Navigating the Spanish school system is no small feat, especially if there is a language barrier to overcome and you plan to homeschool.
Homeschooling, in particular, is a bit of a gray area in Spain. In the Spanish Constitution, the freedom of education is recognized, but on the other hand, there are no national regulations for home education.
Home schooling is very common in many countries like the UK and the US and families choose it for many cultural, religious and logistical reasons, however, this is not the case for Spain .
Spanish law stipulates that all children between the ages of six and sixteen must attend an officially recognized educational center, starting in the calendar year in which they turn six years old. Parents who do not respect this rule expose themselves to a fine from the Ministry of Education.
Although this law applies to the whole of Spain, it only seems to apply to permanent residents of Spain.
Home schooling can be an attractive option for many expats as they help their children transition to a new culture in Spain. In most homeschooling countries there are extensive networks that parents can join for advice and guidance on what to do, however, as there are only a small minority homeschoolers in Spain, there are also fewer resources available.
As a result of the pandemic and for very different reasons, many families have decided to withdraw their sons and daughters from the school system in Spain, which has made the administrations react and, in some cases, more harshly towards the families.
Home schooling is authorized in certain cases if the parents ask for a special authorization for the home schooling of their children. This is generally granted to children receiving an education, such as a high-level sports education, which makes it extremely difficult to attend school.
The biggest challenge families face is leaving the school system, as there is no set path for this process. This situation may eventually lead to legal action against the family, which could result in a school attendance order. Yet there are families who do not experience such difficulties, and there is a small but active homeschooling community in different parts of the country.
Alternatively, you can arrange “distance learning” through a government approved institute, they offer courses for Primaria and Secundaria education online, you can take the exams in Spain or abroad.
There are many useful resources available online for parents interested in homeschooling in Spain. Organizations such as the Free Education Association ‘Asociation for free education’ (ALE) provide information on homeschooling children and understanding the laws surrounding it in Spain. You can also seek advice from an English-speaking lawyer, local homeschooling communities or the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) in Spain.
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