Homeschooling in Dubai

I haven’t abandoned this blog. Not at all. I write posts in my head all the time. I just don’t get to write them down since we’ve moved to Dubai.  I am always thinking about homeschooling, about education, about parenting. And I love sharing my thoughts. But it’s a very, very challenging time right now for us.

It’s been just over one week and I am not adjusting well. I keep talking about ‘home’ and the kids keep reminding me, ‘old home, Mummy’ and I cry inside (occasionally, as quietly as possible, outside)!

Yes, we were totally spoiled in Bahrain but we are really struggling to accept the fact that we are going to have to pay at least double our old rent for a house without a garden or without access to a swimming pool (there’s little else to do here with the kids in the heat, which is 8 months of the year, than swim) or live miles out of town and have to do a lot of driving. I miss our ‘old’ home!

I am struggling to live in a busy metropolis again where you are hooted constantly if you slow down momentarily, to get your bearings. We are living on the 40th floor of an apartment building right on the busiest road in Dubai – and it is really busy, you can clearly hear the traffic hum all the way up here. We have a view of the tallest building in the world. It’s incredible but not where I want to be! I want to have my feet firmly planted on the ground, preferably with some grass between my toes, not hot tarmac or glaring cement.

And I miss our friends. We’ve met some nice people so that’s very reassuring and I’m very grateful. Homeschooling can mean meeting great people quickly. But of course friendships take time.

The kids are getting very little in terms of ‘book time’ but I think they are learning a lot by being fully present during the move, even though that’s stressful for them too. We talk a lot. It will be interesting to see what they have to say about this time, their perspective on it, in years to come. But I’m sure they’re learning a lot about ‘real life’. I got a lot of comments at our first homeschooling meeting today (in a park, now that is a treat, we didn’t have much in the way of public parks in Bahrain) about how ‘well-spoken’ Edward is, so that was a lovely endorsement of, in part, the alternative path we’re taking.

So readers, please don’t despair, you are in my heart. Please bear with me. I will get back ‘in the saddle’ with my blog although I now have to balance it with my Coursera ‘History of the World’ course for which I have to do a third essay by Monday. I am extremely proud of myself that I’ve been able to keep up with the course so far including writing essays, which I haven’t done in years and years, in the midst of the move, and it’s been really energising me, but I am afraid I’m going to miss this deadline. It’s not the end of the world. I’ll only be failing a personal challenge but that hurts! I would like to show the children that it’s important to follow through on commitments and that continuous learning is  important even during the most challenging times. We’ll see if I can fit in that essay. But today, I felt I had to blog rather than crack on with that. To keep the faith with you, dear readers. So please wish us well and know that the homeschooling journey continues in the United Arab Emirates, even if it’s a bit staccato right now.

AFTERWORD: If you would like to make life easier (who doesn’t?!) scroll down the right hand side of the page and click the ‘Follow’ button. Posts will be delivered to your email inbox until such time you may not want them any more.

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If you’re too busy to comment that day, but enjoyed what you read, please do press the ‘Like’ button at the end of the post. Again, you have to have clicked on the title of the post to get the ‘Like’ button option at the end of the post. Commenting, ‘Liking’ and Following is much appreciated as it encourages more people to read homeschoolinginthemiddleeast! Take care. Have a great day and thank you for visiting.

*How to make a comment  If you are reading posts on the homepage, you will see at the bottom of the post, in tiny grey writing either e.g. ’7 comments’ or ‘Leave a comment’. Click on this to add yours. If you’ve clicked on the title of the post, you can see any comments that have been left already, and space for your own, right at the bottom of the page. Your views are valuable and it’s always good to have debate.

IF YOU’RE NEW TO HOMESCHOOLINGMIDDLEEAST, welcome! I highly recommend that you start reading from ‘Day 1’. The fastest way to access this is to look for ‘Archives’ on the right hand side of the home page, click on ‘February 2012’ and scroll down to the bottom of the page that opens. If you want a quick first visit, you could type a term e.g. ‘socialization’ or ‘university’, into the ‘Search’ box or of course you could just read my latest posts without doing anything!

Why I recommend starting at Day 1 is because this is an adventure into homeschooling that is not yet 3 months old and the journey has been a rollercoaster  – philosophically and emotionally, catalogued daily for the first couple of months. For you to get the full intellectual and dramatic impact, it’s best to start at the beginning. You might be contemplating home educating and wonder what those early nail-biting days feel like or you might enjoy reading somebody else’s take on an experience you share with me, or you might be more generally interested in my thoughts and feelings on education and parenting. Whatever the reason you’re reading, I’m really humbled that you’re taking your valuable time to do so and I really hope I can be some kind of hope or inspiration for you. Thank you! 



About homeschoolingpenny

Hi and welcome! My name is Penny and I used to live in Bahrain but In November 2012 moved to Dubai and now we live in Granada, Spain! If you want to contact me my email is I recommend you start my blog on 'Day 1' but please enjoy whatever you dip into. 23 February 2012 marked the first day of no more school FOREVER for my two kids. Edward, who is nearly 10 had attended a variety of schools since he was very little. Petra, who is now 6, has never gone to school. On this date we decided Edward was never going back to school and Petra never would go to school. We hope to successfully homeschool from this day forward, although we would consider an alternative school as an option- if there was some amazing Sudbury or other really alternative school. Actually, I prefer the term 'home learning' than 'homeschool' because I don't like to think of school coming into our home. In fact, I hope to go further and guide/learn alongside, rather than teach, my kids using the 'unschooling' philosophy to instill a lifelong love of learning in them. We lived in the Middle East and now Spain all of which are very challenging places to home educate. This is an exciting journey that I used to blog about regularly, at first it was on an almost daily basis. Please join me on our travels and I hope we might be able to help each other out along the way. I certainly hope I can be a source of support and comfort and, in time, knowledge to all potential/presently participating homeschoolers/home educators/unschoolers. Good luck to us all! If you want to read about why I started home educating, why I pulled my son out of a 'very good' private school mid-term, how I felt at the very start and how my philosophy has evolved, please start from 'Day 1' of the blog. Please do post comments at the end of any days that you read. Your opinion is valuable and it's great to start up debate amongst other people commenting too, however old the post. Thank you for visiting homeschoolingmiddleeast.
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9 Responses to Homeschooling in Dubai

  1. Dottie Hines says:

    Taking a little break from more traditional learning (less book time) for a move is not a bad thing. A few months from now I am hoping we will also be making a big move….in our case back to the UK. It is a big experience that the kids do definitely learn from.

  2. Sarah Sia says:

    Hi Penny.
    What you feel resonates with most of us who just came to Dubai. It is the melting pot of the most diverse and yet the most common of people, each carving a niche in the process. We have been here five months now and yet still thinks of home back in Singapore where we have lived for 15 years. We have met some wonderful people from homeschooling as well and like you hoping for the connection to flourish.

  3. Anonymous says:

    My Thoughts are with you. You’ll get through it, but I know how tough it will be. Take a breath and count to 10. The high rise may be the toughest to acclimatise to, but give it time. All places have their own advantages. xxx

  4. I’ve missed reading your blog! Thanks for the update, and enjoy every moment! Your children will have some great memories. 🙂

    • Thanks so much! It’s a lovely feeling to be missed! That is very reassuring! I can’t wait to settle down and not only write more but read more blogs too. I miss them! I find other homeschooling blogs especially very reassuring and inspiring!

  5. Lucia says:

    Oh, I wish you the best of luck acclimating! We have moved about eight times around the USA, but I’ve never moved to a different country, and I’m sure that is FAR more daunting! I applaud your good attitude!

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