Homeschool Options for Missionaries

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More missionaries are homeschooling today than ever before. The advantages in mobility, flexibility, and individualized parent-supervised instruction allows more time for children to be involved with their parents in mission work.

But just what is homeschooling?

Homeschooling can fall anywhere along a continuum between these two extremes:

a. HOME School: learning based on real-life experiences or themes of interest, guided by parent, minimal use of traditional school curriculum.

b. SCHOOL at Home: learning focuses on traditional school curriculum with traditional school hours and activities, completed under parent/tutor guidance.

Reasons for choosing homeschooling

Reasons for choosing homeschooling are as varied as there are families that homeschool:

  1. Age and number of children: families with several children, close in age, are more likely to homeschool; younger children are more often homeschooled than older children.
  2. Parents: parental ministry commitments, expectations, educational background, access to resources, parent-child relationships, and parenting style affect the choice to homeschool.
  3. Location: safety, distance to an acceptable school, cultural or language choices and need to travel during school months may weigh the balance in favor of homeschooling.
  4. Community: quality of local educational options and home country requirements upon re-entry should be seriously considered.
  5. Character: if a Christ-like character is more important than an accredited certificate from a school where peer pressure and secular priorities will tug your child away from God, homeschooling or an Adventist boarding academy or college would be a better option.
  6. Individual child: homeschooling allows young children to develop, at their own pace, without damaging their sense of self-worth because of not fitting lock-step into grade levels; however, children with serious learning difficulties may need specialized instruction, providing parents with a much-needed break in child care each day.

Selecting homeschool curriculum

Deciding to homeschool is a big, first step. the selection of what to study and what materials to use can be overwhelming to parents preparing for mission service or working through that long furlough checklist. Answering the following questions may help narrow your choice:

  1. How important is an accredited program to your family? Many online distance education programs will provide transfer credits or certificates at completion.
  2. Is access to internet affordable? easy? for how long each day? Isolated mission conditions would dictate selecting self-contained low-tech options. Study courses which require mailing assignments back and forth, are not suitable where mail is unreliable or takes a long time to deliver. Young children need instant error corrections to learn best.
  3. Where will school take place? Highly mobile families will need to plan schooling carefully, to maximize learning while minimizing materials. School at one home, with reliable mail/shipment allows for a wider range of books and learning tools. Studies during an annual leave or furlough can be planned around places that will be visited.
  4. What are the child’s special interests? Building studies to include topics or projects of high interest will increase motivation and ease the teacher’s duties, naturally drawing the learner into school. This option is limited when locking into prepared curriculums.
  5. How many children will be homeschooling together? A less structured homeschool is more possible with two or three children than with seven or eight. Involve the older children in teaching the younger, setting up units of study by themes which all can study/experience together, with assignments for more detailed research for older and inquiring students, and more hands-on experimentation for children under the age of ten. Basic skills like reading, handwriting, math and eye-hand coordination in ball skills, etc. should be taught incrementally, a little more advanced each year. All other subjects can be taught in as many ways as there are learners.

Resources for homeschooling

Missionaries homeschooling on several continents have recommended the following resources:

Resource SupplierContact InformationTypes of Resources
A Bekahttp://www.abeka.orgVisually attractive Christian texts, great for elementary content areas
NAD Curriculum guides (Circle)http://circle.adventist.org/browse/?browse_node=287These are the guides that Seventh-day Adventist teachers are using for curriculum assistance for elementary and secondary teaching in Adventist schools
Adventist Home Educator Handbookhttps://ahefamily.org/ahe-resources/curriculum-guide/Free curriculum guide for a limited time
A Reason For…https://areasonfor.com/Faith integrated K-8 spelling, K-8 handwriting and K-3 reading series.
SDA Homeschool Familieshttps://www.sdahomeschools.org/adventist-curriculum-resources/Adventist homeschooling resources and support
Griggs International Academyhttps://www.griggs.edu/SDA curriculum: Educational offerings include kindergarten, elementary, secondary and higher education programs through Andrews University’s School of Distance Education.
Moore Foundationhttps://www.moorefoundation.com/Helpful manual and books on homeschooling principles and practices
Sonlighthttps://www.sonlight.com/(Not the SDA Sonlight) Complete curriculum includes everything down to paperclips – great for isolated missionaries
World Schooling Mexico (Spanish)http://www.worldschooling.mxOpción de educación alternativa para tus hijos basada en las habilidades para la vida 
Educazion (Spanish)https://educazion.netEducación Online para hispanohablantes en todo el mundo desde hace más de 15 años.
Choisir Instruire  Son Enfant (CISE) (French)http://cise.fr/Resources and parents groups of homeschoolers

As you choose the best curricula for your kids, make sure you have the big picture in mind. If you have a very active child, this will limit not only the types of resources you need to get but also the amount of direct teaching time you can give. Video courses might be a better option for older kids.

Some curricula that require you to present the lesson will not work if you have three or more children at different grade levels. Also, you might have a preferred teaching style and your kids different learning styles.

What ever you choose, remember homeschooling has to be an enjoyable experience for both, parent and child. So, take time to look for a curriculum that will meet your and your child’s needs. And don’t worry, if one program doesn’t work for you, you can always find another.

What about you?

Do you know of any good curriculum you’d like to recommend to others? Why do you like it?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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