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Consideration of HE as part of an international move?

(7 Posts)
BiddyPop Thu 05-Feb-15 14:16:12

I am hoping for wisdom of those who have been in HE, or expats, or both.

And sorry for the length.

DD is in mainstream school (equivalent of P3) in our home country (but hours away from main family support). She has aspergers/ADHD and gets some support in school for that (and precious little elsewhere despite me trying). But the current resource teacher she's assigned to is the head of resource dept so constantly involved in lots of other things and regularly away from school, so DD is falling between cracks a little this year (constant changes of person taking her out, and not really sticking to a plan agreed in IEP, many days not getting the time out, resulting in problems in classroom).

OTOH, she is very able academically. Reads well and widely (when it suits her), very good at maths and logic, likes science, geography etc. OK at Irish (class average). Writes well when it suits her (slapdash to finish first mostly - but can do well, and her stories are good once she actually takes time to finish them). She understands a reasonable amount of me chatting in French (I tend to talk Irish to her when doing Irish homework and we sometimes manage a chat together, and occasionally chat in French at home to keep it up for myself (native English speaker but decent enough French that I occasionally need for social stuff around work), she'll understand enough to do a job but won't ever answer). She's getting better at actually interacting with people and getting involved in discussions generally.

She does need to work on social skills and emotional literacy generally. And the resource time is important to her in terms of time out of the classroom chaos as much as the social skills programme etc at times.

DH and I are both getting fed up here again. We have good jobs but are stifled and stressed out. I couldn't take a step back during the crisis as mine was dependable, and he had to do lots to keep his. We have looked in the past at emigrating, to various places, and would have jobs (or at least, DH) before going. We can easily go to Canada or USA, probably Australia, DH has spent half his time in South Africa recently and would consider other developing countries (as would I), and I want to spend 6 months in the US at some stage in the next 9 years at a minimum for other reasons - but we can go anywhere at the moment. (My parents spent time abroad in the US almost 40 years ago, and all of my siblings apart from me have lived abroad as adults, half are currently overseas scattered, DH also spent time in the UK before we got married).

When we get like this, I tend to look at options for schooling for DD, but as her issues have become more pronounced, I am looking at more support and it is less available in many places. So I may well have to look at HE. If she was in mainstream without support, it would be very difficult for all (she'd be in meltdown a lot, and the rest of her class would have great difficulty in learning around her disruptions - she doesn't meltdown now as she has support, understanding of her teachers and peers, and meds).

Both DH and I have uni degrees (science, engineering, economics and business subjects between us), and I have used HE resources for things at home already. But mostly things like maths sheets or literacy stuff (word mining or word searches etc) to get her brain to concentrate on 1 thing in bed to allow it to then switch "off" for sleep.

Would I be mad to consider HE in the context of a move abroad?
If it was an option, what sort of things should I be doing before going, finding resources online, arranging certain books to bring etc?
And what should I look for when researching where we might go?

Sorry this is so long, and I will be back but probably not immediately (I have to get back to work) - but any thoughts are gratefully received. And yes, I know it sounds chaotic and early stages (no even knowing which country we'd likely go to) - but this is why I need to know the basic steps etc first, to allow me consider whether this is an option or exactly what to look for in specific places.

Saracen Thu 05-Feb-15 21:04:44

No, not mad, that sounds like a great idea. You could start off with HE and then have time to settle into your new country before having a really hard look at the local schools to see whether they might suit after all. That way there would be no need to try to assess schools from afar, no time pressure and no all-your-eggs-in-one-basket scenario.

There is plenty of time to find your feet as you go along. You don't have to choose a curriculum or get resources now. Probably once you have started you will find some things which you like, and you'll wish you had obtained them when it was easier to do so. But it is notoriously difficult to predict in advance just which resources will excite a particular child, so buying in advance is risky.

I would suggest the main things to research right now are these, for each country you are considering:

What's the law regarding home education? In some countries it is dead easy and you can do it however you like without having to submit detailed plans or be assessed. In other countries it is theoretically legal to home ed, but actually very difficult to get permission, and you might have all manner of restrictions which wouldn't suit your daughter's needs. Once you've looked at what the law says, join some online forums to ask other home ed parents how hard it really is to deal with the authorities there. It may be easier or harder than it appears from just reading the legislation. (Note that every US state has its own separate law about home education, as do the different countries in the UK.)

How many other families are home educating, in the country as a whole and in the particular area to which you'd move? If support for your choice is important to you, that will matter. It will also make a big difference if you feel that your daughter would benefit from spending time with other home educated kids. But some families are quite happy to "go it alone" without ever meeting another home ed family, and if that describes you then you might not mind whether home ed is a popular choice where you live.

What is the social scene like in general? If everything revolves around school (e.g. there aren't lots of kids clubs which are unaffiliated with schools), and people don't like outsiders, home ed could be an isolating experience.

Some people move around often and home educate in order to get continuity in their kids' education. I expect there are forums where expats discuss the pros and cons of home educating in various countries, and you might get a lot of help if you can find one. Facebook maybe?

TheHoneyBadger Fri 06-Feb-15 10:51:37

so loves reading and all sorts, loves doing things and works well when she's 'on it' and into things. sounds ideal for home ed to be honest. there's other ways to get social skills and emotional intelligence - frankly much better ways than sitting elbow to elbow with thirty other kids of the same age in a crowded artificial environment. i bet fairly autonomous education following interests would be great and liberating for you both.

i would say go for it.

i took ds out of school a year ago, he's 7, and we're recently back from a month overseas checking out a property i want to buy and will do soon and are currently staying with a friend in another part of the country. it's looking very likely we'll stay between england and this other country and in that country there's a little private school very child and parent need orientated as the 10 or so kids there are from school systems all over the world or home education due to travel or whatever so ds may do a bit of part time there just to get back in the hang of not always being with me (and me getting a bit of time to work in peace and recall what it's like having a few hours to myself sometimes).

with the conditions your daughter has surely it's about finding ways for her to be happy and get by in this world that are creative and sustainable rather than trying to fit the mold? i think for everyone nowadays looking forward at how society and economies are going that's true anyway. release the shackles on yourself i'd say and go for something new. if you keep coming back to this then that tells you something. good luck smile

TheHoneyBadger Fri 06-Feb-15 10:54:34

by creative i don't mean arty btw i mean for example finding what she excels and thrives at and allowing her to pursue that to excellence and confidence and find a way to make a living from it that works with her limitations and skills itms rather than trying to tick every box on a curriculum and go through a sausage factory approach where everyone must come out an average sausage shaped 'same'.

there aren't really career paths or places in today's world for sausages anyway even if they can perfectly fit the mold.

BiddyPop Fri 06-Feb-15 21:47:05

Thanks guys, I'm here's some interesting food for thought there.

I am going to do some more thinking on this, I go back to a full 5 days next week but can take some more time off or a career break. And it is anout what is best for dd in the long run.

maggi Sat 07-Feb-15 08:16:42

Further to Saracen's reply...
There are also some countries where it's illegal to HE, even in some US states (I think).
But as a way of life it's lovely! I too recommend it.

PopularNamesInclude Sat 07-Feb-15 08:28:35

That would be a huge change for you. Moving to a new culture, giving up work that has absorbed you, and becoming ft responsible for dd's education. Also be aware that this will be a major shift in the dynamics of your relationship. This can all work beautifully of course! Just be aware that it is an utterly monumental shift.

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