Giant's Causeway under the setting sun, Northern Ireland.

Unschooling

I support parents of children who choose not to send their children to school, I can help you to plan a suitable environment, curriculum and negotiate difficulties which can arise when the role of parent is combined with that of educator and child with student. Living together in nuclear families can be stressful enough and the idea of having dual roles might seem a challenge, when if navigated carefully can be one of the joys of homeschooling/unschooling. I am able to advice on what kinds of activities are suitable for children at different ages and developmental stages, including children with additional needs. I prioritise child-centred, active learning and believe that we can prepare the child for university education and professional work without having to compromise her early experiences, freedom and our relationships.  In fact I think that if we start with these as priorities she will be more successful at education and training later on. I believe that it is possible for children and adults to be prepared ‘just in time’ for academic and employment possibilities so that we can focus on children’s present needs.

The reasons for doing so are as diverse as the families who consider this option. As a trained teacher in Traditional schooling and the Montessori method who has been based in Asia for most of the past nine years I increasingly hear of expat families who do not want to pay the huge fees for International Schools, especially as many do not fully align with the families priorities and values, for example learning home languages in addition to English and the local language, education which is insufficiently child centred, inclusive or individual and education which prioritises finding a ‘good place’ in the next school over family relationships now. In Hong Kong the fear of getting a ‘good place’ drives many families to pay huge debentures to schools they know little about and get their children on a waiting list early so that in the future things will be easier, when what the parent would like to do is be with their child in their new country.

Floating market, northern Vietnam.
Floating market, northern Vietnam.

Expats in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia and South East Asia have many options if they want to homeschool or unschool, so that they can keep their children at home with their parents for longer which I think is the ideal model in strengthening attachment (if this is what the parents want to do, not as a forced ‘should’ for parents who want to work). It is a legal option and parents get together so that children have lots of time to meet with peers and develop their social and communication skills. By honouring family relationships it is possible to give your child the time and space they need, so many children are exhausted by the early starts, the long commutes, time spent doing homework or extra-curricular activities which do not really serve them, when you homeschool you can go at a pace which gives your child time to get themselves ready in the morning, instead of bringing each day in conflict. Doing this enables your child to become independent, to regulate themselves and genuinely be the focus of the activity, rather than fitting around the school time table.

If you are unsure if homeschooling or unschooling is right for you, how to plan and get started or if you have been doing it for some time, but are running into difficulties making sure your child is learning in the most optimal way and negotiating the boundaries of parent and guide let me know. I can coach you in person in Hong Kong or by internet call.  I am also available to work with grandparents, helpers, babysitters and anyone else involved in raising your child so that the adults in your child’s life are working closely together to create a stable developmental environment.

I have over ten years experience in educating children from two years to university entry and would love to work with you to help you and your child enjoy the precious experiences you can have together.

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