Gap year with Family in Taiwan and finding tutoring/homeschool education for kids

Hi Everyone-

I am new to the forum and this will be my first post. My wife and I currently live in the US with our 2 children (9, 11 yrs old). The kids have been attending a Mandarin immersion school in the US since they were 4 yrs old. My wife and I are exploring the idea of pulling them out of school for a year to live abroad and give the kids an opportunity to really immerse themselves in the (Mandarin) language and experience a different culture outside of the US. My wife and I do not speak Mandarin (but would love to learn). We are also starting the process of trying to obtain a Visa to enter the country, which is a separate topic on its own. There are lots of pieces that we are trying to figure out in order to make this happen but one of our biggest questions is how we can continue some aspects of our kids education. Even if we somehow manage to find a path to attend a school in Taiwan (international or not), my wife and I are hesitant to send them to school right from the start. We are considering hiring a tutor (or private teacher) that can still teach the kids Math, English and Mandarin to keep up with their grade level here in the US. Hopefully the tutor can work with the kids for a few hours a day. Is this feasible? If so where would be a good place to find such a person and what would be the cost? We have also considered on-line schools (since the kids have been doing that for a year now with COVID) but we wanted to see if they can actually try to have someone in person.

Thanks in advance for any help and advice!

why do you hesitate to put them in local school?

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Tutors exist. In Taipei, they’re not cheap. Apparently.
I was asked to tutor (an adult) and she decided that NT2,500/hr + showering me with pricy gifts + buying me dinner or Starbucks was what she’d pay me. I don’t know that she’s actually paying me very much compared to what I’ve heard from other people who tutor in Taipei, but it’s a short-term gig and I don’t really care.

I will say this about “international” schools: Even Taipei American School is like 98% über rich Taiwanese people. The tuition reflects that. And the kids are probably not going to learn much Chinese there. KangChiao is for families who can’t get into TAS, also almost entirely super rich people. I also met the principal of a school claiming to be “dual immersion” and the principal did not know that there was a difference between “EFL”, “bilingual” and “dual immersion”. You can read my millions of rants about “bilingual” in Taiwan – that word just means “there’s a white person in our school and the kids have more than the required one 40 minute period of English per week and the white person might be present” in Taiwan.

I’d throw them in a local public elementary school and call it a day. They’d learn Chinese much, much faster than any other environment. Maybe hire an American with a teaching license to make sure they’re at least grasping what they need to know.

Parents, there are tons of language schools and you could get to a high degree of fluency in Chinese if you put in the effort.

OP seems to have left the convo. But yeah, I’d probably lean towards going the local school route and hoping they can fend for themselves. The tough part is the older kid (11 now) would be entering 6th grade which I’ve heard is around when school starts to become overbearing and difficult. It might not be a great experience, coupled with the culture shock.

Hi all-

Thank you for the responses! Wrt the question about sending the children to a local school, I was concerned about the culture shock factor. Our kids currently attend a montessori type school. So I was concerned about the different style of teaching.

There are “Montessori” schools in Taiwan. The ones I’ve been in to observe around Taipei assign work and expect kids to do a lot of homework, per the parents demands. Not Montessori at all, based on what “real” Montessorians and Montessori theory tells me. This includes schools with great reputations and AMI certified admin along with the teachers. A fake Montessori school might be better than a traditional public one, though tuition is usually in the NT300,000+/year range. There’s also Acton Academy in Beitou. Never been. Founded by expats though, so maybe more in line with expat wants