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June 29, 2011

Officials Amazed at Rise in Homeschooling

Homeschooling in Austria is growing, and the education authorities are taking notice. Here are several updates about the situation in Austria from a homeschool leader:

Last month we launched our new website for Familiennetzwerk der Freilerner (Family Network of Free Learners), which includes an online forum, a calendar of events, and information about Austrian laws and membership with the organization.

Over the past couple of weeks, the Austrian parliament discussed and reviewed homeschooling and released official statistics on the number of homeschoolers in Austria for the last three years. (These numbers include students of small private schools that also have to pass the annual exams at public schools.)

For the 2010–2011 school year that just finished, 2,216 students were taught at home. This is a 50% increase from the past two years! In 2000–2010, there were nearly 1,500 students and just over 1,400 students in 2008–2009.

I recently received a call from an Austrian politician asking the reasons for this significant increase!

Our association is currently preparing a presentation for Austrian politicians, the Ministry of Education, and local authorities that will state the areas where there is need for improvement relative to homeschoolers. This presentation will particularly highlight the annual testing requirement that continues to create difficulty for homeschool families, as it is based entirely on the curriculum in the public schools and currently must be administered by public schools officials.