Homeschooling kids in Costa Rica is easy with so many options
While Costa Rica has a wonderful education system, expatriate parents may choose homeschooling for a number of reasons, including language barriers, tuition costs for private or international schools, and staying within the child’s current school schedule.
A bigger reason, though, is that options can be limited in beach towns such as Herradura or Jaco, where Los Sueños Resort is located. Fortunately, there is no need to put a damper on living in paradise by worrying about educating your kids; there are multitudes of distance learning options available today.
Homeschooling can be a wonderful option, and for many parents a preferable one, when you put a few good practices into place. Here is some practical advice on homeschooling your kids when you live in Costa Rica.
Choose an accredited curriculum for your homeschooling needs
When opting to educate your kids at home, it is vital that you choose a curriculum that will be accepted by traditional educational systems, in case your child wants to move onto college or university.
Some of the most popular curriculums are detailed below. The schools I’ve chosen to list offer home schooling for the North American curriculum, and they are specifically tailored for home schooling abroad (though, of course, they will work perfectly no matter where you reside).
Laurel Springs was my own choice for my kids. A distance learning school that offers several kinds of curricula, Laurel Springs is a terrific option for families with kids that have specific learning needs, as the curriculum is designed to suit the individual student through a series of diagnostic tests and specialized support services.
Keystone is a distance learning system that allows students to study at their own pace. One on one instruction is available via distance learning and enrollment on the program allows parents and students access to an online community that currently numbers on excess of 20,000 students. Keystone High School has been running for over 30 years and boast past students who have gone on to be accepted at over 140 colleges and universities.
The low tuition (Just $716 per year!) and accredited high school diploma make this school a wonderful choice for parents living abroad with high school age kids. Citizens’ High School offers students an actual high school diploma as opposed to a General Education Development pass (GED). The system is based on a program of self-paced learning and is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Distance Education and Training Council.
One of the biggest concerns parents have when homeschooling their kids centers around the social implications of taking them out of a classroom setting.
- The risk is real that kids can become isolated without opportunities to make friends.
- By staying home, they won’t have a chance to integrate into their new culture, one of the most important benefits of moving to a foreign country in the first place.
- They will miss the opportunity to fully immerse in and learn a new language.
To overcome these issues, it’s important to provide opportunities for social interaction for your kids. There are sports programs, gymnastics, yoga for little ones, karate, children’s surf camps, summer camps, language exchange programs, nature hikes, and art classes available, just to name a few. Check out the Tico Times to see what’s going on in your area, as well as expat groups on Facebook and other social media channels.
Know your limits
When I homeschooled my children here in Costa Rica, I chose to hire a few different tutors to come in throughout the week and teach mathematics, music, and Spanish.
While you may hope to provide all teaching yourself you will undoubtedly have weaknesses in your own subject knowledge in some areas, as I did.
Many parents today are choosing to homeschool their kids, but it can be an especially appealing option for those who are living as expatriates in a country like Costa Rica. When schooling options are limited in beach areas like Los Sueños, or language barriers, learning disabilities, or finances are an issue, distance learning is a huge save for concerned expat parents.