Schooling Overseas- Homeschooling

Homeschooling seems to be one of the most popular schooling options among missionary families as it is in many ways compatible with the missionary lifestyle with its flexibility, ability to be tailored to the specific needs and desires of each unique family, the natural blessing of extra time for mom and child to spend together, among other things.

Pros: Education can be customized to the specific needs of the individual child and family, flexibility of schedule that works well with ministry and travel, the added stability of extra time together as a family which can be very beneficial with a transient missionary lifestyle, a safe and wholesome environment for learning and growth, children may progress more quickly than children attending schools away from home, homeschool co-ops provide regular social opportunities while still in an environment designed by the parents, co-ops spread the work between participating families and have many of the advantages of homeschool while perhaps taking less work and also providing the parents some time with the children away from home, inexpensive

Cons: children may feel isolated or separated from the culture if the parents are not intentional to provide social and cultural opportunities, learning of a foreign language is difficult if children do not spend significant time immersed in it, mom will have less freedom during her days for other things which could be a con for some who would desire to have more personal ministry opportunities without children in tow (though many homeschooling moms have shared how much of a blessing it is to be able to have their homeschooling children participate in ministry with them!), extracurricular activities may be lacking depending on location, may be tiring for mom to not have a break, it may be difficult to find adequate resources

Considerations for missionaries considering homeschooling:

-Do your research on curriculums as there are many to choose from with various unique benefits! (Homeschooling moms, do you have any recommendations?)

-It will take much initiative, creativity, and effort to help your child engage in the culture and to learn the host language. Many people have recommended having either a language tutor or sending your child to language lessons for this, as well as being involved in other activities within the culture. Language learning is not likely to come naturally without effort.

– Consider options for social interaction. This is not a difficult need to meet, but it takes planning.

– Consider the resources available to you. A couple of the moms, specifically in the African bush, who shared about their experiences shared that the lack of available resources was a major prohibitor for homeschooling.  Make sure to consider what materials you will need, and how you will get them.

-Develop an educational purpose statement to guide you toward your primary goals. This will help you stay on track throughout your homeschooling experience.

-Homeschool co-ops are often a great option where there are multiple homschooling families in the same area. Subjects can be divided among the  parents, and the parents not only get the opportunity to teach their own kids, but also get some time with their kids away from home so they can spend time doing other things. It is also a great optionfor many to co-op on certain subjects or activities rather than for all subjects.

– It was mentioned a couple of times by moms that filled out the schooling options survey nevere to say “I could never homeschool!” or to consider yourself unqualified. It was encouraging to hear how God leads and helps moms called to homeschool to succeed in their experience, even with differing personalities and strengths.  There are many resources to make homeschooling very doable for almost anyone.

-This can be a great option for kids with learning disabilities who might not have adequate help in other school systems on the field.

Have you homeschooled or are you currently homeschooling? What else would you have to share about this option? If you are looking into homeschooling as an option, what questions do you have? (Those with experience, please feel free to respond to the questions asked!)

Thank you so much to  Karen, Phyllis, Gina, E.B., Richelle,  Andrea, Nancy, Kara, Tammy, who helped with this post by sharing about their personal experiences with homechooling!

(Other resources used for this post: “Keys to Successful Homeschooling” by: Janna Gilbert,  “Home-schooling Cooperative Style- A New Option in MK Education” by Diane Morris, Third Culture Kids by David C. Pollock and Ruth E. Van Reken)


12 Responses to “Schooling Overseas- Homeschooling”

  1. 1 @ngie March 26, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    I loved homeschooling my kids when it was the only thing I was doing. If I were to take it up again I would most likely pull back from my responsabilities throughout the rest of the ministry and focus all my ministry eforts on my children.

    Another note, if you are thinking of putting your child in a national school it might be advisable to consider homeschooling up until your child has a good grasp of reading English (about third grade, depending). All the while maybe having language classes and basic beginning reading concepts in the new language. We are probably going to do this with our youngest: a year in the Spanish pre-school, K – 2 at home with me, then evaluate if he is ready to be enrolled in our Christian school.

    I have seen it work in other missionary families, as well, to have some of their children homeschool while others are enrolled in school. The reasons are varied and each family needs to decide what is best for their situation.

  2. 2 Gina March 26, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    You might have mentioned this resource before, but will ship books for free to most locations. I have found many of my needed homeschool materials on that website, and they are often cheaper than Amazon!

  3. 3 Ashley L. March 27, 2010 at 7:39 am

    Gina, thank you for that link! I will have to check it out because it is always such a hassle trying to get books here without paying about 5 times the cost of the books in shipping charges. Thanks!

  4. 4 Phyllis April 1, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    You asked about curriculum: we’re using Ambleside Online. I find that it’s really good for us, since it’s designed to use as many free, online resources as possible.

  5. 5 Andrea Pavkov April 2, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    I just wanted to say I think a great way to homeschool and do ministry is to involve your children in your ministry. We take our boys with us on afternoon outreaches to nearby orphans and sometimes they bring along their school work if we need to go out in the mornings. One of the beauty’s of homeschooling is FLEXIBILITY!

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  10. 10 Jim VanBuskirk July 3, 2016 at 3:53 am

    Need help.. Can’t afford homeschool packets

  11. 11 Teetop October 18, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    Jim- look up Kids and I love it!

    We are an US homeschool family seeking to live more missionaly in the States. We are blessed to have experienced fruit in the lives of people who didn’t know Jesus previously even while homeschooling. I am wondering if we can continue homeschooling and pursue more of a simple/organic/house church? Will my kids have enough community? Will we be useful? I know lots of missionary families homeschool. Thought this might be a place to ask.

  12. 12 Angelina December 12, 2016 at 1:39 am

    I actually have to second allinonehomeschool. I started my son with her curriculum and at 4 years old he is reading so I cannot say enough good stuff but I am new to all of this.

    My question is where to start as a missionary living abroad? I have no idea about opening a homeschool(as is required in my home state), do you do that when living abroad, how do you know if the curriculum you are following is accredited and to whom. I have spent so much time looking and there doesn’t seem to be a “where to begin” for the first time homeschooling mom other than all the sites trying to convince you or provide emotional support, lol.

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