Living and working both sides of the channel?

Hi all, been a while since I was on here but here I am again seeking your valuable information. Are there many folks on here with children, who live and work in France for say 6 months and then live and work in UK for 6 months of the year. If so then how do they get on with the kids schooling. Do the schools allow this ?

I know what you mean, it IS expensive. I will sell mine on ebay after I’m done with it. Come to think of it I saw some on there when I was looking around to buy my copy but it was snapped up quickly.

Try Michel Thomas, he’s really good.

Hi James. Well Rosetta seems to be working for me, although some of the parts can be over repetetive in my view but then thats the name of the game I guess…repeat, wash rinse, etc etc.

I did French at school for a year (long time ago now) but it all came flooding back once I got started. On last years holiday in the Pyrenees, I got the wife and kids using phrases at every opportunity, a little duanting for them at first but it became quite good fun in the end.I think they surpised themselves how quickly they could feel part of it all. The immersion method works well I think. Were back over there again for two weeks, end of August to do some more property hunting and getting a feel for the Alps in the summertime and some more practise at the lingo.

Sean my advice would sound similar to Jane , move the family here as quickly as possible and settle the children in the schools. We did this seven years ago when the youngest was 11. She had very little french, and it took her a while to adapt , but she absolutely loves her life here now, and considers herself as much French as Welsh. She has just passed her Bac with a mention, and is off to university in September. I can’t speak highly enough of the education system here, they really do a fantastic job. We had to put the girls into private schools when in the UK as the standard was so poor locally.

I have continued to work in the UK mainly, and commute/work from home extensively and it has worked extremely well, but accept it wouldn’t suit everyone. Learning French is a very good idea for the parents, and will definitely help the process. I was lucky as the whole family are linguists , but I have also spent time and energy ( where I can ) learning.



Sean don’t worry too much about the youngest. Try to make it sound like an adventure, remind them of all the good times you’ve had on holiday in France. Although you’re eldest is good at French as was my eldest(then16) once they get into school it’s another thing…then you’ve got “school French”…not conversation French, he’ll be hearing specific words to each school subject he’s never heard before. So, if you can afford it, get him some private lessons on top of his school lessons. Will make a huge difference. With us, it was me who had to persuade hubby…where there’s a will there’s a way lol
Really wish you good luck Sean, I’m sure you’ll get there.

Jane, that it “EXACTLY” how I feel about this. (if you don’t try,you’ll never know and maybe later will be too late). I am quarter way though my Rosetta Stone French course, my wife is just starting it. My eldest sone is doing French and is “already” shining, so he’ll be teaching me. The biggest worry is the youngster, he’s had a bad time over that last 2/3 years with mine and Wendys parents passing which impacted on his school/social life immensely. I am glad to say he’s picked up his game now and academically is only 6 months behind where he should be for his age. It’s good to know that the French system can allow him to re-double a year if need be, that may well have to be the case. I have also read something in Living France magazine about special needs help if it comes to it so this is another plus point.

Thanks again for your help on this one. We can only try…:slight_smile:

Hi Sean, I don’t know if the kids speak French now but if you"re really considering doing it I would seriously get them some private french lessons now, in fact for all the family, even only once a week. I started teaching my youngest(who was then 9 )French before we came over and she was soaking it up like a sponge. They won’t be in the same school. The youngest will probably be in school and depending on his French will probably have to re-double a year till he’s up to the level before going to college…usually around age 11. Don’t worry at all about re-doubling in France, VERY common. Unlike England, kids can redouble a year if they’re not up to it(no shame at all) or they can skip a year if they’re very bright! The 14 yr old will probably go into college and same thing depending on his level of French will either be put in a yr lower than his age group or re-double. The hardest will probably be for the 14yr old, the little one will do fine. What ever you do, don’t listen to horror stories from others, don’t let them put you off if this is your dream. When you think about it there will always be a wrong time for one of them. If we’d listened to everyone around us we would never have done it.I put our kids into normal French schools, as I said it will be hard for the 14 yr old but he’ll get therer. My sister moved to Toulouse 2 yrs ago with 2 boys aged then13 and 15…they re-doubled and they were fine.
It will be hard for your wife if you’re commuting but her French will improve lol As I said it’s not easy ,my hubby doesn’t speak French, works far too long hours to have the time to do it. We did work out that although he only comes home once every 14 days(could be for 3-5 days) and home for 3 weeks during Summer, 2 weeks at Christmas, we actually have more time together than when we were all living together in England.
Seriously think about French lessons starting now for all the family. My 3 kids are all fluent in French,all working, all have French partners and ONLY speak French between themselves now. My philosophy in life is …if you don’t try,you’ll never know and maybe later will be too late.
I wish you good luck in whatever you decide to do Sean. What’s the worst that could happen? If it doesn’t work out…you go back. Kids are more resilient than you think. And for those that will tell you it’s to disruptive for the kids if you ever have to go back, my sister ended up going back because her and her partner split up, the boys went back into English schools…no problems.

Hi Jane, thanks for the reply. I was really just fishing around for ideas and options. I do take your point that moving around would be quite disruptive for our kids. I think we’d both feel better if they were more settled. As for communting, I think I could live with it if I had to but I think my wife would need to feel secure and grounded depending on where we settle (possibly Alpe D’Huez at the moment). By the time we make the move (November 2012)our eldest will be 14 years old. Our other son will be 10. How does the school system work with them ? Can they both attend the same school at that age or does the 14 yo neeed to be put into a college or other school ?

I’m not an expert Sean but apart from the fact I don’t think that would be allowed it would just be so disruptive for the kids. They’d be making friends in England, than leaving for France for 6 months,leaving friends behind and vice versa. They wouldn’t get to finish anything in either school. Personally I don’t think it would be allowed. If you want to be in France, can you not work in England and comute? If you’re prepared to spend 6 mths in France does that mean you can work from France? If so why not move over with the family, you work here 6 mths, then go back and work in Englandfor 6mths and comute back and forth weekends?
We moved over 10 yrs ago with the kids, then 16, 14, &nd 9. They all went directly into French schools. Hubby has continued working in England and comes home weekends, I’m not saying it’s easy, you have to have a very strong marriage for that to work.Our quality of life here is far better than it was in England, hubby loves coming home to France and we make the most of every minute together. Kids are now grown up and all working here, we even have 2 little French grand daughters.
I hope you find a sollution.