Homeschooling in Romania: Everything You Need to Know

We homeschooled our son in Romania until 2023 and today I want to share all the details and things you must be aware of when it comes to homeschooling here.

I’m only talking about how to homeschool in Romania, whether or not is homeschooling legal here and other bits of advice, not getting into the potentially endless debate regarding homeschooling vs a traditional school system.

This article will hopefully help those interested following a similar route and homeschool their children in Romania, know everything there is to know about this – from somebody who did this for a few years.

Why Choose Homeschooling in Romania?

Homeschooling in Romania
Our son enjoying his first day of homeschooling.

This was a route that we always considered taking, ever since our son was born. The main reason behind this is that we like to travel and a worldschooling route seemed very attractive.

But we always ended up concluding that the traditional system, despite its flaws, is the better option for our son due to two main reasons:

  • having skilled staff to teach him the things he should know (as we’re not teachers ourselves)
  • being able to socialize with more children close to his age (since our friends don’t have kids)

While traveling the world and studying at the same time sounded idyllic, we still didn’t really know how it would affect him, especially since, at that time, he only spoke Romanian so making friends, we thought, would’ve been more difficult.

So initially, we decided to follow the traditional school system, mainly for the socialization aspect.

But the truth is that from an educational standpoint, we were never fans of the traditional system – one that we consider outdated.

Actually, a study revealed that 42% of kids up to the age of 15 are functionally illiterate in Romania, even though they went or are going to school.

School bully

Growing in Romania, we know that the system needs to be revamped, the teachers need to be better instructed and, overall, everything has to be changed in order to make school something that actually matters and makes a difference.

But at the same time, we always feared that us as parents won’t be able to offer as much as a teacher (even a bad one) would.

Plus, the most important part so early in life: socializing with other kids would’ve been even more difficult, as none of our friends have children of the same age as our son.

But, after less than one year of going to a traditional school, our son was hating it.

It was so frustrating and bad for him that, once he got home from school (a short schedule, from 8 AM – 12 PM), he started all sorts of tantrum fits and crying and letting go of all that frustration that piled up during the day. It was heartbreaking.

He hated it because the toilets were dirty and couldn’t be locked, so there were always other students barging in (he actually developed a phobia of going to school / public toilets – which is really bad and sad for such a young kid), he didn’t like most of his colleagues because they had different interests, he was getting extremely bored at school (since they were doing stuff that he already knew) and, unfortunately, he wasn’t a big fan of his teacher either.

We were surprised when, one day, he told us that his favorite teacher at school is the Religion teacher (who was actually a priest).

While we’re not atheists, we’re definitely not religious and were surprised to hear that from him.

Either way, he was a big fan of this class, mainly because of the teacher. He was kind and never yelled.

His regular teacher? Well, she got mad at all times – once so bad that she smashed a ruler on her desk and broke it.

The English teacher? She never did anything with them (she would have them draw things to leave her alone).

The Sports teacher? He was too stern (our son is far from being the sportsy guy, to my disappointment).

bad school experience

Welcome to the Romanian school system! It ranges from awesome to terrible. Make sure to read Stuart’s Romanian school experiences for some nice stories on the topic!

And the last drop came from the pandemic. It was in early 2020 when our was starting school. Most of the parents of the kids in his class believed that “we all have to get it one day” and it’s up for “God to decide who lives and who doesn’t”. Well, no, thank you!

With all these things in mind, we decided to choose homeschooling for at least one year.

We decided that, at the worst, he will “lose” one year of school and will have to do it again.

Which didn’t happen, as we actually continued the homeschooling program for another year, before deciding to enroll him again in a more traditional system.

But we still decided to choose a private school and moved all the way to the other side of the country, in Constanta for that. And we’re all extremely happy with how that went, but that’s another story…

But all in all, our choice to homeschool in Romania seems to have been the best one. We would’ve continued it if we thought we’re capable of teaching him everything his teachers would – but realized that is not possible based on our skills.

However, both for him and us, the entire homeschooling experience was nice, he wasn’t behind fellow students and, when back into the traditional system, he managed to adapt really well.

Is Homeschooling Legal in Romania?

is homeschooling illegal in Romania

Like it is the case of many other countries, Homeschooling is in a grey area in Romania.

While homeschooling is not illegal in Romania, it’s not legalized either. It’s simply not mentioned by the laws, meaning that, in other words you can’t legally choose “homeschooling” as the way to educate your children.

Also, school is mandatory for kids up to the age of 14 (or until the 10th grade – whichever comes first) so you can’t just take your kids out of the system to homeschool them.

But there are options to homeschool your kids in Romania without breaking the law and we’re going to talk about them below.

Is It Illegal to Not Go to School in Romania?

Yes, it is illegal for children up to 14 years of age not to go to school in Romania. Education is compulsory here, so in theory you could get into legal trouble if your children are not in school.

But there are plenty of options to give you a bit of freedom if you don’t want to go for the traditional school system, and we’re going to talk about these options now.

How to Homeschool your Children in Romania?

Homeschooling in Romania
First day of homeschooling at our village house in rural Romania.

Just like in many other places out there, you have the option to enroll your kid in a so-called umbrella school. This would cover all the legal requirements for schooling your children in Romania.

To put it short, this is a (usually) foreign school that allows you to homeschool your children, while also offering you all the legal cover to do so.

It works like a regular school on paper, but it’s the parents which are usually responsible for deciding how to teach their children.

Depending on the school, they will offer more or less in terms of support materials, homework and even online teaching.

I believe that in the future online learning and other alternative educational methods will become more common. But until then, in Romania, the offer is limited.

Most umbrella schools that we found were private schools based in the UK or the US.

There is also an NGO in Romania, located in Brasov, which might be able to help more if you contact them – they’re called Cerehard and they helped us get things sorted out (although I have to admit that communication wasn’t always ideal).

These umbrella schools are usually very cheap (a few hundred euros per year), but they also usually offer little more than just legal proof that your children are in school.

It doesn’t really matter what school you choose though: as long as that school is authorized to function and can offer you the required paperwork the Romanian government might require to prove that your children are in school, it’s all good.

The biggest challenge – for most parents – would be to actually do the teaching. But this is something you probably know about already since you’re considering homeschooling, so hopefully it won’t be a problem.

Our experience with homeschooling (so far)

homeschooling materials

I was never the biggest fan of homeschooling because it lacks (at least in our case) the social interaction, especially in the small city that we lived in where we were the only ones homeschooling.

This was the only thing that our kid lacked – friends and social interaction with kids his age. So from this point of view, with all the bad things it came with, traditional school was good.

With all the drama you have to go through – from bullies to making friends and learning to solve problems yourselves – the social aspect is what prepares you for the rest of your lives. Not spending all your time with your parents.

But there are two important things that made me change my mind:

1. We started homeschooling in 2020, when the world was apparently going to hell and back.

2. While the “learning to solve problems” aspect is nice and letting your kid go through some less than ideal situations is good training for life, it’s also potentially damaging if it’s nothing than a constant struggle each day – which was our son’s case.

He pretty much hated everything about school. It bored him to death (our teacher always told us he finished first every assignment and even recommended not to do extra work with him at home because he’s too advanced and disrupts the class).

There was the bathroom situation with him not going because it was so dirty it made him feel like puking (his words).

Also, he didn’t really make any friends and didn’t like to play with the other kids. With the risk of sounding like that parent who thinks his kid is the best in the world, I will say that he was a bit more mature than most kids.

During the breaks, he preferred to do math for example instead of playing with the others (for most of the time, because he sometimes felt like playing).

He doesn’t really like the loud games children play and, despite his love for math, is very creative as well. He just had a different style than most of his kids, so socializing was still lacking.

Sure, he had found some likeminded people in the class – including a Minecraft fan like himself – but for the most part, he hated school and always came back home frustrated and angry and bored. I am not really sure this was doing him a lot of good.

So we started homeschooling. We’ve been doing this since he was born, actually. My wife actually handled most of his education and she did really well.

Homeschooling in a Romanian village

We did follow a specific curriculum (the Romanian one, just to be sure that he is up to date with all the requirements) and our son told us that he likes it better than regular school.

He also admitted that he missed his colleagues, but overall, it wasn’t that bad. At least from an educational standpoint, when he got back to school in the third grade, he was at the same level with his colleagues.

We still followed a “traditional” school schedule, with classes starting in the morning and ending at 12.

We followed the Romanian curriculum and actually using all the materials that they would at school, but also implemented some of the elements in the British Curriculum because that was the official one that he had to follow.

We also worked hard on getting our son to learn English – which was helped a lot by him only watching cartoons and Youtube (plenty of it) in English only.

He learned very quickly and, even though his spelling is still even worse than mine, he can now have a decent conversation with any English speaker. And I am really proud of that.

Homeschooling is definitely not for everybody. If both parents work, I would say that it’s nearly impossible to do it, because it is a full time job.

Fortunately, my wife didn’t work and is patient enough to be a good teacher – at least at this level. I’m trying to help as much as I can, but with a full time job on the side, it’s not easy for me.

But we did it and it worked well. None of us regrets the two year of homeschooling in Romania, although it wasn’t without challenges and problems. In the end, things are good, and that is all that matters, though.

Wrapping up

I realize now that this article ended up less organized and more personal than I initially envisioned it.

But for some reason, I started writing and couldn’t stop to think about technicalities.

I just let it all out and hopefully, with all me rambling around, you still managed to learn some useful things about homeschooling in Romania.

The conclusion is that while still not legal, it’s in a grey area that allows you to do it as long as you manage to get your child enrolled in an umbrella school, one that is operating legally and can offer all the documents needed that your little one is attending classes.

Nobody will go out of their way to send you to jail, give you fines or take your child away if you’re homeschooling. But do it responsibly and only if you know that you are capable of offering education similar to the one traditional schools would. At early ages, that’s not difficult at all.

And, of course, if you have questions about homeschooling in Romania – or experiences to share, I would be more than happy to share.

Follow me

Share if you liked this!

17 thoughts on “Homeschooling in Romania: Everything You Need to Know”

  1. I have a positive opinion of homeschooling. For a long time I had worried some cranky Americans view that as a way to indoctrinate their children in some religious cult free from institutional interference, but I changed my mind when I used a textbook in my English class which had a whole chapter on the pros and cons of homeschooling. Gifted children especially benefited since they were bored with the slow pace of regular schooling.

    The chapter rightly criticized all the wasted time in American schools where teachers had to take attendance, pass out materials, students had to walk from classroom to classroom, and spend time sitting in study hall, at lunch and in activities extraneous to education. American public schools had to “teach to the middle” so as not to leave behind the slowest students. Even the emphasis on sports at regular schools was criticized.

    Homeschooled students claimed they could finish all their “home-schoolwork” in two hours and could then engage in extracurricular activities not offered at regular schools or even do a part time job. My experience with German schools is that there was much less time spent at school than in America and sports were only done once a week and then not very seriously. I think the wasted time alone is enough reason to homeschool. My younger sister homeschooled two of her daughters (my nieces) off and on for several years.

    The first daughter was being bullied at school. After a year of homeschooling, she returned to a different school and developed into a very well adjusted young adult. Her younger sister also demanded to be homeschooled. Her formative years unfortunately coincided with the advent of the Internet and she “socialized” in a very negative forum that reinforced anorexic behavior. She began losing weight at an alarming rate and almost died. At the time, my sister assured me that this daughter was getting “social time” once a week through a special program for homeschooled children at a public school.

    I suspect, however, that homeschooling still played a role in isolating that daughter and making her easy prey for that predatory Internet forum. Although she recovered from the anorexia, she has been a non-stop problem for my sister and my brother-in-law. Although she is in her early twenties, she seems to spend more time in “rehab” and “intervention” programs than at university. I’m not blaming homeschooling for her situation, just saying your worries about social isolation are understandable. I wish you great success with the homeschooling. And watch what your son is doing on the Internet!

    • Great stories, Stuart! I really appreciate it. Indeed, our son finishes the daily tasks in exactly two hours. But we still do a bit more since he really enjoys it.

      Our son is on limited time on the computer and he spends most of the time watching people playing games. We sifted the ones that curse and let him do this since he really enjoys it (plus it’s in English, so it helps him catch a word or two). The internet is indeed very dangerous if kids are left unattended. Some of his colleagues at school were already playing some very age-inappropriate games (simply because parents had no idea what they were about).

  2. I think for sure you guys made the right decision to homeschool. These are scary days, and l suspect the parents saying that God will decide who lives or dies are playing the odds. I think a lot of people have kids for the wrong reasons, and even though it´s not like they wish death would do their kids in, they relish the time away from them anyway. As long as he gets to socialize outside of being with you with his newfound friends, which he does, you´ll be fine. At least for the next couple of years, then you can reassess. He´s such a smart kid anyway :-).

    • It is indeed VERY difficult to spend so much time with anybody, even your kid. But he’s growing older and needs more alone time, we have a dog now to add some diversity and so far so good. Only time will tell if we really made the best choice, but we certainly chose what we think is the best for him after weeks of debates and pros/cons lists 🙂

  3. We have home schooled our teen in the United States and it works. We have a 3 year old and we will be in Romania next year. I will be following this article. I believe we will home school much like you C. I want to be sure this Covid thing is under control before I risk our family by having our boy who would be a bug magnet hanging out in a school setting. We may home school a long long time too. I have a hope and a suspicion that socializing networks will come about to accomodate the issue you speak of. The system in the United States sets up events for kids to gather at and socialise. Zoo day.. Museum.. park events.. cave hikes all educational but designed to bring kids together so they can socialize. Perhaps you will connect with other parents homeschooling and set up an environment for socializing skills. Times are seriously changing and perhaps not all for the worse. School systems can really suck the world over in my opinion. Some exceptions.. you need to look closely at each school. Private schools, home schools and public schools all have the potential to be bad and it is up to us as parents to pick wisely. Good luck C. !

    • Thank you, Otto! As long as your kids speak English, it’s a lot easier to find all the courses they need. Socializing shouldn’t be a problem, as there are many expats and foreigners looking for the same. We’ll see how this turns out – so far, it’s still good and I a really surprised to see how quickly my son learns English. Hopefully in one year, he’ll write his first article here detailing his experience with homeschooling.

  4. Thanks for sharing your experience with homeschooling in Romania.
    I have a 3 1/2 year old son and we speak Romanian at home, but be needs to learn English as we currently live in US. We read picture books in English with him and it helps, but he needs more than that.
    Would you mind sharing what course books and programs to teach English you used with your son and found useful? Thanks!

    • Mari, your son will surely learn English very well as he’ll be exposed to the language. We used various materials and I must say that progress is visible and I am impressed after almost one year of intensive practice (at least 3 times per week, for 1 hour, with me, but also lots of content in English – YouTube videos, books, movies, tv shows). Online sources that we used were IXL and Twinkle (both are really good and made a difference), but also English learning books that they use in school. Also, we speak with English as often as possible as practice makes perfect. Good luck!

  5. Hello🤝
    we are a family from israel and our two children are in homeschooling.
    we are thinking about moving and leaving israel.there is no future for our children here.
    romania is one of our options.
    i was wandering if you leave in a place there are no schools at all are you obligated to put your child in ambrella school?
    and do you know what kind of papers the goverment ask from the school your child is in?

    I enjoyed reading your story so thank you 🙏

    • I think you might be able to dodge this a bit while your children won’t be Romanian citizens. Not 100% sure about this, but it would make sense.

      However, it will be difficult to find a place with no schools. And even that happens, they should be enrolled in the nearest school available. So that would not make things easier.

      So an umbrella school would be the easiest way out if they do ask for these details (which I doubt they will).

      In Romania, the state uses something called “Foaie matricola” which is basically a record of the child’s grades and teacher’s recommendations for all courses they study.

      Since schools outside Romania don’t use this, the children would have to take a test to be enrolled in the Romanian school system (the test is very easy, but in Romanian language).

      But since you don’t want them in the system, you would be safe with any type of documentation offered by the umbrella school as long as it is proof that they are enrolled there.

      • Emilia, it depends on what you consider a good choice. We no longer are with Cerehard and returned to the traditional school system at a private school and we’re more satisfied.

        But back to Cerehard, based on my knowledge since being a member, they do not operate as a school, but an NGO (ONG in Romanian). They are not accredited or recognized in Romania and there were talks (even threats of lawsuits) on their Facebook group as they are apparently not recognized as a British School either (at least they weren’t last year).

        In other words, if you want to ever get back into the traditional school system, your children will have to at least take some tests at the new school and based on their level, they will be assigned to a specific year (but this happens when they study abroad too).

  6. Hi. Please tell me an update if home schooling is now legal in RO. I heard somewhere it was. Is an umbrella school like Home Life academy still a good option? Will there be any legal consequences? My children are home schooled in the US and we want to move back to RO and keep home schooling. The kids are both US and RO citizens. I can’t afford private schooling and my religious beliefs are to school at home. How can I get the Romanian curriculum used in schools? Primarily just for teaching ROmanian. Thanks.


Leave a Comment