If you are in the unique position of having the opportunity to move to Mexico with your school age children, you have two main options: You may send your children to local private schools or you may home school. In both scenario’s, a tutor is also recommended to assist in language barrier learning issues.
Most expat children, along with middle to upper class Mexican children, go to private school. Private schools tend to be smaller in size, have a better curriculum and are taught bilingually. Since Mexican families want their children to learn English, at least half of the day is typically taught in English.
The pro’s of sending your children to a private school are that your children will be socialized with other children from not only Mexico, but around the globe! They will be immersed in the Spanish language in the classroom and at recess and their friend’s homes. They will have the opportunity to learn the nuances of Spanish in jokes and slang more easily and quickly!
The challenge of private school is that your children are going to be taught in Spanish half the day which means they could fall behind in those subjects until they become fluent. To help in these subject areas, consider hiring a tutor to make sure they are keeping up with course work and not falling behind. To find tutor, check with your local library or community center for postings.
If you choose to send your children to a private school in Mexico, make sure the school accredited through the Ministry of Public Education (SEP). Accreditation of private schools is accomplished by a mandatory approval and registration with SEP. You can search SEP to see if your private school is registered. If your children decide to go to college in Mexico or the U.S., they will need to have graduated from an accredited school.
The Association of American Schools in Mexico is one association in Mexico with U.S. accepted accreditation. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), the International Baccalaureate Certificate or the University of Cambridge Program are all accredited programs as well.
Depending on your child’s age, the cost of tuition is generally about $150 to $300 a month per child for tuition, plus registration fees, school supplies, uniforms, and other incidentals.
Before you move, make sure you go to the state you are from and find out the home school laws. You will need to become familiar with the laws, filing requirements, record-keeping expectations and other regulations of your state. Each state has their own laws ranging in levels of strictness. Check with the HSLDA.org, where you can become familiar with the specific laws, filing requirements, record-keeping expectations and other regulations in your area.
Before You Move
Before you move, make a planned trip back to Mexico to visit some accredited schools in your area. Ask what documents they will need to have your children enrolled such as transcripts, original birth certificates, vaccinations, ect.
If you intend to home school, give yourself plenty of time to get familiar with home schooling rules and regulations and gather up all the materials you are going to need if you go this route.
Try to find local tutoring resources in your area and meet with them before your move. Not only will you have a better connection before you get here, they will also be able to give you some real insights into the school system you may not learn elsewhere!