. The school did not stretch him in maths, but gave him "sideways" exercises. Other schools would have moved a child up, but this one did not. He was utterly bored in Maths and English, and confused by Norwegian literacy.

He will be in secondary now. I have friends who teach in the local secondaries so have insight regards to these schools. He would have a much different experience in secondary. There is also the option of the International School, where he can study for IB. The teaching is in English, and it is a very, well, international school. The parents are mostly scientists at the polar research institute, or working at the UNI. A friend of mine is the assistant head there, I can bring the boys for trial days to see how they like it any time.

mummytime Sun 12-Jan-14 20:16:24

I remember your posts on how unhappy DS1 was, I would be very reluctant to move him.
Also from what I've seen University in Norway doesn't charge tuition fees for international students.

Bonsoir Sun 12-Jan-14 20:33:41

I think your main concern ought to be whether, as a family, you would prefer the lifestyle in Norway to the lifestyle in London. Your DS1 is far from too old to move and it sounds as if the international school option in Norway would be fine.

ZeroSomeGameThingy Sun 12-Jan-14 20:36:10

I've taken up enough space here already - but....

All your reasons for wanting to move are about you and your DH. Which is fine but your DSs are not luggage to be picked up and carried hither and thither for your convenience.

And it's all very well saying you will talk to them - they almost certainly won't be able to tell you how they really feel about stuff until they're about 30. (Trust me on this.)

It is perfectly possible that you could move DS1 again and have everything work out well - but honestly, honestly he will be losing trust in you with every move. And if it doesn't work out for him in Norway (or if he's terribly homesick for life in England) it will be too late to bring him back.

Bonsoir Sun 12-Jan-14 20:37:54

"All your reasons for wanting to move are about you and your DH. Which is fine but your DSs are not luggage to be picked up and carried hither and thither for your convenience."

It isn't unreasonable for parents to decide to return to live in their country of origin, you know!

ZeroSomeGameThingy Sun 12-Jan-14 20:41:20

Bonsoir I wouldn't say he was too old to move if this was the first move and it was all a big adventure. But the poor child has already had two bad experiences of school. It seems perverse to remove him from a school where he is finally happy.

ZeroSomeGameThingy Sun 12-Jan-14 20:43:01

I know...

And I'm speaking from experience of exactly that.sad

RunnerHasbeen Sun 12-Jan-14 20:43:39

There are places in the UK where you could live a different sort of life than you do in London, which would be less disruptive school wise and for your UK business. Have you looked at different parts of the country, where life is more outdoorsy?

ZeroSomeGameThingy Sun 12-Jan-14 20:44:26

(Sorry "I know" in response to "It isn't unreasonable....")

Bonsoir Sun 12-Jan-14 20:56:17

I don't think parents should make choices about which country to live on based primarily on whether their DC are happy at school. That is a huge burden of responsibility to put on DC. Parents obviously need to make sure that their DC attend reasonable schools but their whole life plan shouldn't revolve around that.

VworpVworp Sun 12-Jan-14 21:04:33

I remember how unhappy you were last time in Norway! thanks

What about somewhere that is more outdoorsy than UK, but good education system?

Maybe Germany? Technical-orientated, mountains/skiiing/climbing etc.

bonsoir our whole life plan is based around our children's education! <wibble>
We think it will be worth it.

Bonsoir Sun 12-Jan-14 21:14:33

"Our whole life plan is based around our children's education! <wibble>
We think it will be worth it."

Crikey. What self-sacrifice!

BoffinMum Sun 12-Jan-14 21:22:09

Costs of attending any university within the EU or EEA are exactly the same for all EU/EEA citizens, i.e. you get charged the same as local students. So it would not matter whether you lived in the UK for 3 years or Norway for 3 years.

BoffinMum Sun 12-Jan-14 21:24:16

Bavaria in South Germany might be a good place if you don't want to live in Norway but you think you want good education and outdoor activities.

Bonsoir Sun 12-Jan-14 21:27:20

I'm not sure why posters think it is a good idea for this family to move to another third country than the UK.

I can quite understand why the OP might want to return to her country of origin, however, and it seems like a reasonable proposition.

summerends Sun 12-Jan-14 21:34:21

Quintessential I get the sense that you and your DH are n't the settling kind and this move feels right to you, maybe because your DH wants different challenges. However, you may want to move again in under 5 years. If your DS1 did not want to stay in the UK enough to decide to board then probably the IB school in Norway would be better for him to cover his options later. If you are going to move, do it quickly before it gets harder for him to leave his friends.

ZeroSomeGameThingy Sun 12-Jan-14 21:41:34

Thanks for the correction Boffinblush

When will I learn not to proffer advice on things about which I long ago forgot anything I ought to know?

VworpVworp Sun 12-Jan-14 21:48:55

Bonsoir- because QS is patently not happy here in London, nor was she happy in Norway. Seems logical to suggest elsewhere.

We don't see it as self-sacrifice. You seem to put enough effort into your family's own education too...

Verycold Sun 12-Jan-14 22:17:47

I also remember your many posts on how unhappy you were in Norway. I am worried that what you are looking for can't be found by moving.

We were happy in London until we uprooted everything to care for my parents. We were hoping going back to London would put us back on track. The last 6 years since we moved from London have been absolutely shit, and coming back here does not seem to have solved anything. When ds1 was back in his london primary, I thought he was happy. After starting secondary he told me things were worse than in Norway for him, he just did not want to tell me.

I worry that he is still not telling me how he really feels, as he wants us to be happy.

I honestly dont know what to do for best. Things are just not working out for us.

I thought I could be nearer a conclusion if I separated out all the issues and thought through them one after one, pros and cons of each aspect. Starting with the children's education.

I dont think moving to a third country where none of us speak the language is going to help.

Shootingatpigeons Mon 13-Jan-14 00:08:10

QS I think part of the problem is that once you have lived in more than one country it is always hard to feel truly at home anywhere, that is certainly how we feel. Were circumstances different we would leap at the chance of another adventure overseas. To be honest the UK feels like quite a miserable place these days, a pervasive sense of entitlement and associated bitterness. From what you write whether you make this move is a no brainer, it clearly as you present it offers the most benefit to your family as a whole, and if you are going to move you need to do it now.

The problem is that once your DCs are truly teenage a move becomes a very difficult proposition psychologically. It is not just that the educational issues, different curriculum, exam systems etc. It is also that it becomes intensely important to them to fit in with their peer group as they develop into adults, and having to adjust to a different set of peer group norms and adjust to all the subtleties that govern social interaction etc, can be very traumatic for them. Even at 11 you really need to talk this through with them, make sure they feel some ownership of the decision.

In an International School your DSs will be with other children who have shared their experience of living in other cultures and making International moves. That for me would make that decision. We know lots of expats and adjusting to the constant turnover in International Schools can be painful for the DCs there but they also develop the skills to welcome and make new friends and there are other benefits as well, it widens horizons and their view of the world. The International Schools my DD's peers attended are probably equivalent to an outstanding state school here but the universities they have ended up at are stunning. A mixed ability class and they are at Oxbridge, UCL, Warwick, MIT, The Madeleine Albright International Relations programme at Georgetown, Vets, medics, they really have achieved amazing things.

One thing I would say though is that mixed race friends do feel it is absolutely vital to have a national identity, and not feel you don't belong anywhere. You seem to be doing that by emphasising their Norwegian heritage, which makes the move even more sensible.

Good luck with your decision.

summerends Mon 13-Jan-14 04:29:38

Quintessential your DS1 has just started a new school so he may not know himself whether he is 'happy'. I suppose one step to help you make your minds up, at least for their happiness in education, would be an extended try out at the Norwegian schools (IB school does seem preferable) if you could arrange that without disrupting DS1's schooling here too much.

vikinglights Mon 13-Jan-14 04:52:27

My experience is that school in norway is less academically challenging than school in the uk (mind you my oldest is 8). However the university i work in seems to be at least as academically rigorous as those i have experience of in the uk (red brick/russell group types).

cory Mon 13-Jan-14 09:24:20

I remember your threads from when you were living in Norway, Quint. You seemed quite unhappy at the time and a lot of your unhappiness was tied up with your ds' difficulties coping with Norwegian society. Are you sure it's not getting a bit rose-tinted in retrospect? Are you sure he would find it easier this time round?

Not much experience from Norway, but my experience from other Scandinavian countries is that the teen years, not just in school but out of school too, are much less structured, much less supervised- don't you think your ds might struggle with this? I remember that the sheer lack of supervision of his Norwegian peers was a problem last time as they seemed to get a lot of opportunities for bullying.

This to me seems to put the finger on the real problem: "The last 6 years since we moved from London have been absolutely shit, and coming back here does not seem to have solved anything." Do you think this could be a problem that needs looking at in some other way than just moving away?

But if you are planning a move, is there any reason you can't have an outdoors lifestyle in the UK? Do you have to live in London? Plenty of outdoors in other parts of the country.

ragtimer Mon 13-Jan-14 18:45:50

QS,
we are in a similar position. DH and I have lived in three different countries. We finally moved to his country the UK for DS education. Our quality of life would be better in my country and we would also be better off money wise. But DS would not be able to attend a school like the one he is in right now. He is getting a truly rich, intellectual, challenging and round education, classics, drama, music, debating... I truly believe there are not many educational systems like the UK. We struggle financially and some people think we are crazy to stay here. But I ain't moving!

I am thinking more than I am responding. I am taking everything on board.

I also remember my unhappiness in Norway. I am at the moment perhaps stuck in my unhappiness here, and maybe the key is to try change everything else that is bothering us, except the location, to try make our lives happier?

I honestly dont know what is best. Maybe another year of trying to change other things is the best. That will give ds2 a chance of completing Y5, and will have Y6 in primary in Norway and can move up with friends to secondary, if we decide to go. This will give ds1 more stability, too.

I just dont know.

AliceinWinterWonderland Tue 14-Jan-14 10:48:49

From the standpoint of DS1, you say part of his difficulty moving to Norway when he was younger was the language barrier. That's not a problem now, as you said he is bilingual now, correct? That's a HUGE difference IMO. He will not feel as much like an outsider - he's lived there before, so the culture shock/change won't be nearly as drastic - he'll have friends and family to socialise with, and a different school to the one he had difficulty with. If he's 11yo, is there any reason he cannot give it a couple years go there, and then revisit the idea of possibly boarding school in the UK after that if he really doesn't want to stay there? He may find the experience completely different this time around.

True. He also now knows the culture, and how kids/teens behave towards each other. They are very street smart an independent. He had learnt that by the time we moved.

He would walk to and from school. I could send him errands to the shop (15 minutes walk away). He could go alone on the bus. He would go jogging on his own. He would take his skiis and go skiing on his own, aged 8/9. This summer he and his friend went to the cinema alone and "hung out" in the city center before being picked up.

Thinking about it, this is something ds2 has not learnt, as kids are this independent from the age of 7/8.

Also, ds1 has now matured to the point where they make friends based on similar interests and hobbies, rather than just being in the same class or living on the same street.

AliceinWinterWonderland Tue 14-Jan-14 11:08:40

If he's allowed more freedom there, at his age, he may appreciate it more now.

Shootingatpigeons Tue 14-Jan-14 13:25:55

That was something that was a real culture shock for DDs returning to The UK. Where we were was ultra safe and the members of that culture really look after the children so you can allow them a lot of freedom and independence. When we moved back we had to put all sorts of boundaries in place, and their social life had to be organised between parents again which they found difficult. My younger DD was bullied here as well because they said she was "wild" and "weird" whereas mostly it was just that her behaviour was the norm for children there, more outgoing, more adventurous.

As I mentioned before this intolerance of difference is going to get worse as DD1 becomes adolescent. It builds up to a peak in Year 9, after which they begin to assert their individuality and value difference and like people for what they are. It's the heart of the adolescent storm and I strongly advise you have your DS firmly settled and anchored somewhere before it strikes.

TheLeftovermonster Tue 14-Jan-14 14:57:05

I'd move and go for the international school. Your ds1 is not properly settled yet, and he'll be moving to a familiar place where he has friends already. International schools are generally welcoming and used to newcomers. He'll be fine!

summerends Tue 14-Jan-14 21:08:51

I agree that it is better not to postpone your decision too long as by mid year 8 your DS1 will find it much harder to move if he has made friends. Could you not arrange the trial visit to the IB school soon, see what he thinks of the teaching style and lesson content compared to his present school and then make your minds up taking that into consideration by the the summer term.

intheround Tue 14-Jan-14 21:19:31

Is there a high turnover of children in international schools in Norway? This was one of the reasons a friend of mine opted for a local school when they moved abroad. They knew they were there for the long haul, but didn't want their children to make friends only to keep losing them again

Re turnaround, I think it is pretty stable. My son will actually know some of the children, a French family who live next to my cousin, we went skiing with them a few years ago, and the french family was in another flat, so the kids spent time together. Lovely girls. There are some local children there too, the parents have moved them to the Intl school because of the better education, it is more tailored to the individual children's needs and progress, and they have excellent SEN provisions. I have taught some of the staff Norwegian! grin
I do know they have a problem finding high caliber teachers who wants to live in the arctic. The maths teacher is Egyptian, science teacher from Peru, I love the idea of such a great mix! I can take them if we go in February, otherwise when we go for Easter in April.

I think you will have to accept that if you choose to move back then you will have to stick with that move unless there is a significant problem. DS1 is getting close to the age when moving will disrupt his education.

Consequently, I think you really need to be very honest with yourself if this a "grass is greener" situation. Are you unhappy because of something about London and your life here or are you unhappy and hoping a move will take away that unhappiness.

The international school would seem like the better option but I think you should speak to DS1 about boarding if you do decide to move.

Is there any particular reason why you have to be in London?

cory Thu 16-Jan-14 09:15:01

A couple more random thoughts:

he is approaching an age where British children also get considerably more freedom so the differences may be smaller than you imagine

(we are in a medium sized town on the South coast and here it is perfectly normal for 12yo's to take the bus into town or to roam the neighbourhood- also plenty of outdoors activities available)

supposing his interest in the outdoors wanes with the onset of puberty- would there be enough to do in his Norwegian setting?

(my own memories of Scandinavian teens playing in here- a lot of the time it seemed to be a choice between drunken parties and loneliness; one thing I like about our current location is that theatre and volunteering with charities and sharing books with your friends are seen as normal and cool things for teens to do)

but most importantly- where do you want to grow old?

Cory there is lots to do in my home town, so I am not so concerned about that. Most of his friends and old classmates play football, taekwon do, basket ball, skiing, ice hockey, snowboarding, cross country skiing. They are very active. Yes it is true that a lot of teens drink, but they do so here too, but I'd say drugs (cocaine, legal highs) are the biggest danger locally.

My personal impression is that teens (not all) up there drink a fair bit if there is a party, so not every weekend. By the time they get to Uni, they are mostly done with this. There is a remarkable change between completing A levels in spring, and joining Uni in the automn. They seem to turn into intellectuals putting the world to right over herbal tea or beer, in all the local jaunts.

I am more scared of the British drinking culture where it is acceptable to drink almost daily, than indulging at the weekend.

When I came to UCL back in the dark ages I was shocked at how much my fellow students were drinking. I thought they behaved like young Norwegian teenagers, not students. 90% of them were out getting drunk every night. Maybe because this was their first taste of freedom?

But I should not generalize, and things might have changed in the last 20 odd years. I can only rationalize through my own experience and impressions, and would love to hear I am wrong...

cory Thu 16-Jan-14 11:17:11

Hard to gauge drinking, I suppose, probably a similar problem in both countries, just as you say at different ages.

What I did find, though, as a teen myself was that if you were not into sports and not into drinking there wasn't much of an alternative for the teen years. If you were an academic nerd or uncomfortable about your body you could end up very lonely.

I did notice that all the activities you mention are physical ones- what happens if he goes off sport in puberty? Not all that rare ime.

But I wouldn't let any of these considerations overshadow the main one: where do you want to settle down? He will soon be old enough to make his own choices- your choices, in a sense, are more long-lasting. I think they should take priority as long as they do not involve anything obviously unsettling, like moving half-way through his GCSE's, or moving every few years. Would agree with other posters that teens need more stability, so if you are going to move- do it now and then stay put.

TheLeftovermonster Fri 17-Jan-14 15:05:31

Lol, Cory - if he goes off sport at puberty, he'll just have to spend countless hours on the computer, like most other teens! (I've got one that does, and he hasn't even gone off sport yet!)

I'm not sure an international school in a university town can be considered an educational sacrifice. From what I've read about it here, it sounds pretty good.

Well, we did have a MAJOR meltdown here last night, where he was in tears saying that the school was too hard on him, only 3 teachers seem intent to help him actually learn, and that he was knackered with too much homework, and find it really hard to remember all his books and papers, he is not making friends (he has made some!) and can we please take him out of this school. hmm

I think he is just tired and overwhelmed, and to be honest, 3 teachers keen to help him learn is quite good. He was most impressed with his games teacher. He is not into rugby or football, but his teacher noticed him having problems passing during a game of rugby, so took him out and focused on passing just with him. He was very happy that he did this. His Ethics teacher was just telling him off for not debating well enough, rather than telling him how to debate better. However, he did tell me the other day that the same teacher had on the next lesson praised him for his good effort.

This is the first meltdown we have had since starting secondary, maybe it is normal?

TheLeftovermonster Fri 17-Jan-14 18:57:55

Not sure if normal, probably depends on the child. Is he prone to exagerating and dramatising things a bit?
Or does he seem genuinely unhappy?

Hope he feels better soon! Y7 is difficult, lots of new things and a lot more demanding than primary.

summerends Fri 17-Jan-14 22:00:01

Quintessential there are some DC who seem to 'feel' the knocks of life more than others, possibly because they are more emotionally sensitive or possibly they are good communicators, offloading those feelings to their nearest and dearest, their parents. I am wondering whether your DS1 is like that at and maybe when he says he has no friends, he has not got to the stage of friendships when he can truly relax and not worry about how he is perceived. It is quite tiring being 'on alert' all the time. I would just worry that he might also find it tough restarting the whole process again.

Loopytiles Sat 18-Jan-14 06:55:23

Hi quint. So you don't have family support in either place? Or firm job options? So it's really about where would be best for you all to be.

If your H sells the business, what kind of thing does he want to do, and are there more opportunities in London or Norway? If he doesn't sell the business, just employs someone, that will still be a challenge because he'll still be responsible for it overall, and it'd be more difficult to oversee from Norway.

Likewise, what do you want to do work-wise?

After all the drama the other day, ds1 called to say that he was going home with his friend after school yesterday. Happy as larry. He is a bit of a dramallama at times. It is true that he is very sensitive.

We have no family support here. Dhs has an aunt here, but we cant rely on her for any support. We also have dhs cousin, and younger brother with his dp and dd. But we are not close and there is no "support" in either of them.

I have family in Norway, and a large network of friends. Not just my friends, dhs friends too, as well as couples with children that we spend time with on outdoors activities, or dinners. I have aunts, an uncle, and cousins, and my dad.

Job prospects are worse there. There are fewer jobs that match dhs skill-sets (he is in IT), much fewer than London for sure. His difficulty will be the language. His Norwegian is good, but it is not fluent, and not business like.

I am currently doing an MBA, but will do any part time job until I have finished, or any full time job in my area that I find.

Leafmould Mon 20-Jan-14 00:12:02

Shooting pigeons: One thing I would say though is that mixed race friends do feel it is absolutely vital to have a national identity, and not feel you don't belong anywhere

This is really interesting,many is something that has recently occurred to me. Would you mind telling us more about your experiences? thanks

Leafmould Mon 20-Jan-14 00:13:22

P.s sorry about the hijack, quintessential.... I get the feeling from your posts that you are damned if you do and damned if you don't.... So I would follow your heart.

Leafmould - You are right about that! grin and brew

LibraryBook Thu 23-Jan-14 17:23:35

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

LibraryBook Thu 23-Jan-14 17:41:54

In the years we've lived here, we've (all of us, adults and children) made lots of friends, become part of a community, joined things, established family routines etc. Can't you inject some excitement into your life without roughing your life over entirely?

Growing up in London is an utter privilege: it's heaven for teenagers.

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