Homeschooling is often the first choice for North American families who choose to live abroad because of language barriers, differing school year calendars,
learning disabilities that may not be addressed sufficiently overseas, and basic personal preference, among other reasons.
Countries abroad that report the highest instances of home education include New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Australia and while many countries around the world are legally open when it comes to home education, some are stringently regulated. Others allow homeschooling, but only as an extension of a mandated school system and still others have outlawed the practice completely.
Socially speaking, when it comes to widespread acceptance, only North America, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand make the list; in most other countries home schooling is nearly non-existent, even if not illegal, and many citizens of those countries consider the practice to be socially unacceptable.
Homeschoolers worldwide have an array of methods and materials to work with, including distance teaching schools that are available online. Of the more popular curriculums, the Montessori Method, Unschooling, Radical Unschooling and Waldorf Education are all popular among home educators worldwide. Often times, home-schooling families around the globe find support, curriculum and materials through formal organizations such as the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), National Institute of Open Schooling, or the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE).
The following are some more popular expat destinations and the corresponding regulations regarding home education:
Education in Australia is a State responsibly and each has its own separate legislation regarding education and home schooling. Technically, homeschooling is legal throughout the country; however, some states require an application for qualification and registration of some sort. It is best to do your homework and find out the laws of the particular state you plan to reside in.
There has been tremendous debate regarding the legality of homeschooling among parents and educators in India since the passage of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act or Right to Education Act (RTE). Nevertheless, the practice remains legal at this time. There are a good number of support groups, as well as resources, for homeschoolers in India but most can only be found and accessed via the Internet.
Home education is legal in every part of the UK, and though the laws for different areas are essentially the same, they do have some small differences and should be investigated before moving forward. The Education Act of 1996 states, “‘The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full time education suitable a) to his age ability and aptitude, and b) any special educational needs he may have, either by attendance at a school or otherwise”.
While home schooling is legal in France as an alternative to public education, the law does state that a mandatory inspection must be conducted every year. A law introduced in 1998 made annual registration mandatory; a declaration must be made to the municipality and the education inspectorate. If inspections are ever found to be unsatisfactory according to regulations, parents can be ordered to enroll the children in a public or privately accredited school.
Public or private education is mandatory in Germany and home education is illegal except when undue hardship because of medical or logistic reasons would be presented to the child by attending an accredited institution. The United Nations has, in fact, criticized the country for its stance on homeschooling, where homeschooling parents can face heavy fines, loss of custody and even jail time for breaking the law. Some have even opined that the law is biased in a heavily anti-religious society because of one court ruling in 2003 that said, “the general public has a justified interest in counteracting the development of religiously or philosophically motivated ‘parallel societies’ and in integrating minorities in this area.”
The decision to move with your children to a country abroad can be one of the most positive decisions you can ever make for your family. Children who move overseas with their family get an opportunity to learn a new language and be immersed in a new culture, allowing for a bi-lingual as well as bi-cultural upbringing. Homeschooling can be an excellent choice for kids who have a hard time adjusting initially or who have learning disabilities where language sometimes presents an extra challenge.