Homeschooling is emerging among the Filipino Community here in UAE and recently I’ve been receiving questions on how to homeschool in UAE. So I thought of addressing the question here (on the blog) to reach out to Filipino families in UAE who are considering homeschooling.
So, let me start by defining Homeschooling. Basically, homeschooling is where parents take the responsibility of their children’s education. Learning, mostly happens at home, but it is not necessarily confined to the four corners of your home.
Sounds interesting? Then let’s look at some frequently asked questions on how to start homeschooling.
My family decided to homeschool our children, how do I start?
For Filipino families, there are two ways to homeschool our children in UAE. The first option is to enroll in a DepEd accredited provider that offers support for overseas homeschoolers. Some providers have curriculum to follow, others give you the freedom to choose the curriculum that fits your children, this include local & US curriculum. You can also expand the curriculum according to your children’s interest and learning style. Official Credentials will be carried out by the provider, which a homeschooler can use should he decide to enroll in a regular school in the Philippines or when he reach college. Homeschool Global (formerly The Master’s Academy) and School of Tomorrow are DepEd accredited provider that offers support for global homeschooling families.
Another option is to enroll in an international provider, mostly US base that offers support for distance learning like Bridgeway Homeschool, School of Tomorrow and Seton Home Study School . The curriculum is sent through couriers, and just like DepEd accredited provider, they carry out accreditation. However, should the homeschooler decide to go to regular school, there might be a need to take the Validating Exam in Philippines, to be able to enroll.
Is it legal to Homeschool in UAE?
Homeschool regulation are not yet in place in UAE. Hence, expats are homeschooling following the regulations of their home country. On the other hand, homeschooling in the Philippines is protected under Section 1 of Article 14 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, stating that the State shall, “establish and maintain a system of free public education in the elementary and high school levels. Without limiting the natural right of parents to rear their children education.
Can I enroll in a Philippine/US homeschool provider while i’m in UAE?
Definitely yes. Most providers have their website, from which you can check their contact details so you can connect with them. Once connected, they’ll inform you about the enrollment process. There are prerequisite for enrollment and tuition fees are paid through bank transfer or western union.
What about the materials? How do I get it?
Basically, all materials will be shipped and we should shoulder the shipment fee. Rolling your eyeballs? Yes, I know the international shipping fee is expensive and we don’t want to spend much on this. That’s why some homeschooler employs options to cut down shipping cost. For example, when we enrolled for our 2nd year, my sister was about to travel to UAE. So, I asked her to accommodate the books on her luggage, while I shoulder a portion of her airfare. It was the best option for us to transport the materials to UAE, because we are homeschooling two children. But don’t worry about this, I think in the coming year, this wouldn’t be an issue anymore, because, as of this month, our homeschool provider, Homeschool Global (formerly TMA) is setting up an office in Dubai. So, if you choose to homeschool with Homeschool Global, we can now enroll and buy materials here.
I received the materials, what’s next?
Congratulation & welcome to homeschool life! Your students are waiting for you, and they might be excited to learn along side with you.
I’m a first time homeschooler, how would I know we’re on the right track?
Once enrolled, you will be assigned to a family adviser & academic adviser. They’ll be guiding us through our homeschool year and make sure that we are doing it right. Student will also be assess on a quarterly basis.
I’m concern with my children’s socialization, will it be an issue?
This is a common concern of parents who are new to homeschooling, and I have asked this question as well. There are two simple definitions of socialization according to Merriam Webster. One is, to talk to and do things with other people in a friendly way, and to teach (someone) to behave in a way that is acceptable in society. As I try to understand it, teaching has to take place first, before one can socialize. The home is the ideal avenue to teach our children socialization. It is here, where they develop healthy relationships with family members, with God, and then with others. It’s at home, where they are first taught about kindness, respect, forgiveness & loving others. Once these traits are learned at home, they’ll be able to express it towards others. Homeschooled children may have less time spent with peers, but remember, they are not socially deprived. My children have friends from kids church, homeschool coop, neighbors, and they’ll have more friends once they attend enrichment classes.
I’d like to quote Ms. Joy Mendoza’s statement “socialization cannot be the strongest argument against homeschooling or a strong argument in favor of conventional schooling. If socialization is so important then teach your children to love God, love family, and love others (in that order), and model this at home. But don’t say that schools are important because of socialization. Our children need relationship, but in the context of family before the context of school.”
Personally, I couldn’t agree more. My eldest son had a year in conventional school. During that time, he prefers to just observe rather than participate. He was also anxious with the crowd and new environment with new people around. When we started homeschooling him, we still see the same behavior, most probably because, he is an introvert kid. But as he grows up, with our guidance, he improved in this area, slowly, he has gone out of the box and develop confidence, which, I think will also be possible even if he is in a conventional school. So, I’d like to say that, socialization should never be an important issue whether you are homeschooling or not.
How about the grading system?
Your provider will give you grading forms. Our job as parent-teacher is to input our children performance on quizzes and performance task. This will be submitted to the family advisor on a quarterly basis. There will also be a quarterly portfolio review with your family advisor. This is a good tool in assessing student’s progress in a school year. Portfolio review are done in person or via skype.
Are there any support group in UAE?
It’s good to be connected with people of the same goals, right? Yes, there are homeschool support groups in UAE. Check out Dubai and Northern Emirates Homeschool Association, Abu Dhabi HomeSchoolers Association and Filipino Homeschoolers in UAE.
Making the decision to homeschool is a tough nut to crack. I hope, this has helped your thought of homeschooling your children. Prayerfully consider your decision before diving in to the well.