Compulsory Education Age
7–16 (for children who are 7 years old by October 1)
Estimated Number of Homeschoolers
Less than 100
Homeschooling is allowed in accordance with the regulations adopted by the Ministry of Education and Research (Art. 23 BGS). According to Koduōppe ja haiglaōppe tingimused ja kord, adopted and enforced in 2010, there are two types of homeschooling:
- homeschooling resulting from a medical necessity, and
- homeschooling resulting from parental wishes.
In both cases a parent can apply for homeschooling stating relevant reasons.
In the first case, the counseling committee makes a recommendation (Regulation, Art. 2 (3)), while the decision itself is made by the head of the school. An ordinance issued by the Ministry of Education, Procedures for home schooling (83,
RTL 2008, 3, 27), stipulates the requirements for homeschooling. Parents are required to apply to homeschool annually at the school where their child is registered. The school is to give homeschooled students assessments at least once a semester;
if a student's knowledge does not meet requirements set out in the national curriculum, he will be required to return to school.
The school is responsible for arranging the homeschooling in the case of the medical necessity, and the schooling is publicly funded. The school, in cooperation with the parent, provides an individual work plan for the student, which takes into account
the suggestions made by doctors and the counseling committee. This type of homeschooling can take place at all school levels, including gymnasium.
In the second type of homeschooling the parent needs to state the reasons for homeschooling and name the person who is going to carry out the teaching (Regulation, Art. 5 (2)). The law does not specify what kind of reasons should be given, nor does it say the reasons need to be substantial or backed up with evidence. The parent is responsible for managing and financing the homeschooling. He or she is also responsible for the quality and results of teaching. The school provides books and other materials needed to cover the school curriculum (Art. 6 (1)).
Homeschooling is conducted in co-operation with the relevant school. The emphasis seems to be not on the reasons for homeschooling but on the quality, which can be assured in co-operation with the school, making sure that individual work plans and obligatory
curriculum are followed. There have been no known cases in practice indicating a conflict of interest in this regard yet. The school’s teachers’ council can terminate the homeschooling if, during the assessment arranged by the school twice
a year, it appears that the student has significant deficiencies in achieving results specified in his/her individual work plan/curriculum (Regulation, Art. 8).
MTU Eesti Koduõppe Keskus
The Estonian Centre for Home Education
Contact: Ingrid Vooglaid