More parents are choosing to homeschool their children. With the internet as a resource, it’s never been easier, but it’s definitely daunting trying to decide if you want to homeschool, especially if you’re thinking of doing so abroad.
You want to make sure your kids still get a great education and aren’t falling behind their peers, but at the same time, it can be difficult to know how things are going to work in terms of curriculum, teachers, and student motivation.
Tips to Confidently Homeschool Your Kids Abroad
Here are five great tips so you can begin confidently homeschooling your kids abroad:
1. Get Your Paperwork in Order
Depending on where you’re from, you may need to submit paperwork in order to legally homeschool your kids. In many cases, it doesn’t matter if you’ll be living abroad for a while and won’t return to the same area; at least ask your local school district what you need to do to make sure your kids can return to school and still get their diplomas.
The plus side to all of this is the number of schools willing to work with you to figure out the appropriate curriculum for the year. Having a good relationship with the school and alerting them to the fact that you’ll be homeschooling could be in your best interest!
2. Decide Who Will Teach What
Once you have the curriculum put together, it can be tempting to just sit back and let the kids have at it with their textbooks, supporting documents and the internet. That’s generally not the way homeschooling works.
If your kids have problems, they’ll need a teacher they can turn to for help. This doesn’t always have to be you … and especially once your kids are older, you may not have the knowledge to help them. A lot of expat families hire teachers for their students, and if your employer abroad offers you help with putting your kids in an international school, they may even be happy with your decision to homeschool your kids since often hiring a private teacher is cheaper than paying the fees for international schools!
3. Use Your Surroundings
One of the great advantages that you have if you’re homeschooling your kids abroad is the ability to take them on meaningful field trips that enhance what they’re learning. Of course, there may be nothing in your area that relates to the required curriculum for your home state for that year, but there’s no reason not to learn about the country that you currently call home or the countries that you’re currently traveling through. You may learn facts about the place that surprise you, and you’ll likely find that the more you know, the more immersed in the local culture you’ll feel.
4. Access the Whole Internet
Often you’ll find that when you’re traveling, sites you use back home—including sites that are infinitely useful for homeschooling, such as Netflix, certain YouTube channels, and more—are blocked due to geo-restrictions, which limit access to a people living in a certain area.
Your Netflix account might be registered in the States. So, when you try to access it from abroad, Netflix (or any other site) only sees your IP address, which tells the site where you’re currently located, and makes assumptions based on that. The best way around this is to install a VPN to hide your IP address, allowing you to access anything on the internet regardless of where you are.
5. Be Flexible!
The main thing I can’t stress enough with teaching abroad is the benefit of being flexible with your curriculum. Of course, there are certain things every child needs to learn. However, homeschooling your kids abroad gives you such a unique chance to show them some history by taking them to ruins or museums or wherever else, and they’ll often learn a lot more with the hands-on approach than they would from reading a textbook in a classroom. Allow for impromptu lessons on Norman castles or Incan ruins, even if it doesn’t fit with the rest of what you’ve been learning, at least the kids are still learning.
Moms, are there any other tips you can share? We want to hear about them in the Comments!