About half way through the year, we, as parents, were finally “used to” the new school, along with all the lessons (from trial and error) that I shared with you in the last post (if you didn’t read it, go back and catch up!). However, we weren’t too sure that CJ was “used to” the new school yet.
As I said, our expectations were now based on effort versus grades, and effort can be something very hard to judge. But what became pretty apparent, very early, to us, to him, and to the school was that there was no way he was going to pass the classes in Spanish without some help. Luckily the school had a tutor program that they could place him in that would re-teach all of the classes in Spanish, in English. And help him learn his Spanish along the way. Of course, this was an extra fee each month, but it was definitely worth it. Looking back, I wish we would have added an after school Spanish tutoring class too, but remember, we were still adjusting to all of the new school “stuff” as well and adding a trip back to Puerto Adventuras every day to pick him up, after we had just found transportation to do that after school, seemed a little daunting. Yes, I know, it was selfish. Sort of. Being in Mexico isn’t easy. And with Britt being gone half the year, that leaves just me to take care of everything. And working full time doesn’t leave an extra hour in the day to do this… so we blindly hoped that he would be okay with just the tutoring class that was during school hours.
After we figured out the language barrier issue, things went pretty smoothly. He was making friends, he was getting out of the house, he wasn’t hating it – like he hated homeschool – and he was learning Spanish, something we had been trying to do since we decided to move and he was easily picking it up during his school day. We finally all felt “settled” in our new daily routine. And the best thing about our daily routine? Was that after school and work was over, we could still walk outside and instantly be on vacation!
So If I could stress one, and only one thing, about sending your child to school in Mexico – even an International school where they speak English – is to LEARN SPANISH. This has time and time again been the hurdle between great grades, confidence, communication, and overall happiness with the transition. I mean, being a teenager is tough enough. Living in a foreign country is tough enough. Why make things harder if you don’t have to?
Anyway, that about sums up his first year. Lots of learning curves, lots of new experiences, equal amounts of aggravation, struggles, joy, and laughter. And he passed. With a B average. So in the long run, he still had his “good grades”.
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