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By Ann Zeise
On occasion I get asked about homeschooling in a country where
English isn't spoken and that may have little or no information
on the web about homeschooling.
"I live in Thailand. Are there other homeschoolers here?"
"My husband's company needs him to work in Germany. Can
we homeschool there?"
"We're in the military and going to be stationed in the
Mideast. Are we allowed to homeschool?"
"We're a missionary family and going to Borneo. How can
we teach our own children?"
This feature is a bit of brainstorming here on what English-speaking
homeschool leaders would be wise to tell people who are considering
homeschooling in a "foreign" (to the advisor) country
where a family lives or will be living. It would be unwise for
us to second guess the laws in a non-English speaking country
or even in a culture with which we were not familiar even if
they are also English speaking.
This list is a work in progress and represents the common-sense
advice of many. Please email
me if you have any experience in this matter that you would
like to add.
Is it Legal There?
- You should locate the compulsory attendance code of
your country either online or at a l rary. If not, ask at an
embassy or consulate, if you will be there on a visa.
- You should look closely at the code to see if there are exceptions
to compulsory education, such as tutoring or private schooling,
and if parent-teaching is not specifically mentioned, does it
seem that it is feasible that the code could be used for homeschooling?
- If so, a copy of the law should be made and taken to a lawyer
specializing in family or education law in that country.
- If it doesn't seem clear that homeschooling is legal, check
to see if correspondence schooling is legal. If so, it may be
best to enroll in one of these until it is clear that independent
homeschooling is OK. There are quite a number of distance
learning programs that specialize in international home education.
They should be able to tell you if they can help you in the country
of your choice, or refer you to another organization that can.
It is easier to quit one of these programs if it turns out to
be unnecessary than it would be to try to find the best one for
you under duress while abroad.
- Check to see what is entailed in opening up a
very small private school of your own. You may be able to
find one or two other families interested in also being "enrolled"
in your school. Most countries have some option for private schools,
so check the education code and see if you could qualify.
- Assume that your employer, church or branch of the military
has probably heard this question before and ask them! Someone
with a title similar to "relocation specialist" should
have the resources for finding information about homeschooling.
- Foreign Service families have diplomatic immunity from local
laws. A problem can arise when their teenager applies for college
in the US. Working toward an International
Baccalaureate might be the work-around.
Finding local support
- To locate other homeschoolers, if you have web access, create
a simple blog and buddy list and get the major homeschool
sites to list your resource. If you don't, you'll need to use
the print media, or see if librarians are willing to help. So
many find fellow homeschoolers at the library mid-day. I would
think this strategy would work in just about any country. Give
the children's librarian your contact information and tell her
that it is OK to give it to anyone else inquiring about homeschooling.
Check also with various recreational and religious resources
and do the same thing.
- Organize something fun during the normal school day, publicize
it well, and see who shows up!
- Finding support when you do speak the language is one thing,
and then it is a whole different problem when you don't. There
may be any number of friendly native homeschool families, but
if you can't talk to them, what can you do? Try to find a translator.
Offer to teach English to their children if one of them will
teach the native language to you and yours!
- If the loneliness gets to you, do consider joining one or
more of the established international homeschool email lists.
Virtual homeschool buddies can be better than feeling you are
the only family in the world doing this.
- Resources for Living Abroad
Home in Asia : Expatriates in Southeast Asia and Their Stories
by Harold Stephens (Introduction), Mort Rosenblum
- These are not the kind to whine . . . they appear to be have
been too busy to be cantankerous or bored, what with marrying
royalty, smuggling lovers out of Laos, motorcar racing across
wild frontiers, running billion-baht businesses, sailing the
world and all.
- Third Culture Kids
- Growing Up Among Worlds
- by David C. Pollock, Ruth E. Van Reken
- This new edition provides greater insight into the challenges and benefits of growing up a TCK in our changing world, and includes new information about CCKs (cross-cultural kids)--immigrant children, international adoptees, or the children of biracial or bicultural parents-- and their similarities to TCKs.
- Classes & Curriculum
- Apple hardware and software.
- Discounted, Interactive Lessons with High School Credit ~ Guaranteed!
- Visual Link Spanish
- You can begin
learning Spanish right here, right now for free! Turn your
sound up, and here we go!