I will be the first person to admit that I did not expect that we would be in Morocco when our kids entered high school. I also didn't expect that we wold be in the middle of a pandemic and our options would change daily. When we first moved I wrote a post about schools in Morocco and have since gotten dozens of emails, comments and questions about our experience.
Background info: We moved to Morocco when our kids were 6 and 8 years old. We put them into Moroccan private schools immediately and they have been in said school since that time. They are now 13 and 16.
On March 13, 2020 Morocco made the decision to close all schools in the country in response to the COVID pandemic. At first there was no school as we assumed it would be over soon, but then the schools attempted to move everything online. I'll be honest and say they did the best they could in a country that was in no way prepared for online education.
However, my kids hated it.
Things weren't great and there was little to no oversight. This isn't a criticism, I truly believe schools and teachers did the best they could with almost no time or resources. My kids finished the year and it was decided their final grades would be whatever they had earned at the end of the first semester before things closed.
This summer we had to really think about what we would do for the 2020-2021 school year. I wasn't optimistic of what our online learning options would be through Moroccan schools. I also had a feeling schools would open but I didn't know how long they'd stay open. So we made a few decisions.
First, we decided our oldest son would finish his education via homeschool to fulfill the requirements for the American system.
Why did we decide this?
- We knew that he would want to go to college/university in the US. He has expressed this for a few years now so while he has the option of going anywhere this is his hope.
- He is self-driven. He doesn't require us to oversee him or push him to do his work. He has always been this way and so we knew he would be able to handle light supervision.
- He has expressed that he didn't want to go to a Moroccan high school and was hoping instead to transfer to the French or American schools. His reasons for this are personal but we tried to respect this.
- We haven't done a lot of schooling in English up to this point and realized now would be a good time to make that shift.
- Money. Homeschooling isn't cheap but we also didn't want to pay for private school here only to have classes cancelled and end up in a situation again like the spring.
I think that if you are going to consider homeschooling in Morocco you really need to take into consideration a lot of these factors. Also a very important point. Homeschool is technically illegal in Morocco. However, once a child is 16 school is no longer compulsory. So, our son didn't have to go to any school at all at this point. Also, if you are a foreign citizen you do not have the same requirements on sending your child to school.
What does our homeschool setup look like?
I am not the teacher. That's the first thing I want to point out. I am mom. This is one of the big reasons I was ok with going the homeschool route. We found ways for him to learn that would not require me to be teaching him. That being said, we are helping him with work, the same as we would homework for regular school.
I started by downloading the requirements for state college entrance in the US. He already has a school in mind so I went with those requirements. I then started searching for options that would support those requirements. I'll admit this first semester is test and tweak with what we're doing.
There are quite a few online full service “schools' that are just like in person schools and go through a standard curriculum. I chose not to do that because we couldn't find something we liked. So now it's a mash up of options. His courses for this first bit include;
- Arabic (one on one tutoring)
- English Literature class focusing on reading and discussion
- World Geography
- Stock Market Simulation
We also ask that he makes one meal a week for the family as a part of our ongoing “learn how to adult” coursework. We didn't want to introduce too many classes in the beginning until he really gets his feet under how the system works.
Resources for Building a Homeschool Plan
I did a LOT of research when we were figuring things out so I thought I would share some of the things that we're either using now or may use in the future. For this list I'm using materials that you can access when you are overseas. If you are living in the US you have a LOT more options available! But for this post I'm only focusing on homeschooling American high school in Morocco.
Quite a few of the courses that M is taking are offered through Outschool. There are a LOT of options. The variety of different types of classes is what was really interesting to us. Also you can choose from one of classes, short classes, semester classes etc. All of the ones we chose are instructor led and in person but there are others that you can do at your own pace.
Want to try it? When you sign up through my link you'll get $20 off your first class!
Getting your kids off of the TV or devices can be a challenge but with this service you don't even have to feel bad. Here you'll find all kinds of shows, documentaries and other educational videos that can supplement and support learning. Whether you use at as a part of schooling or simply as entertainment it's a great value.
My kids love technology and are always looking to learn new things. We really like Creative Lives' selection of classes around everything from taking better pictures, hand lettering, to video editing and more. Classes are self guided so they can be done at their own pace. You can purchase classes individually or opt for their monthly subscription option for unlimited access.
While this site has several different subjects you can look at, we are using it for math classes. They have both instructor led courses and self-guided courses. We went for the self-guided option for geometry as my son is strong in math and already had a base for this in school (just not in English). Each chapter does have teacher guided video lessons, they're just not live. They also offer placement tests and a trial period if you're not sure where your child is at.
I will say the one down side is that it's a work at your own pace option. Getting my son to login and do the lessons when he doesn't have to “show up” has been a challenge at first.
(see next selection to get a discount on these programs!)
As a member of the co-op you are eligible to get discounts on a lot of different programs (like the Thinkwell classes!) It's free to join and worth it to find materials that you may not know about and can save money with.
Love them or hate them, when you don't have regular access to English books digital books are a godsend. We are able to get any books required for classes quickly and easily in digital formats. If you don't have a kindle membership, I highly recommend it.
I'll continue to add to this list as we find more options that are working well for us!