We are often asked about the regulations and legality of home schooling in Germany.  The answer depends on each family’s situation.  Also, the information provided on this website is not intended as legal advice and should not be construed as such.

Those Affiliated with the United States Military

If you will be associated with the U.S. Military, covered under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the U.S. and Germany, then home schooling is very simple. There are no requirements for reporting or regulations that restrict the freedoms of home schoolers. No testing, no forms, no oversight. The post youth center and DoDDS school programs are available to augment your home education if you so desire.  If you are interested in reading the regulations, please see the links to the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) web site that are listed below.  

But is it legal?

U.S. Citizens NOT Associated with the DoD

If you are not associated with the military, things are not as simple.  German law makes it practically illegal to home school. However, exceptions are granted.

If you are Americans here for legitimate civilian work on a temporary basis, home schooling during your stay is possible. We have had several families in this situation during the past few years and they chose one or both of the following options. The first was to just begin quietly home schooling and plan to explain it if confronted. This option has worked in all cases we know of but in more and more cases families are being called on to explain themselves which leads to the second option. The second approach is to write a letter or visit with the local school officials, explaining that you are here for only X years, and that you don’t want your children to fall behind in their English-speaking education. Families choosing this option gave the authorities a brief explanation of their course of study along with the assurance that this is a normal and legitimate educational choice for U.S. Citizens. Many also showed the officials evidence of the laws governing them in their home state and proof of the manner in which they would continue to comply with those laws while in Germany. No one we know of has had any problem with this approach either.

You can expect to be questioned by neighbors and German friends about why your children are not attending school. Most will accept that your child is studying at home since you are only here temporarily; and don’t want your children to fall behind. However, for the most part Germans do not understand the concept of ongoing home schooling at all, so keeping a low profile regarding your heart-for-home schooling sentiments will probably save unnecessary scrutiny.

HSLDA’s interpretation of the laws and policies pertaining to the home schooling of military dependents assigned overseas.

Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) policy statement regarding home schooling.

“The amount and intensity of parents’ involvement in their children’s lives through the grades K - 12 are the two most important factors (in a child’s academic success.”

Bob Slavin, Ph.D.,

Chairman of Success for All Foundation

German Citizens & Others

For information on home schooling in Germany for non-U.S. citizens please visit: HSLDA.

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