Homeschooling international status and statistics

Homeschooling is legal in many countries. Countries with the most prevalent homeschooling movements include Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Some countries have highly regulated homeschooling programs as an extension of the compulsory school system; few others, such as Germany,[1] have outlawed it entirely. In some other countries, while not restricted by law, homeschooling is not socially acceptable, or considered undesirable[why?] and is virtually non-existent.

The legality of homeschooling by country
  
Legal, with minimal regulations or no exceptions
  
Legal, but subject to registration or lax restrictions
  
Legal, but with restrictive regulations
  
Homeschooling is either partially legal or has de jure legality1
  
Illegal, with no known exceptions2
  
Legality unknown or unclear
1legality varies by grade, by age, by location, or by personal circumstance
2possible exceptions include medical reasons, although even then it is rarely permitted

Status of homeschooling across continentsEdit

AfricaEdit

Country or region Status Statistics Sources
Sierra Leone Illegal, public education is mandatory without known exceptions. Unknown [2]
South Africa Legal as alternative to the mandatory public school system. Estimated between 30,000 and 100,000 children [3]

North AmericaEdit

Country or region Status Statistics Sources
Canada Legal under regulating conditions (Alberta – regulation, British Columbia – registration, Manitoba – permit, Newfoundland – permit, New Brunswick – permit, Northwest Territories – regulation, Nova Scotia – regulation, Ontario – regulation, Prince Edward Island – regulation, Quebec – permit, Saskatchewan – permit, Yukon – regulation) 60,000+ [4][5][6][7]
Greenland Illegal, public education is mandatory without known exceptions. Virtually no homeschooling* [8][9]
United States Legal under regulating conditions, varies by state. Around 2.5 million [10]

Latin America and the CaribbeanEdit

Country or region Status Statistics Sources
Belize Expats have right to homeschool. Compulsory attendance is unclear for citizens. Unknown
Brazil Unknown. The federal supreme court has never made a pronouncement on homeschooling, leaving its legalization unknown. But in 2019, with a new project, Homeschooling can be legalized in the country.[11] 7000 families [12][13][14]
Chile Legal. Freedom of education is guaranteed by the constitution. Prior registration with the Ministerio de Educación is required. 8000-15000 students [15]
Colombia Legal. Regulated by the Ministry of Education and the ICFES (Colombian Institute for the Promotion of Higher Education). The student would have to present a Public Validation Test and a State Test (Similar to SAT) if he/she wants to go to College. Unknown [16]
Costa Rica Illegal, public or private education is mandatory without known exceptions. [17][18]
Cuba Illegal, public education is mandatory without known exceptions. Virtually no homeschooling* WP[circular reference][19][20]
El Salvador Illegal, public education is mandatory without known exceptions. Virtually no homeschooling*
Guatemala Illegal, public education is mandatory without known exceptions. Unknown [21][22]
Mexico Legal as long as the student is registered, which can be a lengthy bureaucratic process. Compulsory attendance laws are unclear. Unknown
Panama Unclear, for it is neither legal nor illegal. there are a number of families who are currently homeschooling
Peru Legal. Prior registration with the Ministerio de Educación is required. Unknown
Suriname Legal. Virtually no homeschooling* [23]
Trinidad and Tobago Legal. Unknown [24][25]

AsiaEdit

Country or region Status Statistics Sources
Armenia Illegal, public education is mandatory without known exceptions. Virtually no homeschooling* WP[circular reference][26]
Azerbaijan Illegal, public education is mandatory without known exceptions. Virtually no homeschooling* WP[circular reference][27]
Georgia Illegal, public education is mandatory without known exceptions. Virtually no homeschooling* [28][29]
India Legal as alternative to the mandatory public school system 500 - 1000 children [30]
Indonesia Legal as alternative to the mandatory public school system. Unknown
Iran Illegal, primary school education is compulsory without known exceptions. Unknown
Israel Legal under regulating conditions 448 children as of 2013/14 חינוך ביתי בישראל[circular reference]
Kazakhstan Not illegal, but not provided by law. Legal and provided for gifted and disabled students. Door to door checks conducted regularly. Legal for non-residents. Many expat families homeschool [31]
Philippines Legal More than 9000 [32][33]
North Korea Illegal, public education is mandatory with no known exceptions. Unknown
South Korea Prohibited by law, but law is unclear and the cause is supported by business leaders, therefore homeschoolers do not generally experience issues with authorities. Unknown [34]
Taiwan Legal since 2011 Unknown
Thailand Legal since 2004 Unknown [35]
Turkey Illegal, public education is mandatory without known exceptions. Virtually no homeschooling* WP[circular reference]

EuropeEdit

Country or region Status Statistics Sources
Albania Illegal, public education is mandatory without known exceptions. Virtually no homeschooling* WP[circular reference][36]
Andorra Illegal, public education is mandatory without known exceptions. Virtually no homeschooling* [37][38]
Austria Legal under restrictive conditions, homeschooling is allowed as long as the instruction is at least equal to that of the state school. 2100 WP[circular reference][39][permanent dead link][40]
Azerbaijan Illegal, public education is mandatory without known exceptions. Virtually no homeschooling* WP[circular reference][27]
Belarus Illegal, public education is mandatory without known exceptions. Virtually no homeschooling* WP[circular reference][41]
Belgium Legal under restrictive conditions, Homeschooling is a constitutional right in Belgium. 500 WP[circular reference][42][43]
Bosnia and Herzegovina Illegal, public education is mandatory without known exceptions. Virtually no homeschooling* [44][45]
Bulgaria Illegal, public education is mandatory. Only children with special needs may be homeschooled under strict government control. Fewer than 100 families WP[circular reference][46][47]
Croatia Illegal, public education is mandatory without known exceptions. Virtually no homeschooling* WP[circular reference][48]
Cyprus Illegal, public education is mandatory without known exceptions. Virtually no homeschooling* [49]
Czech Republic Legal under restrictive conditions by law as alternative (for "serious reasons" ) for primary school. National curriculum examinations are mandatory twice a year. 2 500 families [50][51][52][53]
Denmark Legal under control of school, as alternative to the mandatory public school system. Inspections are mandatory every year unless special agreements are made. also the inspections are controlled by the local district public school and not a third part inspector. 349-375 children (2017) WP[circular reference][54]
Estonia Legal under control of school. Every homeschooled child must be supervised by an authorized school (can be a private school) and pass annual exams. Homeschooled children receive diploma from supervising school. Fewer than 100 WP[circular reference][55]
Finland Legal as alternative to the mandatory public school system. Written and oral examinations to check on progress are mandatory. 400–600 [56][57]WP[circular reference][58]
France Legal as alternative to the mandatory public school system. Inspections are mandatory every year. 63 000 (February 2021) [59]
Germany Illegal, public or approved private education is mandatory with the only exception being where continued school attendance would create undue hardship for an individual child. 400 [60][61]WP[circular reference]
Greece Illegal, public education is mandatory without known exceptions. Virtually no homeschooling* [62]
Hungary Illegal, public education is mandatory without known exceptions. From 2019 the law says that every child must be supervised by an authorized school and pass annual exams.[63] 7673 children (2017)[64] WP[circular reference][65] WP[circular reference][66]
Iceland Legal only for holders of teaching certificates, in other cases public education is mandatory. Unknown WP[circular reference]
Ireland Legal, homeschooling is allowed by the constitution. 1100 WP[circular reference]
Italy Legal, homeschooling is allowed by the constitution. Unknown WP[circular reference][67][68]
Latvia Legal under control of school. Every homeschooled child must be supervised by an authorized school (can be a private school) and pass annual exams. Homeschooled children receive diploma from supervising school. Fewer than 100 families [69][70]
Liechtenstein Illegal, The granting of private tuition requires the approval of the education authority. Virtually no homeschooling* [71][72]
Lithuania Legal under control of school. Every homeschooled child must be supervised by an authorized school (can be a private school) and pass annual exams. Homeschooled children receive diploma from supervising school. Virtually no homeschooling* [73][74][75]
Luxembourg Legal, for primary school age. Unknown [76][77]
Malta Illegal, public education is mandatory without known exceptions. Virtually no homeschooling* [78][79][80]
Moldova Not illegal 100-200 [81]
Montenegro Illegal, public education is mandatory without known exceptions. Virtually no homeschooling* WP[circular reference]
Netherlands Illegal, public or private education is mandatory, with some exceptions. 1280 children exempt* (2019-2020) WP[circular reference]
North Macedonia Illegal, public education is mandatory without known exceptions. Virtually no homeschooling* [82][83]
Norway Legal under restrictive conditions, homeschooling is allowed as long as the instruction is at least equal to that of the state school. 400+ [84]WP[circular reference][85]
Poland Legal under restrictive conditions. Every home schooled child must be supervised by an authorized school (can be a private school) and pass annual exams. Homeschooled children received diplomas from supervising school. About 14,000 children (2017) [86][84]WP[circular reference][87]
Portugal Legal. Children living longer than 4 months in Portugal must attend school by law. Home education under Portuguese national curriculum only. Mandatory annual exams in Portuguese. Unknown WP[circular reference][88][89][90][91]
Romania Legal under restrictive conditions. Children with disabilities, special needs or whose condition does not allow them to be physically present in a school may be home-schooled, under the supervision of an accredited teacher. Foreign Curriculum can be studied, overseen by an umbrella school from abroad. 500 WP[circular reference][92][93][94][95]
Russia Legal since 1992, law sometimes ignored. Every homeschooled child must be enrolled into a state-licensed school (can be a private school), and does not have to pass annual exams. Homeschooled children received diplomas from supervising school. 50,000-100,000 WP[circular reference][96][97]
San Marino Illegal, public education is mandatory without known exceptions. Virtually no homeschooling* [98]
Serbia Legal, only children who are unable to attend school for health reasons. Unknown [99][100]
Slovakia Legal, under restrictive conditions (only ill children, or ages 6–10). Virtually no homeschooling WP[circular reference][101][102]
Slovenia Legal. Unknown [103]
Spain Unknown, as Constitution recognises freedom of education, but national education law stipulates that compulsory education must be met through school attendance. About 2,000 families WP[circular reference][104][105]
Sweden Illegal, as of June 2010; supposedly allowed under special circumstances such as student health reasons or family travel, but virtually never approved. 200 families—half legally WP[circular reference][106][107][108][109][110][111][112]
Switzerland Legal in about three quarters of the cantons, with many being restrictive to very restrictive. 200–500 children WP[circular reference][113]
Turkey Illegal, public and private education is mandatory without known exceptions. Possible, but not likely* WP[circular reference][114]
Ukraine Legal but heavily regulated 100 families WP[circular reference][115]
United Kingdom Legal as alternative to the mandatory state school system. 20,000–100,000 WP[circular reference][116]
Vatican City No indication for educational laws to exist were found. Unknown

OceaniaEdit

Country or region Status Statistics Sources
Australia Legal as alternative to the mandatory public school system. 30,000 (including distance learners) See main article
New Zealand Legal as alternative to the mandatory public school system. 6,008 (1 July 2017) See main article

Legality by country or regionEdit

AfricaEdit

KenyaEdit

Status: Contentious

Homeschooling is currently permitted in Kenya.[117]

The freedom of homeschooling is however under threat in Kenya, because a new education law has been proposed that does not make any allowance for homeschooling.[118]

South AfricaEdit

Status: Legal

During apartheid, home education was illegal in South Africa. The parents Andre and Bokkie Meintjies were jailed in 1994– (this was the year Mandela was elected as President of South Africa), and their children were placed in separate orphanages while the parents were jailed at correctional facilities very far from each other and the children to prevent family contact, because they educated their children at home. However, a few years later, the Mandela government legalised home education with the publication of the South African School Act in 1996. Since it was legalised, homeschooling has the fastest growing education model in the country.

Homeschooling is legal according to South African national law, but individual provinces have the authority to set their own restrictions.[119] The SA Schools Act (art. 51) requires parents to register their children for education at home. In practice however, most provincial departments do not have the administrative capability to register children for home education. Some of the larger provincial departments have limited administrative capabilities to register children for home education as well as a lack of follow up capacity, resulting in a serious miscommunication between government and citizens. As a result of this situation, more than 90% of homeschooling parents do not register with the department.[120] Since home education was legalised, it has grown exponentially. According to the census count of 2011, there were about 57,000 home learners in the country, putting South Africa in the top five countries in terms of number of home learners.

AmericasEdit

ArgentinaEdit

Status: Permission required[121]

Article 129 of the National Education Law in Argentina says that parents must ensure that their children attend school. Children can be homeschooled, but parents need to apply for permission from The Provintial Council of Education

The law that can be used to obtain permission is Article 26 of the Regulatory Decree 572/62, where home is mentioned as one of the ways to ensure compulsory education of children

BrazilEdit

Status: Debated[122]

Enrollment in schools in Brazil is mandatory for people aged 4–17.

Homeschooling in South America has not taken hold as it has in North American countries of Canada and the United States. In 1824, Brazil permitted home education to take the place of traditional education for nearly 70 years. Many proposals were made in regards to the homeschooling regulations, but many of them were rejected.[123] In 1990, however, The Statute of Children and Adolescents, or the Estatuto da Criança e Adolescente, prohibited homeschooling and did not recognize it as a legitimate form of education.[124]

A couple, a Brazilian mother and an American father, was investigated in 2010 by the municipal government of Serra Negra, São Paulo, for homeschooling their children. The local authorities were tipped off by an anonymous source because the couple's two daughters did not attend school. The Public Ministry expected to reach an agreement with the family to enlist the children in formal schools.[125]

There was a proposal to evaluate Homeschooling in Brazil (Projeto de Lei 3179/12) and a previous proposal has already been rejected in 2008 (Projeto de Lei 3518/08). The federal supreme court has never made a pronouncement on homeschooling, leaving its legalization unknown. A resurgence in the homeschooling movement, however, has encouraged congressman Lincoln Portela to introduce a new bill in 2013 that would allow children to be educated at home if parents followed state approved guidelines.[126] In 2018 the Supreme Court ruled that homeschooling was illegal, due in part to a lack of legislation regulating the practice.[127] In 2019, was created a new law project to legalize Homeschooling in the country with annual exams.[128]

The National Association of Home Education was founded in 2010. Rough estimates state that around 3,201 families are homeschooling in 2016.[129]

CanadaEdit

Status: Legal, regulated in some provinces

Homeschooling has always been legal in all provinces and territories in Canada. The Ontario Education Act, for example, states in Section 21(2)(a) that "A person is excused from attendance at school if [...] the person is receiving education elsewhere". Canada is known as having some of the most comprehensive legal protections for homeschooling parents in the Americas. Approximately 1% to 2% of North American children are homeschooled, which includes about 60,000 in Canada.

United StatesEdit

Status: Legal
Year Homeschooled students
(millions)
Percentage change since 1999
1999 0.85 -
2003 1.10 +29.4%
2007 1.50 +76.5%
2012 1.77 +108.2%

In "The Condition of Education 2000–2009", the National Center for Education Statistics of the United States Department of Education reported that in 2007, the number of homeschooled students was about 1.5 million, an increase from 850,000 in 1999 and 1.1 million in 2003.[130] The percentage of the school-age population that was homeschooled increased from 1.7 percent in 1999 to 2.9 percent in 2007. The increase in the percentage of homeschooled students from 1999 to 2007 represents a 74 percent relative increase over the 8-year period and a 42 percent relative increase since 2003. In 2007, the majority of homeschooled students received all of their education at home (84 percent), but some attended school up to 25 hours per week. Currently, many also participate in homeschool cooperatives as well as utilize the resources of private tutors and community college-based programs, which allow students to earn college credits before attending college.

According to the US National Center for Education Statistics, homeschooling increased in popularity in the United States during the 2000s; the percentage of children ages 5 through 17 who were homeschooled increased from 1.7% in 1999 to 3% in 2011/12. The study found that 83 percent were White, 5 percent were Black, 7 percent were Hispanic, and 2 percent were Asian or Pacific Islander.[131] As of 2019, there are about 1.8 million homeschooled students in the United States.[132] The NHES 2016 found the highest rate of homeschooling among parents who had not completed high school, followed by parents with bachelor’s degrees.[133]

UruguayEdit

Status: Illegal[134]

While Uruguayan constitution guarantees freedom of education, the government is interpreting this as "freedom to choose your state regulated education institution". Article 7 section 2 of the LGE calls into question whether “home schooling” is possible in Uruguay, since it states that “Fathers, mothers, or legal guardians of boys, girls, and adolescents have the obligation to register them in a school and watch over their attendance and learning.”

AsiaEdit

IsraelEdit

Status: Permission required

Homeschooling is legal in Israel, and requires acquiring a permission from the Ministry of Education.[135] The permission involves a home visit from the person in charge of handing out the permissions, and writing a letter describing the motives, curriculum, daily routine and socialization of the children. Unschooling is legal, and the requirements are minimal. The reasons for homeschooling in Israel are very similar to those of the rest of the world, with the exception of religious motives, since religious schools are prevalent. There is unclear information regarding the number of Homeschooling families, since not all families ask for permission, and many homeschool their children without enlisting. Estimates range between 500–1000 families.

People's Republic of ChinaEdit

Status: Deemed illegal for citizens without approval, but no restrictions for foreign students.

Under China's education laws children are required to enroll in the school system from age seven and attend for nine years.[136] No specific regulations exist for home-schooling, though it can be allowed subject to approval as a non-governmental organization.[137][138] Despite its legal status, some parents in China opt for home-schooling for reasons including dissatisfaction with the country's test-oriented public schools and a desire to individualize the education of their children.[136] There are no official figures for home-schooling, though one survey found that 18,000 children received home-schooling in the People's Republic of China, while an education policy researcher at Beijing Normal University estimated the portion of students receiving home-schooling at less than one percent.[136][137] In 2017 a survey found about 6,000 families home-schooled their children, an annual rise of about 33%.[139] Officials are divided on addressing home-schooling, with many supporting its legalization and others supporting compelling students to return to the regular school system.[136] Education experts generally support allowing home-schooling, but call for the creation of national standards.[138]

Hong KongEdit

Status: Legal

Homeschooling in Hong Kong is not against the law. This has been confirmed by the previous Permanent Secretary of the Education Bureau, Cherry Tse Ling Kit Ching and also raised by Legislator Dennis Kwok at a meeting of the Legislative Council. The EDB treats homeschooling on a case by case basis.[140] However, many people in Hong Kong think that homeschooling is illegal in Hong Kong, so only a few people were taught at home.

IndiaEdit

Status: Legal

In India, under Right to education, The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), the Government has established an independent body to look after the system of Home Schooling. It is in fact, an open schooling system where students can learn anywhere and appear for examinations conducted by NIOS (National Institute of Open Schooling). 0.5 million take admission every year, and 2.71 million took admission during last 5 years through Open Schooling of Indian Govt. (MHRD).

IndonesiaEdit

Status: Legal

Homeschooling in Indonesia (Indonesian: Pendidikan Rumah) is regulated under National Education System 2003 under division of informal education.[141] This enables the children of Homeschooling to attend an equal National Tests to obtain an "Equivalent Certificate".[142] The homeschooling is recently becoming a trend in upper-middle to upper-class families with highly educated parents with capability to provide better tutoring[143] or expatriate families living far away from International School. Since 2007 the Indonesia's National Education Department took efforts in providing training for homeschooling tutors and learning media,[144] even though the existence of this community is still disputed by other non-formal education operators.[145]

Iran

Status:Illegal

In Iran, primary school education is compulsory. If parents prevent their children from attending school in the primary school, they have committed a crime, because all children must attend primary school. In the constitution, considering that education is free until the end of high school, but at this stage it has not forced it.[146]

JapanEdit

Status: Not formally permitted;[147] often allowed

School attendance is compulsory but the fine for non attendance is rarely applied and amounts to less than ten thousand yen. The authorities encourage futoko (school refusal) children to receive schooling in alternative ways including home education.[148][149]

Republic of China (Taiwan)Edit

Status: Legal

Homeschooling in Taiwan, Republic of China is legally recognized since 1982[150] and regulated as a possible form of special education since 1997.[151]

ThailandEdit

Status: Heavily regulated

Homeschooling used to be heavily restricted from the misunderstanding of the concerned Area Based Officers because they have worked only for the school in the different Rules&Regulations for a long time. Nowadays (B.E.2016), the Homeschooling Network of Thai Alternative Education Council Association (a Non-Profit Organization) is connecting together around the country to help the parents perform the registration following as National Education Laws and also working together with the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand to protect parents'Rights. Additionally, the online communication can promote the Rights of the parents to choose any suitable education for their children as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) said, especially for Homeschool Concept.

TurkeyEdit

Status: Illegal

In the Republic of Turkey, all children are required to be registered in state or private school so as to be in compliance with the National Education Basic Law (No. 1739, 06-14-1973, Article 22).[152] Distance education is also available through Turkey's national television channels.[152] Through this particular option, students go to a particular test site and take examinations based on what they have studied.[152] In Turkey, parents who fail to send their children to school are charged as criminals, which at times may result in their incarceration.[152] Due to the above legal constraints, Turkish parents face a great deal of difficulty in pursuing homeschooling for their children.[152]

EuropeEdit

AustriaEdit

Status: Regulated

Homeschooling is legal in Austria. Since Provisorischen Gesetz über den Privatunterricht from 27 June 1850[153][154] there is no need to have a teacher exam for teaching children. The homeschooling has to be announced by §11 SchPfl (1985) to Landesschulrat, since 2019 to Bezirksdirektion.[155] They can decide within one month to reject the homeschooling, if it is predictable that the children will not learn the same as in school. The parents then can challenge this at the same site (Berufung).

However, every homeschooled child is required to take an exam per year (Externisten-Prüfung) in a school, to ensure that he or she is being educated at an appropriate level. If the child fails the test, he or she must attend a school the following year. The same test is also required by children in private schools without government rights (Öffentlichkeitsrecht).[1]

The parents have to enrol the children on Einschreibungszeit (enrolment time) usually in the first weeks of January at that Schulsprengel, that has to fulfill Unterrichtspflicht from 1 September on. Inscription dates were published at the school, while it is not clear on which law it is based. The Schulsprengel ist described by state law for each Dorf, Weiler, Gemeinde, Stadt (city, sector, land, district).

In the school year 2012/'13, there were 1820 homeschooled children in Austria. In the year 2017/'18, the number rose to 2320.[156]

BelgiumEdit

Status: Regulated

Homeschooling is legal in Belgium and considered a constitutional right. Children have to be registered as home-educated if they do not attend a school. Education is compulsory in Belgium, but not school attendance.[157]

In Flanders, the Dutch-speaking part of the country, children need to be registered for exams before age 12. If the parents fail to do so, the child is required to attend school. Those who are registered need to pass specific exams at age 13 and 15. If they fail one of those exams two times the parents need to register their child in a certified school. In the French Community of Belgium, they are tested at 8, 10, 12, and 14. The tests are new and there is still a lot of confusion on the tests and the legal situation around them.

CroatiaEdit

Status: Illegal

Home education was legal in Croatia in 1874[158][159][160] when Croatian law stated that parents have a duty to educate their children either at home or by sending them to school. The child had to pass an exam in a public school at the end of every school year.

The primary education in Croatia is compulsory from the age of six to fifteen and it spans eight grades.[161]

In September 2010 a religious organisation Hrvatska kršćanska koalicija (Croatian Christian Coalition)[162] submitted a proposal[163] to change the law so home education would become legal in Croatia. The civil organization Obrazovanje na drugi način (Another Way of Education)[164] joined in and is now working on its own proposal.

The proposed model is based on Slovenian and Montenegrin model of home education. The child is required to enroll into a local school (public or private) and pass an annual exam in certain subjects (mother tongue and math only in lower grades; with addition of foreign language in middle grades and more subjects in higher grades). If the child does not pass all the exams in two attempts, it is ordered to continue the education with regular school attendance. Every year the parents have to notify the school by the end of May that they will be educating their child at home.

Like in the case of Slovenia and Montenegro, the proposed model does not impose any limitation on who can home educate.[165] The parents educating their children at home are not eligible to receive any kind of state help. The schools are free to choose whether they will allow special arrangements with children educated at home (flexi-schooling, the use of school resources, participation in field trips and other school activities, etc.). The Ministry of Education and schools are not required to provide any form of help to parents of children educated at home (teacher guides, worksheets, consultation, etc.).

The proposed model was chosen as it requires minimal change to the existing law and would be possible to implement within the current educational framework. The Croatian Constitution,[166] in the Article 63 paragraph 1, states that parents have a duty to school their children. Similarly, in the Article 65 paragraph 1, it states that primary schooling is compulsory and free. It is deeply ingrained in Croatian culture that education cannot happen without schooling.

As of July 2011 there are three alternative primary schools in Croatia – one Montessori[167] and two Steiner Waldorf schools.[168][169] Alternative schools in Croatia are required to follow national curriculum[161] (Article 26 paragraph 1, Article 30).

Czech RepublicEdit

Status: Heavily regulated

The Ministry of Education began an experiment on September 1, 1998 in which home education was made a legal alternative for students in the first five years of elementary school. In 2004 home education, referred to as Individual Education, was enshrined in the Education Act for children within that age group. On September 1, 2007 a new experiment began allowing the home education of children up to the 9th grade.[170]

DenmarkEdit

Status: Heavily regulated

It follows from § 76 in the Danish constitution that homeschooling is legal. All children must be educated for 10 years.[171] The education can be received at home or in private school, but must meet the requirements of what is commonly required in government schools.[172] Inspections are mandatory.

FinlandEdit

Status: Regulated

In Finland homeschooling is legal[173] but unusual (400–600 children[58]), which is in contrast to Sweden, where homeschooling is more restricted. The parents are responsible for the child getting the compulsory education and the advancements are supervised by the home municipality.[173] The parents have the same freedom to make up their own curriculum as the municipalities have regarding the school, only national guiding principles of the curriculum have to be followed.

Choosing homeschooling means that the municipality is not obliged to offer school books, health care at school, free lunches or other privileges prescribed by the law on primary education, but the ministry of education reminds they may be offered. The parents should be informed of the consequences of the choice and the arrangements should be discussed.[174]

FranceEdit

Status: Heavily regulated

Home education is legal in France and requires the child to be registered with two authorities, the 'Inspection Académique' and the local town hall (Mairie). Children between the ages of 6 and 16 are subject to annual inspection.[175][176]

Since September 2019, compulsory education starts from the age of 3. So annual inspection is achieved first time at the age of 3. Probably from September 2020 compulsory education will rise to age of 18.

Every other two years, the mayor, verifies the reasons the family home educates and controls that the training provided is consistent with the health of the child. Parents will also be subject to annual inspections if they are teaching children between the ages of 3 and 16. Two consecutive unsatisfactory outcomes of these inspections can mean the parents will have to send their children to a mainstream school.

While homeschooling parents are free to teach their children in any way they like, the children must remain every year at a skill level that complies with high probability to master the seven key competencies of the common foundation of competence at the end of the legal obligation (age 16).[177] The key competencies are:

  • written and spoken French
  • maths/basic sciences and technology
  • at least one foreign language
  • French, European and World history and geography & Art
  • computer science
  • social and civic competences
  • initiative and autonomy

Homeschooled children must also demonstrate that they can:

  • ask questions
  • make deductions from their own observations and documents
  • be able to reason
  • generate ideas, be creative and produce finished work
  • use computers
  • use resources sensibly
  • evaluate risks

Homeschooling is not well known in the French population as for politicians. Some attempts to reduce freedom appear each year with amendments that until now soften the modifications. National Education Services are becoming more powerful since 2019 to fix control modalities unilaterally and the way it is achieved as the results are strongly dependant from the person that comes for control and its convictions.

French organisations involved in homeschooling include Les Enfants D'Abord,[178] LAIA (Libre d'Apprendre et d'Instruire Autrement),[179] CISE (Choisir d'Instruire Son Enfant)[180] and Hors Des Murs.[181]

GermanyEdit

Status: Illegal

Homeschooling is illegal in Germany with rare exceptions. Mandatory school attendance has been in place since 1919, when the Schulpflicht was introduced.[182] The requirement to attend school has been upheld, on challenge from parents, by the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany. Parents violating the laws have primarily or most prominently been Christians seeking a more religious education than that offered by the schools.[1][183] Sanctions against these parents have included fines of thousands of euros, successful legal actions to remove children from the parents' custody, and prison sentences.[1][183] It has been estimated that 600 to 1,000 children in Germany are homeschooled, despite its illegality.[184] Meanwhile, homeschooling is legal in Austria and Switzerland.[185]

Up until 1919, homeschooling in Germany was seen as an acceptable practice under certain circumstances, but more for higher class people. Many states developed school systems before and with the rise of the Weimar Republic some reforms were proposed. In the Nazi regime, homeschooling was seen as an anti-nationalistic and subversive practice that could undermine children's loyalty to their country. The Reichsschulpflichtgesetz, which was implemented in 1938 and is one of the very few Nazi laws still followed in present-day Germany, effectively banned all homeschooling with criminal consequences for anyone found practicing.[186]

In 1989, Helmut Stücher removed his children from the public school system to begin homeschooling. Stücher and others who followed suit were fined, and some even lost child custody.[187] He founded a private school, the Philadelphia-Schule in Siegen. The discussion in politics about this school were very rough.[188]

In a legal case commenced in 2003 at the European Court of Human Rights, a homeschooling parent couple argued on behalf of their children that Germany's compulsory school attendance endangered their children's religious upbringing, promoted teaching inconsistent with their Christian faith–especially the German State's mandates relating to sex education in the schools—and contravened the declaration in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union that "the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure education and teaching is in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions".

In September 2006, the European Court of Human Rights upheld the German ban on homeschooling, stating "parents may not refuse... [compulsory schooling] on the basis of their convictions", and adding that the right to education "calls for regulation by the State". The European Court took the position that the plaintiffs were the children, not their parents, and declared "children are unable to foresee the consequences of their parents' decision for home education because of their young age.... Schools represent society, and it is in the children's interest to become part of that society. The parents' right to educate does not go as far as to deprive their children of that experience."

The European Court endorsed a "carefully reasoned" decision of the German court concerning "the general interest of society to avoid the emergence of parallel societies based on separate philosophical convictions and the importance of integrating minorities into society."[189]

In January 2010, a United States immigration judge granted asylum to a German homeschooling family Romeike, apparently based on this ban on homeschooling.[190] In April 2013, a decision by a U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals court overruled this and denied the petition for asylum, on the grounds that Germany's law applies to every resident, and does not single out any specific religious group for persecution.[191][192] A petition of March 2013 for granting full and permanent legal status to the family received a White House reply in August 2013 without comment on the legal case. In March 2014, the Supreme Court declined to hear the family's appeal,[193] but the Department of Homeland Security granted the family indefinite deferred action status, allowing them to remain in the United States.[194] In February 2015, a bill was introduced that would allow up to 500 grants of asylum per fiscal year to families fleeing home school persecution.[195]

The Twelve Tribes is one religious group that insists on home schooling and has been in conflict with authorities. On September 5, 2013, German police raided two communities and removed 40 children to protect them from supposed continued abuse.[196] An investigative TV report had documented systematic child abuse in a 100-strong community in Bavaria, including "persistent beatings for the most trivial offences".[197] A few days later, German media reported about the disappearance of about ten school-aged children from the small town of Dolchau. Probably they had been brought to a farm belonging to the 12 Tribes in the Czech Republic to elude intervention by the authorities who would ensure their public schooling.[198] In 2002 there were several police raids against the Twelve Tribes, which do not want to send their children to school. The children were taken away from the sect, which was legitimated in 2018 by the European Court of Human Rights.[199] Also, the case of the family Wunderlich were denied.[200]

There is no general exemption for religious or pedagogical reasons; exemptions are allowed for severe illness, children of diplomats, and rarely for working children such as actors.[201] The last petition in the Bundestag to release the punishment of adults who practice homeschooling was denied.[202]

GreeceEdit

Status: Illegal

Compulsory education for children from 6 to 15 years old,[203][204] with 6 years of primary school and 3 years of secondary school education.[205] Homeschooling is only allowed for children with special needs.[204]

HungaryEdit

Status: Regulated

Homeschooling is legal under certain conditions.[206] There is a compulsory education for children from 6 to 16 years.[206] Mostly, children are homeschooled due to illness or other special circumstances.[206] Homeschooled children have to be tested at least twice a year.[206]

IcelandEdit

Status: Regulated

Homeschooling is legal only if the home teacher has a teaching degree.[207]

Republic of IrelandEdit

Status: Legal

From 2004 to 2006, 225 children had been officially registered with the Republic of Ireland's National Education Welfare Board, which estimated there may be as many as 1500–2000 more unregistered homeschoolers.[208] The right to a home education is guaranteed by the Constitution of Ireland.[209]

ItalyEdit

Status: Regulated

In Italy, homeschooling (called Istruzione Familiare in Italian) is legal by the Constitution: parents or their appointed agents must however prove having a technical and economical capability to teach their children. Homeschooled children are required to pass annual exams if and when the child wants to enter the state school system. Mandatory schooling ends when coming of age with the 18th birthday, although a pupil over 16 years of age, with the parents' agreement, may opt for workplace instruction.[210] There is no compulsory central registration for homeschoolers in Italy and thus no official, nor democratically elected, homeschooling representatives and advocates.

NetherlandsEdit

Status: Generally illegal

In the Netherlands, homeschooling is not a recognized form of education and every child is subject to compulsory education from his/her fifth birthday, with exemptions:[211][212]

  • the child is physically and/or mentally unfit for school education (6361 children in 2019-2020),
  • the parents have reservations about the religious and/or philosophical direction of education in all schools with appropriate education at a reasonable distance from the home (1280 children in 2019-2020),
  • the child is enrolled in and regularly visits a foreign school (8199 children in 2019-2020)

Many in the first group and all in the second group are home schooled. Until 1969 homeschooling was a recognized form of education.[213]

NorwayEdit

Status: Regulated

Homeschooling is legal.[214] The municipality is responsible for checking that the homeschooling's curriculum is "equal to" public schooling, but the wording of the law is vague and does not prescribe how this is supposed to be done. Hence, every municipality does things differently: some municipalities assist the parents by providing funding for educational materials, while other municipalities make it a child protection issue.

PolandEdit

Status: Heavily regulated

Homeschooling is only allowed on highly regulated terms. Every child must be enrolled in a school (as of 2009, the school does not need to be a public school). The school principal may, but is not obliged to, allow of homeschooling a particular child. Usually the permission is just a formality and it is fairly easy to receive it. Homeschooled children are required to pass annual exams covering material in school curriculum, and failure on an exam automatically terminates the homeschooling permit. Even though it may seem difficult to homeschool in Poland, parent can choose a "homeschool friendly" school", where both children and parents can get support, where different trips or meetings for home schoolers can be organized.[215]

PortugalEdit

Status: Legal

Homeschooling is legal.[216] However, not many people choose the option of homeschooling, mostly because of not knowing about the choice.[217]

RomaniaEdit

Status: Legal

Homeschooling is legal since 2002, after it was included in the Romanian Educational Law at the request of the Romanian Home-Schooling Association.[218] The compulsory education age is between 6–16 years.[218]

RussiaEdit

Status: Heavily regulated

There are at least two forms of education that look like homeschooling. With "family education", homeschoolers are attached to a state-licensed school where they are allowed to participate in laboratory work and extracurricular activities, may use teacher support and the school library and do tests and exams in every subject. The local authorities are obliged to pay the parents some money, but no specific requirements exist. The formal, usually annual, interim examinations ("Промежуточная Аттестация"), even the online ones, are mandatory at least in the 4th and 9th grades. Many children finish a 9-year curriculum in less than 3 years. There is also a hybrid form of education, when the child can attend the classes of his choice and the rest of the subjects study on his own.

SloveniaEdit

Status: Legal

Home education (called izobraževanje na domu in Slovene) is legal in Slovenia since 1996.[219] The law regarding home education has not been changed since then.[220][221] It is almost identical to Montenegrin model of home education. According to Slovenian Ministry of Education it was based on Danish model of home education.[220]

The compulsory school-age starts at 6 and lasts for 9 years (page 18 (8666), article 45).[221] The child being home educated is required to enroll into a local school (public or private) and pass annual exam in certain subjects (mother tongue and math only in lower grades; with addition of foreign language in middle grades and more subjects in higher grades,[221][222] Page 22(8670) Article 90). If the child does not pass all the exams in two attempts, it is ordered to continue the education with regular school attendance. Every year the parents have to notify the school before starting[223] new school year that they will be home educating their child.

There are no special requirements for parents wanting to home educate their children. Parents are not eligible for any kind of state help nor are schools required to provide any kind of assistance. The schools are free to choose (they often do[224]) whether they will allow special arrangements with home educated children (flexi-schooling, the use of school resources, participation in field trips and other school activities, etc.). The Ministry of Education and schools are not required to provide any form of help to parents of home educated children (teacher guides, worksheets, consultation, etc.).

In the school year 2010/2011, 97 children have been home educated.[220]

As of July 2011 there are no organised home education groups in Slovenia.[citation needed]

SlovakiaEdit

Status: Heavily regulated

Homeschooling is legal in Slovakia. However, a child's tutor is required to have a degree with a major in primary school education, and homeschooling is restricted only to the first four years of primary education.[101]

SpainEdit

Status: Illegal

In Spain homeschooling is in somewhat of a legal vacuum. On the one hand in Article 27 the Spanish Constitution talks of compulsive education (not schooling), the freedom of teaching and the right of parents to choose their children's education in accordance with their own personal, moral and religious convictions.[225] On the other hand, Spanish education law speaks of compulsive school attendance for all children between the ages of 6 and 16. (Sec. 4.2 Organic Law on Education 2/2006, of 3 May).[226]

In 2010 a family went in front of the Spanish Constitutional Court to argue that the Spanish education laws are not in accordance with the parental rights granted by the Constitution and are therefore unlawful. The decision made by the Constitutional Court made it clear that current education laws were in fact lawful interpretations of the Constitution with the result that since 2010 effectively school attendance is considered mandatory in Spain for all children from 6 to 16 (STC 133/2010, of 2 December).[227] However, the Constitutional Court also made it clear that the Constitution indeed only talks of compulsive education and that a change in the law to make homeschooling a legal alternative to regular school attendance would be a possible and lawful option for the future.

In 2009 the regional government of Catalonia amended its education law so that now according to article 55 "education without attendance to school" is a viable option.[228] However the regulation of that right hasn't yet been developed. As a regional law it can't contradict the education law passed by the national parliament. Hence the newly amended Catalan law can only refer to pupils who have special needs or are for some other reason unable attend school regularly in order that they may have their educational rights met. (Sec. 3.9 Organic Law on Education 2/2006).[226]

SwedenEdit

Status: Virtually illegal

In Sweden, children are obligated to attend school from the age of 6.[229] In 2010 Sweden passed a law (SFS 2010:800) that added further restrictions on homeschooling to an earlier law which was passed in 1985. Homeschooling is only allowed for certain specific reasons such as for children of parents working temporarily in the country. Homeschooling will not be approved based on religious beliefs or philosophical reasons, nor is there an automatic approval if the parent has had teacher training. Recent court cases have supported these restrictions on parents.[230]

The Domenic Johansson custody case has been cited as an example of the difficulty in receiving permissions.

In 2009 a child called Domenic Johansson was taken from his parents (Christer Johansson, a Swedish citizen, and Annie Johansson, a native of India) while they were on board Turkish Air Flight 990, waiting for departure to the mother's home country India.[231] Domenic was taken into custody by the Swedish police due to reports of the child being homeschooled.[231] His parents opted to homeschool Domenic since they would be leaving the country later that year and since he had only turned seven a few months prior to the move.[232] The Johanssons reported that the Minister of Education had approved the homeschooling, but that local officials had refused to supply them with educational materials and fined them for every day Domenic did not attend the local school.[232] In June 2012 the Gotland district court ruled that the Johanssons should retain their parental rights over Domenic, which was later overturned by the appeals court.[233][234]

SwitzerlandEdit

Status: Legal, restricted in some cantons

Homeschooling is legal in Switzerland. Requirements vary from Canton to Canton.[235] In the Cantons Luzern, Zug, Schwyz and Zürich the teachers must have a Lehrdiplom (teaching diploma), in Cantons Bern and Aargau this is not required.[236] In Canton Obwalden homeschooling has to be allowed by the administration. The Bundesgericht decided in 2019 that there is no right for homeschooling based on the Swiss law.[237] In 2011 approximately 200 – 500 families currently homeschool,[238][239] in 2019 a study found 2100 children (0.2% of all pupils) where learning in homeschools.[235]

UkraineEdit

Status: Heavily regulated

The Home School Legal Defense Association claims that homeschooling is legal and expressly allowed for by Articles 59 and 60 of Ukraine's Education Law, but local authorities do not always agree.[240]

Homeschooling is mentioned swiftly in The Law of Ukraine on Education, article 59:

Parents and persons who substitute them shall be obliged to assist children to get education in educational institutions or provide them with full-value home education in accordance with the requirements to its content, level and scope.[241]

In 2019 a law was came in force, which liberalized the education system. Before the law, to receive home education, children had to demonstrate that they cannot visit school due to medical condition or disability. That restriction is now lifted.

Ukrainian education system remains very restrictive though. Curriculum must be authorized by the school appointed supervisor. To receive home education, children have to register with a school and to undergo assessments by the school up to 4 times a year. In case an assessment fails, the child loses the privilege of home education.

United KingdomEdit

Status: Officially legal (England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own education laws each with variations regarding homeschooling.)

Homeschooling is legal in the United Kingdom. Parents are legally required to ensure that their children receive "efficient full-time education suitable to [their] age, ability and aptitude, and... to any special educational needs [they] may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise."[242] Parents are not required to inform local authorities that they are homeschooling.[243]

A report commissioned by the UK government in 2009 found that councils were aware of approximately 20,000 children being homeschooled, but that the true number could be in excess of 80,000.[244] A study by the BBC in 2018 found that councils were aware of 48,000 children who were being homeschooled in 2016/7.[245]

OceaniaEdit

AustraliaEdit

Status: Legal

Homeschooling is relatively popular and enjoys a good reputation in Australia. It is legal in every state and territory. Around 30,000 children in Australia are homeschooled, including students who take distance education.

New ZealandEdit

Status: Legal

As of July 2011 there were 6,517 homeschooled pupils registered with the Ministry of Education. It is an increase of 23.6% since 1998.[246] As at 1 July 2013, there were 5,521 home schooled students recorded in the Ministry of Education's Homeschooling database. These students belong to 2,789 families and represent 0.7% of total school enrolments as at 1 July 2013. Out of the 5,521 homeschoolers 65% were the aged 12 or under, 66% had been home-schooled for less than 5 years, and only 4% had been home-schooled for 10 years or more.[247]

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