4 Options For Educating Your Children Abroad

Moving abroad with your family is an adventure filled with new experiences, and educating your children is a crucial part of that journey. There are so many options, choosing the right method for your children can feel overwhelming. So I wanted to breakdown the most common education options when moving abroad, complete with the costs and benefits.  

Home education for children abroad

We’ve decided to unschool and mostly home-educate our children on our own journey so Taji has never attended a traditional school. She spent 1.5 years part-time (3 days a week) at an international Montessori-style school while we were in Mexico and that’s the only option that we’d likely continue with in the future. I will focus more on home education in this blog simply because of our experience. It worked so well for us but everyone is different so you do what’s best for you and your child. Now, let’s dive into the options for educating your children abroad.

1. Home Education

Forget one-size-fits-all textbooks! You create a personalised curriculum based on your child’s interests and learning style. Your days might involve traditional lessons at home, online resources, educational travel, and plenty of hands-on learning or none of the above.

Home education can also cover the terms “unschooling”, “homeschooling” or “world schooling” for those incorporating travel, offers a unique and personalised approach to learning. Here’s a deeper dive into what it could look like for your family:

  • Curriculum Design: You’ll curate a curriculum based on your child’s interests, learning pace, and goals. This could involve:
    • Core Subjects: Tailoring math, science, language arts, and crafts to your child’s needs. Maybe your child thrives with project-based learning in science, or enjoys learning history through visiting museums.
    • Special Interests: Does your child love dinosaurs? Integrate paleontology into their science lessons. Are they passionate about art? Plan museum visits and encourage creative expression.
    • World Schooling: If you plan to travel, integrate geography and history by learning about the places you visit. Volunteer with local organisations and immerse yourselves in the culture.
  • Learning Activities: Your days aren’t confined to a classroom. Home education embraces diverse learning methods wherever you are:
    • Traditional Lessons: Incorporate structured lessons at home, using textbooks, online resources, or your own curriculum materials.
    • Online Resources: Take advantage of educational websites, online courses, and virtual learning platforms to supplement your curriculum.
    • Field Trips & Hands-on Learning: Learning is always happening. Transform everyday experiences into learning opportunities. When you go on trips to the supermarket, parks, historical sites, and support local businesses., encourage your child to ask questions, conduct experiments, and explore their surroundings.
    • Community Involvement: Volunteer with local organisations, participate in community events, and connect with other homeschooling families for social interaction and enrichment.


While you save on tuition, there are expenses for curriculum materials, educational outings, and potential online resources. There are no set costs as you have the most freedom here to tailor your child’s experience so your cost may vary slightly from month to month. I personally budget about £150 a month for home education and we currently spend on language lessons, learning materials, printing, robotics classes, group multi-sports sports and crafts from hobby craft. My mum pays for Taji’s dance classes.

Tips For Making it Work:

Connect with other homeschooling families: Join online communities or local homeschooling groups for support, advice, and social interaction for your children.

Create a dedicated learning space: This can be a room in your house or a flexible area where your child can focus and feel comfortable learning.

Set a routine: Establish a daily or weekly schedule that incorporates learning activities, breaks, and social interaction.

Embrace the flexibility: One of the biggest advantages of home education is the ability to adapt to your child’s needs and interests. Sometimes that will look like no lessons all week and that’s okay. Don’t be afraid to go with the flow and adjust your approach as you go!

Home Education Pros

  • Complete Freedom
  • Personalized Learning
  • Strong Family Bond

Home Education Cons

  • Significant parental commitment
  • You have to be intentional with social interaction

Home education can be a rewarding and enriching experience for both parents and children. By creating a personalised learning environment and embracing the adventure, you can equip your child with the knowledge, skills, and global perspective they need to thrive in today’s world.

No idea where to start on your home education journey?

Learn how to offer a child centred home education plan that supports your child’s holistic growth and personal development.

2. Local Public Schools:

Your children will be immersed in the local education system, learning alongside students from the host country. Days will follow the local curriculum and schedule, often with a strong emphasis on the national language. Deep dive into the local way of life and encourage participation in school activities and local events.


Public schools are usually free, while private local schools might have fees.

Tips For Making It Work

Research the School System: Familiarize yourself with the local curriculum, grading system, and school structure.

Language Support: If your child doesn’t speak the local language, inquire about language immersion programs or additional language support services offered by the school.

Connect with the School: Reach out to the school administration or teachers before your arrival. Discuss your child’s needs and any concerns you might have.

Parent Involvement: Show interest in your child’s school life. Attend school functions, meet with teachers regularly, and communicate any concerns or questions.

Be Patient: Language acquisition and cultural adjustment take time. Encourage your child to be patient with themselves and embrace the challenges as learning opportunities.

Celebrate Milestones: Acknowledge and celebrate your child’s progress in learning the language, making friends, and adapting to the new school environment.

Public School Pros

  • Authentic cultural experience
  • Language Acquisition
  • Often most affordable option

Public School Cons

  • Challenges adapting to new school system
  • Older children may find adapting to a new language more challenging

You can help your child thrive in a local school and reap the rich benefits of a true cultural immersion experience by fully immersing yourself into this lifestyle change. Remember, a successful transition involves not only your child’s adaptation but also your own willingness to embrace the new culture and educational system.

3. International Schools:

These schools offer a curriculum familiar to your home country (often English-based) with qualified international teachers. They tend to have a diverse student body and strong support networks for expat families. Your child may be able to gain qualifications offered by your home country.


International schools are generally the most expensive option, with tuition fees varying depending on the location and school’s reputation. Fees could be anything from £150 a month all the way upwards of £15,000 and anything inbetween. If you have a work background in education, consider finding a job in a local school. Many employers will sponsor your child’s tuition fees as part of your contract.

Tips For Making It Work

Connect with the School: Before arrival, get in touch with the school counselor or teachers. Discuss any learning needs or concerns your child might have.

Buddy System: Many international schools have buddy programs that pair your child with a student who can show them the ropes and introduce them to classmates.

Embrace Differences: International schools are melting pots of cultures. Encourage your child to embrace the diversity and learn from their peers’ backgrounds.

Expat Community: Connect with other expat families at the school or through local expat groups. This can provide valuable support and a sense of community.

International School Pros

  • Smoother transition due to curriculum familiarity
  • Curriculum may support exams from your home country

International School Cons

  • Limited cultural echange compared to local schools
  • Potential of creating expat bubble
  • Can be expensive

By following these tips and fostering a supportive environment, you can help your child navigate the halls of their new international school with confidence and embrace the unique learning experience it offers. Remember, this adventure is about growth and exploration, both for your child and your entire family.

4. Online Schools:

Students learn from a distance using a virtual format, with interactive lessons, assignments, and online resources.   Your child will participate in live, interactive online classes with a qualified teacher and classmates, often using video conferencing platforms.


Online schools can be more affordable than international schools but not always, with varying tuition fees depending on the program and curriculum.

Tips For Making It Work

Dedicated Learning Space: Create a quiet, well-lit area free from distractions like electronics or clutter. This will help your child focus and stay engaged during lessons.

Tech Troubleshooting: Ensure you have a stable internet connection and a functioning computer or device for online classes and coursework. Familiarise yourself with the online learning platform your child’s school uses. Test the audio, video, and other features beforehand to avoid technical hiccups during classes.

Minimise Distractions: During online classes, silence notifications on phones and close unnecessary browser tabs. Encourage your child to actively participate in discussions and ask questions to stay focused.

Take Breaks: Schedule short breaks throughout the day to avoid burnout. Encourage physical activity, stretching, or healthy snacks to refresh and refocus.

Active Learning Strategies: Go beyond passively watching lectures. Encourage your child to take notes, participate in online discussions, and complete interactive assignments to solidify their learning.

Online School Pros

  • Flexibity for nomadic lifestyles
  • Diverse curriculum options
  • Self-paced learning

Online School Cons

  • Limited social interaction
  • Requires strong self-discipline
  • Depends on good wifi

By following these tips and creating a supportive learning environment, you can help your child navigate the online classroom with confidence and make the most of their virtual learning experience. Online schools can open doors to a world of educational opportunities, and with the right approach, your child can thrive in this dynamic learning environment.

Choosing the Right Educational Setup Abroad For Your Children

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to expat education. Consider your family’s priorities, your child’s age and learning style, the length of your stay abroad, and the educational system in your host country. By carefully evaluating these options, you can ensure a smooth transition and a rich learning experience for your global family! So let us know, how are you planning to educate your children when you move abroad?

FAQs For Educating Your Children Abroad

How do I know if home education is right for my family?

Home education requires a significant commitment from parents. Consider your time availability, organisational skills, and comfort level with creating a curriculum. However, if you enjoy flexibility and want to tailor learning to your child’s interests, home education can be a rewarding experience.

How can I ensure my child gets enough social interaction in a local school?

Encourage your child to participate in school clubs, sports teams, or local activities. Look for schools with after-school programs or international student organizations. You can also connect with other expat families for playdates and social gatherings.

How do I choose a reputable online school?

Look for accredited online schools with qualified teachers and a strong curriculum. Research student reviews and inquire about the school’s online learning platform and support services. Ensure the time zone difference allows your child to participate in live classes comfortably.

What are the legalities of homeschooling abroad?

Homeschooling regulations vary by country. Research the requirements in your host country well in advance. You may need to register your child as a homeschooler and submit periodic evaluations.

Are international schools worth the cost?

International schools offer a familiar curriculum and strong support networks, which can be invaluable for expat families. However, weigh the cost against your priorities and the length of your stay abroad. Consider if a local school with additional language support might be a suitable option.

How can I supplement the limited social interaction of online schools?

Explore online clubs or forums for students enrolled in the same online school. Encourage participation in local sports teams, community events, or cultural activities. Consider enrolling your child in online courses with a strong interactive component to foster social learning.

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