Is homeschooling legal in Portugal?

Homeschooling is legal in Portugal and has been regulated by the Ministry of Education since 1949. In order to homeschool, the learner must be registered in a public school or a private school, and the parents or legal guardians must have a University degree.

If neither of the parents has a degree, they can still homeschool if they have a family member with a degree who can act as the 'responsável educativo’ (education responsible). Additionally, the person responsible for homeschooling must live in the same house as the child.

It is also possible for parents to hire a licensed tutor or teacher to facilitate their child’s education at home if they do not have a degree or a family member with a degree to facilitate education at home.
Hiring a tutor or a teacher is distinguished from homeschooling as “Individual Learning” and is also a viable option for parents in Portugal.

How does homeschooling work in Portugal

You can either enrol your child at a private or public Portuguese school, or you can choose to enrol your child in a foreign umbrella school that offers a homeschooling programme. The important thing is that you can prove that your child is receiving an education.

How to Register for Homeschooling via a Public or Private School?

To register, you would need to go to the nearest school and speak to the school secretary to book an appointment with the teacher in charge of homeschooling. Ask the secretary which documents you need to prepare.

These will typically include:

  • University diploma of the parent. If the diploma is not Portuguese the secretary usually requests a translated and notarized copy. Some schools require parents to get their diploma recognized in Portugal.
  • NIF number of the child and parent (NIF document copy).
  • Passports and copies of passports.
  • Residence permits and copies.
  • Request to homeschool (Requerimento para Ensino domestico explaining the reasons and who will be the teacher).
  • “Projeto Educativo” describing the curriculum you will follow, the methods of teaching, how you will evaluate the work, and record your child’s progress (usually via a portfolio).

MEL, a non-profit organisation, is the Education Association in Portugal that offers legal advice and support with regards to homeschooling. By becoming a MEL member, you would be able to ask for legal advice and assistance when choosing a curriculum and registering for homeschooling in Portugal.

Choosing the homeschooling curriculum you will follow

A curriculum is a planned sequence of instruction that a child will follow to complete their education. You will need to choose a suitable curriculum that will ensure that your child has access to the opportunities that you would want them to pursue.

A popular choice for expatriate homeschooling parents is the International British Curriculum which enables their children to apply to universities across the globe. Additionally, if they choose the International British curriculum, their child will be able to write their IGCSE and A Level exams at one of the Cambridge exam centres in their country.

Reasons parents choose homeschooling in Portugal

Homeschooling is a growing education medium for parents in Portugal for the following reasons:

Access to quality education

Parents choose homeschooling their children to ensure that their children have access to a quality education which is often more affordable than private schooling options in Portugal.

A broader approach to education

Homeschooling presents the opportunity to approach education in various ways, where learning takes place with every activity the parent and child engages in.

Homeschooling can also provide a better learning environment for children with ADHD or children with other special learning needs because they can learn without stigmatization and discover their unique talents.

Expatriates wishing to simplify the schooling transition

Moving abroad is a uniquely challenging experience for both parents and children, which becomes more complicated if the family doesn’t speak Portuguese.

By choosing homeschooling, expatriate parents ensure that their children get the required education without the added pressure of learning new concepts in an unfamiliar language.

Homeschooling Cost in Portugal

The cost of homeschooling will depend on the curriculum, platform, student level and the subjects you select. The Cambridge curriculum (or International British Curriculum) is a popular homeschooling curriculum in Ireland and is chosen for its flexibility and teaching methodologies. The homeschooling costs for the Cambridge Curriculum will be influenced by the following factors:

  • Selected platform and its fees
  • Textbooks
  • Exam fees

The costing provided below is for illustrative purposes only, and will vary depending on the number of subjects, the examination venues, and the textbook formats you’ve elected to buy (digital copy vs. printed textbook). 

Primary stage homeschooling costs

Annual online homeschooling fees for primary stage students range between €629 and €1 802 per year for three subjects. Textbooks will cost between €82 and €165 and at this level there are no additional examination fees. 

Secondary stage and IGCSE homeschooling costs

Annual online homeschooling fees for lower secondary stage students range between €2 258 and €4 324 per year for six subjects. Textbooks will cost between €391 and €489 and there are no additional examination fees for Lower Secondary years 1 and 2. 

Annual online homeschooling fees for IGCSE students range between €2 436 and €4 869 per year for six subjects. Textbooks will cost between €293 and €391 and, depending on the examination centre, exam fees range between €979-€1 959 collectively.

AS Level homeschooling fees

Annual online homeschooling fees for A Level students range between €1 717 and €4 464 per year for four subjects. Textbooks will cost between €391 and €489 and, depending on the examination centre, the subject, and the exam type, exam fees range between €979-€1 959 collectively.

Homeschooling curriculums in Portugal

The most common homeschooling curriculums parents follow in Portugal are:

  • The Portuguese National Curriculum is the curriculum which you will follow if you enrol your child in a public school. The Portuguese education system is divided into pre-school education (from the age of three until the start of basic education), basic education (six to 15 years old) and upper secondary education (15 to 18 years old).
  • The International British Curriculum/Cambridge Curriculum: This is a globally recognised system of learning and assessment that allows for seamless integration with national curricula worldwide. It offers more flexibility for students to work at their own pace and students are able to write exams in exam centres anywhere in the world. Parents opt for the International British Curriculum because an A Level certificate is accepted by universities across the world.

Age

British Curriculum

National Curriculum

5/6
Learn to Read
Pre-School
6/7
Primary Stage 1
Grade 1
7/8
Primary Stage 2
Grade 2
9/10
Primary Stage 3
Grade 3
11/12
Primary Stage 4
Grade 4
12/13
Primary Stage 5
Grade 5
13/14
Primary Stage 6
Grade 6
14/15
Foundation I
Grade 7
15/16
Bridge from FI to FII
Grade 8
15/16
Foundation II
Grade 9
16/17
International GCSE
Grade 11
17/18
AS Level
Grade 12
After school
A Level
Post-secondary non-higher education

FRee Homeschooling e-book!

Everything you need to know about a personalised education through online learning & homeschooling

Download Now