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Are there many homeschoolers in the UAE?
There are no statistics on the number of families homeschooling in the UAE.
What are some of the challenges of homeschooling in the UAE?
There is always significant stress when moving to a new country and adapting to its new and unique environment. Families take about four to six months to settle and adjust. That adjustment period should be factored into the homeschooling schedule.
Likewise, homeschooling families can feel isolated when “stuck” at home. Therefore, we recommend getting involved with a group to help prevent this isolation.
Lastly, locating materials can be difficult. Many of us either bring our curriculum from our home countries, or order it to be delivered here.
Are there any advantages to homeschooling in the UAE?
Abu Dhabi is a rich multicultural environment that opens innumerable learning opportunities. With over 80 nationalities living in Abu Dhabi, the multicultural population will open your eyes and those of your children to the rest of the world. Abu Dhabi’s central location and excellent airport allows for easily accessible international travel. Your worldview and that of your children will never be the same after living and learning in Abu Dhabi...
Did you start homeschooling because you moved to the UAE?
Some of us were seasoned homeschoolers upon arrival to Abu Dhabi, having chosen to homeschool while still living in our home country. Others of us took it up only after moving to Abu Dhabi in response to a variety of factors:
• we have a child who is either not challenged or is overwhelmed at school
• we find the cost of private education in UAE too high and constantly rising
• there is no room for our child in any school here
• we desire to impart our family’s own values by nurturing character in our children ourselves
What standards do you use? Is there a particular style used by members?
The answers to this vary. Overall, since it is in the best interest of a child, we set high academic standards for our children as any parent would.
Because a child's reading comprehension and writing skills will likely determine the level of work a child can do in other subject areas, parents may simply adhere to appropriate grade-levelled textbooks in English. For example, in writing a report for science or history, the level of proficiency they achieve will be determined as much by their reading comprehension and writing skills as anything else. However, if a student were being introduced to a completely new topic, such as a period of history they have not studied before, most homeschoolers would not hesitate to lower the reading level for that to allow the student to absorb the information more readily. It can be a fine balance between teaching a child at his own level and stretching them.
Homeschoolers usually want to customize their children's education, allowing the bright child to move along, while at the same time, allowing the struggling child to take the time required to learn the material well. This could be incompatible with adhering to a preset standard.
That said, if homeschoolers must provide evidence of the efficacy of the education, parents can follow criteria provided by a ministry of education in their home country.Some families have been able to receive accreditation by using programs such K12 (offices in Dubai), Clonlara, Laurel Springs, Northstar Academy and Bridegeway Academy to name a few. If you plan to enroll your child into traditional school when you return to your home country, be sure to inform yourself on requirements for admission.
It is always prudent to keep adequate records of course work, especially in high school. Besides providing a portfolio and high school transcript, students may be required to write the SAT and/or ACT or some other standardized test in order to be eligible for some universities.
Like homeschoolers the world over, ADHSA members use a variety of styles for their homeschooling: classical, alternative, traditional, unschooling, and eclectic mixes.
What about socialization?
Homeschoolers strive to provide opportunities for social interaction and friendships for their children, whether in group outings or just getting together with other families. There are any number of opportunities for homeschooled children to socialize in the course of their day: cultural classes, theatre groups, study groups, horse riding, dance lessons, swimming, park days, recitals, ski outings, soccer, co-ops, field trips, religious communities, and so on.
In the intense heat and humidity of the summer months, we make use of the city’s numerous indoor facilities and activities.
Will your children go on to higher education?
Most of our children will choose to pursue further education after completing high school. We can prepare for that by following an accredited program, and/or putting together our child's high school transcript, a portfolio of their work and/or write SATs.
Alumni from our association have gone on to study in American and Canadian universities, and in one instance, to study at Oxford.
Is homeschooling legal in the UAE?
There appears to be no UAE legislation for expatriates about homeschooling. However, UAE does legislate eligibility of student going in to private schools, requiring specific documentation for your child to transition into a traditional school in the UAE. Please inquire at ADEC if you intend to register your child in a UAE school after a period of homeschooling.