Out of the Box
Updated: Jun 15, 2020
We "cyber-schooled" our two teenage boys when we moved to Costa Rica. Initially, this was NOT the plan. Before we moved to Costa Rica, like most all parents that are planning to relocate to a different country, we researched all the schools in the area. Both public schools and private schools. After researching and doing our "due diligence" we decided on a private school for our 13 and 16 year old boys (at the time). After our move, the kids started school (about 15 minutes from our house), but we soon found out that the kids could not follow classes taught in Spanish and after about 6 months or so, we were forced to make a decision about their "schooling". Our oldest son was 2 years away from graduating high-school and wanted to make sure he could graduate on time (same year as his friends back in the USA). All the Spanish tutoring was not nearly enough to get them through translating their homework. We were stuck! There was no other school in the area that taught in English..YIKES!
So...here comes the "out of the box" thinking...
I found an accredited high-school that taught classes virtually!! Wow that was an amazing find (and not expensive at all).
As we switched both boys to "virtual high-school" they were really missing the social contact with friends and as parents we were really concerned with that. How would they ever make new friends in their new country?
Sitting at home with 2 teens doing virtual high-school was no small feat for a mom like me that had a "business plan" for their lives and this just did not fit in the model!
Here comes the second "out of the box idea" - If we are parents with kids that cannot go to a Costa Rican school, taught in Spanish, we cannot be the only ones....right? As we made friends in the community, we found more and more parents with kids in the exact same situation. So....I rented a commercial space in the center of town, got the best wifi I could get and opened a co-working space.
More and more kids came to the center with their own virtual schooling plans and homeschooling programs. We had a set schedule, (9 am - 2:30 pm), the teens (all between 13 and 18) did their schooling during our "quiet" time, they had breaks and lunch together, helped each other if someone was "stuck". I was lucky enough to work remotely at the time and was the "supervisor" making sure they stayed on their individual tasks (and off social media, YouTube and Netflix while they were supposed to learn). This was a win-win for everyone!! At one point, we had 13 teens who came every day. Some were full-time residents of Costa Rica, some were here for a year on a sabbatical with their family, some were just passing through for a few months. We all made lifelong friends and the kids all got through their schooling.
some of our teens posing for a pic ...and this is what it was really like :-)
We arranged "after school activities" as well. They all went surfing, chilling on the beach, went to the movie theatre, ...and we even had outings with all the parents