Homeschooling is legal in many countries. Countries with the most prevalent home education movements include Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Some countries have highly regulated home education programs as an extension of the compulsory school system; others, such as Germany, have outlawed it entirely. Brazil has a law project in process. In other countries, while not restricted by law, homeschooling is not socially acceptable or considered undesirable and is virtually non-existent.
Legality by country
Homeschooling is currently permitted in Kenya.
The freedom of homeschooling is however under threat in Kenya, because a new education law was proposed in Kenya, that does not make any allowance for homeschooling.
During apartheid, home education was illegal in South Africa. The parents Andre and Bokkie Meintjies were jailed in 1994, and their children were placed in an orphanage, 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. The SA Schools Act 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. Unfortunately the officials in those departments have a limited understanding of home education and the law on home education. Due to this, these officials often require parents to meet all sorts of requirements that are not stipulated by the law. As a result of this situation, more than 90% of homeschooling parents do not register with the department.
There is no law addressing homeschooling in Argentina. It is the parents’ responsibility to make sure their child(ren) get an adequate education.
A couple, a Brazilian mother and an American father, was investigated in 2010 by the Municipalities of Brazil|municipal government of Serra Negra, São Paulo (state), for homeschooling their children. The local authorities were tipped off by an anonymous source because the couples’s two daughters did not attend school. The Public Ministry (Brazil) expected to reach an agreement with the family to enlist the infants in formal schools. Enrollment in schools in Brazil is mandatory for people aged 4–17.
Approximately 1% to 2% of North American children are homeschooled, which includes about 60,000 in Canada. Back in 1995, Meighan estimated the total number of homeschoolers in Canada, to be 10,000 official and 20,000 unofficial. Karl M. Bunday estimated, in 1995, based on journalistic reports, that about 1 percent of school-age children were homeschooled. In April 2005, the total number of registered homeschool students in British Columbia was 3,068. In Manitoba, homeschoolers are required to register with Manitoba Education, Citizenship and Youth. The number of homeschoolers is noted at over 1,500 in 2006; 0.5% of students enrolled in the public system.
More information;: Homeschooling in the United States
In “The Condition of Education 2000-2009,” The National Center for Education Statistics of the United States Department of Education reports 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.National Center for Education Statistics, “Condition of Education 2000-2009”. 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-based college programs, which allow students to earn college credits before attending college.
People’s Republic of China
Status: Deemed ”’illegal”’ for citizens, but ”’no restrictions”’ for foreign students.
There are no accurate statistics on homeschooling in the People’s Republic of China.
The Compulsory Education Law states that the community, schools and families shall safeguard the right to compulsory education of school-age children and adolescents, and, compulsory education is defined as attending a school, which is holding a schooling license granted by the government. Therefore, homeschooling is deemed to be illegal. The law does not apply to non-citizen children (those with foreign passports).
However, due to the large population of hundreds of millions of migrant workers, along with their children, government officials rarely check whether students are attending licensed schools. Thus there usually is no punishment to parents who homeschool their children.
It should be noted that in many cases children are unable to attend school due to economic difficulties, as compulsory education offered by local governments is not always free.
An organization called Shanghai Home-School Association was launched in September 2003.
Although the official position in Hong Kong appears to be that attendance at school is compulsory and free for students aged six to fifteen, the actual situation is less clear. Parents who fail to send their children to school after a school attendance order has been issued can be jailed for 3 months and fined HK$10000. In 2000, a man named Leung Jigwong (梁志光) disagreed with Hong Kong’s education policy and refused to send his 9-year-old daughter to school. Instead, he taught her Chinese, English, French, Mathematics and The Art of War at home. After 2.5 years of discussion, the Education Department finally served an “attendance order” on him and his child was forced to attend a normal school.
The Education Bureau (EDB) in Hong Kong will investigate cases of home education drawn to its attention but does not always issue a school attendance order. A number of families are known to be educating their children at home in Hong Kong with the permission of the Education Bureau. This suggests the ”de facto” situation in Hong Kong is actually somewhere between that of the UK and the PRC.
More information: Homeschooling and alternative education in India
The legal position is complex; as homeschooling is uncommon, local officials may claim it is illegal but this is not actually the case. Over 100,000 children refuse school, but the number of homeschoolers is much smaller, though it is increasing.
Homeschooling in Indonesia is regulated under National Education System 2003 under division of informal education.: This enables the children of Homeschooling to attend an equal National Tests to obtain an “Equivalent Certificate“. The homeschooling is recently becoming a trend in upper-middle to upper class families with highly educated parents with capability to provide better tutoring 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 even though the existence of this community is still disputed by other Non Formal education operators.
Republic of China (Taiwan)
Homeschooling in Taiwan, Republic of China is legally recognized since 1982 (Compulsory School Law) and regulated as a possible form of special education since 1997.
Homeschooling is legal in Austria. However, every homeschooled child is required to take an exam per year, 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.
Children have to be registered as home-educated. 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. In Flanders, the Dutch-speaking part of the country, the tests are optional.
Home education was legal in Croatia in 1874. 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.
On September 2010 a religious organisation ”Hrvatska kršćanska koalicija” (Croatian Christian Coalition)[ Hrvatska kršćanska koalicija] Croatian Christian Coalition submitted a proposal to change the law so home education would become legal in Croatia. The civil organisation ”Obrazovanje na drugi način” (Another Way of Education), Croatian home education association 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 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. 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, 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[ Osnovna Montessori škola “Barunice Dédée Vranyczany” (hr), Zagreb and two Steiner Waldorf schools (2). Alternative schools in Croatia are required to follow national curriculum.
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.
It follows from § 76 in the Danish constitution that homeschooling is legal.
In Finland homeschooling is legal. The parents are responsible for the child getting the compulsory education and the advancements are supervised by the home municipality. 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.
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.
Every other two years, the social welfare, mandated by 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 6 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 master the seven key competencies of the common foundation of competence at the end of the legal obligation (age 16).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
*Social and civic competences
*Initiative and autonomy
Homeschooled children must also demonstrate that they can:
*Make deductions from their own observations and documents
*Be able to reason
*Generate ideas, be creative and produce finished work
*Use resources sensibly
Homeschooling is still illegal in Germany with rare exceptions. 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. Details at website of Home School Legal Defense Association. Sanctions against these parents have included fines of thousands of euros, successful legal actions to remove children from the parents’ custody, and prison sentences. It has been estimated that 600 to 1,000 German children are homeschooled, despite its illegality.
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 society based on separate philosophical convictions and the importance of integrating minorities into society.
In January 2010, a United States immigration judge granted asylum in the United States to a German homeschooling family, apparently based on this ban on homeschooling. News reports arising from the judgment at ”Deutsche Welle” (in English), The Telegraph
The Hungarian laws allow homeschoolers to teach their children as private students at home as long as they generally follow the state curriculum and have children examined twice a year. Although homeschooling is still extremely rare.
Status: Generally Illegal
Homeschooling is legal only if home teacher has a teaching degree.
Republic of Ireland
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. The right to a home education is guaranteed by the Constitution of Ireland.
In Italy, homeschooling (called ”Istruzione parentale” in Italian language) is legal but not common: parents must prove to have the technical capability to teach and they must justify their decision to homeschool their children at the beginning of every year, homeschooled children must be registered to the school where they will take their final exams and are required to pass annual exams covering material in school curriculum. Homeschooling ends in the second year of high school, to get the maturità must attend three years of public or private school.
Status: Generally Illegal
In the Netherlands every child is subject to compulsory education from his/her fifth birthday. The exemptions are extended on the basis of a clause in the law exempting parents from sending their child to school if they object to the “direction” of the education of all schools within a reasonable distance to their home. Nederlandse Vereniging voor Thuisonderwijs (NVvTO)
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. Homeschooled children are required to pass annual exams covering material in school curriculum, and failure on an exam automatically terminates the homeschooling permit.
Homeschooling is legal.
The number of homeschoolers in Russia has tripled since 1994 to approximately 1 million. Russian homeschoolers are attached to an educational institution where they have the right to access textbooks and teacher support, and where they pass periodic appraisals of their work. The State is obliged to pay the parents cash equal to the cost of educating the child at the municipal school.
Home education (‘izobraževanje na domu) is legal in Slovenia since 1996. The law regarding home education has not been changed since then. According to Slovenian Ministry of Education it was based on Danish model of home education.
The compulsory school-age starts at 6 and lasts for 9 years. 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. 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 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 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.
As of July 2011 there are no organised home education groups in Slovenia.
Homeschooling is legal with obstacles in Slovak Republic. Child’s tutor is required to have a degree with major in primary school education. However homeschooling is restricted only to the first four years of primary education.
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. On the other hand Spanish education law speaks of compulsive school attendance for all children between the ages of 6 and 16.
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. 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. 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 Catalonian 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.
Status: Virtually illegal
Children have to attend school from the age of 7. Homeschooling as an afterschool activity is allowed when attending school.
It is not technically illegal. It is, however, virtually impossible to get approved by the county in which one lives. Stockholm is in general more difficult to get approval than elsewhere in the country. Sweden approved a law in 2010 that restricts homeschooling even further than the previous law from 1985, requiring special reasons, like foreign parents temporarily working in Sweden, but not religious beliefs, nor philosophical reasons, in spite of the fact that Sweden has incorporated the Europe Convention into its law. Recent court cases has supported this restrictions on parents, even those with teacher-training, to educate their own child.
In 2009, about 50 families did homeschool about 100 children. After 2010, though, about half of the families that did homeschool have emigrated because of this restriction, often after threats from the social services and large fines.
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 ). Distance education is also available through Turkey’s national television channels. Through this particular option, students go to a particular test site and take examinations based on what they have studied. In Turkey, parents who fail to send their children to school are charged as criminals, which at times may result in their incarceration. Due to the above legal constraints, Turkish parents face a great deal of difficulty in pursuing homeschooling for their children.
The Home School Legal Defense Association claims that homeschooling is legal and expressly allowed for in Ukraine’s Education Law, but local authorities do not always agree.
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.
More information: Home education in the United Kingdom
Status: Officially Legal
England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own education laws each with slight variations regarding education otherwise than at school.
Education provided outside a formal school system is primarily known as Home Education within the United Kingdom, the term Homeschooling is occasionally used for those following a formal, structured style of education – literally schooling at home. To distinguish between those who are educated outside of school from necessity (e.g. from ill health, or a working child actor) and those who actively reject schooling as a suitable means of education the term Elective Home Education is used.
The Badman Review in 2009 stated that “approximately 20,000 home educated children and young people are known to local authorities, estimates vary as to the real number which could be in excess of 80,000.”
The Australian census does not track homeschooling families, but Philip Strange of Home Education Association, Inc. ”very” roughly estimates 15,000.
In 1995, Roland Meighan of Nottingham School of Education estimated some 20,000 families homeschooling in Australia.
In 2006, Victoria (Australia) passed legislation The Education Training and Reform Act (2006), available online at the Australasian Legal Information Institute’s website requiring the registration of children up to the age of 16 and increasing the school leaving age to 16 from the previous 15, undertaking home education (registration is optional for those age of 16–17 but highly recommended). The Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) is the registering body.
More information: Homeschooling in New Zealand
As of July 2011 there were 6,517 homeschooled pupils registered with the Ministry of Education (New Zealand). It is an increase of 23.6% since 1998.
Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia