Will my children benefit from studying 3 weeks in a school overseas with their second language

(12 Posts)
Luna9 Sat 06-Jan-18 11:24:56

I have been thinking on going to my home country for 7 weeks during the summer holidays and get my daughters into a primary school there for 3 weeks so they can practice their second language. They are not very keen but I think it would be a great experience for them and will help them improve their second language. Ideally I wanted longer but it is so difficult to coordinate holidays, schools, work, etc and oldest doesn't want to miss the last year of primary in the UK with her friends as they will be going to different secondary schools.

What are people opinions/experience?

OP’s posts: |
reluctantbrit Sat 06-Jan-18 11:54:48

I think you may find it difficult to get a school to agree to it.

Friends did it with their son when he was in secondary school but it was for 2 months with the agreement of his school and he went to a private school, not a state one in his mother’s home country.

He enjoyed it but was very amused over the different teaching styles.

We sent out DD last Summer for one week to a residential pony holiday camp in our home country. She loved it and her German def improved significantly. We will do it again in 2019. She was just 10 and it did also wonder for her independence.

Kokeshi123 Sat 06-Jan-18 12:08:42

I know a lot of people who have done this for their kids' English (I live overseas in a non-English-speaking country). It can be a great experience, but it tends to work better when the kids are on board with it. Would your kids be open to bribes or persuasion?

Another option could be to look at holiday clubs/holiday childcare or summer camps, as these would be open for a longer period of time, and might be more enticing for your kids, especially if you could find a camp or club that matches with their interests (sports, drama, crafts, outdoor stuff, whatever). Is it mostly your kids' spoken language or written/academic stuff that you want to work on?

SandLand Sat 06-Jan-18 12:15:50

I agree, summer camps (fun, sports, dance, camping, multiactivity, not language aquisition as the primary aim) in the language may be a better bet. Mine dont retain much language, as we struggle to maintain it after a trip away - you can see the benefit after a trip, but it deteriorates over the next 2 years til we can get back (we have 4 languages, 3 "alphabets" to juggle between school and home)

DunnoWhy Sat 06-Jan-18 12:36:15

Do you live in a major city? Does your home country embassy run weekend schools in the UK in your mother tongue, for the kids like yours?

In London where we live, I know at least four different nationalities' embassies either run weekend schools in their own country's curriculum (compact) or approve such schools run by some other organisations so kids get approved diploma from that state.

Kids vary from primary school age to GCSE level and they learn/practice the language as well as other curriculum subjects and they are free (the ones i know of).

It's usually on Saturdays half day but might be different for different nations. Would this apply to you?

Also an au-pair or part time helper in holidays from your country purely for language practice.

Also getting dvds in your original language in their favourite films-subjects.

lovelyjubilly Sat 06-Jan-18 12:43:00

How old are your DC?

In my experience, the summer holidays are so important for children in terms of having a rest and recharging. I can understand why they're not keen on spending half of it at school!
Why not just treat it as a holiday and an opportunity to teach them about the culture. You may find that by doing this they learn to love it and would be more open to pursuing the language in the future.

user1475317873 Sat 06-Jan-18 12:56:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.


DunnoWhy Sat 06-Jan-18 13:20:29

The embassy approved schools have the same holiday timetable as the UK schools afaik. So when it's summer holiday for majority of the UK schools, or when it's Easter - Christmas break for instance, these schools stop too. In that sense summer holidays might not be suitable time for embassy approved weekend schools, but, i might be wrong.

Mamabear12 Sat 06-Jan-18 17:41:11

Can you get them a spot for 7 weeks? If yes, I would definitely do this. It is the best way for them to progress/retain a second language. I have been doing a lot of research into this and children speak mostly when they have a need. So for example to communicate to other children when playing etc. Also, have you thought of getting an au pair from your country to live with you for a month or more? We got a summer au pair and my daughter was fluent in French after. This is after going to bilingual school for 6 months and we wanted the au pair to speak to her in French to keep up with what she learned, as we are not French speakers ourselves.

reluctantbrit Sat 06-Jan-18 22:04:45

DunnoWhy - I can’t imagine this works everywhere. In Germany Summer School holidays are staggered, it can be anything from mid June to mid September depending on the state. We were in Bavaria once end of July and the host daughter was still at school and once in the North where the children went back beginning of August.

Luna9 Sun 07-Jan-18 08:03:18

Thank you very much. This is very helpful.

We live in London, children are 10 and 7. It is something I always have wanted to do but it will mean taking them out of school and getting permission from their current school or doing it during the summer holiday and they have to sacrifice some of the holiday which does seem unfair. I thought this will be the perfect year to do it before kids move into secondary and junior school but oldest one doesn't want to miss anything from school plus there is SATS this year. She doesn't even want to miss the t-shirt signing the last week of school.

I have emailed a school in my home country to check if they would take them as they do go back middle of August. I have also emailed my Embassy to check if they know of any programs in my home country. Oldest one speak second language already as family doesn't speak English. An au pair is an option but we don't have a lot of space.

I am thinking that perhaps the summer camp will be the easiest option.

OP’s posts: |
LinoleumBlownapart Sun 07-Jan-18 09:49:11

I live abroad and my kids are at a small school, one boy from the US stays every July with his grandad, who is great friends with the head teacher. He's been coming to the school every July since he was 3. At first he didn't speak, would only respond in English and had to be moved into one of my son's classes as he got upset. At about 5 he had a better experience, last year he was talking away in the local language which he's never done before, he's 7. So I would say it depends on the age and if the children can speak as well as understand the language. It is beneficial.

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