Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Schooling options research: International vs "interntional" vs local plus homebased

We are continuing to think about schooling for our kids. There are lots of schools in the town we live in, although at a first glance none seem like a perfect fit the research continues.
Our research and thoughts so far:

(this is ongoing- this is all new to me, sharing some links so I can read up later, feel free to give input esp if you are an educator or a parent)

Mostly the private schools fall into two categories. Some generalisations (according to what I know at this point in time):  

Some private International schools are specifically to set up  to cater to foreign children who want to have an education that allows them to switch between Cambodia and their passport country and makes it easy for them to apply to universities outside Cambodia. These are mostly all taught in English (or French), and Khmer might be taught as a second language. (that 's my current understanding anyway). These ones are usually quite expensive but as far as I understand the teachers are qualified and have had criminal background checks. 

Other private schools might also be called 'international' but seem to be aimed at  local Khmer students so there are classes in Khmer but English is so important these days they also have English but usually ESL style.  Some of these schools have foreigners working at them who may or may not be properly qualified, but bring their expertise of being native English speakers. They may or may not have had criminal background checks. This could be a big issue as Cambodia seems to be a place where men from Western countries hide from their pedophile charges back in their passport country. Cheaper than the International schools. 

The price difference might be something like around 100USD per month verses 500USD per month for primary school. Not taking into account enrollment fees and other one-off or annual fees, and various other things.

For the early years the big difference we noticed between institutions for Khmer and expats is that the expats ones are much more play based, and there are more options.  I guess day care/preschool is a new concept here, and school usually means sitting at a desk. I guess traditionally households have lots of adults so the kids can stay home with Grandma until they are desk-ready. We had been hoping to find our kids a play based safe Khmer language place for pre-school years but one we thought might work turned out the carers seemed to all speak English to the kids, and we were sure of safety , and while he was there he seemed to need to move around more at home. We guess he didn't get as much fun and movement there. They didn't have any outdoor space to play in. 

Not all school fit into these boxes, there are a few we are looking into at the moment. At the same time we are also considering a combination of local school and home based. 

Going to a local government school feels like it would be the natural and cheap way to be part of the community and learn to read and write in Khmer. In all my years associated  with Cambodia I think I have only heard of one family doing this. I'm currently trying to learn more about this:
 Is it because of safety issues
or teaching methodology? 
Or because having an international education takes priority? Or...?

I'm trying to learn more about homeschooling, there are a few websites that explain different approaches such as this one and this one.  (the eclectic/ hodge podge approach would be where I would start I think- need to read and research, unschooling sounds crazy!) Sometimes online and distance ed seems to be included in homeschooling, others seem to put that in a different box as parents are more facilitators than teachers (I think, I could be making this up).

And I've joined a few facebook groups so I can listen in on conversations between homeschooling families and the day to day issues and questions they have.  I'm also trying to get to know other homeschoolers in town as well as learning more from another facebook group that has many Aussie (and other nationalities) Christian missionary mums in it, many topics discussed, homeschooling often comes up.

Homeschool curriculum seem to be a big industry in America, they seem to be mostly Christian based. For example Sonlight, My Father's World, Timberdoodle , Bob Jones  , A Beka etc etc

And there seems to be lots of free stuff online, people often mention Easy Peasy.  and an Aussie educator I met with awhile back mention I should look up Singapore maths.

Most ppl I know who homeschool are American, and most resources are from the States but I've got some Aussie home based education sites I want to link here so I can find them later. Distance ed from the gov seems like its only meant to be for 2 years, so not sure if we can do that but we could look into riverside. Aussie sites to read:

An aussie homeschooler writing for new homeschoolers:

An Aussie Christian school that has a distant ed program (recommended by an aussie mum overseas, they use it and like it)

Some also mentioned:


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