Including a few things a parent should consider before committing their's and their child's time to homeschool
18 August 2019| Last updated on 19 August 2019
Studying and socialising away from traditional schools... here's what parents in Abu Dhabi need to know
Homeschool can be very fulfilling for children and their families, and has often led to children feeling more emotionally secure and performing better in terms of academics and qualifications than their peers in traditional school systems. Recent UK research has also found that homeschooled children develop "as well or better socially, emotionally, and psychologically than institutionally-schooled children.”
So whether it's due to the increasing costs of formal education in Abu Dhabi, lack of confidence in the school system and teachers, preference for personalised teaching for your children, or various other reasons, if you're considering pulling your child out of school, you don't need to look further because this is your guide to homeschooling in Abu Dhabi.
6 things you should know before homeschooling in Abu Dhabi
If you're planning on homeschooling your child in Abu Dhabi, here are 6 things you might want to consider before committing to this route.
1. An accreddited programme
Abu Dhabi, just like Dubai, has no specific legal requirements for expat children when it comes to homeschooling. Unlike Emirati kids, expat children are not required to attend formal education. The Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) recommends that parents considering homeschool must sign up for an accredited programme so that if your kid will re-enter regular brick and mortar schooling later on, including university and college, they will have proof that they've studied with a sound academic standing from an accredited provider.
2. It will demand your time
Parents do all the work - you're provided with a list of study materials, a teacher's guide, a student's guide, and a guide for grading tests and exams. You cannot expect to still work full time while providing a decent education for your child. Homeschooled children require a minimum of 3-4 hours of a parent's direct interaction and teaching.
Although homeschooling provides a flexible schedule for both the parent and child, the curriculum is typically fast-paced and challenging as there is still a lot of work to cover. Thankfully, the lack of a strict timetable allows you and the student to study literally any time and anywhere.
It's recommended you pick the best days of the week that you know you can commit your time and attention, for example making Tuesday and Wednesday your child's "weekend" because you will be busy then, and a study week can be from Thursday to Monday. The most important thing is hitting the milestones, taking tests, turning in your child's portfolio of essays and projects on time, and preparing your kid for the final exam. If you find that there are days you cannot commit to the 3-4 hours of studying, it's best to use recorded lectures and lessons that your kid can listen to whenever they want and as many times as they want to - unlike a regular school lesson where they cannot always request for repeat lessons.
Online support is a great substitute teacher as well. You can access plenty of credible and accredited online lessons and tutors who can provide extra support for your teaching schedule.
Once again, the homeschool provider will usually be flexible when it comes to portfolio submissions because they want to make sure that the other homeschooled children are on the same page. Exceptions will include online classrooms because these typically have a fixed schedule that has taken into consideration the other students' schedules and time differences.
It's stressful but rewarding work.
3. Consider the change in relationship
Do think on how taking on the role of a teacher may influence your existing relationship with your kid. Will this make it easier for them to talk to you about personal things, especially regarding academic work. They can't complain to you about horrible teachers if you are the teacher. Consider establishing boundaries, such as setting a part of the home as the classroom and asking for feedback at the end of each lesson. Try to avoid mixing personal spaces into study spaces, such as studying on their bed. You'll want to keep it as a space where they can relax from studying.
4. Your child's social life and development
What keeps parents from choosing homeschool is how it might affect their kid's social circles and skills. It can't be denied that the routine of sitting, studying, chatting, playing, and eating with their peers is a key part of traditional schools. If you're thinking of choosing homeschool for your child, plan other ways they can maintain old friendships and build new ones. Oftentimes, a homeschool provider hosts events for the homeschool children within a region - this is a great opportunity to speak with other homeschool parents and for your kid to socialise with others in similar situations. You can also consider signing them up for clubs, camps, and playdates.
5. Taking standardised tests
Homeschool usually doesn't provide standardised tests. If you want your kid to follow a specific curriculum, for example the British curriculum, you'll need to arrange with local UK schools and colleges in Dubai that will let the child sit for standardised tests (Key Stage 1 and 2, IGCSEs/GCSEs, and A-Levels). This helps build the structure for their education, as it will help them gain entry into regular schools later on.
6. You can't mimic traditional school techniques
The point of homeschool is providing a self-designed curriculum based on your child's personal interests and learning style, with a mix of innovation. If they're studying marine life for Science, for instance, the rules of traditional schools don't apply. Parents can use a marine-themed video game as an educational resource, or take the learning lesson to an aquarium.
Homeschools in Abu Dhabi
Majority of accredited homeschool providers are found online, a very limited number of which have offices based in Abu Dhabi. It's not necessary to subscribe to a homeschool program that has an office presence in the emirate, as you will want to select a homeschool provider based on the quality of its education and not the distance.
Homeschool Global Abu Dhabi
Homeschool Global Middle East offers a home education program based on the US curriculum.
Location: Madinat Zayed, Abu Dhabi
Other accredited homeschool programs to consider:
- Laurel Springs School
- Clonlara School
- Wolsey Hall Oxford
Homeschool groups in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi Homeschoolers Association (ADHA)
The Abu Dhabi HomeSchoolers Association consists of a group of more than 35 families living and homeschooling in Abu Dhabi. Over 80 homeschool children from Canada, Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Mexico, United Arab Emirates, India, and more study from pre-school to highschool and come from varying backgrounds and faiths. The families are a mix of parents who have long been homeschool teachers, while others have started homeschooling recently.
Families size has varied from one child to five children. Some homeschool only one or two of their children while their others attend traditional school.
ADHSA's activities include:
- Providing informal advice about homeschooling
- Offer homeschooling support
- Promote interaction between its members by organising informal gatherings and activities
- Host monthly parents' meeting is hosted by the group to have workshops, discuss learning opportunities, and plan future field trips for the children at least twice a year
- Establishing community service opportunities for our homeschool teens
- Foster the development of special interest groups and clubs, such as book club, drama club, and the newly emerging field trip club, among others
- Sustaining a small library for ADHSA children