What’s the value of the esteemed “International Baccalaureate Program”?

A new topic for me to learn about:  the IB program.  I’ve just recently discovered this curriculum.  A cousin of mine is teaching at a UN school overseas using this program, and I understand her to be very satisfied with it.

I’ve been reading more about what they offer.  The program does not appear to be available to homeschoolers, but I still am trying to understand why they believe they offer the most rigorous and superior education out there.

A few links:




I was talking to my homeschooling girlfriend about the IB program.  (Her son was early accepted to U of Penn this year). Her take on their curriculum was not so positive.  The statistics do not appear to add up.  The kids in these programs are not getting high SAT scores.  They are not ending up in the Ivies,  or becoming proficient in a foreign language as is required.  The program is very expensive, and mystery seems to surround the curriculum as to keep the parents in the dark.

I, truthfully, have no idea, but I do plan on researching this topic.  Please post if you have any insight or background with this curriculum so that others may benefit.

P.S.-finally bought an I-PAD!  The problem is I don’t have the time to even open the package and read about it!  We’ve had it for 2 weeks.

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18 responses

  1. michellejb39773 | Reply

    I contacted Joy after seeing her blog because to be honest, I was quite amazed at what all she does to ensure her kids are getting a quality home-school education. I teach at an IB world school and thought she might enjoy incorporating some of the ideas into her curriculum. I am not here to debate the merits of IB, but since I teach at an IB World School I will give a few of my thoughts on the program ….

    -For it to be most successful, the school needs to offer the complete program (which is called a WORLD SCHOOL) for ages 3-18. Alot of schools only chose the IB DP (Diploma Program) which is for grades 11 and 12 because they want to have the children graduate with the IB diploma. Yet so much is missed by not participating in the program in the earlier years.

    -Training for teachers in this program should be through IB certified trainers yet some schools choose to do “in house” training instead. While there is definitely value in the in house training, schools who are committed to IB send their teachers to the best workshops world wide. I am being sent to Italy for 10 days this month for training. Other teachers at my school have been to India, Dubai, Switzerland, Bangkok….all over the world to IB workshops because our school is so committed to teacher professional development with IB.

    -There is some discussion about the advantages/disadvantages of the MYP (Middle Years Program), yet I haven’t taught that so I can’t speak to it.

    -One of the main parts of the IB program is “Action” where the children volunteer in their community. I could write pages and pages about how this is done (and believe me – what the kids come up with is amazing), but I will just say that our school, with around 900 students volunteered over 20,000 hours last year!

    -There are lots of misconceptions about IB schools – the main one being that teachers are strictly required to stick to “IB curriculum” and this is not true, at least for our school. We incorporate Montessori methods, Reggio Emilia methods, use a phonics program from Australia…. Best educational practices/programs for all over the globe and welcomed and encouraged.

    Regarding SAT scores, I tried to copy and paste our scores but this blog format wouldn’t let me. However, they are consistently higher that the world average. But feel free to view them at this link – http://www.unishanoi.org/resource/resmgr/photo_for_homepage/unis_hanoi_-_annual_report_2.pdf

    Do I think the IB program is perfect? Of course not. Do I think the IB program is better than every other curriculum? Of course not! :-) But I have over 20 years of teaching experience, a master’s degree, National Board Certification…. and I’ve seen and learned alot about education through my years. But NEVER have I seen anything as exciting at the PYP (Primary Years Program)! I guess to some it up, this program not only teaches children, it teaches them HOW to learn and that’s quite amazing to see.

    Goodness! I didn’t mean to go on and on….. so let me finish with this. I believe that good teachers teach from the heart and can and will be successful no matter what they use. I know that good teachers find and use what works best for them and what works best for their students. So congratulations to all the home-school moms who research to learn what is best for their kids. No doubt they will be successful!!

    1. michellejb39773 | Reply

      Sorry – SUM it up, not “some” it up!!

  2. Oooh, thanks so much for posting, Michelle! I didn’t mean to drag you into the spotlight, but I was so intrigued by what you sent me that I just had to write about it here.
    Loved hearing your feedback and what the program looks like from your view and experience.
    Always love a healthy discussion when it comes to academics and the education of our children:)
    Please share more with me when you can! I will keep researching, sooo interesting..

  3. The reason that they do not necessarily get high SAT scores is because the IB is not teaching ‘to the test’ for SATs. Your link above called the Truth about IB is anything but, in fact, any website that has Truth in the title has me immediately suspicious.

    But never mind, many thousands of schools around the world use the IB, many Universities, particularly in the US offer IB students credit for work done, because the IB Diploma is a rigorous and demanding programme.


  4. Good insight. Thanks for posting. It’s an interesting topic for me to explore for my own children. All the best..

  5. Hi Joy – I know that this post is old, but I was just wondering if you had any followup thoughts on this? We are trying to decide if we should pursue this ir AP or something else for our homeschooled son. Thanks.

    1. Hello, David.
      Unfortunately, I have no further thoughts on the program. My only connection to this curriculum is my cousin who’s teaching overseas, and they’ve been very pleased with the program. A couple of thoughts for you..Consider acquiring an educational counselor to help you make these decisions and tailor your child’s studies. My girlfriend, Rosemary Laberee, runs a blog of her own called “The Liberated Learner.” She’s had 2 of her children accepted into the Ivies and would likely be happy to discuss your thoughts further. Compare online high school and their reviews, Cathy Duffy, gifted programs, etc. I’ve always heard AP is the way to go if you and your student can handle the load. I may even consider a gap year of sorts for my children in middle/high school just to give them time to develop their interests and enhance their studies. So much to consider and I’m not sure I’m the right person to help you since I’m in the beginning stages of staring down the rabbit hole.
      All the best. Would love to hear what you decide!!

      1. Thanks Joy
        Really appreciate the considered response.

        1. You’re welcome. David.
          Saw a portion of your blog and loved it!!
          Yes, I wake up and go to sleep thinking about my children’s future, what that will look like, and what I have to do to help them get there. But where is that? We are caught up in wanting our children to love to learn but still staring at the reality that one test will basically determine their college of choice! I’ve just recently been viewing the College Board site on how to prep for the SAT exam. It’s all quite maddening as a parent but such is the world that we live in.
          Sidenote-give your son the gift of time. Homeschoolers have that wonderful option.
          All the best, Joy

  6. Just for anyone else wanting this information, after quite a bit of looking I did find out that there is an online program available for homeschoolers to study the IB Diploma. I hope not inappropriate to link to it, but I have compiled a list of the relevant links and information here: http://tiny.cc/wghkbx

    1. Hello, David.
      Thanks so much for the information. Certainly not inappropriate and I posted your recent blog onto my site. More to consider as we steer these young minds down a path designed specially to meet their needs while offering maximum opportunities to thrive and make a difference in our world. All the best,

      1. Thanks Joy – I have been really appreciating all of the links and content re quality homeschooling that you have created. For us this exercise is not just about getting out of a broken system, but is far more about building a fantastic world-class education, so what you guys are doing has been very inspirational for us as we start out.

        1. Thank you, David. I have no idea what I’m doing but I’m spending hours fumbling my way through it all. So much to learn and time will be my judge.

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  9. Nicole Robertson | Reply

    Hi Joy do you have anything more you can share about michellejb39773 I would love to hear more about her amazing experience but do not see a link to her and google search of her name only links back to this post :) Let me know if you can get me in touch with her. As my oldest approaches 7th grade I have been thinking a lot about our next step. Thank you Nicole

  10. Hi, Nicole. Michelle is actually my second cousin and taught in an IB elementary school in Vietnam for several years. She is now back in the states teaching in the public schools but I’m sure she’d be happy to share all about her experiences and knowledge of IB. Let me ask her about her contact info and I’ll get back to you shortly. What is your general location/time zone?
    Best, Joy

  11. Hi, Nicole.
    Michelle’s email address is: Michellejb@aol.com
    I did let her know that you may contact her regarding the IB program.
    All the best in these important educational decisions.

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