Being bi-cultural is wonderful, but it’s also challenging. Probably the biggest area of difficulty for a bi-cultural family is learning and maintaining both cultures. This becomes especially relevant when considering children’s education.
No matter how you slice it, educating kids in two languages and two educational systems is complicated. Home schooling has offered a legitimate and recognized alternative for U.S. based education, but most countries have strict, federally mandated school curriculum, and strictly controlled grade progression. If you leave this educational system, and then attempt to re-enroll your kids in it, well, let’s just say we did that once, and it was nightmarish. This requires creativity…and several hours recreating a quasi-official looking report card!
Some missionary families make ministry decisions heavily weighted towards educational options. It’s amazing how many missionaries feel called to a city that has an MK school!
Our family decided that our kids would go to Mexican school in Spanish through elementary school (here, that’s up to 6th grade). There are really no legitimate bi-lingual schools in our area. Seventh grade, for us, marked the beginning of all-English home school, using U.S. based materials. We use Alpha and Omega Switched-on Schoolhouse, along with Weaver High Way to Grammar (also available through AOP), liberally mixed with Khan Academy and other Internet-based resources (Purple Math, YouTube features like Smarter Every Day, NatGeo, etc… and, well, DudePerfect, why not!).
Khan Academy, by the way, is fantastic. If you haven’t investigated it, you should, even if you’re not in school!
We also keep reminding ourselves and our kids that their life experiences and the bilingual and bi-cultural nature of our existence is an education all by itself!