Immersion time! My homeschooler has agreed to try school in Mexico.

Big news! Today Scout is doing a trial day at a local Mexican school.

I am really excited about this. Part of the reason we’ve adopted this international lifestyle is so she can become fluent in another language. Or two.

So far Scout’s been taking Spanish lessons here (4x a week) with a fantastic teacher. She’s learned a lot and is very happy. But she’s not really immersed because she spends most of her day speaking English with Mark and me.

So her teacher recommended we put Scout in school.

It’s not like I hadn’t thought of this myself, but I had a few obstacles.

For one thing, Scout loves homeschooling. She’s an independent, creative, sophisticated thinker who loves learning but hates being taught, if you know what I mean. Her experiences with institutional learning have been underwhelming, to put it mildly.

When the idea was first floated, I doubted I could persuade my stubborn goat girl to try it.

Initially Scout was adamantly opposed to the idea, no surprise there, but we had a chat and I reminded her that there was no academic pressure (little perfectionist). It’s all about Spanish (and Mexican culture), and I don’t really care what else she picks up while she’s there. Any learning that happens besides Spanish is lagniappe. Algebra, biology, writing and other basics are being covered at home. Meeting local kids would be another bonus.

After a few weeks of pushing and prodding she finally agreed to visit. Be still my heart.

Scout checked out the school yesterday. It’s a private bilingual school from K – 6th. I’ve got reservations about a bilingual school (total immersion is better), but Scout’s only agreed because her teacher recommended this school in particular. At least the few gringo kids I saw were speaking Spanish with each other. A good sign. Classes are small and the little campus (really just a few buildings around a grassy lawn all surrounded by enormous walls) is cheerful and super secure. The principal and a teacher we met appeared to be warm, sensible and flexible. Half the day is taught in Spanish, the other half in English.

Scout liked the vibe and agreed to try it, though she was reluctant to commit to five days a week. Too many personal projects at home, she said. But eventually she came around.

This morning her dad and I dropped her off for her first official day and were pleased when she was instantly sucked into a whirlwind of friendly Mexican girls. They chatted in various degrees of English for while, but then Scout noticed Mark and I were still there and motioned for us to beat it. Okay, okay. Jeesh!

We still had some paperwork to do, so Mark and I skulked off and hid at the opposite end of the little campus while we waited for the administration office to open. Occasionally Scout would run by in a pack of kids. Then for a while they all hung out on the jungle gym, Scout perched on top, the others kids crowded below her. Everything was friendly and upbeat.

When the admin lady arrived after the bell rang, she told us that she’d been helping Scout get into her 6th-grade class group. (There are 11 others in the class). Apparently some of the 5th-grade girls got upset when they found out she wouldn’t be in their class. Sweet.

So we’re off and running. It was the most positive start imaginable. Send her some good vibes though, will you? My fingers are crossed that she likes it enough to continue.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lyndajo Thomas November 29, 2012 at 9:40 am

Vibes! Vibes! Vibes! Best wishes Emma & you, too wonderful Mom!

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2 Renee November 29, 2012 at 9:44 am

Cheers, Lyndajo. I appreciate that! 🙂

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3 Tom Medsger November 29, 2012 at 9:47 am

Hi, Renee, Mark and Scout,

Another good blog! I’m enjoying reading about your acceptance of and immersion in the Mexican ways, and now, with Scout in school, in the Spanish language. Learn it while you’re young! It gets harder when you’re older. Scout: ¡Buena suerte! ¡Disfrute de sus clases!

The last piece on tipping was essential also. Can’t wait to see you in February.

Best wishes, Tom

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4 Renee November 29, 2012 at 9:54 am

Thanks, Tom. I’m so excited for her to make Mexican friends.

Looking forward to February! 🙂

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5 Living Outside of the Box November 29, 2012 at 9:57 am

Yay, Scout! I hope she loves it and makes instant friends! There are many very friendly girls that age there–I hope it is a great fit!
Living Outside of the Box recently posted..Yi Peng Lantern Festival in Chiang MaiMy Profile

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6 Kirsty November 29, 2012 at 10:57 am

Sounds wonderful – is 6th grade her age then? I get confused with school years in my own country since they aren’t the same as when I grew up and we don’t really need to know, so I have a complete glazed look when I hear about US years!

Really hope it goes well.
Kirsty recently posted..Updated plansMy Profile

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7 Renee November 29, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Yes, it’s an age placement. I’d have been fine putting her into 5th grade, since Spanish is our only aim here, but the principal said there are a couple of English-fluent 5th grade girls and we thought Scout would rely on that too much. Hope it’s the right choice!

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8 Jennifer November 29, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Awesome! We felt exactly the same way with the French acquisition in France. The language was the most important to learn and everything else was gravy. The best result besides fluency was when our kids made life long friends there.
All the best to Scout!
Jenn

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9 Renee November 29, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Thanks so much Jenn. Your kids are a perfect example of the extreme benefits of 2nd-language immersion. They are AMAZING people and a major inspiration to us.

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10 Nancy Sathre-Vogel November 29, 2012 at 9:45 pm

YAY! I hope she makes some great friends in school.
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11 Clélie November 30, 2012 at 8:32 pm

How did it go? Tell us, tell us.

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12 Renee November 30, 2012 at 9:35 pm

I’m writing it up now!

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13 Clelie November 30, 2012 at 10:24 pm

Awesome. Hope she really enjoyed herself.

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14 Mark December 1, 2012 at 3:44 pm

She had a blast!

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