Compulsory Education Age
5–16 years old
Section 24 (1) of the Education Act, recognizes both the responsibility and the rights of parents: “It shall be the duty of the parents of every child of compulsory school age to cause him to receive full-time education suitable to his age, ability and aptitude, by regular attendance at school or otherwise”. Homeschooling, as a mode of education delivery, falls under the category of “otherwise”. According to a document issued by the Ministry of Education, a homeschool is a private home in which a parent/legal guardian assumes responsibility for the educational instruction of his/her child or ward. Subsequently, homeschooling refers to parents or legal guardians who ensure that their children are educated by voluntarily assuming the responsibility for their tuition and instruction offered principally in the home environment.
What is permitted in homeschooling:
- The use of tutors within the home environment to support the instruction provided by the parent practitioner;
- implementation of flexible hours of instruction as long as a minimum of 25 hours of instruction is achieved during the week for a period of at least 36 weeks per year;
- the inclusion of other activities away from the home-site, such as field trips, tutoring sessions, social interaction activities, etc.; and
- participation in selected national competitions (including events such as the National Spelling Bee).
Ministry of Education examples of what is not permitted in homeschooling:
- Leaving children at home unsupervised (even if they are given academic assignments);
- keeping a child away from school to engage primarily in employment or the care of another (e.g. the sick, the elderly, or the young);
- sending a child to an individual (not related) who assumes the primary responsibility for his/her educational instruction;
- sending a child to a school called Homeschool or Homeschooling or one that claims to offer a homeschooling curriculum; or
- arranging for most of the instruction received by a child to be delivered by a team of tutors outside the home environment.
The Ministry of Education further posts that homeschool parent practitioners are required to register their child(ren).
Registration forms can be collected at the office of the National Accreditation and Equivalency Council of The Bahamas (NAECOB), RND Plaza, during normal business hours, or online at www.ministryofeducationbahamas.com.
For further information from The Bahamas Government, please contact the Home-Schooling Unit at 328-8873.