Abu Dhabi: Home schooling has increased in popularity and admissions in the capital over the last few years, Gulf News has learned.

According to parents and families who run such schools, the 33rd home-school started this month. Even though home-schooling is no easy feat and un-heard of in this part of the world, it started off with eight families choosing to educate their children at home instead of placing them in schools.

To enhance its exposure and appeal, The Abu Dhabi Home Schoolers Association started their own blog on Monday and an exclusive e-mail group (that helps similar families share ideas, thoughts and activities) called In the Shade began a month ago.

Accredited system

Rebecca Lavalle is one of the first home school mothers in the UAE, and even though she was previously working as a registered nurse in Canada, she has chosen to devote her life to offering what she finds the 'best form of education' for her children.

At 49, Lavalle has home-schooled five children, two of which are successfully enrolled in reputable universities now. Her greatest struggle was coping with society, or worrying that a certain company will under-mine home-schooling education.

"Each of my children follows an accredited international on-line academic system and two of my eldest children were accepted in international universities and are studying law and linguistics," she said.

Even though Krista Heath, 41, specialised in teaching French as a second language, she arrived in Abu Dhabi from Canada five years ago and choose to home-school three of her children, from grades seven, nine and 12. She follows the approved Kindergarten to grade 12 ministry of education curriculum.

"The on-line curriculum my kids are following includes subjects like history, geography, mathematics, Arabic, science, language arts, critical thinking, art and music. I make sure that we follow the 180 days of standard schooling in the year, even though a lot of times, we finish the curriculum before that," said Heath.

Tess Steroud, 56 has been in Abu Dhabi for over a year, and previously home-schooled four of her children in Oman and Australia.

"We want our children to have similar morals as us and be flexible to travel and learn new and different things. A mother can understand her children more than any other person and focus on strengths and improve the weaknesses," she said.

Why do you think home-schooling is becoming a popular option among parents? Time permitting, would you prefer to school your child yourself? How do you find the standard of education in the UAE? Fill in the form bellow to send your comments

Your comments

It is so good to know that home schooling is gaining popularity. In my opinion, parents must be proactive to understand and implement the current curriculum. I am now doing a Masters degree in early childhood education and I realise that teaching is not an easy task. Parents must be knowledgeable of the development of the child and the issue pertaining to education. If the parents are able to devote the time and effort to their children, by all means, go ahead as I agree that there will be no one better than the parents, who know the child?s strengths and weaknesses. Moreover, the comfortable environment will promote a better learning environment.
N. Sun Sun
Kuala Lumpur,Malaysia
Posted: November 13, 2008, 08:36

Although children might learn the same curriculum and much more at home taught by their mothers and being stress free, it is more important for the child to interact with other children in order to develop communication skills and have a sense of competitiveness. They would miss the friendship of other children and participation in school events. These children would definitely miss out on the fun and enjoyment that a school brings.
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: November 13, 2008, 08:29

It is a good concept of providing education for children by home schooling. However, there are so many other lessons that would be taught in school such as shared and social life, which will not be achieved through home schooling.
S. N.
Posted: November 13, 2008, 08:15

I understand that home schooling may be good from a parent?s point of view, as they know the strengths and weakness of their child and help them improve on it. However, they would miss out on interacting with other children in school.
Posted: November 13, 2008, 07:37

Home schooling is becoming popular here only because of high tuition fees that the common person is unable to pay for. I think that home schooling is not a choice here but only a 'last alternative' for parents.
Posted: November 13, 2008, 06:56

The idea seems to be good, but how efficient is it? Is it approved by the Ministry of Education?
Hamed Ali
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: November 13, 2008, 06:45