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September 26, 2016

Homeschooling Legalized; Strings Attached

By Peter Porumbachanov

Attendees at a 2016 homeschool conference in Sofia
Attendees at a 2016 homeschool conference in Sofia

On the August 1, 2016, a new law concerning preschool and school education was passed in Bulgaria. The new law includes a so-called “individual” form of education, which allows families to educate their children at home—provided that they follow the government educational policy. Moreover, state demands control over families educating their children at home.

For many homeschool families, this law is unacceptable, as it does not allow them to follow their own teaching methods or choose a form of education that corresponds to their philosophical and religious views. Still, there are many families for whom the new law is an opportunity to school their children at home. These families have no issue with following the government-approved educational standard, because this allows them to receive a Bulgarian diploma, therefore making it easy for them to apply to Bulgarian and European universities.

A specific problem remains for the homeschool students who have no desire to follow the government educational policies, as they are still denied driver’s licenses. This is a clear form of discrimination by the state towards its own citizens.

Meanwhile, in early September, the Bulgarian Homeschool Association will organize its 11th National Conference. Many families will gather there from all over the country. We even have two homeschool families from Poland visiting! Over the last 11 years, the Bulgarian Homeschool Association has organized and hosted many conferences and seminars—three alone during the recent months of 2016. Two of the speakers at our last seminar were none other than two of our very own homeschooled graduates: Georgi Porumbachanov and Dariel Kremov. Georgi and Dariel are 20-year-old young men who are among the first fruit of Bulgarian homeschooling. Their testimony concerning the success of homeschooling in Bulgaria is important and profound. Georgi Porumbachanov has received university invitations to continue his education in the United States, while Dariel Kremov is a mentor within the international company “Google” and is already working for a Bulgarian software company.

Bulgarian homeschool grad Georgi Porumbachanov
Bulgarian homeschool grad Georgi Porumbachanov

Thanks to the work of the Bulgarian Homeschool Association, dozens of families have begun to homeschool their children. And the number keeps on growing! When the homeschool movement in Bulgaria began, there were no more than five homeschool families—now there are well over 300.

Over the past year, the Association started a publicity initiative and began to publish an interesting series of articles, each written by a different homeschooling family telling their story. Thousands of people in Bulgaria read these articles, and this has helped increase the popularity of homeschooling and the prestige of the Bulgarian Homeschool Association. In these articles, the homeschool families tell of their teaching methods, of their successes and of the difficulties that they meet in the educational process. What is certain is that this series has encouraged many families in Bulgaria who are still considering whether to homeschool.

During its short 11 years of history, the Bulgarian Homeschool Association has achieved considerable progress. We have been acknowledged as an authority by the public, we have given dozens of interviews, made a documentary film about homeschooling, we are constantly sought out by parents that wish to start homeschooling, and we are continuing to organize conferences and seminars, on the subject, every year. With God’s grace we will continue our work, because we know, from personal experience, that homeschooling is the best way to help raise and foster good character within a child.

Peter Porumbachanov is a homeschool father and chairman of the Bulgarian Homeschool Association.

 Other resources

Learn more by visiting HSLDA’s Bulgaria page.