stuck for school options

Hello all, our family will be moving to Riyadh from the US this summer. We are finding it incredibly difficult to secure schooling for our son in an international English speaking school. Our top four choices either have long waiting lists for his grade, or cannot guarantee a spot until he has been assessed in person,  which most likely will be August just before school starts. At that point (assuming he passes the assessment) he would be offered a spot if there is one available. However it seems there is a high chance that there won't be available seats left at that time i.

I am wondering what other parents have done in such a situation?  Do you home-school until a space becomes available at your school of choice? What other options are there in such cases?

What is your child's age?

You do all the testing as soon as you get here and hope for a spot. I had the same issue and luckily found a parent who recommended a school that did have openings for my 4 year old, but it was 3 weeks of stress trying to contact all the schools and not being able to drive to visit when we first came.

Others home school. Definitely research home school curriculum that will be accepted in your home state if your child is older or see if your local school district has an online option.

Have you tried Multinational? Australian curriculum

@Brightschool my son is 7. He just completed 1st grade here in the US.

@StressedMom we really want to keep our son in a co-ed school, which seems to limit our options. The Multinational has a long waiting list, and the British school is not accepting any more students on their waiting lists. We have an assessment scheduled with the American International for when we arrive. Do you know of any other co-ed schools in Riyadh?
I will definitely look into home schooling curriculum with our current school district, but home schooling would really be a last resort.

Just wanted to know what you ended up doing since I'm more or less in your position and we have a delayed paper work process  that will affect our arrival date. What school did you end up choosing? and does having an assessment date in the american school mean that they have places available?

Sorry just saw this. I am in Jeddah and only did cursory looking at schools in Riyadh due to possible move that didn't happen. 

As far as I know those are the only co ed schools. Did your child get into the American school?

An assessment date does not mean there is an opening. It is possible though. If they don't have an opening they will put you on a waiting list.

Not yet they said that once I arrive in Riyadh they will schedule the assessment test. I realized they already started the school year and there is no definite flight date for my family yet, So this is making me quite stressed about finding a good school since like you said the other two co-ed ones are already stacked up with long waiting lists. I have an 11 year old boy and a 7 year old girl and my main concern was a smooth transition as much as possible for my boy since he is in the age that segregation and hence lower education quality would apply to him. I wish you best of luck in Jeddah.

Well, I currently work at a "global school" in mecca. What I can say for any private school in this country is that money TALKS. Also, if you know anyone that knows someone connected with the school, you'll get in.
I also want to mention, finding a good school here that compares to the ones in America is difficult. One thing I would recommend taking note of when looking at options is the number of foreign workers in the schools administration. And I mean western foreigners. American, British, Australian, Guyanan, even European. If you see a few in administration plus many as teachers, that is a good sign. If you don't, be weary.
However, if none of that works for you this year than you can always sign your kids up for the new online schools the US is doing. All grades have online classes now. And you can supplement their learning. My younger brother did a semester of it and he said it was a joke, but he is pretty advanced. However, they will still learn the years curriculum and you can always assign additional work as you like, such as reading different books and writing different things. You would be shocked at the number of different worksheets out there online for different things. Google a topic and add worksheets or teacher worksheets to it. You can basically assign reading and print of tests for your kids all from home if you needed to.
Anyway, I hope this helped you

malerieah :

. Google a topic and add worksheets or teacher worksheets to it. You can basically assign reading and print of tests for your kids all from home if you needed to.
Anyway, I hope this helped you

Thanks for the useful tip. I just googled worksheets for toddlers age 0-2 and I have plenty of them now.

Thank you for all this information. I keep telling my-self like you said once they see you physically and your money is ready, the waiting list won't be that long anymore. But I can't help but stress out with each delay in the paper work since schools have already started in US and starts tomorrow in Canada, I feel that I'm doing my kids wrong with all the waiting with no solid plan. The kids are on an online reading and math program that they still have from their school back in Canada which does help keep them refreshed and ready for an upcoming assessment test. In the end many friends have advised me to relax and that it's more than normal that the kids get into school one or two month late in Saudi since they are accustomed to the expat turnover. Again thank you for your feedback. Cheers

Hi Mai_Khalil,
I am sorry I did not reply sooner. I was in a very similar situation to yours two months ago. I am finally in Riyadh and we settled the school issue. Originally we were looking at the American International School, but in June we suddenly realized it is REALLY far from the compound we were assigned to-42km, which in traffic is about 1 hour 15 minutes one way. I contacted the multinational school straight away, and a couple of weeks later got told there was a spot for my son. We visited today, he starts tomorrow- so I can't comment on it just yet (we've been in Riyadh 4 days, after many delays).
I have heard from a couple of parents here that pretty much all the private schools are good. We only focused on the American, Multinational and British simply because we wanted our son in a co-ed school to minimize the culture shock. I like that the Multinational offers both Arabic as a first and second language, your child can be assessed to see which fits. The American apparently only offers it as a second language. None of the three schools offer Religion (islamic studies) except to Saudi students (I don't know if that is important to you).
The impression I am getting here is that it is easier than it seems to get your child into a school. Ironically might be easier in September/October than May/June, as many families have changes in circumstances over the summer. But the distance between your accommodation and the school should definitely be a factor to consider.
I don't know if I would have any answers, but feel free to pm me with questions and I will try to answer.

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