Homeschooling is legal in many countries. Countries with the most prevalent home education movements include Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Some countries have highly regulated home education programs as an extension of the compulsory school system; others, such as Germany, have outlawed it entirely.
Homeschooling is illegal in Germany with rare exceptions.Parents violating the law have primarily or most prominently been Christians seeking a more religious education than that offered by the schools. Sanctions against these parents have included fines of thousands of euros, successful legal actions to remove children from the parents’ custody, and prison sentences. It has been estimated that 600 to 1,000 German children are homeschooled, despite its illegality. In January 2010, a United States immigration judge granted asylum to a German homeschooling family, apparently based on this ban on homeschooling.
Why would Germany do this? Their primary reason is to ensure that Germany does not lag behind other countries when it comes to the education of their youth.
In September 2006, the European Court of Human Rights upheld the German ban on homeschooling, stating “parents may not refuse… [compulsory schooling] on the basis of their convictions”, and adding that the right to education “calls for regulation by the State”. The European Court took the position that the plaintiffs were the children, not their parents, and declared “children are unable to foresee the consequences of their parents’ decision for home education because of their young age…. Schools represent society, and it is in the children’s interest to become part of that society. The parents’ right to educate does not go as far as to deprive their children of that experience.”