Many expats choose home schooling for their children in order to avoid disrupting their school education or in order to avoid the hefty fees associated with international schools. In this section we take a look at the practicalities of home schooling and how you can ensure that, in the event that you opt for this method of educating you children, you implement it in the most effective form possible.
1) Select an accredited home school curriculum
When choosing to educate your children at home it is crucial that you select a curriculum that will be recognized by outside educational establishments in the event that your child wishes to progress onto university or further academic studies. Some of the most popular curriculums are detailed below. Please note that these offer home schooling for the American curriculum although they are specifically tailored for home schooling abroad.
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.
2) Provide social opportunities for your child
One of the biggest issues expatriate parents will face when opting to educate their children at home concerns the social implications of removing them from a classroom setting. There is a real risk that children will become isolated and will not have the same opportunities to make friends as they may do if they were to be educated at full educational establishment. In addition to this, by remaining at home they will not have the chance to mix thoroughly with children from the culture of the country within which they are living and will not develop the language abi lities and cross-cultural work ability that they may achieve if they were schooled in a more traditional setting.
In order to overcome this you should ensure that you provide opportunities for your child to social outside of the home school environment. Register your child in clubs and sports teams where they can meet other children their own age and develop their own social network. You could also consider attending a language exchange program with you child and thus provide them with an opportunity to learn a new language whilst familiarizing themselves with a different culture from their own. If such a program is not already in existence you can consider contacting expat forums and forming your own.
3) Know your own limits
If you decide to educate your child yourself you should be prepared to accept the fact that you may not know everything you need to know in order to give them the best possible education. While you may hope to provide all teaching yourself you will undoubtedly have weaknesses in your own subject knowledge in some areas and may need to consider calling in help. There are always tutors available in expatriate destinations that will be able to attend your home for a couple of hours a week to provide your child with tutoring in specialized subjects. Advertise for help on expat forums or in newspapers and you will quickly locate suitable help.
4) Remain disciplined
One of the biggest challenges you will face when educating you child at home will concern their motivation. This will especially be a problem if they have previously been educated in a school setting. You may find that your child is initially unable to concentrate on home learning and that they do not take it seriously enough. In order to deal with this you need to enforce the message that being taught at home is absolutely the best option for them whilst they are living in the new country. You need to involve them in the decision process and persuade them that learning at home will offer them the most suitable learning environment at this stage of their lives.
You yourself will also need to remain disciplined. You need to be committed to delivering your child’s education at home and need to establish a routine that you strictly adhere to. It will not be acceptable to put schooling off for a day because something else has come up that you want to attend. You should be prepared to accept, in advance, that you will need to be highly committed to schooling your child at home and will be required to clear enough time to plan lessons, implement the learning experiences, assess and mark the work produced by your child and discipline them when they fail to invest sufficient effort into their learning. This can, and will, be very stressful and will place a significant demand on you, you should therefore only enter into the relationship if you are absolutely 100% certain that you are capable of meeting such demands whilst also maintaining a healthy relationship with your child.