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November 22, 2010

Spain Holds First National Congress on Homeschooling

Spain's first national congress on homeschooling was held in October.
Families from across Spain attend the country’s first national congress on homeschooling.

“A great success!” That’s how homeschooling mother of 10 Arantza Diez-Zearsolo described the first national congress on homeschooling held in her native country of Spain from October 22–23, 2010. The conference brought together a wide array of speakers—including scholars from a number of Spanish universities, regional education officials, and homeschool support group leaders—who shared their expertise in four separate panel discussions over two days. Roundtable discussions also highlighted the experience of veteran homeschool parents, such as Diez-Zearsolo.

“Homeschooling is beginning to gain momentum and arouse interest in Spain,” Diez-Zearsolo explains. She gave a moving account of the realities of homeschooling in Spain, motivating current homeschoolers in the audience.

During the conference, Spanish homeschoolers developed 10 fundamental points on homeschooling and the family. Attendees affirmed a parent’s right to choose the best form of education for a child and rejected attempts by the state to “usurp” the natural role of the family in education. Supporters of homeschooling are not “attack[ing] the public schools.” Instead, they say homeschooling will help by giving parents more options and saving system resources towards programs to help students.

Conference attendees called on the Spanish government to officially recognize homeschooling as a valid educational option and to refrain from penalizing parents who choose to exercise their right to direct the education of their children.

The Spanish Constitution and education laws lend themselves to a favorable view of homeschooling. Article 27 of the constitution states it is the right of parents to have their children receive “religious and moral formation in keeping with their own convictions.” Yet many homeschool families encounter trouble from local authorities. More than 500 families homeschool in the Valencia region of Spain, where the first national congress took place. Many in the homeschool community would like to see a good homeschool law passed to better protect the rights of parents.

The Spanish daily paper Las Provincias reports that homeschooling is “booming” in Spain and has attracted families from across the strata of Spanish society. In recent years, the positive homeschool experience in other European countries and the United States, as well as concern about growing secularization, has caused thousands of Spaniards to consider educating their children at home.

 Other Resources

To find out more about the conference, please visit the InterAmerican Foundation of Science and Life (ULIA) (Spanish).

View HSLDA’s Spain page.