Homeschooling is often a topic that starts a large debate and on this list you can take a look at the countries that allow homeschooling in the world and which give parents more freedom when it comes to education of their children. Prior to 19th century, most children were educated at home and some of them turned out to be geniuses. Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain and Albert Einstein are just some of the names of genius personalities who were homeschooled. After various laws compelled children to attend public (or private) schools, education outside the home became a norm. Modern homeschooling started in the 1970s inspired by John Holt, a supporter of school reform and educational theorist. Since then homeschooling kept growing around the world thus offering an alternative to parents who do not want their children to attend public schools.
A decade ago, families who were homeschooled were considered irresponsible and conservative but nowadays the tide has turned. Compared to traditional schooling, homeschooling is still small but the numbers of homeschoolers in the world, and the USA as well, is growing. Some statistics indicate that 1.5 million of children in the USA were homeschooled in 2007 which is significantly larger than 1.1 million children in 2003 and only 850.000 in 1991. If you want to know in which states homeschooling is mostly popular, take a look at our list of States That Have The Most Homeschoolers.
Reasons why parents choose homeschooling can be health (children with special needs), social, or purely academic. Some parents believe that their child will benefit more from the one-on-one instruction which is often the case. The attention they receive through homeschooling can help them reach their maximum. Also, parents have authority over the schedule and curriculum which allows more flexibility and better outcomes as well. Classes usually finish till noon and the child has more free time for sports, spending time outdoors and any other extracurricular activities while those attending traditional schools usually spend much more time in school and doing their homework after the school finishes. It also allows parents to be actively engaged in their children’s education and spend more time with them.
In order to compile this list of countries that allow homeschooling in the world, I’ve consulted several sources. I took a look at Mothering forum and their discussion on homeschooling in Europe, NationMaster, Social Justice News article about the legal status of homeschooling and Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) website. Home School Legal Defense Association was founded with the intention to aid families who wish to homeschool their children in the USA and internationally as well. This makes it a very valuable source for this topic. After going through legal statuses of homeschooling around the world, I singled out countries where homeschooling is legal as well as those where homeschooling is legal with certain restrictions. Those countries that have restrictions are at the bottom of this list while those that don’t have restrictions (or have fewer restrictions) are higher on the list. This is the only criteria used while ranking these countries, meaning that countries that do not have restrictions are ranked randomly as well as those which have similar restrictions. Let’s take a look in which countries it is legal to homeschool your children. Now, let’s check out our list of countries that allow homeschooling in the world.
According to Article 68 of the Columbian Constitution, homeschooling is legal in Columbia. If the student wants to go to College, he/she has to present a Public Validation Test and State Test (very similar to SAT) in order to qualify for College acceptance. If you think about it, it is actually a very good idea to check the knowledge of students who were homeschooled.
According to Article 16 (Parts 8-14) homeschooling is legal in Poland. In this article, it is stated that parents may apply for permission from the school principal to homeschool their child. However, parents may apply for permission from any school, not only their local school, as it was previously a common practice. At first, the deadline for the application was May 31 for the upcoming school year but in 2014 amendment which allows parents to request homeschooling at any time of the year was passed. Home School Legal Defense Association website offers you contact information for organizations in Poland which can provide you with more information about which schools are friendly when it comes to homeschooling.
Norway is another country that allows homeschooling. While they have freedom to educate their children at home, parents should consider that education which their children receive at home should be comparable to that in public/private schools. They also have to notify local authorities that they wish to homeschool their child since supervision is a must by law. Supervision sometimes includes additional achievement test to check the knowledge of homeschooled children.
Similarly to US division in states, Switzerland is divided into 26 cantons and each canton has its own education law. While many cantons allow homeschooling some still forbid it. Some cantons also require teaching certificate for those who wish to homeschool their children. You can find more information on this link.
Despite the fact that homeschooling is legal in Italy it is still very uncommon. The Italian Constitution states in Articles 30 and 33 that parents have the duty and right to support, instruct, and educate their children. Still, the right to homeschool a child in Italy is subject to certain constraints. Parents have to notify the school of their intent to educate the child at home and demonstrate that they have economic and technical capacities to teach their child at home. Economic capacity refers to financial means need to educate a child at home and “technical capacity” means that the person who will educate the child at home must have completed two full academic years of schooling beyond the level of the child he/she is teaching.
According to the Constitution of Portugal, it is legal to educate children at home in this country, making it one of the countries that allow homeschooling in the world. As in many other countries in which homeschooling is legal, homeschooled children are required to pass tests and certain annual requirements. For more information, take a look at this link.
The right to homeschool education is guaranteed by Constitution of Ireland. Parents are not obliged to send their children to school or to follow the national curriculum. According to Gifted Ireland website, if parents decide to educate their child at home, they need to contact National Education Welfare Board, after which they get a visit from one of their members who will discuss the reasons for homeschooling as well as their general attitude towards learning. Still, homeschooling a child in Ireland is a very easy process when it comes to the legal side and those who decide to educate their child at home are definitely free to do so.
As of this year, even those who never heard about Slovenia found out more about this country since First Lady of the United States, Melania Trump, was born in Slovenia, also one of the countries that allow homeschooling in the world. When it comes to homeschooling, it is legal in Slovenia since 1996. Homeschooled children are required to enroll at a local school and pass annual exams in certain subjects (Math and Slovenian in lower grades, with an addition of foreign language in middle grades and some additional subjects in higher grades). If the child does not pass the exams in two attempts, he/she is required to continue with regular education. The good thing is that there are no special requirements for parents wanting to educate their child at home.
Homeschooling is legal in all fifty states in the USA. However, each state creates its own legal structure for homeschooling, meaning that laws in one state can considerably vary from laws in another. States which do not require parents to initiate any contact or notice if they choose to homeschool their children are: Alaska, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Idaho, Michigan, Connecticut and New Jersey. States with high regulations which require parents to send achievement test scores, professional evaluation, curriculum approvals etc. are: New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. To find out more, take a look at this link where you can find your state and its egal status of homeschool education. Also take into consideration that you should follow rules of the state in which you are currently present, even temporarily. Let’s see what country ranked first on our list of countries that allow homeschooling in the world.
1. United Kingdom
For those who are not that good at geography, let’s explain some things. Great Britain includes Scotland, England, and Wales while the United Kingdom includes England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Island. The United Kingdom and Ireland together are the British Isles. In this section of our 10 countries that allow homeschooling in the world, we will refer to the legal status of homeschooling in the United Kingdom. Under the 1944 Education Act, homeschooling is legal in the United Kingdom. Unless the child previously attended government school system, there are no requirements to inform the authorities if the parents decide to educate their child at home. They are not obliged to follow the national curriculum but they have to ensure that the education they provide is efficient and suitable to child’s age, ability or any kind of special needs he/she might have. You can read more about homeschooling in England on this link. In Scotland, homeschooling is legal under the Scottish Education Act of 1980 and the Standards in Scotland’s Schools Act of 2001. It is also legal in Northern Ireland and Wales as well. We hope that you found out something new about homeschooling around the world while reading our list of 10 countries that allow homeschooling in the world.