Raising Children in Portugal

Moving to Portugal with a family is a great decision. Here I talk about what it’s like living with kids in Portugal, my take on children learning Portuguese and international schools in Portugal, and observations on single parenting.

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raising children in Portugal
Living in Portugal had been an idea that my husband, Nuno, and I fantasized about regularly before we finally made the decision to move here, and raising children in Portugal continues to be the best choice for our family now, even after Nuno died two years ago.  It hasn’t been easy, but it has been worth it.
Over the years, I’ve seen many questions in Facebook groups and other online forums geared towards people with families interested in education in Portugal, so I thought it might be helpful for them to read about my experience here as someone who speaks Portuguese fluently, but whose children did not prior to moving.  Hence, this post.
In order to be the most useful to the greatest number of people, I won’t be talking about specific schools or neighborhoods; rather, I’ll be taking more of a birds’ eye view of things that are generally true throughout the country and that you are likely to encounter if you relocate to Portugal.  Here are the topics I’ll be covering:

Our Decision to Move to Portugal

Unlike many Americans who are considering moving abroad, the question for us was never “where should be live” but always “should we live in Portugal.”  My husband, Nuno, was Portuguese and had attended grad school in Chicago, where I am from and where we met.  After he completed his PhD, we moved to Connecticut after he took a university position there.  We had always enjoyed spending long summers in Portugal, which we were fortunate enough to have the flexibility to do because I decided to pursue a PhD as well, and we both followed the American academic calendar.  But it wasn’t until after our children were born that the big picture, quality-of-life questions about Portugal vs. the United States that had always lingered around the edges started to come into full view.
We were paying an eye-watering $48,000 a year to have both children in a high-quality, formal daycare center, supplemented with housekeeping and babysitting for $20/hour.  Private school options in the area were going to be prohibitively expensive – one of the better ones, to the tune of $35,000 per year per child, only counting tuition – while enrollment at the best public schools in the area was determined via a lottery system.  On top of that, I was increasingly ambivalent about trying to land a tenure-track job in a brutally competitive academic market, which would most likely force me into a long commute or residing out of state part of the year.  And the city we were living in at the time – well, “city” is being generous – was one I had never really grown to love.
In the summer of 2018, swimming in the ocean at the Praia dos Tomates beach in the Algarve, as Nuno and I floated in the waves and looked forward to our dinner plans of eating fresh grilled fish caught locally, something we loved to do, we (or maybe just I because Nuno was already convinced) had one of those dawn-of-realization moments that you never forget: it could always be like this.  We didn’t have to go into debt to send the kids to a good school.  We could enjoy mild weather All Year Long, even in northern Portugal, whose winters have nothing on Illinois and Connecticut. (And whose summers are great too!)  Kids don’t need to regularly participate in “active shooter drills” at Portuguese schools.  We could have affordable household help and babysitting, live in a city we actually liked, and soak up the delicious café culture in Portugal on a daily basis.
As soon as we returned to the United States, we started the process of applying for my Portuguese citizenship and never looked back.

Where to Live in Portugal with a Family

Although we briefly toyed with Lisbon, ultimately, we decided to settle in Porto, which is where Nuno was from and where we had the largest network of friends and family.  However, if you are starting from scratch and wondering what the best cities in Portugal for families are, let me give you some broad advice to help guide your thinking. 
In general, and like pretty much anywhere else on the planet, larger cities in Portugal such as Lisbon and Porto will have a greater number of schools to choose from, more housing options and healthcare facilities, tend to be more diverse, and attract a greater number of expats who may also have children than smaller cities or rural areas.  However, the price you pay is in a higher cost of living, particularly real estate (check out my Portugal Real Estate Watch post to learn more about the Portuguese housing market), more traffic, and the eternal hustle and bustle of urban life.  Even if, on average, urban Portuguese are more laid back than urban Americans, you’ll still find plenty of over-achieving, type-A, keeping-up-with-the-Joneses personalities here, particularly among the more educated and well-to-do, who can helicopter parent with the best of them. 
Meanwhile, there is an abundance of gorgeous small towns scattered throughout Portugal, and I’m fully onboard with the Portuguese governments’ various efforts to revive the depopulated rural interior of the country – more than 80% of Portuguese live in coastal areas.  Unfortunately, however, it’s just not as easy to live in a small town than in a mid- to large-sized Portuguese city when you have school-age children.
Still, the easiest place to live with your family doesn’t make it the best
You can raise happy children anywhere in Portugal, even if it might require a bit more planning outside the major metropolitan areas.  To get started, I would recommend first asking yourself what size city appeals to you most, and what kinds of amenities matter.  From there, it’s a question of narrowing down your options according to your housing budget and school availability.
I’ll note here that home schooling in Portugal is also a possibility, which could make living in a rural area easier.  It’s called ensino doméstico.  Some American parents enroll their children in a homeschool or distance learning program based in the United States and continue with it while abroad, although I do not know anyone personally who has done this. 
The subject of homeschooling sometimes arouses passionate opinion in the US, but I’ll just make one comment about it here.  We spent three months at our home in the United States in the fall of 2022 and the children remained enrolled in their Portuguese school while we were gone so they could return to it when we went back in December.  I brought my son’s first grade textbooks with us so he could follow along with what his classmates were doing in Portugal and not fall too far behind.  My ambitions were limited.  (Come on, who remembers anything from first grade?) Still, home “schooling” with teacher mommy was an experience that neither of us will be repeating except under extreme duress.
home schooling in portugal 1
Homeschooling Step 1: Bribery
home schooling in portugal 2
Homeschooling Step 2: Repeat Step 1

Portuguese Attitudes About Children

Well-behaved children are welcome in most public spaces and Portuguese children tend to be well behaved in public.  (My two norteamericanos are almost always the loudest everywhere we go, despite my best efforts.)  Of course, the rule of common sense applies here.  Don’t bring your baby to dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Portugal (although you can bring a baby to most Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurants, which are usually lower key but just as delicious.  I talk about them here.). If your child starts annoying everyone, it’s time to go home.  No one will give you side eye.  It happens.
Family size in Portugal nowadays is small, with the fertility rate an average of 1.35 children per woman of child-bearing age, meaning I know way more Portuguese families with only one child than I knew in the United States.  However, extended family, especially grandparents, play an important role in child rearing (more on this in the next section).
Although most adults who don’t know each other are formal in their address, strangers will greet children warmly and often ask them chatty personal questions they’d never dream of asking an adult.  (I talk about this in a post exploring use of the formal “you” (você) versus the informal “you” (tu) in European Portuguese.)  At the same time, children here are not treated like special snowflakes.  A gas station attendant once corrected my son’s Portuguese and continued to insist when he kept saying it wrong (she was right).  Once a stranger walked up to the same son and said, in perfect English since he must have overheard us talking in English, that the least my son could do was apologize for accidentally hitting him with a rock (he was right, too; also, good lord was that embarrassing). In short, people have no qualms about stepping up this way.  I don’t think Americans would be quite so comfortable; they would probably go to the adult first.
Larger, newer venues like restaurants, malls, museums, or public cultural spaces tend to be child friendly in the sense of having highchairs, changing tables, and crayons for kids to entertain themselves with, but with smaller or older places, it’s hit or miss.  I’ve changed babies on many a Portuguese restaurant-bathroom floor.  (And American, and in plenty of other countries.)  However, no matter how pro-family Portugal may be, no one loves your offspring as much as you do.  Be mindful of whether the kiddos are invading someone else’s personal space, and you’ll be fine. 
If you are more socially liberal in the United States, you may find that Portuguese social attitudes overall are fairly conservative, especially the farther out you get from major metropolitan areas.  Naturally, this trickles down to children. 
For instance, toys, clothes, sports, and after school activities are highly gendered.  The kids pick up on these signals very young, and police themselves for adherence to what they perceive the rules to be.  Young girls regularly play soccer in the US, but futebol is mostly a boy’s game here.  Girls rarely sign up for it – this varies from school to school – even though the teams are nominally co-ed in primary school.  And boys steadfastly avoid any suggestion of the color pink or anything strongly associated with girls.  Stay tuned for updates on whether this fades at all in high school.
I’ll never forget the family day event one year at my children’s school where the chess instructor gave us parents a “class” to teach us chess the way the children are taught: at set up, the black queen is placed on a black square, the white queen is placed on a white square, and the mnemonic device he used to help us (and the kids) remember this rule was to tell us that the queen is very vaidosa, or vain, and so she always wants to match her square color with her own color.  Um, what?
On the other hand, if you are more socially conservative or religious, you may be surprised to discover that many Portuguese baptize their children and send them to catechism classes on Sundays – more than 80% of Portuguese identify as Catholic, according to the 2021 census – but otherwise do not attend services regularly or have a strong affiliation with a particular church.  However, many of the top schools in the country are Catholic schools.

Role of Portuguese Grandparents in Child-Rearing

As in many places around the world, grandparents play an important role in child-rearing in Portugal, especially grandmothers.  As will come as no great surprise to any American woman, in Portugal women still do the majority of childcare (and eldercare and care of the sick and housework and you know the drill), so if the mother is not available due to work, sickness, or absence of some other kind, avó (grandma) is usually the replacement.  (Not to throw too much shade on Portuguese grandfathers, though: I’ve seen quite a few picking up their grandkids at my children’s school.)  Portuguese women work some of the longest work hours of western Europe and grandparents play a critical role in supplying childcare for under-school-age children as well supplemental care for school-aged children (i.e., pickups and drop-offs to school, chauffeuring to activities, etc.).
In the United States, people often move to far-flung cities for higher salaries or greater advancement opportunities, but in Portugal this sort of internal migration is not as routine.  As mentioned previously, the vast majority of the population lives along the coast and not in the interior of the country, and when they do move, it’s usually not very far away from where they already live.  As a result, it’s often logistically easier for grandparents to help out than in the United States.
It’s also more common for Portuguese families to incorporate grandparents into day-to-day life beyond just babysitting.  Many families have a standing weekly dinner with one spouse’s parents and another with the other spouse’s parents.  Summer vacations with the grandparents are common.  For families with the means, that sometimes translates into one trip with the grandparents and another trip with just the nuclear family. 
Not having family nearby is undoubtedly a disadvantage for expats with children in Portugal.  However, although perhaps lacking the ease and emotional security of grandparents, at least some aspects of childcare can be outsourced to high-quality non-familial childcare for a much more reasonable price compared to the United States.

Cost of Raising Children in Portugal

From pregnancy and childbirth through college, the cost of raising children in Portugal is less than in the United States.  However, from the Portuguese perspective, average salaries are low compared to other countries – Portugal is the tenth lowest in the EU – and the birth of a child raises family expenses by 20%, which goes a long way in explaining the declining birth rate. 
As a rule, the overall cost of living in Portugal is low compared to the US – you can take a look at particular spending categories with Eurostat data here – but how much you feel the pinch with kids depends upon your lifestyle.  For example, Portuguese homes are often not heated because it is very expensive – will you personally be cold indoors in Portugal? Check out my handy-dandy flow chart to find out – so keeping a toasty house for the kids to run around barefoot in shorts during the winter à l’américaine will cost you.  And if you are the organic soymilk latte, free range steak type who buys paraben-free diaper cream and biodegradable wipes, you’re not going to walk out of the grocery store feeling rich.  (I mean, that’s what I’ve heard…)
In the United States, the two biggest outlays for children are typically education – including childcare, which is ridiculously expensive – and healthcare, both of which are substantially less expensive in Portugal.  This starts from birth. 
The public healthcare system in Portugal, the Serviço Nacional de Saúde or SNS, is heavily subsidized, though not “free.”  Depending upon the exam or service, you will pay a taxa moderadora, essentially a co-pay, unless you can prove financial inability to pay; however, pregnancy is exempt. Even in private hospitals outside the SNS, you’re looking at somewhere between 2,000 to 4,000 euros for a natural birth and 3,000 to 5,000 euros for a cesarean – and that’s without health insurance if you just walked in off the street.  (Hospitals and clinics are required by law to make pricing for exams and medical procedures public, so hospitals often post these online as a tabela de preços or preçárioHere’s an example for a private hospital in Porto.)  If you don’t have health insurance in the US, you’re looking at four or five times that amount.
School starts at age six in Portugal, the equivalent of first grade in the United States.  Preschool is not mandatory, although most Portuguese children do attend.  Universal preschool beginning at age three was supposed to be made available to all children via the network of public and non-profit preschools, however, a lack of open spots remains a problem.  (The government subsidizes lower income families who chose to send their children to pre-school in a private school.)  Middle and upper-income families will usually send their children to private preschools or hire a housekeeper/nanny to take care of them (or both because lord knows the germ factory of daycare means kids are home sick a good chunk of the time anyway). Prices vary nationally, but you’ll probably be looking at somewhere between 300 to 500 euros a month at a formal childcare center (creche in Portuguese) or preschool (pré-escola) in a larger city, which typically includes lunch and two snacks (lanches) a day as well as prolongamento, or extended hours in the evening (and sometimes early in the morning) beyond the formal hours of instruction. International schools and more prestigious private schools that have daycare/preschool options will cost more. As with hospitals, you can usually consult the school’s webpage for details. 
In-home childcare and housekeeping is also less expensive than in the United States.  In Porto, you can generally hire a cleaning person or empregado doméstico – though in reality it’s almost always an empregada – for around 450 to 500 euros a month for 20 hours a week of work, depending upon the going rate in the local market.  You can also hire a cleaning service on an hourly basis.  Check out my post on Housekeepers and Cleaners in Portugal for a discussion of these options. 
It has been common in Portugal to hire an empregada under the table to avoid making social security contributions for the employee, but the Portuguese government cracked down on this practice and now failure to regularize a domestic employee’s work status has been criminalized.  People usually find an empregada by asking friends to ask their empregadas if they know anyone.  There are employment agencies that recruit and vet domestic workers, though they charge placement fees.  You can also pay for periodic house cleaning services with a company, in which case you are not the employer, the company is, so you do not have to deal with social security at all.  However, these services are more expensive than hiring an empregada directly.
Once the children are grade school aged, the major cost factor at that point is whether to send the children to public school, which is basically free except for books and extra-curricular activities charged on a sliding scale according to income, or private school.  From there, expenses can really shoot up depending upon whether the kids are enrolled in a Portuguese private school or a private international school where the language of instruction is not Portuguese. (More on this later.) Tuition at a well-regarded private school can range anywhere from 6,000 to 20,000 euros a year, which is very costly in Portugal, but a relative bargain vis-à-vis private school tuition in many US cities.
Portuguese parents also invest a lot of money (and time) in their children’s personal development in the form of various after-school activities and extra tutoring as well as summer camps during the break.  Again, these will seem reasonably priced to many Americans, but they can be prohibitively expensive on a Portuguese salary.

Children Learning Portuguese as a Second Language

Before discussing the different types of private school options available in Portugal, I think it’s important to first talk about children learning Portuguese as a second language because this will inform the school choices of many non-Portuguese speakers.  I also say this because some of the conventional wisdom about the ease of children picking up second languages is true, but some of it is not, at least in my experience.
Let’s get one thing out of the way first, though: as I’ve said before, it isn’t “hard” to learn Portuguese any more than it is “hard” to learn whatever other language because that’s not the right way to think about language acquisition.  At least for adults, the biggest block is mental: you vs. you.  This may also be true for teenagers and older children as well.  Although the critical period for children to pick up a second language naturally with the same kind of ease as native speakers may be later than previously believed – that is, well into the teen years – the consensus seems to be the younger, the better for not ending up with an accent.  Of course, that may be due in part to the sheer number of hours young children spend in a particular language environment like school.
On the other hand, the popular notion that young children are language “sponges” that can soak up a second language with the snap of the fingers doesn’t exactly ring true either.  Even if oral comprehension comes about relatively quickly, it can take months and even years for children to reach speaking ability on par with their age peers.  I’ve seen this in my own two children.
My son was four and a half and my daughter was a month shy of three when they started at a private Portuguese school in the 4’s and 3’s classes of preschool, respectively.  They had some passing familiarity with Portuguese because of their father, but we primarily spoke English at home.  Although the main language of instruction at their school is Portuguese, the preschool teachers incorporated English into the day-to-day activities of the children in preparation for first grade, when students have English class every day of the week.  So, both children’s preschool teachers were fluent in English and could help out if the kids really struggled with something in Portuguese.  For the most part, though, they spent their days almost entirely in Portuguese from the first day of school.
I thought my son would have greater difficulty assimilating into a Portuguese-speaking classroom because he was a talkative four-year-old in English, however, my daughter experienced greater difficulty.  (In retrospect, this may have more to do with personality than age, but it still goes to show that learning a language is not like turning on a light switch, even at three.)  Both children could understand Portuguese fairly well after just a few months, but genuine speaking ability came much later, towards the end of the first year.  Even after three years here, both children speak Portuguese very well and have little trace of an American accent, but their Portuguese vocabulary has still not reached the same level as their English vocabulary or their peers’ Portuguese. 
I’m not worried about this whatsoever, though.  It will get there eventually.  I have no doubt.  But this is exactly my point: it takes time.  I still have better grammar and a larger vocabulary in Portuguese than either of them – as I do in English, of course – but even though I am frequently complemented on my Portuguese speaking ability as a non-native, at some point, my children will surpass me in Portuguese.  That’s the plan.
A huge number of benefits lie in store for children growing up bilingual, and it’s easier than ever to supplement children’s exposure to English with Netflix and YouTube (although monitoring the quality of that content is another matter).  I am a strong advocate of not only adults putting themselves out there to learn Portuguese, but children as well.  However, parents need to keep in mind that it’s not instantaneous.  If you’re planning on being in Portugal for a few months or a year, don’t be surprised if your children’s Portuguese falls short of fluency.

Public vs Private Schools in Portugal for School-Age Kids

For non-Portuguese-speaking adults moving to Portugal with non-Portuguese-speaking children, one of the first decisions to make revolves around the question of sending the children to a school where the language of instruction is Portuguese, or to a school where the language of instruction is English (or French or German or Spanish, the main foreign languages you’ll find at international schools in Portugal).  If you want your children to be taught in Portuguese, they can attend a public or a private school, but if you want your children to be taught in English (or French or German or Spanish), they will have to attend a private school.
As in the United States, the quality of Portuguese public schools varies, and educational inequality continues to be a serious problem.  Private schools, which have more financial resources than public schools and students coming from families with higher economic status, tend to rank higher on standardized test scores.  Of the top 45 schools across Portugal ranked in 2022, only one (1) is public, even taking the social context of the student body into account.  Most private international schools do not participate in the Portuguese national exams because they follow American/British or other foreign curricula – which makes it difficult to compare them to other private schools in Portugal – but if the tuition they charge is a reliable indicator of quality, we would expect even more private schools among the top ranked.
Private schools also hold the advantage in recruiting and retaining teachers. Public school teachers in Portugal apply for a position by entering a national pool of candidates and are assigned to a school based on seniority and other personnel factors determined by the Ministry of Education. This means that neither the administration at a particular school nor the teacher in question have much input in whether the match is a good fit.  By contrast, private schools do not have these constraints and can hire whomever they wish.  As a result, turnover at public schools surpasses 20% a year because teachers try to move to schools they actually want to be at, while there tends to be more stability at private schools. 
Unsurprisingly, Portuguese families of means look out at this landscape and generally choose to send their children to private school instead.  This has two consequences of interest to expats. 
First, if you send your child to a public school in Portugal, even one in a more upscale neighborhood, the socioeconomic status of the families enrolled at the school may be relatively lower, which implies all the same, unfortunate things as in the United States: parents with fewer resources to advocate for their children and the school; less funding for extra-curricular activities on-site at the school as well as shorter operating hours; and students with a wider variation in academic achievement.  Personally, as someone with two Ivy League graduate degrees who went to plenty of mediocre public and private schools as a kid, I certainly don’t think primary school is destiny and you can find good public schools in Portugal.  Furthermore, children not fluent in Portuguese but who are enrolled in the Portuguese public school system are entitled to additional language support not automatically made available at private schools, which is a great benefit.  It’s just a question of researching the options carefully.  Interestingly – or unfortunately, depending upon your politics – Lisbon and Porto now have more private schools than public schools in operation.
Second, while private schools in general pull from a wealthier subset of families, this phenomenon is even more accentuated at international schools, which tend to be the most expensive private schools of all.  Furthermore, most of the children at international schools in Portugal are not “international” in the literal sense.  They’re Portuguese from families with social and professional ambitions.  (Middle class status anxiety is a thing here, too, but the wealthiest Portuguese families send their children abroad to boarding school.)  Even if you want to have your child in a protective English-speaking bubble, on the playground the kids will mostly be speaking Portuguese.  I have a friend who sent her son to a German school, and he had trouble fitting in until his Portuguese got better.  Now, there are a handful of schools in Lisbon that draw more heavily on the children of expats, but keep in mind that the majority of foreign residents in Portugal come from Portuguese-speaking Brazil (almost one-third) followed by the United Kingdom at a distant second (about 7%). Americans make up less than 1%.
When my husband and I were researching schools for the children to attend here, public school didn’t make it on the radar for the, admittedly, classist reasons it doesn’t for other Portuguese families.  We were looking for, and could afford, the total package from a school without having to run around arranging for after-school programs, swimming lessons, outside tutoring if necessary, and English classes when the kids got older.  The private school we opted for provides all of this and goes from daycare through the end of high school.  (A much more conveniently located but smaller private school without these resources, while lovely, did not make the cut.) Initially, I was concerned that the children would lose their English in a Portuguese language school but that turned out to be an unfounded fear.  (Plus, I’m militant about speaking with them in English.) In our early search, we did visit two English-language international schools, one that had a reputation for being the favorite among the city’s “old money” but which felt stodgy and elitist, and one that had a reputation for being the favorite among the city’s “new money” but which felt too President Business from the Lego Movie.  When we walked into the school we wound up choosing, so full of color, light, and promise, with no one trying to impress us with their faux British accents, we just knew.   The biggest downside is the traffic getting there, which is intense.  (I talk about driving and parking in Portugal here, if you’re interested.  Get ready!)
Although the public-private divide on education in Portugal is driven by economics, one thing you don’t have to worry about much here is overzealous parents slamming teachers with requests and demands like in the United States.  Although it’s true that Portuguese parents today are more involved in their children’s school life and will ask questions or challenge school decisions more than their parents’ generation, you don’t see too many educational “Karens” sucking up a lot of oxygen.  To put that in perspective, I once attended a parent meeting where a mother asked why a particular class was being held at the end of the day, when the children would be more tired, and not at the beginning, and I remember thinking that, by Portuguese standards, the question was positively brazen.  No one else asked anything.  In the United States, half the hands in the room would be in the air and the meeting would last two hours.
Finally, when private schools in Portugal organize fundraisers, they are typically by the school but not for the school.  The money goes to support people in need in the wider society.   There’s no standing expectation that parents donate money to the school over and beyond tuition, like in exclusive US private schools.

Being a Single Parent in Portugal

I’ll wrap up here with a couple observations about life as a single parent in Portugal, especially as a single mother, which probably is not too different from what it would have been like in the United States but has its nuances.  After my husband died, we were fortunate enough not to be sunk into a financial calamity as well, so I’ve found myself in the best possible outcome in the worst possible situation.  Many other widows with young children are not so fortunate.
This is a bit of a grab bag, but here it goes, in no particular order:
  • Lunch for Portuguese children always includes sopa or soup, which is usually a blended vegetable mix, so even if you’re too tired to do anything other than order pizza for dinner, you can rest assured that at least the kids got some vegetables at school.
  • Most Portuguese holidays – and there are a lot of them – are celebrated on a particular calendar day, not on Mondays “in observance of” the event in question.  This results in a lot of random Tuesdays and Wednesdays with the school closed smack dab in the middle of the workweek, compounding the “how do I get through the weekend with the kids all by myself” problem.  However, at least every six years it makes for a long weekend so you can take a trip somewhere.
  • I’m a young-ish Gen X, and at least for Portuguese men of my generation and older, talking to a single woman often makes them visibly uncomfortable.  I’ve had many a conversation with friends here, male and female alike, about this subject and they tell me the reason is because either 1) many older men naturally defer to other men and just don’t know how to treat a woman like a conversational equal; or 2) men assume that any reasonably well-presented woman talking to them must also be interested in them romantically. I find this laughably ridiculous, but, alas, I have also experienced it aplenty.  Like the time I said we didn’t need any more bread at a restaurant and the waiter looked at my husband for approval.  Or the contractor my friend introduced me to who could not look me in the eye while inspecting my condo for a remodeling quote and only addressed my (male) friend.  Granted, this doesn’t happen all the time, but I am more confident it will not happen if I am dealing with a woman or younger person.
  • My various “statuses” make for a socially lethal mix for a lot of Portuguese I encounter on a day-to-day basis: a foreign, widowed, single mother, amateur social critic with a deeply sardonic sense of humor who finds organized grade school functions tedious instead of whimsical, like I guess I’m supposed to.  This profile is probably similar to about 1% of American women, and 1% of 1% of Portuguese women.  (This is not a humble brag, by the way.) I sometimes think I might have better luck finding “my people” in Lisbon and/or if my children attended an international school, but I think they gain more in a Portuguese school so I’m willing to make the sacrifice.  (OK, this last part here is a humble brag.)
  • Portuguese school days are longer than American school days, typically 9 to 5 in grade school, and the prolongamento (extended day) often goes until 6:30 or 7, at least in private schools.  If your work is remote or otherwise flexible, you can soak up a lot of delicious food and Portuguese culture while the kids are at school.
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