While home schooling has gained in popularity in the United States for several factors (including a rise in cyber bullying), in many nations the practice is outlawed altogether. In other countries, there may be a ban or exceptions to a general rule of mandatory attendance. However, slightly more countries allow home schooling in some circumstances than ban it altogether.
Wide range of rules and exceptions
Frequently, there are misconceptions about home schooling. For example, according to the Examiner, Germany is one of the countries most often cited as banning home schooling when, in fact, they allow it for cases in which “continued school attendance would create undue hardship for an individual child.”
In other cases, such as Iceland, educating children at home is only permitted when parents have teaching certificates. In some nations, such as Romania and the Slovak Republic, parents are required to hire tutors with credentials to instruct the children. In some cases, such as Luxemburg, it is only permitted for primary school aged children, while in Romania, it is only permitted for children with special needs.
Even countries that allow for home schooling can have a wide range of rules, ranging from home visits to mandatory testing. Larger countries divided into sections (think: Canada, the United States, even Switzerland) can have rules and regulations of home schooling that vary by province, state or canton. Clearly, one size does not fit all when it comes to home schooling.
Parents who are interested in home schooling their children must research their own local situation to see just what rules apply and whether or not home schooling is allowed in their country.
Then there are those nations, like China, in which the home schooling movement is new but growing. While not officially sanctioned by the government, it is largely overlooked, particularly in rural sections of the country. According to the Beijing Morning Post, about 18,000 children are now home schooled, although in a country with such a huge population, this number is very small.
In large part, parents in China interested in home schooling want their children to have a broader education than is available in the traditional system. Fifty-four percent say they “disagree with educational ideas in the regular school system,” according to one study.
However, most Chinese students educated at home return to the traditional school system to take college entrance exams, for which they must be registered in a traditional school to be allowed to take the tests. The majority of home-schooling parents in China (75 percent or more) have college educations.
Other nations with ambiguous laws regarding home schooling include Spain, where it is legal according to their Constitution, but illegal in the eyes of government educators, the Ukraine, where it is legal but often comes under dispute with local authorities, and Japan.
Another consideration is that, for most nations, educational laws apply only to citizens born in that country. Foreigners living in those nations are not obligated to abide by local law when it comes to educating their children.
Nations banning home schooling
For many nations, however, the idea of home schooling is one never considered by government. Some 28 known countries ban home schooling. These include European nations like Greece, South American countries like Brazil, Central American lands such as Guatemala and Caribbean countries such as Trinidad & Tobago. Sweden and Germany do allow exceptions, but have made it very difficult for children to qualify and frequently children in home schooling situations have been removed from the household, raising the ire of the home schooling community worldwide.
Whether home schooling is a great idea or a big mistake is a decision that ultimately lies with the parents and the nation in which they reside. Before any attempt is made to withdraw children from a traditional school system, it is best for parents to investigate what laws and regulations apply in their particular situation.