What is the age of enrollment for school in the Cayman Islands?

According to the Education law, you must enroll your student in full time education if they have turned 5 years old prior to September 1st of that school year.

When do I have to submit my application?

Applications must be submitted by July 1st of the school year. If you move to the island mid-year you have up to 10 days to submit your application.

How many days are there in a school year?

At least 185 school days are required. The Homeschool Application form states that each school day must be at least 5 hours in length, excluding lunch and recess.

What happens after i Submit my application?

Once you have sent in your application, it will be reviewed by the Registration team at the DES. The team will examine the IHSP and ensure the curriculum chosen meets grade level expectations. If there are any questions or concerns about your application, you will receive an email. (You may also be asked for further information, such as records from the previous school the student attended.) Once the registration team is satisfied your application meets all requirements, it will be processed and receive a pre-approval. Your application is then sent to the Director of Education, who will sign off on behalf of the education council. You will receive your approval certificate shortly afterwards.

How will I know if my application has been approved?

As they have moved to an online application process, you will receive your approval and certificate via email. You can send a follow up email to nicki.samuels@gov.ky.

Who is considered a “certified teacher”?

If you have hired a teacher to lead the homeschooling, this teacher will need to be licensed by the Department of Education – similar to teachers within the private schools. If the facilitator of the homeschool program is the parent, the DES will want proof that the student will have the strong support and help of the parent if they run into any academic problems. In general, it is expected that the facilitator (parent) will have successfully completed and gone beyond the program the student is in. (ie. elementary school, secondary school, highschool)

Are there teachers or tutors I can hire?

Yes, there are tutoring agencies (click here) as well as independent tutors you can hire. You could post in the Cayman Homeschoolers Facebook group to find recommendations or use the contact form on this website to get further information.

What is an accredited curriculum?

Some curricula are accredited by boards in the USA. (Northern, Southern, Central or Western Accreditation bodies) These often provide full online school instruction. However, many curricula are not. Although accredited curricula is preferred, it is important to find a program that is a good fit for your student and family. The DES will examine and consider any structured curriculum that you choose, so long as your child is receiving grade appropriate learning, and can be evaluated in their bi-annual report accordingly. Our experience is that most curriculums made available by companies in the USA have been accepted. If there is a question about the curriculum you’ve chosen, you will receive a follow up email or phone call from an employee at the DES asking for further information or requesting a meeting to clarify curricula.

Are any of my school materials duty free?

The Cayman Islands Customs website states:

Duty Free articles are the following:

Wood pencils, pencil cases, crayons, rulers, erasers, glue sticks, crafting glues, pocket folders, scientific calculators, geometry/compass sets, dry erase markers, pencil sharpeners (non-electric) and lunch containers.
School uniforms (including uniforms for Physical Education and sports), school bags (excluding laptop bags), ordered and imported by Parent/Teacher Associations (PTAs), Home/School Associations (HSAs), and schools approved by the Chief Education Officer

Homeschools are “schools approved by the Chief Education Officer” and therefore are allowed to bring in school items duty free. You will however need to show your homeschool approval certificate to the customs agent.

How difficult is is to transition to schools on island?

According to others who have homeschooled and then applied for their children to enter a school on-island, it is not a difficult process. Most schools will require your child to take a test to determine their grade level and competency before enrollment. Requirements may also include submitting reports from the previous year of schooling.

Are there meet ups with other homeschoolers?

Yes, there are a number of meet ups that occur during the year! Join the Cayman Homeschoolers Facebook page to get involved with other homeschool parents on the island. Also, join our email list for upcoming events and other notifications.