Helsinki Central Library Oodi functions as a house of reading and a learning space for families in Finland. Image Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/6NVeLrMFu7g
According to the U.S. Department of Education, there are about 1,770,000 American students who are homeschooled. However, that doesn’t mean that all of those students live in the United States. One of the unique things about homeschooling is that it can be done from virtually anywhere, including homeschooling abroad.
Maybe you have to change locations for work, or maybe you’re just ready for a life change and you want to move your family somewhere new. But, it’s a good idea to know what you’re getting into before you pack up your children and head to a different country. Remember, vacationing in a place like Mexico or the Bahamas might be fun, but you wouldn’t necessarily want to live there to provide the best education for your children or teens.
Homeschooling abroad is a great way to teach your kids about different cultures. But, it’s important to consider some factors before you leave, including where you want to go, how you’re going to adapt to the culture, and what your child will need to make the transition a smooth one. We’ve got you covered with some of these useful tips below.
Choosing Your Location
Before you decide on homeschooling abroad, you’ll have to choose the best location to do so. First, it’s important to know if homeschooling is even allowed in your country of interest, or if it is banned. Some countries in Europe have made homeschooling illegal, including:
- The Netherlands
In fact, there are many homeschoolers in exile from Sweden who live in Finland, where homeschooling is allowed. So it’s important to learn about the laws surrounding homeschooling wherever you decide to go, as it isn’t always as widely-accepted in every country as it is in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
If you’re moving for work, you may not have a choice in where you go. If you are given an option, though, consider factors like your comfort level when it comes to certain areas of the world. Where would you be happiest raising your family? Additionally, it’s important to consider the financial preparations you’ll have to go through. You’ll have to consider exchange rates and may need to set a strict budget. Some programs may offer scholarships and grants if you’re willing to go to a specific area. So, if you’re on a strict budget and would have a hard time paying for your child’s schooling otherwise, looking into monetary assistance can make a big difference when homeschooling abroad.
Ensuring You Have the Essentials
Once you’ve decided where to go, making sure you’re prepared before you leave is the next key step. One thing you’ll need when your children are homeschooling is a reliable Internet connection. That will be easier to establish in some countries than in others.
For example, Russia offers free WiFi in most public areas and the ability to connect to a broadband service that will fit your family’s needs. Believe it or not, Russia is a place where homeschooling is becoming a vibrant movement.
Unfortunately, there are several countries across the globe that don’t allow their citizens or visitors to have free access to the Internet to find information. Some of these countries include:
Many of these countries can pose threats in different ways, so you may want to steer clear of them, regardless. But, it’s a good idea to make sure whatever country you’re interested in has everything you will need to ensure successful schooling for your children.
Before you go, it’s also important to have your own essentials on hand and to make the proper preparations. Get your immigration documents months in advance of your departure — that includes applying for visas for your whole family. Arrange your financial sources. Do extensive research on the country you’re going to be living in. All of these things will help to ensure a smoother transition before you even step on the plane to leave.
Preparing for a Major Life Transition — For the Whole Family!
Finally, understand that this will be a big transition for your entire family. Prepare yourself and everyone else for life abroad by learning as much about the culture ahead of time as possible. You’re going to be fully immersed in a new culture when homeschooling abroad, so learning some key things about that culture will be a big help, including:
- Cultural customs
- Financial means
- Country history
It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with any risks your new location might have. This includes various health risks or terrorism risks. You can contact the U.S. embassy before you’re set to leave to determine if there are any warnings or bans listed for the country you might be traveling to, to help give you peace of mind when homeschooling abroad.
Finally, make sure your family stays healthy by getting the proper vaccinations before you go. Certain diseases like malaria aren’t exactly prevalent in the U.S., but they are in other parts of the world. Getting vaccinated before traveling and interacting with others can help to keep everyone safe.
Homeschooling abroad can be a great learning experience for your whole family. But, safety and security should always be your top priority. By keeping these tips in mind, you can make sure your family is prepared to tackle anything that might come your way in a new country while providing excellent educational opportunities for your kids.