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Old 27.11.2016, 18:22
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Homeschooling in Switzerland

Hi, My nephew (15) is being home-schooled in the UK by my sister & brother-in-law, and (as far as I know!) is doing his GCEs next summer, I think about five of them. I was also weighing up this idea for my own two, in Bern canton. My sister's experience seems to have been very positive, working with online programmes etc. at home, and I would be interested in knowing what information or experience people here have about Switzerland - such as pitfalls or legal requirements or things to look out for. Perhaps nothing will come of it, but I thought it worth considering at least. (I know it's pretty typical in the US and increasingly so in the UK, but I always had the impression it's frowned upon in continental Europe, perhaps I'm totally wrong there).
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Old 27.11.2016, 18:26
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Re: Homeschooling in Switzerland

No offence intended, but I'll never understand home schooling if you are somewhere with a suitable school system. Do you not want your kids to gain social skills and have friends?
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Old 27.11.2016, 18:26
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Re: Homeschooling in Switzerland

It varies from canton to canton like a lot if things here. In some cantons homeschooling is not allowed, in some it's allowed if the person doing the schooling is a qualified teacher and in others it's allowed but there will be inspections to make sure certain criteria are met.
I am not sure which category Bern fits into.

There is a Facebook group dedicated to homeschooling in Switzerland which may be helpful for you.
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Old 27.11.2016, 18:27
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Re: Homeschooling in Switzerland

You might find some answers and ideas in these threads:

http://www.englishforum.ch/search2.php?q=homeschool
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Old 27.11.2016, 18:42
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Re: Homeschooling in Switzerland

http://www.bildungzuhause.ch/en/practical-info.html

Last edited by marischi; 27.11.2016 at 18:54.
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Old 27.11.2016, 19:06
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Re: Homeschooling in Switzerland

If your location is Fribourg (I assume not Freiburg in Germany), how can you homeschool in Bern canton?

I'm with Island Monkey, I can't really see the point especially if your kids are moving to another country and need to start afresh making friends, etc.
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Old 27.11.2016, 19:22
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Re: Homeschooling in Switzerland

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It varies from canton to canton like a lot if things here. In some cantons homeschooling is not allowed, in some it's allowed if the person doing the schooling is a qualified teacher and in others it's allowed but there will be inspections to make sure certain criteria are met.
I am not sure which category Bern fits into.

There is a Facebook group dedicated to homeschooling in Switzerland which may be helpful for you.
Bern definitely allows home schooling & the person teaching does not need to be qualified. I know someone who moved from Luzern to Bern for this very reason.
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Old 27.11.2016, 19:39
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Re: Homeschooling in Switzerland

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No offence intended, but I'll never understand home schooling if you are somewhere with a suitable school system. Do you not want your kids to gain social skills and have friends?
Indeed, home-schooling only has negative connotations to me.

Tom
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Old 27.11.2016, 19:43
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Re: Homeschooling in Switzerland

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Bern definitely allows home schooling & the person teaching does not need to be qualified. I know someone who moved from Luzern to Bern for this very reason.
This from a 2014 thread on the subject referring to Bern canton:

"Actually, it is allowed, but you have to have a teacher sponsoring you. The teacher doesn't have to instruct your kids personally, but they have to sign to be an "advice" person. You do have to state your reasons for homeschooling on the form. You need the signature/support of a teacher, and the Schulinspektorin comes once a year to look at what you've done in the last year."
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Old 27.11.2016, 19:56
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Re: Homeschooling in Switzerland

I do not think that being only taught by your parents is the right way to make a kid fit for life.

The websites about homeschooling are so full of ego and knowing better and telling everybody how much better they are, I can't stand it.

The world is diverse and you have to be exposed to different experiences and different life plans than only those your parents have. You have to learn to be exposed to people who do not share the life plan of your parents.
Parents are teachers anyway, they educate and ideally give their children a wide scope of experiences the school cannot and will not give them.

I'm not denying that homeschooling can be very successful, too. But good homeschooling also includes contacts to other children, partaking in the social life of society around. This needs careful planning of conscientous parents.

The home -schoolers I know are quite complicated people - no school they choose could do their wonderful kids justice. Maybe the schools were better off without them :-)

But children are also resourceful - if homeschooled or not, they will grow up, do it their way and become happy or unhappy people :-)
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Old 27.11.2016, 21:03
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Re: Homeschooling in Switzerland

Homeschooling is possible in canton Bern. I have a friend who homeschools her daughter and meets up with other like-minded families once or twice a week in the city of Bern.

Another friend's husband who is a teacher is involved with a group that is establishing a free school - whatever that means. We sent our boys to a Steiner preschool. Maybe another possibility that might be a fit for your family. So there are options out there for those that choose not to go the conventional roste.

At this point we are very happy with the public school our kids attend. It was a rough beginning and we may not always agree with the teachers' methods and opinions but in the end the advantages greatly outweigh the disadvantages. (I would never have the patience to have my kids around me 24/7. Worked well until the age of around three but after that a little break was welcome. )
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Old 28.11.2016, 06:29
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Re: Homeschooling in Switzerland

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It was a rough beginning and we may not always agree with the teachers' methods a
Teachers may also not always agree with the parents methods, I can tell you that as a fact. And they discuss it between themselves, too :-)
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Old 28.11.2016, 08:35
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Re: Homeschooling in Switzerland

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Teachers may also not always agree with the parents methods, I can tell you that as a fact. And they discuss it between themselves, too :-)
Not doubting that
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Old 28.11.2016, 09:15
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Re: Homeschooling in Switzerland

I was homeschooled. Loved it. Extremely positive experience.
A close friend of mine, homeschooled by parents with very similar ideals and educational philosophy but in different circumstances, had a very negative experience.

But that's true of kids who go through the same class in the same public or private school as well. Even in the same school with same teachers, some will look back on their school days as positive and inspiring, others the complete opposite, for most it'll be a mixed bag.

What it's done is make me extremely reluctant to generalize on what educational methods are best for children or families in general... or to assume that I even know what will be best for my family in particular. So rather than doing loads of research when they turn 4 and making a one-off, informed decision - "homeschool/local school/private school/international school is the best fit for us and therefore my children will go to that" - I need to commit to looking, often and hard, at how our choices are working out. Are my children thriving? If not, what do we need to change?

Looking back now, my friend's experience could have been much more positive if she and her parents together had been able to pause, reflect, and make some different choices. As I bet a lot of people's school experiences could, not just homeschool kids. But when you're in the thick of it that's hard to do... and when parents are teachers are bus drivers are janitors, it's peculiarly hard to take yourself out of the thick of it long enough for any meaningful reflection. That's why I reckon most homeschool families would benefit a lot from summer camps, part-time attendance at local schools, or other forms of educational "respite care" so to speak. Rather than talk people out of homeschooling altogether (like I said, my personal experience was fantastic) I'd prefer to emphasize the importance and availability of these support strategies... the fact that homeschooling doesn't have to mean going it alone.
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Old 28.11.2016, 09:43
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Re: Homeschooling in Switzerland

Apparently (article in German), about 500 children in Switzerland are being home-schooled, half of them in Kanton Bern and another hundred in Katon Aargau. Requirements are low there hence the big share. The Romandie (you are in Fribourg) in general is also open to homeschooling, some Kantons have their own associations.

In Kanton Bern you need permission and have to work together with a teacher. You and your child will be inspected (once a year or so). Looks like www.bildungzuhause.ch is a semi-official club that works as a hinge for government and parents. They also seem to try to offer what Mathnut mentions above, seminars and meetups for information exchange.
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Old 28.11.2016, 09:53
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Re: Homeschooling in Switzerland

Why would you home school? Sincere question!


Only time I heard about this was with families living in the boondocks or very straightlined religious families?
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Old 28.11.2016, 10:14
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Re: Homeschooling in Switzerland

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Why would you home school? Sincere question!


Only time I heard about this was with families living in the boondocks or very straightlined religious families?
Tons of reasons... almost as many reasons as homeschoolers in my experience.

To give you an idea, the homeschoolers' group where I grew up (Midwestern US, rural shading toward suburban) was a pretty diverse mix of the following:

- religious families with a range of more or less religious/cultural concerns, some curricular and some peer-pressure based;
- hippy/creative families who worried that typical classroom settings would stifle individuality and prepare kids only for a life of conformity and meaningless wageservitude;
- academically intense families who found the local public schools not challenging enough and the private schools too religious;
- special-needs families who felt undersupported by the local system and believed they could do a better job themselves.
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