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Hi there,

We're moving to Tokyo next month for 2 years. Very much looking forward to it. Unfortunately we do not get our school fees covered, just accommodation, although we can use the remaining JPY to put toward school fees.

We have four children: a six year old, a four year old and twin 16 month olds.

I have looked on the net at what feels like almost all the International Schools and can't get over how expensive they are! We're just weighing up our options.

Does any one homeschool or send their children to Japanese Primary Schools? If so are there any schools that are more suited for non Japanese speakers? Our children cannot speak Japanese and although I realise that they will certainly learn a lot faster than us, I'm not happy to throw them into the Japanese school system especially as we are only going to be in Japan for two years. I understand too that their classroom sizes are a lot larger than the schools here in Australia. Plus I read that to keep up its recommended that they are home schooled after they finish their Japanese school day.

We're visiting K International School (seems to be a great budget option!) as well as St Marys, Seisen International, Tokyo International and Gregg International. As we have a 500 000 JPY budget for accommodation for a family of 6. Seems like you can get larger homes in and around Denen-chofu/Jiyugaoka - look like lovely areas too (from this side of the computer!) and leaves us with a little change for school fees.

I would love to hear what your thoughts/experiences are and if there are any homeschooling (support/sanity!) groups out there. I see too that homeschooling in Japan is illegal unless you get sign off from your local primary school, which can be problematic in itself.

Very much appreciated. I feel like I am chasing my tail here! Thanks!!
 

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Does any one homeschool or send their children to Japanese Primary Schools? If so are there any schools that are more suited for non Japanese speakers? Our children cannot speak Japanese and although I realise that they will certainly learn a lot faster than us, I'm not happy to throw them into the Japanese school system especially as we are only going to be in Japan for two years. I understand too that their classroom sizes are a lot larger than the schools here in Australia. Plus I read that to keep up its recommended that they are home schooled after they finish their Japanese school day.
This book may help: Japanese Lessons by Gail R. Benjamin: Books (ISBN: ISBN-13: 978-0814713341). Although it's from 1998, there is a lot of helpful information in it. It's about a family who lived in Japan and sent their children to Japanese schools.

Plus I read that to keep up its recommended that they are home schooled after they finish their Japanese school day.
Why? That makes no sense, particularly with young children. They will be tired from school -- and tired from learning a new language. By the end of your stay, your children will be 8, 6 and nearly 4. The 8yo may need some extra help to learn to read in English, but should catch up quickly and the 6yo will be right on track. I would let them absorb as much as they can at their new school and enjoy their experiences.

Best wishes!
 

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Thank you so much! That is immensely helpful. I've read your recommended book reviews on Amazon and already they are making me more hopeful that a Japanese school may work for our family. I've tracked the book down and can't wait to get my hands on it.

Japanese elementary education is sounding far less intimidating than I had assumed it would be. One reviewer (an English teacher in a Japanese elementary school) saying that kids in the elementary schools are relatively free-spirited in comparison to those in the classroom in junior high/high school, others talk about the benefits of large classes. I need to read the book to find out what they are though!

You are right about it making no sense to homeschool after school. That's was one of the main factors that was putting me off. I read it on the Japan Homeschooling website, a little biased perhaps! I am happy to help our children with their English skills so when we return to Australia it will not be difficult for them, but to send them to school and then homeschool on top of that long day would rob them of any childhood fun.

Thanks again. I don't suppose you happen to know of any schools that are more suited to/friendly for a non japanese speaking child?

Take care,
Kim
 

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Thank you so much! That is immensely helpful. I've read your recommended book reviews on Amazon and already they are making me more hopeful that a Japanese school may work for our family. I've tracked the book down and can't wait to get my hands on it.
Glad to be of help!

Thanks again. I don't suppose you happen to know of any schools that are more suited to/friendly for a non japanese speaking child?
Sorry that I can't help you on that one, but I had another thought that might help you understand the school system. d-addicts dot com is a website with a lot of Asian television shows that can be downloaded. Many have subtitles. There is one series called "At Home Dad" which is about a husband and wife who wind up in reversed roles with him at home and her at work. They have a daughter--I think she is maybe five in the show? At any rate, it gives a pretty good glimpse into daily life: school, shopping, using laundry machines, cooking, etc.

I would avoid most other Japanese series about schools, since most of them are fantasized, manga-like versions, but this one is pretty good, IMO.

-Teresa
 

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I work at a high school in Japan. My GF works for an English nursery/after school school- foreign kids and kids of parents who are keen for them to learn English are sent there after classes to play games and study in English and that sort of thing. Something like that could maybe be recommended?

The big difference between the school system here and in the UK is in afterschool stuff. Its less so in primary school than in middle school and high school but Japan is very very big on kids staying at school beyond class hours to take part in clubs and lots of kids besides that get sent off for private piano or English or whatever lessons.

I do have a bunch of friends who work in primary schools in Japan and it does seem a lot less strict than the higher levels of school in Japan. Less strict than the UK even. The entire thing seems like infants with kids running around and being crazy and having fun well up until they hit double numbers.

International schools....I'm not based in Tokyo I'm afraid so I'm unsure but I know there is a British school there (It may just be senior school though) and an international school at Narita (the town, not the airport).
Though I'd totally say to put the kids in regular school. They'll pick up the language quickly and even if they don't most primary schools have English speaking teachers at the least regularly visiting, they'll probally be assigned to give your kids any extra help they need. It isn't that uncommon in Japan for foreign kids to end up in school- and that's usually with kids who don't speak English (from Brazil and China and the like). With English they've got a boost.,
 

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Contact a lady called Veronica Londsdale.. you should be able to find her on facebook..

She is opening her 2nd international school this year her 1st one is lovely and is called Waseda international school..

though I think the school she is opening this year will more suit your needs so I would suggest you contact her directly on fb

good luck!
 

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J School

I have to add here. My Son ,, Half Japanese is in Japanese Elementary School last 1.5 years, sorry to say but the Schools are way too soft, we are in Minato-Ku Ward, Public Schools are meant to be pretty good here. Teachers are way to soft, limited control on children, class size 30 + and them some..Our Son age 10 is doing maths that he was doing back in the UK more than 1 year ago. If you want your child in a J School then be prepared to stick it out as the longer in J School child will surely struggle back in natice language curriculum for sure. Ask yourself why children spend many many hours in Juku after School !. its to get up to speed and prepared for entry tests into next stage public/private School as Elementary doesnt cut it and or different form/style of teaching leading into higher education. If my job not cut and we dont move to Singapore now thinking of moving Son to private (self financing - ouch). Intl Schools here are clueless too, they dont see the gap in the market or they dont like the risk ?, ie those self financing, all geared to bill being covered by Employer,also have to give 1 terms notice to leave !, now whos Employer will give there staff 3 months notice, they have you big time. Found a few schools who allow tuition fees by monthly installment payments which is one saving grace . St Maur Yokohama, ASIJ, and Canadian Intl. Would go for St Maur for sure, very impressed on visit BUT other half wants BST, dont know why, its not a British School anyhow, all in the title. Teachers are from all over, curriculum is IGCSE, taught in most of Intl Schools, whats more BST is a for profit School, it doesnt even own its properties , it rents from the University Campus it sits on. Rant Over haha
 

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for orig poster. given your children are relatively young you may want to bite bullet and put in J School System, we have our Son in after School programs twice a week to supplment his English Study. dont know if you made it over yet. you have a generous housing benefit, dont know what your disposable income, your also looking in an upmarket area re housing. if you want to keep any of that housing benefit i would suggest you consider living further out. public transport is on time here but v crowded during rush hour and if we have a disaster its a long walk home. if money tight then look for older property further out, it will be larger for sure. on intl school fees. 2-3 million for each child each year unless your coming over here with a bundle of money then forget that option but as i did mention some do offer tuition by installments. ie first fee approx 800k followed by 250k each every month for 10 months, still a big chunk of money but certainly probably more manageable.
 
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