Homeschooling in Italy
Erika Di Martino is a European social entrepreneur in personal growth, education and family, she has a master’s degree in Language, Literature and Culture, and has lived her youth between Italy and California. Presently, she is living with her family in Ireland. Along with her husband, she founded the Italian Home Education Network in 2012 (www.edupar.org) a pioneering organization that popularized and normalized homeschooling in Italy and has been promoting and defending educational freedom for over ten years.
While homeschooling her five children, she supports and advises several family and associative projects throughout Europe, and she is the best-selling author of “Educazione Parentale in Italia”, the first manual on home education published in Italy. She hosts various homeschool support activities and is the managing director of EDUlearn a learning platform that aims to empower families to pursue what matters through flexible and personalized online education.
Erika has collaborated with numerous Italian and International newspapers and has participated in various television programs and events, explaining to millions of people how to Homeschool. She and her family have been inspiring and supporting parents who are embracing this educational choice, sharing their challenges, their achievements and their spiritual growth. You can follow them on Instagram.
This blog is dedicated to all parents who home educate, regardless of their religion, personal philosophy, country of origin, ethnic identity, occupation and educational method and it aims to make homeschooling more accessible in Italy and support the Italians who home educate abroad.
Home Education is legal in Italy, where there is a growing number of Homeschooling families. Controscuola.it defends and expands educational freedom. Each year more and more Italian families choose not to send their kids to school, but they remain a minority against the vast majority of the population that believes not sending kids to school, in order to teach your own, is against the law. But things are changing quickly, and in they are going in the right direction 😉 The Pandemic certainly help raise awareness on the subject.
Despite the fact that there exists a fairly clear legislation on this subject, schools – which hardly ever have to deal with HS – tend to judge this choice negatively and don’t support the students (obviously there are some exceptions). Here in Italy HS parents have to annually notify the appropriate school authorities of their intent to homeschool (dirigente scolastico). Parents or guardians must provide a self-certification to the school district in which they state that they have the “technical” and “economic” capacity to teach their children at home. “Technical capacity” means that the parent has completed a level of schooling beyond that of the children he is currently teaching. “Economic capacity” simply refers to financial means. Neither of these statements must be justified by legal papers (tax declaration, school diplomas, etc) and there is no guideline or specification: homeschool families self-substantiate that they meet these criteria. Though it is possible that education officials could inquire about this, few if any families have had to produce proof of technical or economic capacity. In case you undergo further investigation you can also list the names and the qualification of other people, external to the family, who will help in educating your children.
The Italian Parliament has approved on May 16th 2017 a Decree-law n.62, art.23 (School Reform called “Buona Scuola”) stating that the fulfillment of the duty of Education by the parents must be proved through annual school exams. Up until that day our regulamentation protected the freedom of teaching and families that chose this path simply had to notify the school officials on a yearly basis. Examination used to take place only when the child wanted to return to school or when the parents wanted to legitimate their child’s educational path. The families will now have to produce a personal curriculum (in Italian) and a written request for the exam. This paperwork needs to be presented to the school for approval in the months of March/April. Once all is approved, the school will inform the family about the exam procedures and dates. These exams usually takes place in the month of June.
If you are foreign family who will reside in Italy only for a few years you most likely won’t be bothered by the exam. Despite what the Ministry of Education affirms, a group of families is going against these rules and has contacted a team of lawyers to assist them in the refusal of the annual examination. They believe that the monitoring on the education duty by the authorities should be based on a positive and direct dialogue between principals and families, with respect for different curricula and personal learning methods.
Can I homeschool just in English?
It depends. Yes, if you choose not to take the end of the year exam and stay under the radar.
No, if you have to follow the basic Italian curriculum having chosen to be evaluated by the school system.
In this case you will need to talk to the school officer of the area where you live and decide together what your kids will be tested on and how. I highly recommend you contact me for a consultation if you are having a hard time with the exams, I can help you find a welcoming school where to take your kids. You can book a call here
Can I unschool?
Yes, if you choose not to take the end of the year exam or if you simply don’t register your kids in the school system.
No, if you have to be evaluated by the school to obtain a certification or to comply with the regulations.
What if I'm only in Italy for a short time?
It is very unlikely that the school system will notice you if you are here for a year or two. I personally know many foreigners who home educate happily in this Country without any problems just because nobody knows they are here.
You are foreigners, so people here believe they your kids are following some *other* learning curriculum anyway, even if you are registered at the USL or ASL or if you are renting. Try to register after September once the school checks have taken place already.
Any bad stories to tell?
It did happen that some Italian families had the police and social services on their doorstep. How much of a risk depends on so many factors, like what kind of neighbors you have, where you live (huge city vs small town) and how gung-ho the local school director is. Nothing really ugly ever happened in this Country (we are not in Germany).
Good advice to share?
I invite you to join www.edupar.org , a private platform meant for all parents who (plan to) home-educate in Italy. It aspires to help home educators support each other in order to serve the needs and interests of their children in the way they think is best. It also aims to make home education more accessible in Italy and it’s the best place to share ideas and experiences, organize events for children, find various groups and other English speaking families, with your contribution you are supporting all this work.
There is also a learning website www.edulearn.it that is directed to kids ages 5-18, we can help you learn Italian, or get together online with other bilingual children, share experiences, learn and have fun.
Check out Controscuola’s FB page and Youtube Channel as well!