How to Homeschool your Child in UAE

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photo from: http://springscharterschools.org

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 HomeschoolSchool 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 Philippines/US base homeschool provider while i’m in UAE?

Definitely yes. Most homeschool provider have website from which you can find their contacts. You can connect with them thru emails. They’ll inform you about the enrollment process. You have to understand that there are prerequisite for enrollment and tuition fees are paid through bank transfer or western union. On the other hand, Homeschool Global recently opened their Middle East hub in Dubai, should you decide to homeschool with them, enrollment will be facilitated here in UAE.

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 spare some space on her luggage for my children’s books. We are homeschooling two children, so can you imagine how much the shipping cost would be?

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. You can start anytime once you have your materials.

I’m concern with my child’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. The second one is 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. And our respective home is an 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 which is essential in a good socialization. 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.” 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 will I know if my kids is on track?

With our homeschool provider, students are required to present their portfolio on a quarterly basis. This is a way for them to assess the growth of the students. Parents are also brief every quarter.

How about the grading system?

Your provider will give you grading forms. Our job as parent-teacher is to record our children performance on quizzes and performance task. This will be submitted to the family advisor on a quarterly basis.

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 AssociationAbu Dhabi HomeSchoolers Association and Filipino Homeschoolers in UAE.

Making the decision to homeschool is a tough nut to crack. I hope, this helped you on your thought of homeschooling your children. Prayerfully consider your decision before diving in.

 

 

Nurturing Reading with Bookish

My growing up boys are cultivating an interest in reading. They are an emerging reader and they still loved being read to. They look forward to our bed time stories, that sometimes we read even past their bedtime.  They’re also one happy fella whenever they receive books as a present. I guess, you won’t be surprised to find out that they are growing a library in our tiny abode.  I remember when we moved here in UAE, we’ve got 1 medium box full of books. The little men wanted to bring all of the books, they can’t just afford to leave them on the shelf back home. Well, I knew the feeling, as I hold on a tighter grip on my books as well, so I understood where they come from. But we managed to only bring their favorite books from Dr. Zues, Scholastics’ Magic School Bus, and Thomas & Friends stories.

I know, I am responsible in nurturing their interest in reading, and it’s not going to be a breeze, I knew it. Nevertheless, we’re making time teaching our boys reading. We made use of what was already available on our shelves, as we struggle to find affordable books. You know, good books are quite pricey. I remember back home, I’m fond of hunting down book sale, for good and affordable books. Here, I seldom catch book sale, if I do, I sure get home with new books in tow for the little boys and maybe one for myself. Sometimes, if I had the budget, I buy good books on regular price, but this seldom happens as books here are expensive compared back home.

Good thing I found Bookish.ae. According to their website, bookish is by book lovers for book lovers, with an aim to share reading to everyone through their large book catalog from children to adult books. Basically, bookish is an online book rental that delivers books to your doorstep for free. You can start renting, by subscribing to their plans, starting at AED 49.00 per month, which includes an access to their very reading program, and they also offer a one-time-free access for non-members.

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I guess I found an affordable option over buying books. I’m putting my best foot for this program. We can definitely nurture our boys’ reading skills by giving them more books to read. Our family is currently subscribed on Book Family Plan, which allows us to borrow 4 adult books and 4 children’s books at a time, but we can borrow more books in exchange of previously borrowed books.

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If this concept sounds appealing to you, visit their website to get to know more about their service. And should you wish to subscribe, Bookish will be giving 15% discount on membership to my readers. To redeem, just follow the instructions below.

2. Click the red JOIN NOW button on the right
3. Select any plan you would like and click Join for 1 Month
4. On the shopping cart page where it says DISCOUNT CODE enter MOMSICLE15 and click APPLY COUPON. Ignore the AED 100 book      
    deposit because you won’t be paying it
5. Enter your delivery information on the next page

6. Select Cash on Delivery for payment

Once you get an email from their system, it means that everything is set, and you can start adding books on your rental queue.

Great Car Insurance in California

If you live in the area and are having trouble deciding which one of the auto insurance Downey CA companies you should use you should consider using samedayinsurance.com. Same Day Insurance has been providing their California customers with great car insurance rates for years. They work with everyone to help them get the appropriate level of coverage for their car and their lifestyle.

Minimum Coverage

As you probably know, it is illegal to drive your car while uninsured. There is a minimum level of coverage that every driver needs to be able to stay on the road legally. Same Day Auto Insurance can get any customer the liability coverage that they need. Liability is usually the minimum amount that most states require in order for a driver to be legally allowed to drive. This type of coverage will cover the other person’s car and medical expenses in the event of an accident.

Lowest Rates

Same Day Insurance is also committed to getting its customers the absolute lowerst possible rates for auto insurance. This way drivers can stay on the road no matter what their montly budget for car insurance is. They are well-known to have the lowest car insurance rates in the state of California.

Customer Service

The company also employs a great staff of customer service representatives that are on hand 24 hours a day to give their customers the service that they need. They can help customers with any question or concern that they might have regarding their coverage. They can also help new customers get a quote if theyr are interested in switching their automobile coverage to new company. The customer service department at Same Day Insurance is their pride and joy.

Independent

Same Day is an independent agent. This means that they are not contracted to work with any specific insurance company when they find your coverage. This is a great option for the consumer becasue they know that the insurance company will be working for them and not the insurance company that they represent. Anyone who purchases insurance through Same Day Insurance knows that they are going to get a car insurance agency that truly puts their customers firts. It is the very nature of how they do business.

These are the three most important things that a person should look for when they are choosing a new car insurance company. California drivers have chosen Same Day Insurance time and time again because they know that they are going to get a great price. They also know that they are going to get great service from a company that puts its clients first.
Call today for a free quote on car insurance to see how much you can save with Same Day Insurance.