Another reason we chose Ajijic: bilingual school options for the kids.
Ajijic has 4 different bilingual elementary schools (though we’ve heard that one closed last year), all with tuition running under $500 USD per month for our two students. We’ll be selecting their school once we’ve arrived, but for now we feel very comfortable with having more than one option, and that they’ll have some schooling in both English and Spanish.
We had been planning to send the kids to a regular school where everything would be in Spanish. That would certainly help them learn the language better, and besides, Iquitos didn’t have any bilingual school option. When we switched our search to Mexico, our thinking didn’t change initially. But as we explored locations in Mexico, we discovered a school in Sayulita that looked like a great experience especially for our 6th grader, Z. That led us to change our thinking, and a bilingual school for the kids became one of our top priorities.
Both our kids have done well academically. (Z was disappointed that she got an A- in one subject in her final grades in 5th grade.) I’ve been telling Z that she’s not going to do as well in Mexico, preparing her for the fact that she won’t understand half the classes for the first few weeks or months. But I think her drive to succeed academically will push her through that barrier. And she has told me several times that at least she’ll be able to get an A in English class.
The top goal here is the cross-cultural experience, not learning Spanish. Having the kids experience the social dynamics of a school environment in a different country will be critical to that. But we also don’t want our kids to fall behind academically. We’ll have both of them working on math and English language arts at home, using the curriculum from their stateside school.