Homeschooling grew by more than 60% in 20/21

| 06/07/2021 | 14 Comments
Cayman News Service
Homeschool awardees for the 2021 academic year

(CNS): Since the start of the 2020-2021 academic year, the Department of Education Services (DES) has approved 170 applications to homeschool a child, a 63.5% increase from 104 the year before. While many parents may have found the enforced home-based learning during the COVID-19 lockdown extremely challenging and were delighted to get their kids back into the classroom, homeschooling has nevertheless become much more popular, even after schools here opened as normal for the last academic year.

A shortage of places at private school as well as school fees may also be fuelling the boom, and having children learn at home during lockdown may have given parents the confidence to try full-on homeschooling.

Most expatriate families must send their kids to private schools, as government schools are limited to Caymanian students and the dependents of Caymanians, permanent residents and contracted government staff. But with recent inspections revealing that private does not necessarily mean a better education, homeschooling presents another option.

According to the DES, recent home visits have revealed that parents who teach at home are making progress and students are all doing well on their specific programmes.

“People choose to homeschool their children for a variety of reasons,” said DES Acting Customer Service Manager Gloria Bell in a press release. “Homeschool programmes can be customised to help students excel further in areas of strength and provide tailored support where students are weak. Scheduling flexibility, fewer distractions, and no time spent on commuting or waiting for other students to finish tasks before moving on make homeschooling efficient.”

DES senior school improvement officers (SSIOs) recently began to conduct home visits to ensure that people adhere to the programme and that students are making progress.

Bell said that during the home visits DES officials were pleased with the overall implementation of the programmes across all the homes visited. She said that many homeschooled students demonstrated a high level of organisation and time management skills. They were also able to articulate their progress over the course of the year and took ownership of their learning.

There is a great deal of coordination among homeschooling families through the Home Schoolers Association to allow children learning at home to interact with their peers on field trips and participate in school competitions. Kathleen Spencer, a member of the association, said these group activities bring the Cayman Islands homeschool community together to support each other.

Over the last year the homeschool field trips have included the Airport Fire Station, the Airport Control Tower, Pedro St James, Radio Cayman, the National Art Gallery, the National Museum, the Cayman Turtle Centre and Shark Talk (GHOF), and they have travelled to Little Cayman to visit the Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI).

DES Senior Customer Service Officer Nicki Samuels said parents play a critical and integral role in monitoring and facilitating the learning, and homeschooled students have been quite active in local competitions, such as the Inter-school Chess Tournament, Rotary Club Science Fair and school maths competitions.

One homeschooled student was a 2021 Rubis Top Student Finalist and another placed first in her category at the Rotary Science Fair. Homeschoolers also participated in the Annual Royal Bank Primary Spelling Bee competition, the National Children’s Festival of the Arts, and the Inter-primary and Inter-secondary Athletics competitions.

To learn more about the homeschooling process, visit Homeschool Cayman.

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Category: Education, Local News

Comments (14)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    When is Sunrise going to get their new building? CNS: please ask about this?

    • Anonymous says:

      Sunrise’s building? What does that have to do with Homeschooling? Or are you one of those uninformed people that thinks kids are homeschooled because they’re learning disabled?

  2. If you can afford to stay home says:

    Good for you.
    As a single parent, I better find my a$$ to work or the child will be studying by candlelight – home-schooled or otherwise.

  3. Anonymous says:

    And what about the hundreds of kids who are unregistered?

    • Anonymous says:

      Thousands if you believe PACT

    • Anonymous says:

      They’re better off! The school system in Cayman is a joke…government schools are a farce and private schools are a criminal enterprise.

      • Anonymous says:

        All agreed. But pretty damning of government and the education authorities that they have no idea how or even whether large numbers of children are being educated.

        • Anonymous says:

          I think it’s worse that they actually do know how many aren’t being educated right under their noses!

  4. Anonymous says:

    don’t blame them…school costs here are outrageous.
    private schools require millionaire parents or you go public where the standards are abysmal….
    what is the long term solution?
    cayman economy is like a house of cards…

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