Going to live in Mexico is an exciting adventure. But when you have children, the issue of schooling very quickly creeps up on you and you need to know what your options are so that you can provide them with the best-quality education you can. That’s why I wrote this expat’s guide to schooling options in Mexico.
I lived in Mexico with my two children for five years. When I moved, I wasn’t sure how long we would be staying, so the main issue for me was making sure that I provided them with an education that would be recognized back in the U.S., if or when I chose to move back.
As an expat, I had several choices: I could send my children to public, private or international schools or homeschool them. The discrepancy between the social classes is notable in the Mexican education system, and for me, it was about finding a balance between exposure to the Mexican culture and language and good-quality education.
Public Schooling Option
Public schools are free and secular in Mexico. They are only really an option if your child is truly bilingual, as most of the education is taught only in Spanish. Another downside for me, was the level of corruption and underfunding in public schools. The class sizes are quite large, varying from 25-30 pupils per class and many of the schools even lack basic equipment. The quality of teaching can vary greatly, too. For me, like most expats, public schooling wasn’t an option as it simply didn’t provide the level of education I wanted for my children.
This tends to be the most popular option for expat parents. It is a paid option and there is still a big discrepancy within private schools themselves. The price can range anywhere from US$1,750 to US$6,900 per year, so I would advise visiting the school, meeting the teachers and checking the curriculum thoroughly before enrolling.
“There are many benefits to private schooling, which is why so many expat families choose this option,” explains Patricia Saylor, an expat freelancer at Paperfellows and Stateofwriting. “Firstly, there is better security and the behavior of the students themselves tends to be much better. Secondly, there usually is second language teaching, and they also tend to have better facilities and equipment. Finally, they have smaller class sizes and well-qualified teachers.”
This can be the best option if you are planning on having your child or children attend university in your home country, or anywhere else in the world. Students receive a world-class education and the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma will provide them with worldwide opportunities. It is by far the most expensive option, generally ranging from US$3,600 to US$12,300 per year, and is generally limited to large cities.
The Homeschooling Option
“A lot of families, especially those with younger children, choose to go the homeschooling route,” says Wanda Fraga, a mom blogger at Assignment Writer and Write My Paper. “Some choose to send their child to a public school for the morning and then homeschool in the afternoon. This allows you to still expose your child to the language and culture, whilst providing them with a rich curriculum at home. It is also a preferred option for many parents who feel that their neighborhood isn’t safe.”
The benefits of homeschooling that so many of us expats find appealing are that it is personalized to your child’s needs and can be taught in any language, there are a wide range of resources available to help you create a customized curriculum for your child and you can adapt the pace of learning to suit their individual needs, which can be highly beneficial to their academic progress.
There are a lot of choices in Mexico when it comes to schooling. I found that it was really worthwhile investing some time in exploring the options and finding out what was right for me and my family. Finances are definitely a factor, especially if you are considering the international schooling route.
Ultimately, for me, it was about making sure that I provided my children with a rich curriculum and opportunities that opened doors for them in the future, so they were able to go on to study and work anywhere in the world.
For additional information on schooling options in Mexico, read “Homeschooling Your Kids in Mexico” and “The International Schools Option in Mexico” articles on Expats In Mexico.