What is the name of your child's school? (Please report on one school per survey.)
In what town or city is this school located?
How would you describe this school? (i.e. American, British, International, Local, etc.)
Whatever you make it.
What grade levels are represented at this school?
Whatever levels need to be.
How do most children get to school everyday? (bus, train, walk, etc.)
My children walk down the stairs and into our school room. Your children's commute may differ.
How would you describe the facilities at this school? What extra-curricular activities are available?
The facilities vary according to what village you live in. In our village, there is a pool, tennis courts, basketball courts, several parks, and lots of bike lanes. There is a club you can join as a family with additional facilities, but we have decided not to due to the cost.
Extra-curriculars will also vary by location. We have access to language and instrument tutors who will come to our house and charge about half the price of tutors in the US. For a time, one daughter had a speech therapist who would come to our house for about $20 a session. Academic tutors are available at a mall right outside of our village gates. There are soccer, basketball, volleyball, rugby, and dressage teams inside the village, and others available at a lower cost in the surrounding area. Community theater and choir groups are also available in some areas. Availability and quality of libraries is highly variable, but there are used bookstores in almost every mall that generally have a good selection for cheap.
What has this school done to help your child transition from the curriculum in your home
country into the curriculum in your new country? Are there programs to prepare your child for repatriation?
Because we were homeschooling before our move, we simply continued with what we were doing before hand. We took about 4 months off, total, to account for the preparation, execution, and settling in. In the Philippines, most, if not all, of the textbooks used in the schools here are available at National Bookstore and are fairly inexpensive. For parents looking to do a school-at-home version of homeschooling, it is a great resource, as some of them are texts used in the US but printed cheaply for the Philippines market. Also, parents could enroll their children in online classes, or seek out a curriculum-in-a-box system. Prices vary for these all-inclusive systems, but at about $600 a year, they are far cheaper than the cost of local private schools.
Because we plan to homeschool through high school, there is no concern for repatriation issues, but those who will return their children to a group schooling setting after they return to their home country should check with the local school to see what expectations they have. If you do not know the specific school, then you could check with the general area's Department of Education.
How would you describe the social activities available for parents through this school? Are there parent-teacher organizations?
There are some local support groups for homeschoolers, but as it is still fairly rare to homeschool (or do home study as it's called here) in the Philippines, usually these groups are just active online on Facebook or yahoo groups. We have 2 expat families within a mile of us who homeschool, though, and there used to be more, but they've moved in the last few months. Getting together for play-dates and field trips are a great way to let the kids spend time together while you get some mom-to-mom time. :)
What advice would you give to someone considering enrolling their child in this school?
Homeschooling can test your patience at first, but you will soon fall into a routine. Many homeschoolers are amazed at how much closer they are to their children. Socialization is sometimes voiced as a concern, but despite the stereotypes of homeschoolers, I've found homeschooled children to be far more well-adjusted than children who are stuck in a room with 30 other children their same age, 5 days a week. If you're not a geeky lady who wears floor length skirts and has braids down to her butt, then your kids likely won't be either. If you are, then you probably won't mind if your kids are, too.
In the Philippines, women who are the trailing spouse and unable to work often end up drifting with nothing to do. This is the perfect opportunity to give your children a quality education and spend some time bonding with them while you still have them around, not to mention that you can help them fully embrace the culture and landscape around them in this beautiful country!