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Is Homeschooling Right For My Expat Family?

Posted in: Expats Everywhere, Living in Ecuador, Our Perspective, Traveling Kids

When a family starts thinking about extended travel or moving abroad they may start thinking about homeschooling.

Homeschooling can be a hot topic. A lot of people have strong opinions about it.

If you are thinking about making the switch to homeschooling, don’t be put off by negative remarks.

homeschooling expat

Homeschooling For Expat Families?

I can make positive, well-informed comments about homeschooling because we home school our daughter. She has never been in the school system, and it has been a wonderful experience for our family.

I saw an interesting video not long ago where a young man was talking about his positive experience being home-schooled.

I’ve shared it here to encourage and support families that are thinking about it. Logan LaPlante does not live abroad, but you can get a good idea about the wonderful possibilities open to home-schooled children by listening to his TEDx Talk.

Why Homeschooling Makes This Child Happy

Watch on YouTube

It’s so true that our main goal should be raising children who are (and will be) happy and healthy adults!

That’s not to say that children who go to traditional schools can not be happy healthy people, but there is more than one way to educate a child.

Schooling is one of the challenges faced by expat families. In the Expat Family Handbook, we cover all eight challenges and how to overcome them.

Is Homeschooling Right For My Expat Family?

It is for ours.

There are many different ways to home school an expat child.

When we started we bought the curriculum books ourselves and I sat next to Drew, teaching her five days a week. I viewed it the same way as if I were gong to work, it took self discipline as does any other worthwhile routine.

Now we do what is called distance education, she does most of her school work online with a private school in the States. This has not hampered her language learning because the majority of her social time is spent with Spanish speakers. So while she studies at home, she isn’t technically home schooled because she is enrolled with an accredited high school.

Many families like to have things very structured and others don’t like structure at all. It all depends on what is the best education style for each family and each child. Many traveling parents homeschool, while others hackschool, unschool, or worldschool. The goal is the same: to take control of their child’s education.

Some people will say things like “home-schooled children aren’t socialized,” or “home-schooled children miss out on so much!” Those statements are only true if the parents don’t do a good job of homeschooling their children. Parents should take an active role in making sure their children have good friends and interesting things to do.

Homeschooling made for a smooth transition when we moved from Canada to Ecuador. And it helped as we moved around a bit, settling into life here. Our daughters schooling stayed the same which was less stressful for her.

Like the young man in the video above, our daughter is very well socialized, makes friends easily, and has had a very interesting life so far!

(If you have enjoyed this post please help us reach more people by sharing it with your friends.)

Your Turn

Are you a homeschooling expat family? Have you thought about homeschooling? What’s your opinion? Please share by commenting on this post.

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Meet the Author

Dena Haines is co-editor of GringosAbroad - Ecuador's largest blog for expats and travelers. She is a travel blogger and content marketer. She is also co-founder of ClickLikeThis (GoPro tutorial blog) and Storyteller Media (content marketing for travel brands). Work with GringosAbroad.

7 comments… add one
  • Maegan Jun 21, 2015, 11:06 pm

    We are a homeschooling family living in the states, but we might be moving to France soon. We would really like to immerse our children into the French culture, and we worry if we could do that while homeschooling. I wonder if they will still learn the language well if they didn’t go to school? And for my older kids, I worry that they would fall behind in their courses if we did send them to school because of struggles with the language and understanding what is being taught. I have five kids ages 5, 8, 11, 14, and 15. What are your thoughts?

  • Linda Feb 26, 2015, 8:23 pm

    Thanks for the article. We are living in China and homeschooling our now 9th grade daughter. We have always homeschooled and don’t want to stop, but there are no other older kids homeschooling here right now, and we have found it very difficult to find friends for her, the teens are all so involved and busy with their schools and extra curricular activities seem to all be connected to the schools. I coordinate the homeschool group, so she is always there, but after our activity, she socializes with the homeschool moms because the kids are younger, and comes with me sometimes to our Ladies Club Activities, but currently has no real friends her age.
    Any ideas how we can find her some friends????

  • Angie Drake Nov 16, 2014, 12:28 pm

    We’re a homeschooling military family who has been an expat family on and off. Currently, we are living in Quito, Ecuador. We have almost always homeschooled our children. We made an exception the year we lived in Buenos Aires and enrolled them in a local school so that they could better learn the language. But our approach to school was much more like our version of homeschool/unschooling. We told both boys that their grades didn’t matter (insert sounds of shock from an American audience) and that we only wanted them to try their best to learn Spanish. This approach worked for us. Aand just in case you were wondering, they ended up passing all their classes and both speak excellent Spanish.

    I think most people worry that homeschooling a teenager will mean they won’t get into college. While there are multiple paths to get into a university, our oldest son merely entered community college by taking a test. No school records whatsoever. And a community college was a great way for him to re-integrate into the United States without the pressures of a much larger school. For us, it was a perfect solution for an expat family.

    • Dena Haines Dec 8, 2014, 5:18 pm

      Hi Angie,

      So nice to hear that homeschooling worked out well for your family!

      Thanks for your comment.

  • Lainie Liberti Nov 16, 2014, 11:33 am

    We are a homeschooling family too. In fact we are a homeschooling family who travels and currently finds ourselves in Ecuador at the moment. We do not follow specific curriculum so we are considered “unschoolers”. However, our brand of homeschooling / unschooling is referred to as “worldschooling’ since we are inspired by the world around us. I wrote an article about the differences between unschooling and worldschooling here if you are interested: http://www.raisingmiro.com/2014/10/24/why-worldschooling-and-not-unschooling/

    • Bryan Haines Nov 16, 2014, 1:13 pm

      Thanks Lainie! Hope you’re enjoying Ecuador.

    • Dena Haines Dec 8, 2014, 5:25 pm

      That’s a really interesting article.

      I liked the way you described how your daily experiences shape the interests you pursue, and not the other way round. That must keep life spontaneous and lead to a lot of new experiences.

      Sounds like you guys are having an amazing time!

      Thanks for your comment.

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