Homeschooling is popular among expatriate families in Costa Rica
If you are moving to Costa Rica with school-aged children, living overseas is an education in its own right. The cultural and social immersion is an invaluable experience for everyone in the family. However, you probably feel that the quality of your children’s formal education is as important as their physical well-being. And, chances are good that your children will return to the States for college and they’ll have to meet the academic standards for enrollment.
While there are good schools in Costa Rica, they are unlikely to meet enrollment requirements for U.S. history, English literature, etc. Distance learning, online or homeschooled, can help prepare your students for continuing their higher education in the U.S.
If you expect your children to go to college stateside, you’ll want to be sure their curriculum outcomes meet admission standards. You’ll also need to decide who’s responsible for overseeing class. If you and your spouse are teachers, you’re in good shape. If not, you’ll need help deciding the right course of study for your children. Will your homeschool or online choices meet rigorous admission requirements? There are other options to consider.
An accredited school program can be the answer. The school’s teachers do most of the heavy lifting: delivering lesson plans and materials to meet course objectives. The teachers evaluate progress and help students with learning challenges. The arrangement allows you to be the parent instead of the teacher.
Several accrediting bodies can help you evaluate the right school for your students. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), AdvancED and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI) regularly review physical and online schools for curriculum objectives and achievement. A school’s ability to articulate and implement its educational mission for the benefit of students is an important consideration for accrediting committees. U.S. and international colleges and universities recognize diplomas, certificates, course credits and grade-level placements from accredited schools, which will help ensure your child’s admission to the college of her choice.
You can investigate the many state colleges and universities that offer accredited high school programs designed for home schooled students or distance-learning students who plan to attend one of these colleges. These programs are feeder schools meant to boost a college’s admission numbers; they can be especially helpful if your child plans to apply to the sponsoring college.
You can also check an online or homeschool choice against the Distance Education Accrediting Commission standards. Previously called the National Home Study Council, the DEAC checks that your chosen school program meets public educational standards.
Education is important for your children’s future. Do your homework and you’ll be prepared for the move.
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