Families considering taking their children out of school for lifestyle reasons, overall family quality of life, to maximise a child’s sporting or acting potential, or to support a special educational need, have several options. Which route to take depends on a number of factors, such as whether this move will be for the remainder of a student’s pre-university education, just for a year or two, or even just for a few months. It will also depend on the child’s age, educational system and academic aspirations.
If children 14 or younger will be away for a short period, it’s best to ask their schools if they will allow a period of absence while the child is still enrolled. A private tutor can easily keep the student up to date with his peers during this time.
For older children, the English educational system offers the most flexibility. There is no fixed age for taking GCSE or A level exams and no limit on how long the preparation can be. The international version of most courses has little in the way of coursework or labs and there are test centres all over the world.
The US system is also flexible, but requires enrolment in an accredited establishment, even if it’s online, so that a transcript (a record of courses and classes completed and scores achieved) can be maintained. Transcripts are essential for children unless they have no plans to continue into further education or re-enroll in US school. It’s hard to work through an online program alone, so we would always recommend the support of a full-time tutor to help manage the material, to share ideas and generate discourse, and to maintain motivation.
International Baccalaureate, or IB, has to be taught in a specific type of school. Until recently it was impossible to home educate the entire IB but that is no longer the case for the Diploma Program. It is not as flexible as either the UK or US options and still requires a Tutor at home with the student for the reasons already mentioned, but at least there is now an option.
If you are considering taking some time away from school, it’s important to start your planning well in advance. It can take us up to nine months to find the right tutor for a full-time assignment and to get all the plans in place. But don’t be put off by the complications; the benefits of taking time to enhance sports performance or to see the world easily outweigh the effort, and we are there to help at every stage.
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