6 months abroad with family during junior year?

Hi BPN! My husband and I find ourselves at a transition point with the possibility of traveling or living abroad for 6 months in the fall of 2021. We have a 10 and a 15 year old.  The 15 year old will be starting her junior year at Oakland Tech.  I am wondering if anyone has done this at a similar time?  We are at the very early stages but we know that we can't afford to do this AND enroll her in a private school abroad and, we also are leaning towards not settling in one place for the whole 6 months, but moving around frequently. If anyone has any knowledge to share about:

- the possibility of independent study through OUSD for a situation like this.

- the possibility of returning to Tech (retaining your spot) in the Spring. 

- other options for completing A-G requirements independently and remotely.

- whether or not this is a terrible idea in terms of preparation and chances for college.  She is a good student who wants to go to college, but is not set on highly competitive universities or anything like that. In fact, her big wishes are to go to college abroad and not be in debt for the rest of her life. She is also very young - she won't turn 16 until October of her junior year so a gap year has always been on the table for her. 

I would also love to hear any other general advice about a venture like this with kids of this age!  Thank you!

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I’m jealous and want to go the same but husband says no! I think the travel would be an absolute advantage in the long run. I’d go for it in a heartbeat.

You might be interested in this fb group -- families that travel with children. Lots of threads about similar questions, although not specific to Oakland Tech, or A-G (California).  Enjoy!  https://www.facebook.com/groups/worldschoolers

Congratulations on this great opportunity! I don't have any direct advise on the immediate Junior Year issue, but there is a FaceBook Group for parents of college students studying abroad called Flown Abroad, Full-Time Version.  You will have to join the private group but there is a ton of great advice on how to prepare and what to expect for a college abroad experience.  It could help in the bigger picture planning, and if you are able to layer in some school visits into your trip it might help keep you all on path.

If ever there was a time, it’s now. Given her goals and the incomparable learning experience she’d gain, I’d go for it. (Says a parent of two kids doing their junior year from their bedrooms.)

How exciting! No info on OUSD, but we took our kids on a gap year around the world. Our 7yo son did independent study and then returned to his charter school in Oakland, and our 11yo daughter was formally homeschooled. We had to un-enroll her in BUSD and then re-enroll when we returned. Our daughter is now 18 and has occasionally said that she wished that we had gone while she was in HS. So if your daughter is game and okay with the possibility of the worse case scenario (e.g., not being able to go back to Tech for her senior year), then go for it if everything else aligns. Not often in life does everything align to make this doable. There is not a day that we have regretting making the trip, especially now during the pandemic. It was a tremendous gift for our family. Btw, I also read college essays. Your daughter may come back with a far more compelling narrative to write about when she returns (though writing about going abroad without some substance on what she independently/proactively did while on the road or upon returning isn't necessarily a plus). Good luck to you and your family!

Interesting idea.

My daughter went to Bishop O'Dowd High School. After Sophomore year and actually doing well at school and with great social life, she was really looking for a change, for a break. We decided she will do a semester abroad in a spanish speaking country ( since that was her first language - or mine ;) ) but programs around offered only places that she was not interested in, we wanted a city and not a town or suburb, so we did our own "program" and found a school in Buenos Aires, Argentina that accepted her for a semester... anyway long story....

Both schools cooperate with our plan. My daughter spent 5 months on her own renting a bedroom at a lady's apartment near the school, experienced living on her own, making her own school decisions, living with another culture. When she came back, her gpa had dropped, schooling in Argentina was much more challenging and they think that a B grade is wonderful. Anyway, overall, you ask her now, she is 26 doing a master degree in pshycotherapy at Golden Gate University ( graduated with honors from USF, did not get in any of the UC's...) and she says she learned so much those months, to have the opportunity of living in another world at that young age, did open so many alternatives for the future. It was not the conventional way but had payed off.

I hope you can take your daughter, the Bay Area can be wonderful but it is also this little bubble....Being abroad will be a wonderful experience for all the family enjoy it!

I'm the mother of the kid who went 6 months to Argentina in her junior year....

I forgot the practical response, when she came back her gpa dropped, that was not helpful for college admissions, she did not get into any UC. Also had to fulfill extra credits in order to graduate from High School and did it at K12 online school, it was accepted by her high school. She went to University of Oregon for a year and 1 year at Berkeley City then transfer to USF, but she did not wasted any time and graduated in 4 years. She is an A student at Golden Gate University and I see her with a brilliant future, but better of all  she is super happy. :)

Our 14 year old wanted to go to live with a friend of his in Germany for 6-12 months and we started looking into it. The school counselor said that at his school, each student needs 4 years of English and history so he might have to take a make-up semester/year of each if he goes and they don't have something that would transfer. Our son is currently thinking he might want to go to a highly competitive college so we also talked to a paid college counselor who said that if might not be great for applying if he goes to school in German (which he only sort of speaks) and gets bad grades.

There are some schools, like the JFK School in Berlin, which is supposedly English/German bilingual but is pretty much English for English speakers and German for German speakers and is a public school. Maybe you could see if you could get your daughter a seat in such a school. Not sure if you need a visa but for the Schengen Zone you can only be there 90 days out of every 180 if you don't have an appropriate passport or visa. But with England now out of the EU, you can spend half your time there and half in the EU.

UC Scout has online classes that meet the A-G requirements. This is what we would probably do for our kid to keep up with some things if he is gone for a semester/year.

We have a friend who got fed up with the situation here and moved to Japan. The 14 year old daughter is going to an English/Japanese public(ish) school there but the son, who is a junior, is doing a combination of remote home schooling through a community in MA (I think) and taking online classes so maybe you can look into some combination like that.

I looked into this, though husband wasn't on board so we never went. Consistent with what someone said below, it could negatively impact college applications if they take grades from a different system at face value. Or she may need to make up classes that don't transfer over. That said, college applications aren't life and it would almost certainly be a tremendous positive for life and growth. And if she wants to go to college abroad I can't imagine it would hurt. Has she looked in to college abroad - ie do you have any knowledge of the practicalities of that or is it a general interest? I think you have to know that it could cause complications with US college admissions, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad idea because the other benefits could be tremendous.