Education in the Netherlands is compulsory for all children of school-age. School attendance is compulsory according to the 1969 Compulsory Education Act. Children attend school unless parents succesfully apply for exemption. The research carried out aims at:
In Chapter 1, parents' reasons and motives for choosing for home education are summarised. Reasons are broadly grouped into two categories (which are consequently subdivided):
The diversity of backgrounds, reasons and motives is emphasised and demonstrated.
In Chapter 2, research concerning the results of home education is summarised. Intellectual feats and socialisation are dealt with in separate sections. The lack of significance of parent income, parent level of education and parent teacher certification with regard to home education results is discussed.
In Chapter 3, the way in which parents and children home-educate is described in five sections:
Care is taken to stress that no two families home-educate in the same way.
It is put that present-day home education differs fundamentally from pre-war home education.
A number of success-engendering factors are identified:
Chapter 4 contains information on how public authorities in the United States and England safeguard the home-educated child's right to education. Various support organisations are described. The concept of flexi-time is illustrated.
Chapter 5, discusses whether home education is legal in the Netherlands.
Home education is no ground for exemption under the 1969 Compulsory Education Act, i.e.: parents cannot refrain from sending their children to school solely on their wanting to home- educate their children. Parents applying for an exemption would have to prove:
As yet, there is no precedent for such an application.
In the Netherlands, parents are in principle entitled to found a government-funded school in order to ensure that the education their children receive is according to their wishes. Would home education be legal under the auspices of an existing or new- founded school? Three possibilities were investigated:
Option 1 is out. Options 2 and 3 are only open for parents with a teacher certification and will need the consent of the Ministry of Education. Both options are unprecedented.
In Chapter 6, an inquiry into the level of support for home education is described. Presently, there is no public demand for home education.
Government policy with regard to education can be characterised as follows:
Three political parties would not consider home education as a option which they would support, because:
One political party regarded home education as a highly interesting phenomenon. Whereas they agreed to the reasons 1, 2 and 4 given above as correct, they did not regard school attendance as indispensable for the personal development and social skills of children. This party would not reject out of hand a change of law to allow home education. Dutch society has strong egalitarian tendencies. Home education is by and large seen as counteracting those tendencies and is therefore rejected by most parties concerned.