Most homeschoolers know that Germany has banned homeschooling, but many people do not realize how many other countries have made home education illegal. Indeed, twenty-eight countries have explicitly banned homeschooling and nine more have made it nearly impossible to practice.
In fact, Germany is actually more tolerant of homeschooling than many other countries, since it allows exceptions to its no-homeschooling rule in cases where "continued school attendance would create undue hardship for an individual child." More than two dozen countries have outlawed homeschooling for any reason.
Thirty countries have laws that allow for home education, though they are often restrictive. Other countries officially ban homeschooling but rarely prosecute, and others do not address homeschooling at all in their laws.
Curious what the homeschooling laws are around the world? Here are the current lists of countries that have outlawed homeschooling and those that have passed laws that make it virtually impossible, along with those who legally allow homeschooling for their citizens.
The following countries have explicitly forbidden homeschooling in their national laws with no exceptions:
- Bosnia and Herz
- El Salvador
- San Marino
- Trinidad and Tobago
The following countries allow very limited homeschooling, with severe restrictions:
- Bulgaria (illegal except for children with special needs, and then under strict government control)
- Estonia (allowed in "exceptional cases")
- Germany (the only exception being where continued school attendance would create undue hardship for an individual child)
- Iceland (only if the homeschooling parents have teaching certificates)
- Luxembourg (legal only for primary school age)
- Netherlands (only legal if parents cannot find a school fitting their beliefs in their area)
- Romania (only when children are disabled or have special needs, and then under the supervision of an accredited teacher)
- Slovak Republic (only by an accredited tutor and only to grade 4)
- Sweden (illegal except under exceptional circumstances but these are virtually never approved; the government has threatened, fined and removed children from homeschooling parents)
The following countries have declared that homeschooling is legal, at least temporarily. There may be severe oversights and restrictions.
- Austria (instruction must be equal to that of the state school)
- Belgium (with testing at 8, 10, 12 and 14)
- Canada (each province and territory has its own policies, with varying levels of regulation)
- Colombia (regulated by Ministry of Education, students must pass tests to be admitted to college)
- Czech Republic (currently allowed with restrictions as part of an experiment, up to 9th grade)
- Finland (written and oral examinations to check on progress are mandatory)
- France (with mandatory inspections)
- Hungary (every homeschooled child must be supervised by an authorized school and pass annual exams)
- Kenya (though homeschooling is now in jeopardy)
- New Zealand
- Peru (prior registration with the Ministerio de Educación is required)
- Poland (must be supervised by an authorized school and pass annual exams)
- Russia (students are attached to local schools and must pass periodic appraisals of their work)
- Slovenia (students must "enroll" in local schools and pass annual tests in various subjects)
- South Africa (though many parents do not register because of legalities)
- Switzerland (legal in most but not all cantons, some are quite restrictive)
- United Kingdom
- United States (various restrictions and regulations apply, varying by state)
Some countries do not address homeschooling at all in their laws or have very ambiguous laws. Some examples of these are:
- Japan (there are ambiguous laws, though more and more students are not in school)
- Monaco (no known laws)
- Spain (legal according to the constitution but illegal according to education law, currently considered illegal)
- Ukraine (the law seems to support homeschooling but it is often disputed by local authorities)
Other countries have made homeschooling technically illegal but they do not typically prosecute. Examples of these are:
- China (homeschooling is illegal for national citizens but schools are not always free and the large numbers of migrant workers mean that school attendance is almost never checked)
- Hong Kong (it is officially illegal but the government does not typically issue a school attendance order)
It is important to note that most countries' home education laws only apply to their citizens. Therefore, military families and foreign visitors are not typically obligated to follow local education laws.
See Wikipedia's Homeschooling international status and statistics for more information on some individual countries and their home education laws.