What you need to know about home learning in the UAE

Top tips from a homeschooling mum of three

What you need to know about home learning in the UAE

Following a directive from the Ministry of Education stating that all schools across the UAE will be closed from Sunday March 8, educators have been focusing on how to ensure minimal disruption to their student’s studies.

Virtual, distance or home learning means that children carry out their lessons outside of the classroom.

But while for some parents, this is an entirely new concept that has come about by necessity, for one mum, it is a way of life, and one that has proved highly successful.

Michelle Davies has three children. Her eldest daughter is 27 and living in the UK, while her 18-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter live in the UAE with her.

Three years ago, after being dissatisfied with the education her two youngest were receiving, Davies decided to withdraw her children from their school in order to embark on a home schooling journey.

“We were not alone in this choice,” Davies says.

“Another friend of mine with children in the same school decided to home school as well.”

Luckily, Davies already knew a couple of other families who home schooled and they were able to guide them through the process and provide a lot of help and support in the beginning.

Originally, Davies used an online school, but with her 14-year-old daughter they do her studies independently after a lot of encouragement from a tutor they used last year for her son.

“My daughter is doing her GCSE’s now and we use a variety of resources ranging from the set study books and work books that the examination boards recommend, following the syllabus that the examination board set out,” she explains.

“We also use online resources like Khan Academy or search the internet using key words for videos or articles.”

In addition, Davies and her daughter watch documentaries by people like Lucy Wosley, which support her daughter’s history curriculum, and she also suggests the Horrible Histories series for younger children.

“There are also Znotes for IGCSE and A-Level notes for sixth form students, plus Carol Vorderman [UK television presenter and maths whizz] has an amazing book for maths called Help your Kids with Maths, which is our go to for explaining maths in a way that my daughter (and I) can understand. Vorderman also does English books,” says Davies.

Davies also frequents, Kinokuniya, the Japanese book store in The Dubai Mall, which has a huge section dedicated to education.

“Our day usually consist of my daughter doing one hour of either four or five subjects. She usually finishes at about 2pm,” Davies says.

Davies admits that the journey can sometimes be difficult, but says that: “The sense of achievement is amazing when I see my kids flourish.”

“I have spent an amazing time with my kids and have thoroughly enjoyed the bonding time we have had,” she adds.

“There are difficult days when I question am doing enough, but I speak to my friends and find that they sometimes feel the same, so I am not alone.”

“When I have those days, when I struggle to get my kids to do enough work, I remember that I would be struggling to get them to do homework if they were in school anyway.”

And Davies is proud that her son was accepted to a college here in the UAE at the start of the new year having been offered a place in university for for this coming September.

You've got this mums and dads!

Educational resources
Khan Academy – An online not for profit organisation that produces short lessons in the form of videos. Its website also includes supplementary practice exercises and materials.

Documentaries by Lucy Wosley – these online videos support the history curriculum.
Available on Amazon Prime Video and YouTube.

Horrible Histories – the light-hearted series is great for younger children.
Available on Amazon Prime Video.

Znotes – free and complete revision notes for international exams at IGCSE level. The site is run for students by students, providing a platform for them to pool and share resources.

A-Level notes – free A-level notes for biology, physics, chemistry and maths.

Kinokuniya – this large Japanese book store in The Dubai Mall stocks more than half a million books so you can always find relevant learning material here.

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