Tips for Homeschooling Abroad by Cassie Phillips, Guest Contributor 2016
Tips for Homeschooling Abroad
If you tend to travel often or have even decided to move abroad, homeschooling can be a great option for your family. It removes the burden from your children of frequently becoming “the new kid” in school and can allow you to have time to bond with your children while they get an education. It can also sometimes decrease the risk of your children becoming the targets of bullying, as you will be able to control the environment more than if they were attending public school. The downside of homeschooling is that there are often legal requirements that can make it a bit more difficult for you to get started right away. In some regions you may even be required to have a teaching certificate of some sort.
There are also a few other things to think about before and while you’re homeschooling your kids. Don’t let those dissuade you from doing so! Homeschooling can be a rewarding venture for both you and your children as long as you do your research before you begin putting your plan into motion. Here are some tips for homeschooling abroad that should be of great assistance to you on your journey:
First, Understand the Legal Requirements
This is one of the most important steps to take before you begin homeschooling. In order to protect yourself legally and ensure that you’re on the right track, make sure you understand the requirements for homeschooling in your area. In some cases, you may be able to legally continue homeschooling during your travels without having to brush up on any new requirements. Yet don’t just assume this to be the case. Always contact the proper local officials whenever you move to a new area. If you plan on traveling abroad rather than moving, check with local officials before doing so, as you may be able to travel without having to alter any homeschooling plans. It’s always better to confirm whether or not you’re playing by the rules!
Have Tutors Handy
There may be times when you simply cannot teach your children as often as you would like or be able to devote extra hours to helping them better understand the curriculum. This isn’t uncommon, especially if you’re traveling abroad or are in the midst of unpacking your family’s belongings. If this happens, there is no need to worry. Just have a list of local tutors on hand that can meet with your children if they happen to fall behind a bit or really need the extra hours of schooling. Though it’s easy to find tutors through checking local ads, it may be a wiser idea to reach out to an agency who can confirm the tutors’ backgrounds. This can sometimes be safer and the agency may also provide you with some sort of guarantee so you’re spending your money well. Don’t forget to keep more than one number handy in the event your children’s usual tutor isn’t available on short notice or is on vacation.
Utilize What the Internet Has To Offer
Sometimes using the internet is nearly a requirement for homeschooling, as many states now have virtual schools that are accessible almost exclusively for homeschooled students. However, some parents prefer to stick to the old tried and true method of homeschooling with textbooks alone. Though this is still effective, the internet can really offer some major benefits and liven up your children’s curriculum. From educational videos on YouTube to documentaries on Netflix, it’s quite easy to find relevant viewing material and even interactive games online that can assist your children in learning just about anything. These almost always have the potential to get children more interested in learning and they definitely make learning less of a chore for those who easily lose interest. Parents can also find a lot of resources online that can assist them in finding tutors, looking up local homeschooling laws, finding the best prices on textbooks and more.
Secure Your Computers
If you do decide to make the internet a part of your children’s learning environment, it’s important to know how to secure your internet-enabled devices. You should first start with an anti-virus program, which you can actually download for free. Avast is one reputable company that offers great anti-virus software that is fairly easy to use. This will prevent your computer from picking up malware and help you to remove it if any malware does end up slipping through the cracks.
Another program you won’t want to be without is a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Not only will utilizing a VPN protect your family while they’re using the internet, but it’ll also allow them to be able to access more content online such as educational YouTube videos that are blocked in certain countries. Perhaps most importantly, a VPN service is essential for safely accessing public WiFi. If you’re traveling, it’s nearly impossible to avoid public WiFi, but it actually poses a great safety risk. Without an encrypted connection, hackers can unfortunately access your device to spy on your online activities.
Homeschooling can be fun for both you and your children. Though it can be easy to get wrapped up in the usual curriculum, don’t forget to have fun while teaching your children. Visit local historical spots and turn it into a history lesson. There’s no reason not to enjoy what the town you’re visiting has to offer while still homeschooling your children in the process. Not everything has to be taught classroom-style with textbooks and chalkboards. Trips to museums, ruins of old buildings and other interesting spots can actually work towards keeping your children engaged in your lessons while also allowing you to have some family bonding time. You can also use family outings as an opportunity to educate your children about the local culture and how it differs from their own country and hometown.