Not every expatriate has the advantage of access to an international school that suits the needs and requirements of their children. Some expats may not have the budget to pay for expensive international schools while others may find that the schools that are on offer just don’t suit their children’s education requirements. For this reason, many expatriates turn to home schooling as a solution to their problems.
What is home schooling?
A home school is a school in which parents teach their children an academic curriculum at home instead of sending them out to a public or private school. The parents may choose to deliver the curriculum themselves or may engage the services of an online or local private tutor. While home schooling is legal in the majority of European countries, Australia, New Zealand, North American and Hong Kong, expatriates who are considering home schooling their children while they are living overseas should always fully research the rules that are present in both their host and home countries.
Advantages of home schooling:
- It gives parents an opportunity to be closely involved in their child’s progress and education. Many parents have found that home education is a positive choice that strengthens their relationship with their children.
- Many expatriates live and work in countries that do not offer high standards of education or that follow a curriculum that is extremely different from that on offer in their home country. Home schooling offers such parents the best chance to ensure that they provide their children with the skills and experiences they need to do well in life and also ensures that children have the education they need to successfully integrate into their normal school if they do return home.
- Home schooling allows you to tailor educational experiences to your child and ensures that they participate in a learning program that is suitable for their individual personality and learning pace.
- If your child progresses well, you will have the opportunity to accelerate their learning and they will not be held up by the constraints of a traditional classroom-style learning environment.
Disadvantages of home schooling:
- Parents may have the best of intentions but this does not make them great teachers. It can be very difficult for untrained parents to create effective learning experiences and understand how to evaluate their child’s progress.
- The school and home can often become inseparable and it can become difficult for both the parent and the child to switch off from the teacher-pupil relationship.
- It can be difficult to maintain the discipline of education in your home surroundings, where you are surrounded by multiple distractions.
- Your children will lose out on the social opportunities that are available when they attend school with other children and may not develop the social skills they need to be successful in life.
- You are often very biased when it comes to your own children and it may be very difficult for you to objectively evaluate their progress.
Ensuring you’re on the right track:
One of the best methods of ensuring that you are providing your children with the skills, knowledge and experiences they need to rejoin mainstream education when they do return home is to school in their home country, is to follow an accredited home schooling plan. A number of online resources exist that allow you to download proven lesson plans and curriculums that can be used for home schooling purposes. Once you have enrolled in the program, you will be provided with regular support and monitoring activities that can help you to ensure that your children are progressing in the right manner.
It is crucial that you select an outside curriculum that will be recognized by schools in your home country when you do return home. Here are some resources that may be of use to UK and US expats who wish to home school their children.
Companies that offer home schooling packages and support for UK expats:
- http://www.primaryhomeeducation.co.uk/: Primary home education offers curriculum packs that have been written and prepared by qualified teachers who have first-hand experience of the UK curriculum. Parents can then use those packs to teach their own children at home. The curriculum packs include tutor support, so parents can access help and assistance if they are struggling with an area of the curriculum or need further assistance.
- Worldwide education service: The Worldwide education service is a British company that is accredited by the ODLQC, the national body for quality in open and distance learning. They provide lesson and learning evaluation plans in a wide range of school subjects for children aged 4 to 14 years. Their learning experiences are based on the UK National Curriculum.
- Oxford Home Schooling: Provides home schooling resources for Key Stage Three children who are aged between 11 and 14. They offer a number of subject resources, including history, I.T., maths and English. Qualified teachers are available online or over the telephone and parents act as a mentor throughout the process to keep their children on track.
Companies that offer home schooling packages and support for US expats:
- Calvert School Provides approved curriculum materials for all core courses and enrichment products. Allows home tutors access to an online resource centre where they can access interactive bulletin boards, advisory teaching services and regular newsletters.
- Laurel Springs School a distance learning school that offers several different types of curricula. It is often chosen by parents who have children with specific learning needs as the course it tailored to suit the individual through a series of diagnostic tests and specialized support services.
- Ablaze Academy Offers a curriculum that can be accessed at anytime from anywhere via the Internet. All lesson plans, test and progress reports are delivered online meaning that there is no need to pay for shipment of any materials. Tutorial support is available online and the teacher is able to converse with the student via online chat or videoconference.
- Keystone National High School A distance learning system that allows students to study at their own pace. One on one instruction is available via distance learning and enrollment on the program allows parents and students access to an online community that currently numbers on excess of 20,000 students. Keystone High School has been running for over 30 years and boast past students who have gone on to be accepted at over 140 colleges and universities.
- Time4Learning An online home curriculum that offers a low price and a money back guarantee. Children can access lessons online and learn at their own pace.
- Citizens’ High School offers students an actual high school diploma as opposed to a General Education Development pass (GED). The system is based on a program of self-paced learning and is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Distance Education and Training Council.
Further resources for British expats
- Further advice on educating British children at home while they are living overseas can be found on the Home Education Advisory Service website.
- Education Otherwise is a registered charity and comprehensive information service that provides practical advice and information for UK parents who are considering home schooling their children.
- Sparklebox: Offers free printable resources for parents to use at home with their children.
Further resources for U.S. expats
- Home School World provides an online shopping mall, a list of events and organizations, an ongoing legal update, book reviews, and links for U.S. citizens who home school their children.
- What about college? A comprehensive list of U.S. colleges and universities that have accepted home-educated students.
- The Home School Legal Defense Association provides a summary of state laws and regulations that apply to home schooling.
Are there any useful home schooling resources that we have missed from this article? Please leave a comment and let us know.