EDUCATION: An Int’l School for Largo


Largo in front of his international French school in Costa Rica

Hola friends. I am sure by now you are wondering what we have done with Largo and his education. He is being educated out in the wild by the parrots and howler monkeys. It is amazing how much he has learned about swinging from the vines and eating banana’s (wink, wink).

Ok, let’s get serious.

If you read this post about Avalon you know that she is being World/Home Schooled in Costa Rica. If you guessed that Largo is on a different path then you are correct! Gold star for everyone. Do I sound like a teacher? I have been practicing for two months now with Avalon. Ha!

Avalon is a fluent French speaker because of her years in an International School in Boston. We believe that Largo should be offered the same opportunity to become fluent in his second language. In order for him to do this it is necessary for Largo to remain in a brick & mortar French school for several more years. The French school will give him the opportunity to develop a greater understanding of the writing/grammar part of the language that we are unable to help him with. After a couple more years we will entertain World/Home Schooling for him as well, if he is interested.

So, where is Largo? He is attending an International School here in Costa Rica. Largo is taught mostly in French with approximately five hours a week in Spanish instruction. Music, art and gym are also taught in Spanish. Not only does he get the French, but he is learning Spanish at the same time. Wait, what about English? Unfortunately he only gets one hour of English a week, but honestly it does not bother us. We can help him with English at home and during his break we plan to work through the grammar necessary for his grade level.

Unfortunately, at this time I cannot give a detailed description of life at school because we have been only been here a short time. What I can tell you is that the school year here is a little different from the US and Largo will be on his two month break in two weeks. He is pretty darn excited since he only started school seven weeks ago and now it is summer break. When he goes back to school in February I will give you a full update on life at his school, plus I will interview him about the similarities and difference between here and his school in Boston.

I do have a couple of stats and tidbits to report thus far:

  • Even thought it is an International French school the student body is actually 80% Costa Rican, there is a very small expat community. The expat population is made up of citizens from France, other French-speaking countries and miscellaneous (this is where we fit it). As far as I know there is only one other family in which both of the parents come from the US.
  • The president of Costa Rica sends his daughter to this school. He actually drops her off in the morning and I see him quite often. How is that for a cool dad?
  • Each classroom has between 23-25 students in it. This is larger than what we are used to from our previous school and not one of my favorite stats about the school.
  • They wear uniforms. I only mention this because Avalon was incredibly jealous, she has always wanted to wear a uniform to school. As a result, she decided to design a uniform for her World/Home Schooling. Largo is less than impressed with having to wear a uniform.
  • The teachers are made up of public and private school teachers even though it is a private, tuition based school.
  • They start the overnight trips for kids early here. I know Avalon did not go on her first overnight field trip in the US until 4th grade. Largo had been at this school for two weeks and he had an overnight trip. I think it is great for the kids and it was an amazing opportunity for Largo to exercise his independence. They were a bit freaked out by his night terrors though.
  • The girls in Costa Rica really, REALLY like (maybe too much) our Largo. A girl professed her love for Largo on day one, in front of the entire class. Then she decided she would become his own personal tutor for Spanish for the remainder of the year. I have a feeling her and her buddy are the two girls waiting for Largo each morning when I drop him off. Might be time to have “The Talk” with him. Ha.
  • The school takes on a more European (as opposed to American) approach with the parent and teacher interaction (less communication between the two). I have to admit that this aspect has been challenging considering we came in at the end of the school year and I don’t speak the language.
  • There is a large part of the student body that takes the bus to school. I have been told that some of them spend up to 1.5 hours a day (each way) on the bus to school. I guess I should not complain about my 15 minute drive.
  • We have not tried the hot lunch yet. It is $3.00 per lunch which I think is pricey and I have heard it is extremely unhealthy. I am sure we will give it a try at some point, but for now we make it every morning.
  • School starts and ends a lot earlier than we are used to. I feel like we just finish lunch at home and it is time to go pick up Largo. We are still trying to get in a groove with the early rising thing.
  • All of Largo’s friends at school speak French and Spanish. Largo is still learning Spanish so his friends have been kind enough to speak French with him even though Spanish is their native language. I think this says a lot about their level of compassion for the new kid on the block. I do hope they switch to Spanish soon so he can learn the language quicker.
  • Largo goes to school with his travel day pack and it is plenty big for his books and lunch. Most of the other kids have bags the size of travel suitcases with wheels and lunch boxes that attach to them. I am not sure why they need such big bags, but my guess it that they are having several meals/snacks on the long bus ride. Plus, maybe they take some toys or something to do on the bus.
  • Largo has mentioned that he misses singing in chorus and all the singing they did in music at his previous school. Plus, he thinks that there is not enough outside recess time. I hope this improves now that the weather is getting nicer outside.

I will be posting about the children and their school situations more on the blog as developments occur. I hope you have enjoyed learning about why we chose separate education paths for the AvaLar crew. At this point we are very happy with our decision and we will re-evaluate as time goes on. If at some point one of the situations is not working anymore then we will adjust it to meet their needs. I always say that their education path is something we take year by year as they change and grow.

I want to thank you for following us and sharing our story. We have seen in increase in traffic and GGG FB page LIKES since we moved here. Thank you.

Go out and have an adventure.

Have a great day.


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