So you have decided to travel the world?
So you have decided to travel the world doing outreach with kids and now what? Education?
Okay you are sent off as an international expat to some far hidden corner of the planet, and so where do you park the kids in school now?
Wife!!!: “Well dear, if we go overseas, where should we educate our kids? “
Impish looking husband: “Um good question honey …” 🙂
It is perennial question for newbie expats with kids or newbie newlyweds with babies? … on the horizon. The usual avenues are international schools, local schools or homeschool.
This article will focus on homeschooling seeing the other avenues for your child’s education will be explored in other posts.
A new environment
Wife: “But what were you expecting? What is wrong with pizza with squid on it? It is perfectly normal here!”
Husband: “Hmmm well at least they have pizza, ummmm that is pizza? Isn’t it?”
The smiling local says 🙂 “Well we call it … विद्रूप पिज्जा vidroop pijja (Hindi)”
Usually newbie expats or parents have no idea of what they are getting themselves into when going overseas. You hop on the plane zipping around the world, jump off the plane with your luggage and kids in tow or expecting wife and expect America? Canada? Australia, Britain?
But it isn’t!
It isn’t at all what you were expecting. Everyone speaks some other language, and you can’t read any of the signs seeing they are also in some strange language too. Often the words are not even in the Roman alphabet, but squiggly lines or with cool Klingon-ish letters or some other variation thereof … Japanese (おいしいおいしいイカのピザ Oishī oishī ika no pizza – or delicious yummy squid pizza) itself has 3 different scripts they combine to write stuff down! Hindi, Chinese, Arabic, and even Eastern Europeans often have a different alphabet from the West. (νόστιμη πικάντικη καλαμάρια nóstimi pikántiki kalamária – Greek – or delicious yummy squid pizza)
(By the way this works in reverse too for those expats coming from non-English countries to a foreign land).
When we become expats we all become foreigners in a strange land! … with strange but interesting customs, and different education systems.
I wish they would have told me!!! Location, location, location!!!
It may be your only option! Homeschooling that is …! Whether you are sent out by a company, government, or get hired directly by a local company or school in your new host country, that doesn’t mean there will be an international school for your kids to attend – in your area. Oil, mining, engineering jobs and/or hotel/ biz jobs can be like that.
You get posted to the hinterlands or some city, town or a ski resort village where there just is no other option. Even if you are placed in a large metropolis, you may be dropped down in a nether region with an industrial or business park where you work. Thus it may not be practical to bus your kiddos 2 hours to school and 2 hours back every day.
If you work for a large company, they may offer to sponsor your child at a boarding school, but most folks don’t want to do that … The spouse could hold down the fort back at home sending the kids to a home country school, but then that entails splitting up the family – which some people do, but from what I have seen – that is usually not a good idea.
I Can’t Afford That?!!!!?
So let’s say you are in a big metropolis with zillions of internationals schools! Whoo-hoo! We have hit the jack-pot!!! Hmmm but have you? The answer is, it depends! Experienced expats know, but newbies don’t – that foreign based international schools are EXPENSIVE! Like in crazy, holy pooper-pits expensive!!!!
Where I live the kindergarten’s tuition can easily go for $15,000 USD a pop and Primary-Secondary school’s tuition can easily range from double and usually triple that!!! Thus a secondary international school can easily cost almost $50,000 in tuition and fees per year and that is common here.
Now some other cities may be different or other countries cheaper, but by and large international schools are expensive.
So what’s your point you might say, and my point is your job sponsor overseas may or may not cover the tuition at such schools and often not. Or maybe your sponsor will cover 1 child in full, the second half and if you have a third then none!
Coverage runs the spectrum from zilch to full which may mean homeschooling is the only option for you.
The story of the family who homeschooled 5 kids while overseas …
Personally I knew a couple in this situation. I met them at church and they had 5 children. The couple was self-employed with a business venture that they had started while overseas. The spouse homeschooled all 5 of her children from primary to secondary school and the older ones had helped out with the younger ones somewhat like on the TV show the Waltons. When I had met the couple, their last child had entered university and the rest were either part-way through or finished university and working.
So that shows you it can be done and successfully at that.
Congrats and hats off to that family for a job well done!!!
What are some of the other reasons for homeschool?
Homeschooling around the world is a growing movement, a fringe movement, but a growing one that numbers 1.2 million to 2 million kids being homeschooled in the United States, or 2+%. So its popularity has attracted many fans.
According to one source average grades on a whole are higher, averaging 87% compared to 50% averages for American schools.
Homeschooled students tend to do better overall then students on a whole in State side schools. So parents choose to homeschool because they believe it is the best option for their child.
Other parents choose homeschooling because of religious reasons, and/or their child has a slight learning disability.
If you have a child with large disabilities, you may need to think long and hard on whether you are able to handle your situation aptly.
Homeschooling Round the World
The U.S. Department of State – Homeschooling and Online Learning
The U.S. Department of State has a webpage full of links on curriculum and homeschooling resources created for its Foreign Service families. They don’t endorse any of the links on the webpage, but simply mention they are popular with the Foreign Service families. They are a good place to start for your own research.
For the particular options for homeschooling and online learning each State has different systems and requirements which can be easily looked up online. For example
https://www.facebook.com/groups/HomeSchoolAssociationofCalifornia – There are many homeschool State specific Facebook and other online community help and chat groups online. So have a look online for what is available for your State.
Parents.com has some useful overview pages on the A, B, C’s of Homeschooling
http://www.parents.com/kids/education/home-schooling/best-homeschooling-resources-online – Some more resources and useful sites..
http://www.parents.com/kids/education/home-schooling/what-is-homeschooling – a good overview of what you need to know to do homeschooling.
http://www.parents.com/toddlers-preschoolers/starting-preschool/issues/the-homeschool-revolution – the homeschooling revolution and should you join?
Some Canadian Options
Each Province has a provincial website linked to distance and online learning options suitable for reference for homeschooling families or wannabes …
For example the British Columbia provincial website is https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/ways-to-learn/classroom-learning/distributed-learning-programs
… and the Ontario provincial website is
http://www.ilc.org/school/group_home_school.php – for secondary students
http://www.ilc.org/school/outside_students.php – for out of province and international students.
https://www.virtualelementaryschool.com – Elementary school options in Ontario
http://ontariohomeschool.org/correspondencesch – The Ontario Federation of Teaching Parents – Elementary and Secondary school options
https://www.facebook.com/groups/148513155249668 Facebook etc has chat communities where Canadian homeschoolers can help each other and share ideas too.
Some Options in the United Kingdom – Heh? The Queen you say was homeschooled?
The United Kingdom or Britain has a large homeschooling community. In fact most of the Royal Family including the Queen was homeschooled, albeit by private tutors.
https://www.gov.uk/home-education https://www.gov.uk/home-schooling-information-council The United Kingdom government has an official
There is a trendy homeschooling trend for overseas professionals and folks who travel the world from the Financial Independence and Retire Early movement. (A group of folks who engineer an early retirement in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s and some traveling the world in perpetuity – i.e. thus needing homeschool etc options….)
Millennial –Revolution has done some cool blogs on this area.
https://www.millennial-revolution.com/freedom/travel-school-aged-kids Traveling the world with kids in tow.
https://www.millennial-revolution.com/freedom/worldschooling-interview-kids-perspective-part-2 – interview with a world schooling student and reflection on her experiences
http://worldschoolingtalk.com – vlog on world schooling
http://www.edventuregirl.com – student’s website featured in Millennial Revolution interview above
Wrap Up …
So hopefully this blog may help you in regards to your overseas professional international expat life and provide you with some background options if you want or need to explore the idea of homeschooling, online education, distance education, world schooling or the like.
So is homeschooling for you? 🙂
What do you do? 🙂
From the Far Side of the Planet, By CPO J