Home schooling?

I was wondering if anyone is home schooling their kids in English.

I would like to have something better for my kid than the stuff that Taiwanese kids get. Ok, sure, he’ll go to a local school. I’m not paying for an international school - I’m not made of money.

So, if anyone out there is doing it, what are you using?

Houghton Mifflin
McGraw Hill


I’ve started with my son, K1 age now, who’ll be K2 this year, and I’d like to buy up on a system that is going to be able to follow through for a number of years.


It really depends on what you like and what you are looking for. I am currently teaching with Harcourt. Their books are excellent, but they are designed to make money for the publisher. You need to buy many additional books and materials for them to be useful. I would give their English books a “B” and their math books an “A”. Their math books are good at creating deep thinkers and problem solvers. They put many problems in the 1st and 2nd grade books that use simple algebra. The students of course do not know what they are doing, but it is nice to let them know that what they are doing will be similiar to things they will do in five years. But like I said before, you need to buy quite a few extra books. Their challenge workbook for the math would be essential and maybe a practice workbook, as well. Their science books are just okay. A little boring and difficult to use.

I also like Scott Foresman books for mathematics and reading. I used them when I was a little kid getting homeschooled in Taiwan. Their reading books have better and more interesting stories than Harcourt. Houghton Mifflin does wonderful social studies books (I think it is for higher grades, it’s a mixture of geography, history, economics, etc.)

Anyway, the bell is ringing and I have to go to class. I will post more later if you like.

I’ve substituted at a Buxiban that uses the Calvert (link) books a few times. The owner seem like a really smart fellow and I bet he uses the same books with his kids. The books seemed “cool” (I know not much help, but you could look into them).

Some of the Christain homeschooling programs from the US often excellent academic materials. I can’t remember the name of any program but there is one that is quite famous and shouldn’t be hard to find with a little Googling. Obviously there is religious matter in some books but you don’t need to teach this.

In any case, you get a good support network in addition to the books and you will be put in touch with other homeschoolers in your area.

Hi Bassman

I am going to homeschool too (we have already started) I have worked as a advisor to homeschoolers so the first few years for me are fairly straightforward.) I am not too sure what I would reccommend for that. We are just writing every day, doing alphabet work, learning high usage words, and a range of practical maths activites. We are also going to as many places as we can to extend comprehension, working on social skills, and reading together (at the moment we are doing a series on Roald Dahl) We often will complete activites that spring from the book

However once your boy has the basics down pat you could try books from ESA Publications. I worked with them on a series (unrelated to these ones) and they are all written around the New Zealand curriculum.

They start from year three and go up to year eight in maths, english and handwriting. The best part is they only cost NZ$30 for a year’s textbook.


You would need to fill thme out a little with practical activity but they are enough to shape your teaching. For the rest, if the numeracy and literacy are on target, you can spend the remainder of the schooling just following his independent interests and reseach these together. One of the immense benefits of homeschooling

These textbooks are really reasonable, and have the answers in the back!

Hope that helps

Wow, a publisher (ESA Publications) which actually seems to value education over money. Most North American publishing companies charge double that for one book! Harcourt has even gotten smarter by splitting up the old big books that you used to have to lug around into four to six smaller books per semester. The total cost of all the small books is more than the old bigger books.

The nice advantage about homeschooling is that you can change books anytime you want (or can afford). If a set of books is no longer meeting your needs, you can get a different set.

Homeschooling is a great way to encourage independent learning. This is one of the most important skills you will use throughout the rest of your life. You end up eager and loving to learn from a young age. Most schools do the opposite. They squash out independence and replace it with structured control. The yearning and excitement to learn slowly dies.

Everyone argues and worries about social skills. Well, it is kind of hard to not develop social skills when you are living in one of the world’s most densely populated countries. People are everywhere. Opportunity for social interaction is unlimited. Also a plus side about living in Taiwan is that you usually do not pick up certain “bad” social skills, which are rampant in Western countries [Note: this is my opinion, based on my own personal observations; I am willing to discuss it in another post]. Anyway, I could ramble for hours about this topic. If anyone ever wants to PM me to talk more about homeschooling, please do. I attended local schools and was homeschooled for different periods while growing up in Taiwan.

Oops -the price for the books is actually only $25 - about nt575

As to social skills don’t get me started! I can lead you to plenty of studies that show how much more beneficial homeschooling is (in the vast majority of families) compared to schooling in this area.

ESA can also supply text books and study guides all the way up to year thirteen.

Thus ends the plug…

Everytime someone brings up this topic, it gets me thinking about homeschooling my children. However, one of my children is what you’d call Spirited (or Highly Sensitive, or Explosive, depending what book you’ve read) and I suspect the youngest will be just like him, and so I worry that they’ll wear me out before I can teach them anything useful. I’m also one of those people who needs structure, so I’d need a program to follow, with very clear goals to meet, kwim? Complicating things further, although my husband is ethnically Taiwanese, he didn’t grow up here and so he neither reads nor writes Chinese. Would we then hire a Chinese tutor to teach Chinese reading/writing? Or could I depend on grandparents to help with that? Great topic, I’m eager to learn more from Rubykate and YaPiPi.

[YaPiPi, do you teach at a bilingual school? I wonder if we’ve met…]

spirited kids really benefit from homeschooling. One of the reason many contacts I know choose ot homeschool is to continue to build their relationship with their own child. The important thing here is to make sure you get plenty of support.

With the chinese thing, why doesn’t your husband (if he is interested) begin to learn chinese and take the kids along for the ride. My husband is studying chinese and teaching my daughter at the same time. One of the benefits of homeschooling as it justifies learning new skills ourselves. It doesn’t matter if we are only a pace in fornt- our enthousiasm helps the leanring

If your child is spirited, from what I know of the taiwanese school system, perhaps homeschooling is a good option. You can create structure in your day, but also build in behaviour rewards of active play in the afternoon. (a homeschool day takes up about a third of a school day with more intense instruction) then he can run, and get some of that excess energy out.

feel free to pm me for any support. I have taught enough spirited children to know what you may be up against. - luckily for me my children are rather relaxed :slight_smile: However my friend is homeschooling her spirited child and having great effects. I ithnk the key is that a spirirted child is often bright, and needs you to help him narrow down and direct his learning without cramping his creativity

hope that helps a little

Bassman and Rubykate, how long do you intend to homeschool?

I know a few homeschoolers who did it for a few years, up until middle school for a couple of families, and then let the kids attend mainstream schools. I know my spirited kid would definitely benefit from a good homeschool experience but I wonder if I could provide it.

And like you said, I’d need a good support system. As it is, I don’t have many friends with kids his age.

As to studying Chinese alongside a parent, I will begin lessons next month, so I could do this with the younger ones. The second one is already way ahead of me.

I guess in my situation Homeschooling is not the correct term that I was looking for. Perhaps it would be better to say that I want to give my kid more of a western education in addition to his local schooling. Yeah, I know, more homework, but I won’t send him to a buxiban though.

1 Like

At the moment we are leaving it WIDE open! I know several families who have homeschooled to university - and their children have done exceptionally well. They use NZ correspondence school for older children.

For us we want to homeschool for many reasons. One is travel We want to be able to move anywhere without affecting the schooling. Also as an ex teacher (in a great school too) I did not like the way teachers talked about the kids, or sometimes to the kids.

There is the values side. While we expose our children to a wide variety of experiences and cultures (my four year old is very world orientated) we also want our values to be the main influence in her formative years.

We also want o homeschool for ourselves. We work long hours, but we work around our kids. Homeschooling is a great way to stop myself from forgetting why I had kids in the first place. They are incredible, and we love thme. We plan to go on as we are- sharing the work and parenting half and half, working nights to make up for the time spent with the kids in the day.

It works well for us :slight_smile:

braxtonhicks, you’d make a great PI.

Is it legal to homeschool in taiwan? I thought you were legally required to send your child to school if your kid is counted as a local - with local ID, or at least not here on a visa.

I wish I could homeschool my five year old but I don’t have the time. Are you all stay at home mums and dads? Homeschooling needs a fulltime stay at home mum or dad, no?
But I would like to get hold of some nice supplementary materials if only to give his English reading and writing a boost. Just my two cents. :slight_smile:

Hang on a minute. What about Chinese?

If you don’t send your kid to school, and Chinese isn’t a language in your family, how does the kid get the necessary language skills to survive in this society? Or do you expect to flit off to some other exotic destination before too many years are out?

In regards to doing extra at home, I really really suggest laying off the learning with textbooks and get into plenty of games, visits to interesting places and physical activities.

Playing a game, particularly a board game teaches much more than a text book and the school system in taiwna does not allow for much creative or independent problem sovling skills. these are much more important to have your child work at than more textbok work

In regards to englisdh, read plenty of books aloud to him, and play board games in english.

Ruby, my point about Chinese was partly addressed to you!

I don’t live in taiwan :slight_smile: we live in an english speaking country.
however most children of taiwan/european decent can speak chinese far better than english/alternative european language, if living in Taiwan. I think it is important they know both- especially if they may relocate to the other parents home country at some stage. I know kids who live in taiwan with two european parents, that can barely speak english after attending a local school for a few years.It is those children that I was talking about.

Our children learn Chinese alongside their Dad who is learning it
We use simple phrases day to day. When living in taiwan we gave plenty of opportunity for playtimes with native speakers rather than with expats to get the language going.
if my daughter wants to learn to write chinese we will learn with her. simple as that.

I was homeschooled in Taiwan and my parents spoke English to me. I never had a problem becoming fluent in Mandarin. You are surrounded by 23 million people who speak Mandarin. I think it would just happen naturally, regardless of what language your parents spoke. Just because you are homeschooled does not mean that you are locked in a dark room and never go outside. It is quite the opposite, because you are not locked in a dark classroom all day, you have ample time to spend understanding, appreciating, and learning about Taiwan.

I had one American roommate who was homeschooled here and did a correspondence course until she finished high school. Instead of being stuck in a classroom, she spent time talking with Buddhist monks and learning many Asian languages. She’s currently studying at a university in the States. I have also have a buxiban student whose mother is homeschooling her and her brother. I have to admit her level of English confidence and competence has grown dramatically since she quit attending regular school last year. My neighbors back home, who had adopted seven children in addition to their own three, homeschooled almost all of them (except three whose biological family expressed that they wanted the three siblings to remain in public school). The oldest one is in university now and the next two are getting ready to go in a few years.

Hats off to those who can do it. It’s hard work to run a classroom in addition to running a home.