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"After-schooling" in English

"After-schooling" in English

Old Mar 21st 2017, 11:58 am
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Default "After-schooling" in English

We’re relocating to Spain, as my wife is Spanish and I am retired. Although not the typical retirement situation, we have young children. We are hoping to get the kids into a colegio concertado, and my wife has done a lot of spade work on that matter, including visiting a number of them. I am American and we currently live in the US (you Brits are more accomplished expats, and are way more established in Spain, hence my posting here). The kids are dual citizens and fluent in both languages but still young.

My question is whether you can have the best of both worlds – Spanish-language local schooling but also development of native-level English reading, writing, and speaking skills. In the US, homeschooling is widespread, along with a large resource base of materials, and there’s even the concept of “after-schooling,” where you supplement regular schooling in areas you find lacking. However, there’s only so much capacity for learning and work, and if the concertados have a heavy homework load, that could be a problem.

I am not concerned about the kids being fluent speakers of English, as long as I am in the picture. What I concerned about is that they will not have developed that fully native English language capability that comes from being taught all subjects in English (even subjects like math and science), from being taught to write in English, and from being taught English-language literature. I would like the kids to have the option to have university/career/life either in Spain or in the English speaking world, as they choose. We know about several of the British schools in Madrid and are considering that option, but they are significantly more expensive (not subsidized) and will short us on the Spanish side of things.

Has anyone had any practical experience with this? I have found surprisingly little on this point on forums (not just this one). The closest I have found on this forum is this: http://britishexpats.com/forum/spain...chools-883010/. Pretty much everything else I have read, including all those books about “finding the good life” in Spain, focus on the ability of the kids to adapt to their new language. something that is not a concern in my situation.

This is intended to be a permanent move but of course you never really know. Thus, we aren’t looking to keep on an American school track so that they can get back into the system is a few years. We would, however, like them to have a good shot at US or UK universities if that is what they choose. For the US system, that means being able to score high on the SAT.

Thanks.
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Old Mar 21st 2017, 12:33 pm
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Default Re: "After-schooling" in English

Hi and a warm welcome to the Spanish forum on BE. Myself and Fred James are the moderators for the Spanish forums whilst BEVS moderates Europe. Moderators are there to ensure that the site runs smoothly within the rules of BE. This is so that members gain the information that they are looking for and find their experiences on the forums to be friendly and worthwhile.

Problems and complaints should always be addressed to a moderator who will look into the matter and deal with it efficiently and fairly. Our members who post in the Spain Forums are usually friendly and helpful with a wealth of knowledge about the issues of living in Spain. I hope that you enjoy your time participating in the forums.

Please let me know if you need any further help.

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Old Mar 21st 2017, 1:19 pm
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Default Re: "After-schooling" in English

Hi. We have sent our children to after school English academy taught by natives. They are taking all the Cambridge exams which means that they will be accepted at UK universities. This addresses the problem about access but not subject specific English. My sister is a Vice Dean at a university in the UK and a for a few years was in charge of international recruitment. She told us to make sure the children remained fluent English readers and speakers and to get their C1 qualification in English. Apparently international students are usually offered a few weeks of extra teaching in the subject specific vocabulary for their course. At home we speak English and if we are helping with homework we discuss in both languages, however although the children know they could go to the UK for further education they are both really concerned about whether they would be able to keep up educationally in English. My oldest speaks, writes and reads both languages equally as she had 5 years of UK education. My youngest s educational language is Spanish and his English writing can be a bit dodgy. Sending them to an after school native academy means that they had a wider range of native speakers to interact with and also that they took learning English grammar seriously. As they got older they did not want to do extra English with mum and dad certainly not writing and grammar to pass exams! My husband and I both teach English at private academies and among the teachers with children the general consensus is speaking and listening is easy and something that can be practiced at home, its the academic grammar that they need to learn to be able to manage in an English speaking university that is difficult to manage at home especially once they hit teens.
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Old Mar 21st 2017, 2:32 pm
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Default Re: "After-schooling" in English

That's my biggest concern -- academic grammar. If they want careers in the English speaking world, they need to be able to write like a native English speaker (OK, maybe not if they go into engineering, where even native English speakers tend not to write well!*). One thing I know we will need to do is keep them covered up in English-language books; nothing teaches good grammar like good writing.

* I am an engineer myself.
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Old Mar 21st 2017, 3:27 pm
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Default Re: "After-schooling" in English

What about a bilingual school? One that teaches in English and Spanish? There must be some in Madrid and maybe even ones that are concertados.

We are in a similar situation as you. I am American and my wife is Spanish. We have a daughter who is completely bilingual, but would want her to keep up with her English grammar, etc. if we ever decide to move to Spain.

Here is one school that we ran across: https://www.st-patricks.com/en. Although it is in San Sebastian, it is a concertado. There must be something similar in Madrid.

Have you also checked out American schools in Madrid. I know there is at least one.

- Eric S.
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Old Mar 21st 2017, 3:42 pm
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Default Re: "After-schooling" in English

Originally Posted by Eric S View Post
What about a bilingual school? One that teaches in English and Spanish? There must be some in Madrid and maybe even ones that are concertados.

We are in a similar situation as you. I am American and my wife is Spanish. We have a daughter who is completely bilingual, but would want her to keep up with her English grammar, etc. if we ever decide to move to Spain.

Here is one school that we ran across: https://www.st-patricks.com/en. Although it is in San Sebastian, it is a concertado. There must be something similar in Madrid.

Have you also checked out American schools in Madrid. I know there is at least one.

- Eric S.
Both my sons went to an "English" school in Madrid but the playground language was Spanish so they got the right mix, correct grammatical english in the classroom and fluent Spanish out of hours. Now, as adults, they speak and write excellent English but have not forgotten their Spanish and have a much better accent than I do.
There are several schools to chose from check out International Schools in Madrid on the web
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Old Mar 21st 2017, 4:57 pm
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Default Re: "After-schooling" in English

The American School of Madrid seems to be designed for American expats who are planning to return into the American system, and also seems to be priced for expats with a "package." We are looking at one dual language program but it's at private school pricing. I was exploring whether the afterschooling concept in the US would give us the best of both worlds, but take the point that your kids can end up resenting writing and grammar homework in the evening.
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Old Mar 23rd 2017, 10:20 am
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Default Re: "After-schooling" in English

Hi

My two are at the local schools which are taught in Catalan I do try to keep their standards of levels up through reading and talking with them as to university entrance I think that when they are older, only 10 and 12 at the mo, I will get them to do either a cambridge or trinty cert which will ensure their level of english is high enough as to the other subjects for example the level of maths is so much higher than the uk i think they will have to problem as long as they pass their baculareate . Most kids do repaso classes after school so iam sure your wont mind a bit of after schooling
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Old Mar 23rd 2017, 10:30 am
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Default Re: "After-schooling" in English

Originally Posted by Zuco View Post
Hi

My two are at the local schools which are taught in Catalan I do try to keep their standards of levels up through reading and talking with them as to university entrance I think that when they are older, only 10 and 12 at the mo, I will get them to do either a cambridge or trinty cert which will ensure their level of english is high enough as to the other subjects for example the level of maths is so much higher than the uk i think they will have to problem as long as they pass their baculareate . Most kids do repaso classes after school so iam sure your wont mind a bit of after schooling
I would suggest that you get them to do the Cambridge certification because that is recognised and accepted all over the world whereas the Trinity certification is only recognised fully in Spain.

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Old Mar 23rd 2017, 11:12 am
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Default Re: "After-schooling" in English

Has anyone used a homeschooling approach to the English language issue? I hate to wade into that one, as there are entire industries built up around supplying homeschoolers with course materials in the US, and it's kind of overwhelming (and not cheap). I don't mean homeschool the kids outright, I mean homeschool them in the limited area of English in the evenings.

I was not familiar with the Cambridge and Trinity certifications, so thanks for that.
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Old Mar 23rd 2017, 12:08 pm
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Default Re: "After-schooling" in English

The English mine study at school is far more gramatically based than the English they were taught in the uk.. I would personally see how they get on first at school without trying to do any extra schooling at home...But perhaps later you could look into following some type of course they could do at home They might prefer to study at university in spain, which has some really good universities
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Old Mar 26th 2017, 12:17 am
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Default Re: "After-schooling" in English

I am English with a Spanish wife, and with 2 young children (4 and 7) attending a bilingual concertado in Madrid. Provided you are prepared to put in a bit of effort at home then yes you can have the best of both worlds. I speak to my kids only in English, make sure the TV is only in English (very easy these days with digital TV), read to them in English, and occasionally download an English educational apps for them. Really I don't do more than most parents do, I just do it in English.

At school half their lessons are taught in English (albeit by a none native teacher). So altogether they get a big enough dollop of English each day for them to have native English without the need to send them to an International/British school, or to give them extra classes. In fact there probably aren't any English classes available that would be to a high enough standard for my kids to really benefit from them.

On top of that, my 7 year old does Kumon (maths and reading) in English via correspondence, and that has really taken his English to a very high level. I wouldn't say Kumon is particularly necessary though, we only put him on it because he had problems concentrating, however the extra boost to his English was a welcome side-effect.

I do know of a few Americans in Madrid who set up some kind of homeschooling cooperative, but I'm not sure how this fits in with Spanish schooling (or Spanish law for that matter). Personally I don't know enough about home schooling to really comment, but I'm happy with the local Spanish school my kids go to (and the fantastic social life that comes with it).
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Old Mar 26th 2017, 3:12 am
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Default Re: "After-schooling" in English

We simply aren't finding concertados in Madrid that teach half in English (maybe they're just not in the area we are looking in). What most schools mean when they say "bilingual" is 3-4 hours per week of instruction in English, which I consider to be inconsequential.

Thanks for the idea about Kumon. I hadn't been aware of this company.

The homeschooling that I was thinking of is really "after-schooling", where the kids attend a regular school but take on additional work in their spare time, if indeed they have any spare time. I have no intention of homeschooling the kids within the American meaning of that term, if that is even legal in Spain. I read Kumon to be supplemental education, not primary.
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Old Mar 26th 2017, 2:57 pm
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Default Re: "After-schooling" in English

Here's a list of bilingual concertados in Madrid:

Colegios privados concertados del municipio de Madrid que imparten enseñanza bilingüe español-inglés. Curso 2015-2016 - Ayuntamiento de Madrid

There are also many bilingual state schools in Madrid as well, and some of them are very good, indeed better than many concertados (which can be a bit traditional, and many are staunchly Catholic). What might also be of interest is that some state schools operate an intensive timetable, whereby the pupil attends from about 9 am to 2.30 pm, with a small break. Then they are free to go home for the rest of the day, giving them more time to do after school activities (such as English, if you choose).

BTW The bilingual program was introduced in Spain a bit over 10 years ago IIRC. The aim was to teach some subjects in English because it was believed children learn languages better that way, rather than have them just sitting in language classes. It is an official program that schools sign up to, and they usually involve having classroom assistants who are native English speakers. It has been controversial in some respects, but Spain really needed to address the fact that children were leaving schools unable to speak English.

That said, some schools still call themselves bilingual just because they offer a few hours of classes of English per week, so you do have to check whether they are on the official bilingual program.

Yes Kumon is very much a supplement, designed to reinforce core maths and language skills through repetitive drills. It's a huge global franchise, quite expensive for what it is, and I doubt it suits many children. So I'd say it is something to be aware of rather than something to defintely go for. It has benefited our 7 year old though.
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Old Dec 17th 2017, 10:56 pm
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Default Re: "After-schooling" in English

My wife (English) is a teacher in the state system west of Madrid and several schools she has been at have gone bilingual over recent years. Several of our children have been through the schools she's worked in but they have all also spent time in concertado and British schools.

The older ones have also spent time tutoring younger children in English in specific subjects, sometimes arranged through their schools or more informally through contacts. That may be an option if you can find older students available.

The oldest boy is now doing Engineering at Oxford and there are several friends of his doing different subjects there having had similar diverse schooling experiences in the Madrid area. We put them through their final years in the British system in Spain (Hastings and The English Montessori) in order to get a mix of Spanish and British qualifications (GCSE & A levels), so the balance seems to work.

The oldest lad has also worked for online tutoring companies working with children elsewhere in the world, so that may also be an out-of-hours option for you.

I'm happy for you to contact me for more info.
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