Is Homeschooling Illegal in Germany? Learn The Surprising Truth!

Yes, homeschooling is illegal in Germany. German law mandates that all children aged six to 16 must attend public school. Though the Nazis started the strict prohibition of homeschooling back in 1938, Germany is still practicing the law to this day. However, military and civilian sponsors with the status of forces agreement (SOFA) status can choose to homeschool their kids.

This is the concise answer. To learn details about why homeschooling is illegal in Germany and other relevant factors, explore the whole article.

Key Takeaways

  • Homeschooling has been illegal in Germany since 1938. Though the Nazis started the prohibition, Germany is still following this law.
  • Military and civilian sponsors who have the status of forces agreement (SOFA) status are exempt from the law and can conduct homeschooling.
  • The regulations against homeschooling are mostly in practice because the government thinks to receive a proper education, the children need a traditional academic setting.
  • Similar to Germany, European nations such as Sweden, Greece, Bulgaria, and Turkey do not allow homeschooling. On the other hand, homeschooling is legal in countries such as Belgium, France, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. 

Why Is Homeschooling Illegal In Germany?

In Germany, homeschooling is illegal because obligatory schooling was enforced in 1938. After that, the law has been preserved in several state constitutions.

Is Homeschooling Illegal in Germany

To know details on how this law came to be, we need to deep dive into the dark history of Germany. 

In the past, Germany played a significant role in establishing some of Europe’s first public schools in the 1500s, largely supported by Martin Luther. 

However, homeschooling persisted well into the 1900s. It started to decline when mandatory schooling laws were introduced in 1918 during the time of the Weimar Republic. 

Despite this, homeschooling remained legal and was primarily practiced by wealthier families until 1938. This is the time when the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, also known as the Nazis, took control of the country.

In the first section of the law on Compulsory Education in the German Reich, the Nazis banned homeschooling. They saw homeschooling as unpatriotic, a threat to the state’s identity, and a means to produce less loyal citizens. 

To this day, Germany maintains strict bans on homeschooling, resulting in numerous legal actions against parents. These actions have led to fines, the removal of children from their parents’ custody, and even imprisonment.

Many people still believe that homeschooled children miss out on certain things like sports or socializing because they spend more time studying. 

However, recent studies have shown that “Homeschooling provides an environment in which children can learn social skills more effectively than they would in a traditional school setting.”

Who Is Eligible for Homeschooling In Germany?

Only military and civilian sponsors with the status of forces agreement (SOFA) status are eligible for homeschooling in Germany. 

So, many families within the military community opt for homeschooling as their preferred method of educating their children.

If you have been homeschooling your child or are considering it, your first step should be to contact your child’s Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) school. Additionally, Child and Youth Services can offer you extra resources such as websites.

However, if you don’t have SOFA status, you must follow German rules which require children of a certain age to physically attend school.

Can Expats Homeschool In Germany?

No, you cannot homeschool as an expat in Germany. While many expats opt to educate their children at home while living abroad, it is not possible in Germany. 

Although many parents homeschool their children for flexibility and adaptability, it’s essential to consider the legal and educational landscape of the host country. 

In Germany, the government emphasizes compulsory school attendance as a means to ensure a standard education for all children.

This strict stance on homeschooling reflects differences in cultural and educational perspectives among different countries. 

Some countries, like Germany, prioritize a state-regulated education system, while others place more emphasis on parental choice and flexibility in educating their children.

Is Homeschooling Illegal In Europe?

In addition to Germany, homeschooling is illegal in the following countries: Bulgaria, Montenegro, Sweden, San Marino, Greece, Croatia, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Andorra, Turkey, and Albania.

However, there are many other countries that widely support homeschooling. Some of these countries are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Finland, Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. 

For example, the homeschooling law of France requires that parents need to ask for permission from the local authorities and undergo an annual assessment.

Therefore, among the 44 countries in Europe, laws regarding homeschooling vary significantly. Some nations permit homeschooling without any specific regulations or limitations, while others have made homeschooling entirely illegal.

Why Is Homeschooling Illegal In Some Countries?

In most cases, the bans or regulations against homeschooling are enforced because the government feels that children need to be in a formal educational setting to receive a proper education.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Western nations and eventually the world introduced public education systems. They came with rules that required kids to go to public school. 

During this time, the idea was that it was the government’s job to educate kids, and parents had to send them to school. This way of thinking is still common in many countries today.

Each country has specific regulations about how they address the homeschooling of children.

For instance, in Sweden, kids must go to school starting at age 6. Back in 2009, the police took a boy away from his parents because they were teaching him at home. In 2010, Sweden made a new rule that made it harder to homeschool. 

While the German government’s stance on homeschooling may seem extreme, they are not the only country with bans or restrictions. As mentioned above, European countries such as Sweden, Norway, and Belgium also have prohibitions or restrictions on homeschooling. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Which Country Has The Highest Number Of Homeschoolers?

The United States has the highest number of homeschooled children. Data from 2019 indicated that there were 2.5 million homeschooled kids in the United States. Other countries with significant numbers of homeschooled children include Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

Is Online School Legal In Germany?

Yes, online school is legal in Germany. Many schools and universities in the country offer online courses to students. So, students who prefer to learn at their own pace can apply for these courses.

Can Kids Skip School In Germany?

Kids cannot skip school in Germany without obtaining permission from the school’s headteacher. So, parents can be subject to fines if they remove their children from school without showing a valid reason. In some cases, repeat offenders may even face legal prosecution.


In summary, homeschooling is illegal in Germany. The country enforces compulsory school attendance laws, requiring children to attend public school from ages six to 16. This strict stance on homeschooling reflects the government’s commitment to ensuring a standardized education for all children.

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