We were hesitant to send him to any Chinese school like most of Expat, so we choose an international School in Shanghai.
We Choose this Shanghai International school because it is perceived as a very “hard” school – a lot of homework .
Now that he’s been there for one and a half years, here are our thoughts:
1) A fair amount of homework. On normal days, if he concentrates, he can wrap up his daily homework in an hour or so. If he gets up and down (usually the case) and does not focus, it takes up to two hours. If there is Chinese composition, it will take much more than two hours. On days before a Chinese test, he can be doing homework all the way until 9:30 pm or 10pm. It can get quite depressing to see your kid crying at night because there’s just too much work to complete. I have to say that this is not happen often but still …
Also, when asked about scouts about having 20mins of outdoor playtime, my son said, “I have too much homework to complete to play outside” !!! So we usually allocate weekends fully to play.
British Style !
2) The cirriculum is based on the British system and for us, we feel the English, Math and Science / Social Studies subjects are relatively easy. We have a hard time with the Chinese. My son is in the native Chinese class (90% of the class takes native English, while about 50% is in Higher Chinese) and probably has the lowest score in class. We have a Chinese tutor twice a week but he is still not at the same standard as the other kids.
About the Teachers
3) Teachers are pretty dedicated. They are on the class wechat and give very regular updates to parents. You can approach them freely with questions and they will answer very quickly. The homeroom teacher is Chinese and they have a foreign teacher attached to the class. Usually the Chinese teacher will teach Chinese, Math, moral lessons, etc., while the English teacher oversees the English and Science / Social Science and sometimes art / music.
Shanghai international high school
4) The difference with Chinese school is that Administration is very European -style – little to no consultation with parents. Most communication mainly in Chinese.
5) Not many extra-circulars for the lower grades. BritishShcool a real international school, so we do not get invited to participate in many school sporting tournaments, and so on.
6) Cohort is overwhelmingly Asian. I think a good 60-70% of children attending the lower grades of british style are kidding their parents are Chinese but with a foreign passport. I.e. Parents were born and bred in China but may have spent a fair amount of time overseas and gained another citizenship, OR their kids were born abroad. We like this – since we are living in China, we would like to make Chinese friends, but if you are looking for a very diverse, international mix, this school is not for you. The other kids come from Hong Kong, Taiwan, UK Europe…
7) Fair amount of outdoor play time during the school day – PE at a time and get to play outside.
8) Facilities are of course not as good as some of the international schools but the classrooms are bright and cheery.
If you are considering this school for your child, you need to help them with homework and tests / exams, you’ll also have a lot of extra-cirricular activities on the weekends And keep a fair amount of time for de-stressing and just playing.
We have been working for a couple of years now and have been working for a long time.
Thank you Maggie for this Explanation.