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Yes, I would like to travel more or even be a Perpetual Tourist, but I have kids and they have to go to school. Well, it turns out that you do have options… There is a way to move around the world with children, an educational alternative for your kids that does allow for geographical mobility.

Of course, there are different solutions to the problem, but it turns out that one of them allows you to stop being totally dependent on schools, strict timetables and even the state.

This is what homeschooling offers. With homeschooling, classes are taught by parents or tutors at home.

Although in practice it is forbidden in Spain (despite there are big differences between Autonomous Communities) and in other countries, homeschooling is an alternative to traditional education and is legally recognised in several countries.

Of course, as we said, homeschooling is not the only option you have if you want to be mobile, but it is undoubtedly the one that gives you the most flexibility. Another interesting option can be to take your children to international schools that are present in the different parts of the world you want to visit and that have the same curriculum in all countries.

But let us take a closer look at what homeschooling is all about.

Legal situation of homeschooling in the world

In general, countries have four different ways of dealing with homeschooling. The first is to make it illegal, which means that if you live in such a country, you will have to enrol your children in an official school.

The second option is the grey zone: in certain countries there is no explicit ban, but it is not openly allowed either.

The third group is countries where home schooling is legalised and – contrary to the grey zone countries – legally protected, but heavily regulated by the state.

Finally, there are countries where home schooling is not only permitted, but where there is very little regulation.

In general, English-speaking countries have legislation favourable to homeschooling: both the United Kingdom, its former colonies and most of the British Commonwealth countries. In fact, among the countries discussed below are several that have emerged from the British tradition.

Countries favourable to homeschooling

Honduras

The recent change of government in Honduras has brought some legal uncertainties to the country, especially regarding the status of semi-autonomous special economic zones (SEZs).

However, homeschooling has legal status in Honduras by virtue of two articles of the Honduran Constitution. The first is Article 152, which states that “parents have the right to choose the type of education they want to give their children”.

On the other hand, Article 156 states that “the level of formal education shall be determined by the corresponding laws”. In other words, the state is in charge of regulating the functioning of home education.

In that sense, parents have two options for educating their children at home in this country.

The first is for parents themselves to devise the curricula and choose the subjects and books to be used. They will have to register the grades with the local education department. However, this can be done through so-called umbrella schools: private institutions in charge of registering grades and certificates, and admitting students.

The second method of homeschooling accepted by the state is to use accredited schools. Many Hondurans use accredited online schools abroad for this purpose. These include umbrella schools such as those mentioned above, most of which are registered in the United States.

Uruguay

Uruguay is already listed in our Emigration Encyclopedia as an excellent alternative for those looking to pay less taxes, but the country has also taken a more pro-homeschooling stance in recent years.

Until 2020, Uruguay had legislation similar to Brazil’s, which prohibited homeschooling. However, this year it amended its General Education Law (Ley General de Educación), making homeschooling a viable and legal educational option.

There is no clear regulation on how homeschooling should be implemented in the country, but Article 37 of the law establishes the right to “non-formal education”. This implies acceptance of educational models that are not based on traditional schooling.

According to the law, the Ministry of Education and Culture is responsible for registering non-formal education institutions and establishing guidelines for this type of education.

Colombia

In Colombia, there is still no clear regulation regarding homeschooling. However, the practice is not prohibited, as there is jurisprudence in the form of Decree 2.832 of 2005.

Article 1 of this decree is clear, and gives the state the power to “regulate the validation of formal education qualifications in cases where the student can prove that he or she has acquired the knowledge, skills and competencies in each of the compulsory and basic areas established for basic education qualifications and academic secondary education”.

In this way, classes can be taught at home if the pupil then takes a test to verify his or her knowledge. This test works in a similar way to the General Education Development System (GED) in the United States, which awards a high school diploma to students who pass all four tests.

There are also some institutions in the country that work to spread homeschooling, such as Rhema Homeschool.

United States

The United States is by far the most archetypal example of a state that allows homeschooling, as the practice is widespread. Throughout the country, there is great freedom in terms of teaching, organisations and educational models.

According to the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), approximately 2.5 million Americans homeschool or are homeschooled. The number is greater than the sum of all other countries that legally allow this practice, and greater than the population of many countries on the continent.

Of the 51 states that make up the country, 31 have little or no regulation regarding homeschooling. Only 5 states (New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Rhode Island and Massachusetts) have strict rules for homeschooling. Here are the most attractive states for homeschooling your children.

By the way, if your country has compulsory schooling requirements for your children and you are very interested in moving to the United States, you may be pleased to know that there are families (German, for example) who have been able to settle legally in the United States as refugees or asylum seekers. In these cases it was deemed that the right of parents to choose an education for their children had to be protected against state diktat (in Germany they take the obligation to send children to school very seriously and impose severe fines and penalties on parents who do not send their children to school).

Florida (United States)

Florida’s sunny climate, beautiful beaches, affordable cost of living and flexible gun laws make it one of the most attractive destinations for those looking to settle in the United States. The state also enjoys a good reputation for those interested in setting up a business there.

The flexibility of its laws also applies to homeschooling, as the state does not impose any educational or qualification requirements on parents. Nor does it require COVID-19 testing or mandatory vaccinations.

For legal homeschooling, parents can choose between two different models. The freest form is the “Homeschooling Statute”, according to which it is sufficient to submit an application to the district school board stating the intention to educate children at home.

The second model is to enrol the child in a public school, but to teach at home. Finally, parents also have the option of hiring a tutor for the classes.

The only “requirement” is that parents must keep a record of the content taught to their children, but only if you are in the Homeschooling Statute.

Students must also undergo an annual assessment by a state-approved centre or teacher.

Texas

Homeschooling legislation in Texas is somewhat more lax than in Florida. The Texas system imposes a minimum syllabus of subjects, and a written curriculum that parents must follow.

In this case, all four subjects are compulsory:

  • Mathematics
  • Reading
  • Spelling and grammar
  • A “citizenship” course (something like “civics”).

In return, parents are not obliged to make any notification or registration with the state. Other subjects can be chosen freely.

Portugal

The lowest cost of living in Western Europe, a pleasant climate and a special taxation regime that even allows tax exemption are some of the factors that make Portugal a very attractive place to live. The country also has legislation that allows homeschooling.

The country has had laws on homeschooling since 1949, but the most recent update dates back to 2019 under Decree No. 69/2019.

This decree established the conditions for home education and its implementation. According to the text, homeschooling is divided into two options:

  • Homeschooling provided by the family members themselves or by someone who lives with the pupil; or
  • Private tuition by a teacher chosen by the family and duly authorised by the State, who will come to the home and conduct the classes.

In both cases, parents must enrol their children in a Portuguese school. The family members or the teacher must possess certain skills and be at least one educational level above the child’s level.

Serbia

A country with an affordable cost of living and flight connections to all of Europe: Serbia is a good choice for stateless people, digital nomads and all types of travellers.

Serbia has also legalised homeschooling through its Primary Education Law. Article 8 of this law states that:

“[The] parent or guardian has the right to choose primary education for their child in a public or publicly owned school, i.e. distance school education.”

Article 38 of the law sets out the conditions under which parents are allowed to educate at home. Parents must ensure that their kids meet specified objectives, outcomes and performance standards.

However, in some cases, homeschooling is only allowed for pupils who have special needs and cannot attend school. In other cases, parents are usually encouraged to enrol their children in regular schools.

Philippines

Homeschooling is also allowed in the Philippines.

Although the Philippine Constitution states in Article 15, Section 1 (2) that the country “shall establish and maintain a system of free public education at the elementary and secondary levels”, the key is an addition to the same article: “without limiting the natural right of parents to educate their children”.

In 1997, the Philippine Department of Education (DepEd) introduced the “Home Education Program”, which sets the guidelines for home education. The country also has the “Alternative Learning System” (ALS), a system that targets youth and adults who prefer home-based education.

Students in the education programme receive the same textbooks that are taught in schools for all subjects. Teachers provide all pupils with weekly subjects and exams. Finally, the system provides mentoring sessions between teachers and students on Saturdays to clarify doubts.

New Zealand

According to the Fraser Institute’s Index of Economic Freedom, New Zealand is the third freest country in the world, with an attractive tax system and great freedom in education.

Although schooling is compulsory in the country, you can obtain a permit to educate your children at home. The permit is obtained from the local Ministry of Education, which issues an exemption certificate to the family.

In addition to the statutory provisions, the country has an effective system of distance learning offered by Te Kura, New Zealand’s largest educational institution. Founded in 1922, Te Kura offers English and Maori classes that students can take at home.

Te Kura’s syllabus is available through a variety of IT-means, such as email and online classes. In addition, the school also offers the option of attending face-to-face classes. Enrolment is done directly through the school’s website.

Italy

Some time ago, we blogged about Italy and its three tax benefit schemes that are particularly favourable for foreigners. Under Italian law, homeschooling is permitted and clearly regulated in the country’s own Constitution.

According to articles 30 and 33 of the Italian Constitution, parents have the duty and the right to support, teach and educate their children. In this sense, two legislations guarantee the right to education at home:

  • the Legislative Decree of 16 April 1994 on public education (DL 16/4/94 N. 297), articles, 111, 147 and 148; and
  • the updated Decree Law of 19 February 2004 on primary education (DL 19/2/04 N. 59).

The 1994 decree directly regulates the practice of homeschooling and establishes the rules for taking advantage of it. In order to teach their children at home, parents must inform the Italian school authorities (Dirigenti Scolastici).

Parents have the right to set the curriculum or to appoint a tutor. In both cases, the parent must demonstrate the “technical” or “economic” ability to provide their children with the education needed.

In any case, schools tend to view the homeschooling option with considerable suspicion, and do not support parents and pupils who choose it.

Bonus: Brazil

For many years, Brazil completely banned homeschooling throughout the country. However, as of 2020, legislation has been relaxed and laws have been passed in several states.

In 2018 the Federal Court (STF) recognised the constitutionality of carrying out homeschooling. Following this decision, several bills have been drafted to regulate homeschooling in each state.

Distrito Federal (DF) was the first region in the country to regulate homeschooling, in December 2020. The law stipulates that parents and guardians who wish to homeschool their children must register with the DF Ministry of Education. The ministry will also evaluate students on a regular basis.

Then it was the turn of the state of Paraná, which introduced a regulation on homeschooling in September 2021. This regulation stipulates that parents must present an educational project that includes social interaction activities for their children.

The evaluation of students will also be carried out by the State Secretariat of Education. Parents who have been convicted of domestic violence in court are not eligible for this educational method.

Finally, other states already have initiatives led by liberal politicians, such as Santa Catarina. In Rio Grande do Sul, the law was approved by the Assembly but vetoed by the governor. At a national level, there is bill 3262/19, which aims to regulate homeschooling throughout the country and is strongly supported by the most liberal politicians in Congress.

Conclusion

As you can see, you do not have to limit yourself to one model of life or education for your children. There are many options and alternatives all over the world, each with its own characteristics and adapted to different needs.

Of course, there are many more countries where you can practice homeschooling and at the same time not pay taxes, especially if you are a foreigner. You can do it in Panama, Emirates, Malaysia, Ireland, UK, Chile… And, of course, if you are a Perpetual Tourist, you can move around the world without having to report to anyone.

Anyway, if you want to know which is the best country to make the most of your life and raise your children as you deem appropriate, you can book a consultation with us.

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