Did We Make The Right Choice? Homeschooling in Vietnam

Education - Saigon/HCMC: July 4, 2019

Switching to homeschool education

Advantages of homeschooling

Homeschooling feedback from the children

Close to six months ago, my wife and I made a choice that would completely change the way we lived. We decided to homeschool our daughters, Alizée (aged 10) and Sofia (aged 8).

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“Why?” you may ask, when there are so many excellent schools in HCMC? It’s simple. Creativity and personal potential are things that we want to prioritise in our family, and we felt that the independent educational journey of our daughters, would be easier to obtain in a private environment. We did not come to this decision lightly, but we felt it would be worth trying out this experiment to see what might come out of it. In addition, we were curious to see whether a homeschooling curriculum would be more cost-efficient.

How did we go about switching to homeschool education?

We chose the Hattemer program, an elite French system established in 1886 and available by correspondence since the 1940s. The system is rigorous and the girls are tested weekly. Hattemer sends regular reports so that we are able to track their performance in literature, math, geography and history. This means we can fix things as soon as issues arise. 

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My wife and I are fortunate that our children can study together in our respective offices only 500m apart, one of the benefits of homeschooling. At my workplace, INNOVO JSC, they have a dedicated room in which to study every morning with Christophe, a Ph.D. teacher. Christophe has been key to the successful transition since my wife and I are both high-level professionals lacking time to teach the children ourselves. 

Are we happy with our decision?

The short answer is “absolutely!” Some of the homeschooling advantages include being able to spend more time with our girls, they are able to concentrate better, sleep more, have developed independent opinions, and we are able to target their individual needs and ultimate goals. Alizée has also grown in self-confidence, and my wife and I have more flexibility in our respective schedules. Both girls are currently A-grade students. 

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Financially speaking, our overall education-related costs have dropped substantially from US$18,000+ annually to less than US$11,000 for hiring a private educator for both children. The bulk of the expense relates to the fact that we employ a private teacher for two hours a day, five days a week, but this is money well spent as it saves our time and nerves too!

What about the girls - how do they feel? 

Alizée often reminds us that she misses her friends and social activities. And yes that’s a factor. We compensate for this by sending them to regular group activities, including English lessons, Zumba, boxing and yoga. In terms of academics, Alizée says that “the work intensity increased substantially”, and Sofia commented that “with home-schooling, I have to concentrate on learning faster because we cover all the subjects and homework in three hours daily instead of six-plus!” 

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The Bottomline

There are obviously many elements to be taken into account when comparing homeschooling vs traditional schooling. In our case, we are happy with our choice. Our ambition is for our children to be truly creative and to reach their full potential, something that, in our opinion, is easier in a personalised environment. Homeschooling, in our case, is a cost-effective way of achieving this. Let’s see how we feel 10 years from today!

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