Sara’s family are homeschooling in Thailand. Sara is our first American homeschool interviewee and our third teacher. It really is incredible how many teachers don’t send their children to school. I found Sara’s answers fascinating, not only does she home school in Thailand, but she is by far the most traditional, or school-at-home, family I’ve talked to. Her philosophy seems to follow the common theme, none of us want to endanger our children’s natural love of learning. I hope you enjoy her answers as much as I did.
Experiences of Homeschooling in Thailand
Homeschool Regulations in Thailand
According to the HSLDA website, homeschooling is legal for Thai citizens in Thailand. Students must still be assessed each year and parents must submit an application to homeschool. As expats and tourists, we don’t worry about local regulations.
A Homeschooling Family Living in Thailand Full Time.
Would you briefly introduce yourself, how long have you been homeschooling, how many children are you responsible for educating and how old are they?
My name is Sara, my husband is Ben and we have three boys Greyson (9), Lincoln (7), and Britton (4). I have been homeschooling officially for the past 6 years, although I have been home with my boys for their whole lives.
We are from the United States, but for the past 4 years we have been homeschooling in Thailand. We are based in Bangkok, but love exploring Southeast Asia when we can get away for a holiday.
What are your reasons for Homeschooling? Did your children ever go to school?
Our original reason for homeschooling began when my oldest son was 3 years old.
The public school district that we were a part of was not what I wanted for my son. I was starting to get very concerned about where I was going to send him to school as private school were out of the question for us.
I started researching and talking to other homeschoolers and realized that this was going to be the best choice for our family.
What is your educational and career background? Does this influence the way your children are educated?
I have degrees in elementary and special education.
After college, I knew I wanted to stay home with my children, so I was a child care provider for 5 years.
I started Ten Perfect Fingers, Ten Perfect Toes, a customized hand and foot print painting business, and ran that business for 3 years until we moved to Thailand.
My husband and I also started Little Minds on the Grow, a company that went in to daycares and taught children ages 2 ½-5 to use the computer. I also taught a year of preschool out of my home.
Currently, I am tutoring children in our neighbourhood in reading, writing, math & English.
I love starting up clubs for my children and their friends to be a part of. So far we have had Lego club, art club, Science Saturdays, and movie nights.
My husband has a degree in Secondary Math Education and a Master’s of Educational in Curriculum & Technology. He taught high school math for 8 years before we moved to Thailand, where he is now teaching high school math at an international school in Bangkok. He also tutors and coaches.
I think having a background in education has influenced the way I teach my boys. It made me realize that I did not want my children to lose their love of learning at any age. I wanted them to understand why they were learning certain topics, not just told they had to. I also wanted them to have a say in what they would like to learn about.
Where did you get your education as a child? Was this a decision influencer?
I lived in the same small town for my entire childhood. I enjoyed school and was happy to be part of the tight knit community. When I think back, I really only have good memories.
Homeschooling was never something I thought I would do, it just kind of fell into my lap as the perfect solution to our choice of school situation.
Can you describe your style of homeschooling?
I am very traditional. We have our daily schedule and make sure we cover math, reading, and writing every day.
But, I am more than willing to toss our plans to the side if something else comes up. I am really trying to loosen up when it comes to having a schedule.
Lets talk curriculum, anything you’d like to say on the subject?
I do use curriculum .
This goes back to me being very traditional in my style of teaching. I would love to throw those curriculum books aside someday, but for now I need them.
One of my favourites right now is Five in a Row. This is a literature based curriculum and really is just a suggestion for all that picture books can teach. I love it because I can bring so many of my personal ideas into the teachings.
The boys really enjoy Story of the World. We are almost finished with Volume One and have learned so much. What I love about this is that it gives me a jumping off point to teach the kids, but then I research and pull in other books to supplement each chapter.
I would much rather take a field trip to learn about a subject hands on and we do plenty of that too.
What does your homeschool day look like? Do you have a schedule?
Our day is really scheduled. That’s my fault…I have always lived by a schedule and a list.
Lessons start at 9:00, snack around 10:30, work until 12:00, lunch at 12:00, work from 1:00- 2:30. Our school day finishes at 2:30.
The boys have an activity every day after school right now, so we have swimming, soccer, chess, or piano from 3:00-4:00. Then we are finished for the day.
Do you follow the school system of working weeks and terms?
We do only because my husband is a teacher at an international school in Bangkok and that is when we are able to travel.
I do take days off to celebrate each of the boy’s birthdays and we are flexible if the kids are having a rough day, just to take the day off and have some fun instead.
We occasionally take a day off during the week and pick it up on the weekend. We also work through some of the school holidays.
What is your one favourite homeschool resource?
I don’t have one, can I name four?
I love using Netflix to find great documentaries on the topics we are studying. We use the library at my husband’s school all the time.
Pinterest has been a huge help in finding activities to go along with the topic we are learning about. I really spend way too much time searching on Pinterest.
Other homeschool moms are such a great resource to ask for suggestions and advice.
Can you tell us the three best things about homeschooling for your family?
- I am in control of my child’s learning. I love that my oldest was ready to read at 7 and my youngest was ready at 4. They each could learn at their own pace and no one was pressuring my older son to start reading. He just was not ready and now he is right on target with his reading. If I would have pushed him at 4, he would have ended up hating to read.
- I get to spend quality time with my children every day. When I think back to my childhood, I don’t really remember my siblings being a huge part of it because we were always in school. I love that my boys are each other’s best friends and I have a very close relationship with each boy.
- We can be flexible. If it’s wet we can take a day off if we want, because we are probably going somewhere to keep on learning anyway. It’s easy to dive deeper into topics the boys are really interested in.
What are the government or state homeschool regulations where you live?
If we were still in the States, we would have to register with our local school district and then meet with an assessor twice a year for them to go over each child’s portfolio.
Now that we live in Thailand, I just document everything and take a ton of photos, so I have proof of what we have covered.
This way I will be able to share our progress with an assessor when we decide to go back to the States.
What one thing would you like to tell the world, homeschoolers and non homeschoolers, about education?
I have had many people in the past come up to me concerned that my children were not involved in a “real school.”
I want the world to know that this is the way real education happens.
Finding a topic that you are interested in and learning everything you can on it. Many times when the boys are interested in a new topic, we will find a video, read books, look up photos online, and then take a field trip to find out even more on it.
I hope my boys learn to be self- taught instead of always relying on a teacher to tell them what to learn.
The boys also interact with people of all ages instead of just a group their own age. And, they are not afraid to ask a million questions.
I blog at A New Path to Follow and it is all about our time choosing the path that is not the most common. In our case, that is homeschooling and living abroad. I share our travels, but also our daily life in Thailand. I also put up information on the curriculum we are using and share fun projects and crafts I find. You can also follow us on Pinterest and Instagram
My Kids Experiences of Homeschooling in Thailand
My kids have spent months in Thailand and have, therefore, had plenty of experience learning about and from this country. Thailand is fascinating and has much to learn. I can give you an example, my homeschooled sion wrote a post on Thai history, sparked by the Three Kings statue in Chiang Mai, just click through. As tourists we did not follow Thai rules and regulations. We carry homeschool supplies with us or sometimes order online. If you’d like to see the workbooks we use visit our page.