Home education always comes with pros and cons, but there are additional, unique challenges to homeschooling abroad. Thankfully, there is a potential solution.
Whether you’re an expat, diplomatic, or military family, one of the most important considerations when moving abroad is how your child will be educated. In many countries, non-citizens may not be entitled to free state education. Even if they are, state schooling won’t be a suitable choice if your child doesn’t speak the local language or the schools in your new locale simply aren’t good enough.
That’s one of the main reasons why many parents moving abroad start to consider homeschooling. Other families are already passionate homeschool proponents and want to continue that lifestyle in a new country. That said, it’s not always an easy journey.
The Benefits of Homeschooling Abroad
There are certainly undoubted benefits to homeschooling your child when you move abroad. For one, uprooting a child from a country they’re used to can be a big transition. For many youngsters, settling into a new school on top of that is just too much to add to the mix. With homeschooling, your child gets time to adjust to a new life in a new country at their own pace without worrying about being the new kid too.
There’s also the issue of finding a great school to begin with. In many nations, international schools are few and far between. You may not find one nearby your new home, and even if you can choose to live in a closer district, you won’t necessarily want to.
Finances are another key consideration. If you are within reach of an international school, it will typically come at a steep price. Unless you’re moving abroad to take up a high-paying job promotion or your workplace is willing to cover the cost of all school fees, a private school may be out of your budget. In comparison, homeschooling is far more affordable and convenient.
Finally, just as with homeschooling in one’s home country, educating your child outside of the traditional schooling system can bring unmatched lifestyle benefits. When you have the freedom to set your child’s learning schedule, you’re free to enjoy any activities you like at any time that works for you. Hours you’d ordinarily spend on morning drop-off and evening pick-up can be spent exploring your beautiful new surroundings. Plus, your child will have the opportunity to take up time-intensive hobbies like sports and performing.
The Challenges of Homeschooling Abroad
Of course, there are just as many drawbacks to homeschooling overseas too. For one, while non-traditional education may be accepted or even encouraged in your homeland, that’s not the case in every country. In fact, in many cultures, homeschooling is considered unusual, and may be frowned upon by your neighbours, co-workers, and even the government.
You’ll also need to keep socialisation in mind. Communicating with other children and making friends are crucial experiences for kids and teens. Some parents find socialisation a challenge when homeschooling in their home countries, so it’s easy to see how it can be even more difficult when living abroad. You’ll be faced with the challenge of finding young people in your area who share a common language with your child and have the time to join playdates outside of their school day.
On top of that, even typical homeschool challenges like managing workload become harder when you move overseas. As a home educating parent, you’re tasked with the job of being a teacher of every subject — even if you’re not qualified or trained in education. While you can, of course, be an amazing teacher to your own child without certification, it takes work. And, as rewarding as that work can feel, it’s a lot to balance with the additional workload of starting a new life around the world.
The Potential Solution: Online Schooling
If the challenges of overseas homeschooling are weighing down on you, does that mean you have to send your child to a traditional school in your new country? Thankfully, that’s not the case. In fact, you can reap many of the major benefits of homeschooling and avoid its drawbacks with online schooling.
When your child enrols at an online or virtual school, they’ll get live lessons from qualified teachers every day, just as they would at a traditional school. However, unlike at a mainstream school, these classes aren’t static. Your child can attend online lessons anywhere in the world with nothing more than a computer with an internet connection. This makes online schooling an ideal option for expats, diplomats, and other families living overseas.
Since you’ll have expert teachers educating your child, you won’t need to worry about the workload of teaching yourself. Just as in traditional schools, online school students also get plenty of opportunities to socialise. Whether they’re having discussions in classes or making friends in virtual clubs, they’ll get to bond with classmates from all over the world. You may even find that there are other expats in your new country attending the same online school, and the best of these schools offer in-person meetups too.
At the same time, your family gets all the aforementioned benefits of homeschooling. Your child can enrol in online school before you even arrive in your new country, eliminating the difficulty of starting a new school on top of moving abroad. They’ll be able to attend classes no matter where you live, and since online schools don’t have the bricks-and-mortar overheads of a traditional school, their fees are usually much more affordable. On top of that, online schooling is known for its flexibility. That means you’ll have the freedom to fit your child’s education around an amazing new life filled with hobbies, leisure, and unmatched experiences.
Learning Online at King’s InterHigh
If virtual schooling sounds like the perfect solution for your family’s move overseas, check out King’s InterHigh. As the leading British online school, King’s InterHigh has taught more than 10,000 successful alumni aged 7 to 18 over the past 16 years. Live lessons are taught by highly qualified teachers using proven online learning methodologies and innovative technology. Plus, classes are recorded and made available to watch 24/7, so your child catch up with any lessons they’ve missed at a time that suits your lifestyle. Alongside full-time education, King’s InterHigh offers smaller homeschooling packages that you can use alongside your own home education efforts. For more information, visit the website.