The coop has started few activities for our kids and recently, we hold our first educational field trip to Sharjah Dessert Park, where our homeschoolers were exposed to the wild life of the Arabian world. This was my boys’ first zoo visit here in UAE, a very timely activity for my homeschoolers as we capped off our lesson on animals.
The field trip was held at the Dessert Park, located in the outskirt of Sharjah last September 3. So, you see, this is a late post. Thank God, I finally had the time to post about the trip. We visited 3 attractions, the Arabia’s Wild Life Center, the Natural History & Botanical Museum and the Children’s Farm. Our first stop was the Wild Life Center, I guess this was the highlight of the field trip. The kids were in high jinks; I saw their bright faces as we explore the place. We got them on a zoo scavenger hunt, for an extra fun learning. The hunts were geared around what they learned in science. Unfortunately, photography is not allowed inside the zoo.
The next stop was at the Natural History & Botanical Museum. The kids (and the parents as well) discovered the natural history of the region. You can see displays of marine ecosystem, dessert, fossils and even dinosaurs. In the same building was the Botanical Museum, which offer a window to the flora and fauna of the Arabia.
Then come our last stop, the children farm. The kids had an interactive experience with the farm animals. They enjoyed feeding the goats & the sheep. The farm is an open area and the kids could have enjoyed it more, had we visited the place on winter days. Sadly the scorching heat, limits the kids interaction with the animals.
It was fun learning along side my kids. Yes, it wasn’t only the little ones who learned, but the parents as well. I,personally wiled by the rich & vibrant history of this region. It’s always interesting to learn about the things and events that shaped this world. Looking for more fun-educational activities with the homeschooling community here in UAE.
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 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.
The kids were learning about animals, their characteristics, habitat and their importance. I initially thought of taking them to the zoo within the city, but I actually dreaded it due to the scorching heat. It is not yet the best time to go to the zoo here in UAE. But, I really don’t like to end our lesson on animals without them meeting those creatures that God created. I was hopeful that an indoor zoo might be present somewhere, in this part of the world, so I did a research and came to know about Arabia’s Wild Life Center. My discovery about this place was timely for the planned field trip of Homeschool Global Dubai, I suggested the place and eventually we visited. And so our family didn’t visit the zoo alone, but with the entire homeschooling families of Homeschool Global Dubai. The more the merrier it is.
Arabia’s Wild Life center is one among the three attractions at the Sharjah Desert Park. It is a home to endangered Arabian animal species, located in the outskirt of Sharjah along Al-Dhaid road. An indoor zoo, where most of the animals were in a vivarium and classified according to animal order.
Our homeschoolers were delighted to see different creatures that they don’t see everyday. My boys got even more excited when they saw the birds in the aviary, perched on a branch of a tree and not confined in cages. But I thought, they could have put more birds with such huge space. As we walk through the aviary, we were ushered into a cave-like area where we are greeted by night animals, bats and fox. From the aviary, we reached the cafeteria, where we enjoyed a huge view of animals on their outside habitat, while we refresh ourselves. There were deer, arabian oryx, ibex and few flamingos. The kids thought we reached the end, but as we walk towards the exit, there are more animals to see. We were walking towards the finale, and by this time, the kids were happy to see the baboons munching some leaves, and the smoldering eyes of the leopard and cheetah, all in their own space, separated by a gully. Such a nice place for family, but unfortunately, photography is not allowed in the zoo.
It’s our first time in a zoo here in UAE, and I must say, that it’s a distinctive zoo setting. Definitely a good place for the curious little minds. It’s the right place for them to learn about the wild animals of Arabia. It’s worth a drive. The entrance fee cost AED 15.00 for all 3 attractions. Other attraction includes Natural History & Botanical Museum and the Children’s Farm. Children below 12 years old are free. It’s open Sunday to Thursday from 9am to 5.30pm, Friday is 2pm to 5.30pm and on Saturday 11am to 5.30pm and closed on Tuesday. For bookings contact this number +971 050 2730973.
We have been looking for a homeschool coop here in UAE. For over a year, we survived our homeschooling without one. And I have to admit that through out our first year of homeschooling, the feeling of alienation, sometimes creeps in. And this is why I am beaming with joy when our family were invited to the family day of Homeschool Global Coop.
So, you maybe wondering what is a coop, to which I’ve always wanted to become a member since day 1 of our homeschooling. Coop is from the word cooperative defined as two or more people or groups working towards the same goal. In homeschooling, a coop is a group of family who get together to provide educational and social activities for their children. It is also an avenue for homeschool support and learning, not just for kids but for the parent-teacher as well.
Connecting with other homeschooling families is very encouraging. Meeting moms and dads with the same goal and learning from their hands on experience in homeschooling, inspires me a lot, and drives me to be a better homeschooling mom. So, having a coop around, will definitely enrich our homeschooling experience. I’m so glad meeting these families and thankful for new found friendships. It’s good to know, that in this country where homeschooling is kinda off the wall, we are not alone in this route. I for sure, will have someone to share my joys and struggles being a homeschool mom. I am looking forward for more fun learning activities for our little ones. Happy to be part of HG Coop.
We moved to a new place and our boys found new friends, so for this art lesson, which is an extension of our color-wheel lesson, we did it with their new friends. Using the primary colors, we did our version of Kandinsky Circle.
For this activity, we used, white oslo paper, poster colors – red, blue & yellow, & brush paints.The painting begins, by drawing 8 squares. We divided the paper lengthwise, by drawing a horizontal line using color yellow, then drawing 3 vertical lines to achieve 8 squares. Once there are 8 squares, then, the fun begins.
The kids then draw circle on all the squares. I instructed them the color to be used in each circle and they followed. I have set a few rules before we start the activity and emphasized that it is important to follow instructions and they were cooperating well. But as we go along, they started mixing colors. My youngest Zian, even end up choosing his own colors. But not a biggie. I just let them explore the colors, It’s art after all. It’s fun, then you’ll see the result are lovely.
I’ve seen a fellow homeschooling family done this, and I thought that this would be a fun art activity for my children. So we finally did. Sharing how we had fun with marble painting.
The kids were introduced to primary colors, so we used red, blue & yellow poster colors and placed it in a small plastic cup. You will also need white construction or oslo paper, a tray and marbles. These are the materials you will be needing in this activity.
Once your materials are ready, then the fun begins. Place the oslo paper on the tray. Dip the marble on the colored cups, make sure to fully cover the marble with colors. Then place it on the tray where the white oslo paper is. And then roll the marbles!
It’s a bit messy, but surely a fun activity for kids. And the result? A lovely abstract painting!
Your kids will also love this. Give it a try and have fun. Enjoy!
My kids giggles once they knew they’ll be doing arts. Same thing goes with the group of kids I teach at kids church. They scream in excitement once we’re about to do arts activity. Kids just love arts!
Recently, I stumbled upon the works of Vincent Van Gogh, to which I was fascinated. The starry night & The Wheat Field with Cypresses were my favorites. And so, inspired by those two, I decided to let the kids do some Van Gogh inspired arts. I love the whirling bright clouds of his Starry Night art, so the kids had worked on swirls in this activity.
This is an easy artwork for preschoolers. You only need, acrylic or poster colors, paint brush, fork and construction paper or oslo paper.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Choose and paint your background, then let it dry.
2. Sketch your artwork idea. (landscape, object etc.)
2. Decide what colors to use. If you are using poster color, try mixing it with glue to thicken.
4. Paint, then use fork or the end of the brush to create patterns.
5. Hang & dry.
I love the result, and the creative time with my boys.
I become a member of a homeschool group even before we dive into this journey. In that group, although it was virtual, I saw how homeschooling parents, especially the veterans, unselfishly shares their experience in homeschooling. That small act serves as an encouragement to newbie homeschoolers like me. They were willing to help even if it cost them time and money sometimes. I remember a mom who organizes a storytelling event for the little one for free. And a homeschooling mom in US who took an errand to buy homeschool materials for few homeschool moms in the Philippines, and generously accommodated it into their luggage to transport it to the Philippines. (Some parents chose to buy materials from US and it would be a lot of savings if they know someone who can bring it to Philippines instead of hiring the service of shipping companies.) Small acts of kindness yet, it blesses people. That, I think, is one definition of a support group.
When I attended the Homeschool 101 in TMA, they have also emphasized the importance of having a support group or what they call a coop. So, when we arrived here in UAE, along with our adjustment, I immediately look for a homeschooling group. I found a multi-cultural homeschooling group for Dubai and northern emirates. And then later on, we came up with an all Filipino homeschool group in UAE, that aims to encourage & inspire homeschooling parents across the emirates. It’s good to know that our family is not alone in this journey. God brought these families, including us, in this part of the world and orchestrated our paths to cross. Indeed, no homeschool family is meant to be an island.
I have gotten to meet these homeschooling families recently. Not all were officially homeschooling, there were two families who are considering homeschooling their kids, and I’m glad they came to hear our experiences & suggestions. I hope they were encouraged. There were also some who weren’t able to come due to prior commitments and unexpected events. Nevertheless, it was great hearing and sharing our homeschooling experience here in UAE. Looking forward for more meetings and upcoming events for our kids.
We hit the year end and we survived our first year of homeschooling. Throughout our first year of homeschooling, I get to know myself more and grateful that I can do things I thought I am not capable of doing. So allow me to share it with you.
Through homeschooling, I discover that:
I can teach. I just feel accomplished after having completed our first year in homeschooling. I remember being asked by a friend if it is possible to educate my children even if I am not a teacher. The answer is Yes, we can educate our children without even having a teaching degree. I learned that commitment and perseverance are more important than a teaching degree. Likewise, trusting & believing that God will walk me thru this journey has fueled my determination.
Just a little info, for those who are considering homeschooling, please know that homeschooling in the Philippines is legal and protected by article 14, Section 1(2) of the Philippine constitution, stating that the government should 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.
Feeling Artist. When my father noticed my inclination towards arts, I was never convinced. And because of that, it was never honed. Now, I’ve spotted that artsy side in me. And because we are homeschooling, I teach arts to my kids and I get to nourish it, though at a snail-paced. Ohh…Thanks to the bunch of arts activities/ideas available online.
Got the crafty side, I think...I remember a mommy friend who was skeptical on homeschooling because she feels she is not as crafty and creative. That’s what I knew about myself before diving into this journey. I am not creative at all. But you know what? My determination and intentions in homeschooling brought this little side of me. There is really a way if you’ve got the will. The good thing these days, is that there are a bunch of creative inspirations online.
Somehow improved patience.I am not really generous with patience. I have been praying to improve in this area. And you know what? God definitely hears & answers prayers. He allowed me to be in situation where He can test my patience and most of the time it happens during homeschool hours.
I’m thankful to my Creator for allowing me to discover those traits inside me and most of all so thankful for giving me such skills. All glory to You my God!…
To balance it out, I also discover that I needed to:
Be more organized. It resonates on my mind as we approached yearend. I needed lots of organization. Disrupting schedule is sometimes inevitable, but I figured that we should immediately make up for the lessons missed.
Make more quality time with the Lord. I get too busy at times juggling work & homeschooling. The tendency is to sometimes neglect my quiet time. I have to be honest, that diving to our homeschool session without my time with the Lord often gets chaotic – I loose temper easily. The result is a mussed up & unproductive day. This is definitely a much needed time for it is only by His Grace that I can do this.
This year, i’m looking forward of more discoveries and learning along side my kids.
So, we are in UAE and we are homeschooling our kids. If you are like me, who wants to be part of a homeschool groups / coop, check out the Filipino Homeschoolers in UAE. It’s a small group of filipino homeschoolers based in UAE, who aims to encourage and inspire homeschooling parents as they chose to educate their kids the heartway.
Having homeschool support group is big help especially to first time homeschoolers like us. Whether you are currently homeschooling or considering homeschooling, you are most welcome to join the group. Visit their FB Page.