Home education can be an appealing choice, offering flexibility with learning wherever you live and however often you move. This was the case for Natalia Forrest who has home educated her son Willem in the UK, Germany and now Turkey. She explains how they’ve made it work…


NATALIA believes that the internet has made home education much easier – especially for families outside of their home countries.

“While there is pressure on you to do things right there is also less pressure to measure your child to fit in with what’s ‘normal’,” she explained. “It also means that we can follow our passions in travel and Willem’s ballet, and if we have days where we are less motivated we know we have the time and flexibility to go at full speed when we are ready.”

Finance and flexibility

There is no financial support for Army families who choose to home educate, which can be expensive. However, this is balanced against not having to buy uniforms and other school mandated items, along with being able to take holidays outside of term-time.

Willem said: “The best thing about learning at home is the flexible schedule. It is fun because you get to learn at your own pace, be more advanced for certain subjects and I can take the time I need.”

Natalia uses a range of online tools when teaching, including live courses which enable Willem to interact with other students, or asynchronous classes – recorded teaching accessed on a schedule that suits the user. She said: “Living in another country can mean you have to look for alternative sources – being able to get something instantly downloaded to a device is great.”

Staying social

In some countries there are networks of home education families to tap into, but socialising can be difficult when you are moving around and there can be a lack of support around you.

Natalia has had to find new ways of keeping Willem in touch with his peers.

She added: “Being in a country where we don’t speak the language and don’t have access to the school network, has meant we have had to put in extra work to give Willem access to social opportunities with activities such as ballet and scouts.”

If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s education, contact AFF  Education Specialist Lucy Scott at ec@aff.org.uk

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