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International school from a Midwest point of view |

International school daze

One of the most frequent questions I get asked from friends back home is: how are the kids liking and adjusting to school?

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The short answer? Really well. So well. They are thriving, making tons of friends, and getting involved in after-school activities.

But there’s always a longer answer.

So for those interested, I’ll break it down in more detail per child. Given we just moved from your average Midwest public system to a private international school in Europe, there might be some difference. Just maybe.

Our day starts around 8:10am when we walk down our long driveway en route to school. We’re extremely fortunate to live within walking distance to campus, which incidentally was the top selling point to the house (other than the windmill view from the kitchen sink).

We can be on school grounds in just a few hops skips and jumps, and I get a mile or two worth of exercise every morning thanks to the commute. Because if you’ve ever lived in Europe, you know the croissant struggle is real. And yes we have to walk passed a patisserie (aka fresh bread shop!) to get to school every morning.

And I was foggy rather groggy.

Piper: Piper is a fourth grader this year, in an English speaking classroom. In Indy, she attended a school for high ability students, so she is used to the bar being set exceptionally set. As far as I can tell, she’s doing really well at the new school and loving everything. Truth: I’m not surprised at all. Our main struggle is finding her enough English written books to read, as she doesn’t love her kindle, something I can sympathies with. After school she’s learning how to play soccer and will finally start violin lessons next week, something she’s really enjoyed back home thanks to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Youth Orchestra.

 Nola: Nola is in the 2nd grade, and enrolled in a dual-language classroom. This means that every Monday, Wednesday and 1/2 of Friday her day is spoken exclusively in French. Even if she goes to a “special” like PE or art, it’s all in French. Also, half her homework is in French. Needless to say, we’ve had some challenging moments at home with getting through homework and then anxiety for the coming day. I’m so very proud of her and her continued French comprehension. Nola has also been loving after school art club and has join an international chapter of Girl Scouts Brownies. She’s adorable and I can’t wait for her to start selling Thin Mints.

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Gage: Gage is in a dual language pre-k program. He goes 5 days a week, from 8:30am – 3:30pm. And for someone who’s never been in school, he’s surviving. One thing I regret about our previous year in Indiana was not sending him to preschool. He basically went from being home with me full time to going to school full time. I’ll be honest here, group settings for him have been a learning experience. You can’t kick friends. Personal space is a real thing. But for someone who’s never gone to school and then the first experience the teacher is speaking a foreign language, I’m proud of him.

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Me & Paul: With the big kids in school, Paul and I are hanging out just the two of us for one more year. Come next September, baby Paul will be enrolled in school just like his siblings (Europeans start em’ early), so the time right now is super sweet. We fill our days with figuring out the lay of the land, and sometimes just trying to run a few simple errands can take all day. I’ve recently started French lessons which is basically the hardest thing I’ve ever tried, but am committed to sticking with it. Soon I hope to join an American women’s club so the two of us can make friends and get involved.

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 Overall, we’re doing good. We are being stretched and challenged every single day in ways I would have never dreamed, and becoming incredibly flexible in the process. There are extreme highs, and there are moments of low low low.

And really, isn’t that the bones to any good adventure?





  1. Kids are amazing. Such good opportunities and experiences for them.
    Learning French as an adult though? Can not even imagine. I took 2 (3?) years in High School and the only thing I remember is that my in-class name was “Danielle”. I don’t remember anything else at all. So kudos to you!
    chrisgharmon recently her own time


  2. Wow, Emily. What an *amazing* adventure! I love reading your posts and seeing your pics via Twitter…so cool! Blessings to you and your family!


  3. I was so happy to read this update! I’ve been wondering how the kids were faring. What kind of books does Piper like to read? Maybe we could put together a little package for her. Email me & let me know!
    Nichole recently posted..What we’re eating this week


  4. You don’t have to answer this, but I’m wondering if pre-school is government subsidized or if you pay for it?
    Erin recently posted..Golden Tote November Review


  5. I have no idea how much it would cost for us to mail Piper some books but Anna has so many that would be perfect for her! Or I’ll start a GoFundMe for her. 🙂
    Cherie Lowe recently posted..byTavi Give Away PLUS Black Friday Deals


  6. You must be extremely proud of those kids! It’s incredible to watch their transformation into little global citizens. I hope you find the women’s club to be a good outlet. One of my closest friends here just moved to theUK from Waterloo, belgium and she said the women’s club was key to get happiness. And I had a little sympathetic chuckle at errands that take all day. Ain’t that the truth.
    nicole Wiltrout recently posted..Postcards from the Lake District: Wray Castle


  7. Kristina C. says:

    As a teacher this was so wonderful to read. Such a great read. It makes me happy that they are enjoying school and making new friends.


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