Archive for October 14th, 2009

Homeschooling Expat Children: Perfect Solution Or Missed Opportunity?

Posted on 14. Oct, 2009 by in Blog, Expat Life

Homeschooling children seems to be a growing trend among expats, especially those who live in developing countries.

Educating your children at home can be an attractive proposition, particularly if local schools are substandard and no international schools are available nearby. And I certainly understand being reluctant to ship your kids off to boarding school, or leaving them back home with relatives!

I went through something close to homeschooling (albeit unofficially) for a few years, as I was frequently sick as a child and had to miss school often. Luckily, my parents were both willing and able to help me catch up on my lessons, and they never missed a chance to broaden my horizons way beyond the standard curriculum. I loved every moment of it!


All of that happened in my home country, though, and I cannot help but wonder: aren’t homeschooled expat kids missing out on a lot of what makes living abroad such a fantastic experience?

Expat children who attend local schools have the opportunity to deeply engage with their host country, both by studying the local curriculum and by interacting with their classmates. Those who go to international schools do get a chance to come into contact with students from all over the world.

By contrast, homeschooled children will spend more time around adults – parents or tutors. Even if there are other students in the “homeschool”, they are likely to be the same nationality – at the very least they will all share a common language – thereby reducing the diversity of cultures to which the children are exposed.

Diversity chicks!

I would love to hear your thoughts: do you think that homeschooling is a perfect solution… a missed opportunity… or a necessary evil for expat children?

Do you have firsthand experience with homeschooling? What are the pros and cons in your opinion?

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Images by Mwesigwa (top) and chrisjfry (bottom), both via Flickr Creative Commons

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