Home schooling is the education of children at home. The practice is legal in most countries but the extent to which it is practised varies. Within Europe, for example in the Netherlands parents have a duty to send their children to a school, and Germany forbade home schooling until recent decisions ruled this contrary to human rights legislation. The extent of regulation varies considerably; Austria for instance has an annual testing regime but elsewhere monitoring may be left to regional authorities with varying results or may not exist at all. There is not much data about the number of home-educated children in western Europe, except for Britain where there are three to four thousand children educated at home, and Germany where there are only 200 or so following the recent change in the law. Home-schooling is comparatively popular in the USA and is legal in every state but it is a major political issue and the level of difficulty encountered by parents wishing to teach and parents removing their children from the state system varies between states. Here, the arguments will not be specific to any nation, but take place within the context of liberal democracies with a reasonable standard of educational provision and assumes that home educators would be subject to regulation. Proponents of the practice argue that parents have a right to decide where best to educate their child, and that the home is often ideal as a learning environment. Opponents argue that schools, in contrast, offer ideal learning environments and that education requires properly-trained teachers in appropriate settings, which a home and well-intentioned parents cannot provide.
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