How do I get started?
First of all, take a deep breath. The application process is not complicated.
Parents are allowed to homeschool their children in the Cayman Islands, provided they have approval from the Department of Education Services (DES). As with any application process, there are requirements to meet. Bi-annual reports must be submitted, as well as the possibility of the DES coming by your home for a home visit.
Let’s look at when you need to apply. Here’s a direct quote from the DES Homeschool Application and Information Packet (Revised 06.2018)
“Parents or other persons in parental relation to a student of compulsory school attendance age shall annually provide written notice to the Director of Department Education Services (DODES), Cayman Islands Department of Education Services of their intention to educate their child at home by August first of each school year (Ed Law 2016). The school year begins the end of August and ends the first week of July.
Parents who determine to commence home instruction after the start of the school year, or who establish residence in the islands after the start of the school year, shall provide written notice of their intention to educate their child at home within ten (10) days.
The DODES shall review the homeschool application and shall notify the parents as to whether the application complies with the Ed Law 2016/DES/ME homeschool policy within ten (10) days of receipt of the application.”
1. Choose your curriculum
There are so many options for curriculum. You can choose to purchase one with all the subjects packaged together (such as Timberdoodle, Abeka, Bridgeway, Sonlight, etc.) , or you could find separate teaching materials for each subject. (ie. Math with Teaching Textbooks, Geography with GeoMatters, etc.) We’ve done it both ways, you can pick which works best for you. You’ll find many helpful links and resources for that here.
2. Create an IHSP
Create an IHSP (Individual Homeschool Plan). This is a written description that will tell DES what curriculum and materials you will use for each subject, how you will evaluate the student’s progress, and where the learning will take place. A lot of this can be copied and pasted directly from your curriculum’s website. Here are some examples…
All About Spelling Level 1
Students will learn the following concepts…
- How to say and write the first 32 phonograms
- Segmenting words into their individual sounds
- Short and long vowel sounds
- Counting syllables in a word
- How to form plural words by adding s or es
- Compound words
- Open and closed syllable types
Science – Apologia Biology
This 9th grade online course will cover topics such as “microscopy, biochemistry, genetics, evolution, dissection, and more… there are engaging experiments and dissections that are easy to perform.”
Students will dissect a crayfish, earthworm, frog and perch.
Online instruction, student lab work, journaling, and bi-weekly tests will measure student’s retention of what they have learned.
Here is a link to an IHSP we created. You can see the explanations are copied and pasted directly from the curriculum’s website.
3. Fill out the Homeschool Application Form
All applications are now processed exclusively online. Head over to our Homeschool Application section to find the online form. A new application must be submitted for each child every year.
SOME DOs and DON’Ts
DO be sure to cover reading, writing, math, science, and social studies.
DO write your child’s full name, and the place of instruction.
DO list the grade your student is in, as well as the grade the curriculum is geared towards.
DO create an individualized IHSP for each child you will be homeschooling.
DO add your contact details so DES can contact you if needed.
DON’T stress if it takes longer than 10 days to hear back. The end of the school year and summer can be a busy time for the DES as they are registering students for the upcoming year. You can always send a follow up email to email@example.com.