Is there a legal way to homeschool in Brazil?

We are looking at a probable move to Brazil in about a year.  We are a homeschooling family from the US.  I understand that homeschooling is illegal in Brazil, but I'm trying to find out if there might be legal ways to homeschool, such as using an online academy.  Does anyone know of any information that might help us, or a website that we might get more information about this?

thank you

As I understand it, homeschooling is illegal in Brazil, but the law is only enforced/applicable to Brazilian nationals. I know of expatriate families who do homeschool in Brazil. Our family has given it some thought, though our kids are still young enough that we have some time before we have to commit one way or another.

"Ensino Domestico" is a site of potential interest:

And Cleber Nunes seems to be a Brazilian homeschooling activist. It may be interesting to follow this man's story: … r/10032601

If any other expats out there homeschool in Brazil, we'd also be eager to hear your experience.


As an educator with a 23 year teaching career (10 of them here in Brazil) I would advise you to forget the idea of home schooling anywhere in Brazil, it is unheard of in this country and the legality of the activity is at best highly doubtful. The main obstacle here is qualification. If you plan to teach your own children you would at the very minimum require some kind of teaching certificate and that would have to be recognized by the Ministry of Education (MEC) or you could find yourself in a whole lot of legal trouble. The Ministry like all other government agencies here would bury you in bureaucratic red tape that would take years to sort out in order to obtain some kind of recognition for a foreign teaching certificate.

Brazilian laws regarding education of children are quite rigid and enforced, unlike most other laws in this country, especially those that apply to children and adolescents. The other writer mentioned that the laws are not enforced on foreign nationals, this is absolutely incorrect information, so do not put yourself in harm's way needlessly. By keeping your children out of a traditional school, be it public or private, you could end up with serious legal problems with the Conselho Tutelar, Brazil's equivalent of Child Welfare and the Vara de Infancia e Juventude, Brazil's juvenile courts. I hardly think that your desire to home school would outweigh your concerns about spending any time in a Brazilian jail or worse still having the Conselho Tutelar deprive you of the custody of your children, both real possibilities in this country.

If you are concerned about the absence of quality in education, I can't say that I blame you. However, having said that you would be well advised to look into putting your children into a private school. While they are expensive they do offer high quality education and are well worth the monthly fees that they charge. They also offer a safe environment in which your children can learn and develop both socially and emotionally. A private school would also offer your children a means of meeting and interacting with other children who come from abroad as most foreign families here tend to put their children into the best of the private schools.

This is another factor that you should keep foremost in your mind with regard to home schooling; the fact that in doing so you deprive your children of the social contact and interaction with their peers, something that is essential to their overall development. From my experience with families who have home schooled in North America their children end up being less advanced in terms of their education and those who insist that home schooling is "the only way to go" are generally parents who are more concerned about controlling every aspect of their child's life (for whatever motive) and can not see the potential for damage that their own personal wishes can inflict upon the child.

In closing I would like to assure you that I have no personal axe to grind with regard to home schooling (either for or against) as I do not teach children any longer, nor am I affiliated with any private school that does. I am just passing along factual information about the reality of the situation here in Brazil, giving you the only logical alternative that is available and my personal observations as a career educator in order for you to reflect on my words and consider the future wellbeing of your most valuable possessions - your children.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do in this regard, please consider your alternatives very carefully and do not take any action without first consulting a Brazilian lawyer who specializes family law and the Estatuto de Crianças e Adolescentes (ECA) if you still intend to give home schooling a try despite the warnings.

William James Woodward

Before anyone gets upset about my previous posting and complains that I have not included any positive points on the issue of home schooling it is not my intention to touch off a heated debate on the issue itself.

Clearly there are success stories related to home schooling (as in any issue there are successes and failures). There is, however, a difficulty in obtaining unbiased quantitative information regarding the results achieved by children in many countries. Furthermore, much of the information regarding home schooling is also either anecdotal in nature or put forward by individuals with specific religious agendas, this type of information should always be examined carefully and should not be accepted at face value.

Regardless of where you stand on the issue, the fact remains that home schooling is not a panacea for the deficiencies of educational systems worldwide. What may work well in one country may not necessarily work in another.

For those who choose to home school, I fully support their right to do so provided that they take every precaution to ensure that the quality of education that they are providing for their children is equal or superior to the other alternatives available and the best interests of the child have been taken into account during the decision making process.

Completely biased of course, but I would tend to think we lean towards the "success" stories side of the debate.  My spouse and I are both college educated, and I have teaching credentials.  We have a school room in our home.  The children also attend outside classes and are involved in many other activities.  Ok, for some reason I felt the need to say that. 
Anyway, it is my understanding that Brazilian public school is for only half a day and is either in the morning or afternoon.  Am I correct on this?  Which subjects are routinely taught in elementary/middle school?  How is it decided which half of the day you attend?  Would there be something that I could do at the school (employed or volunteer)?  Any information on the school system would be wonderful.  If you know of any websites I should visit I would also appreciate those.
Thank you so much for taking the time to educate me on the "in's and out's".  I appreciate the information greatly.

The public school system in Brasil is in chaos. It is underfunded, lacks quality and is rife with incidents of violence. To give one example of the lack of quality, I have been an English teacher for 23 years and have written a number of textbooks to teach the language. I went to visit my Brazilian step-son's school specifically to talk to his English teacher, I started speaking to her in English and to my surprise she responded to me in Portuguese saying, "stop sir, please... I don't speak English". When I asked her (in Portuguese) how she could teach the language if she couldn't speak it she responded that she only taught what was in the textbook. It's like that here, there is really no guarantee that teachers in the public school system are in any way qualified to teach whatever the subject. Brazilian students underperform their counterparts in all other countries at every level of education and all subjects.

Actually, there are three four hour periods (at least here in São Paulo) the younger students having morning classes from 7:00 am to 11:00. The older children, if I remember correctly, study from 1:00 until 5:00 pm and the oldest from 7:00 pm until 11:00 pm alongside adults. No choice is available as to the hours your child attends class, it is based solely upon age. It shouldn't be to difficult to understand why I told you that the private schools are the only credible alternative.

Parents participating in the school activities or classes does not happen here. Their participation is limited to infrequent parent-teacher meetings. From what I can tell even visits to the school are frowned upon.

While I am sure that in your particular case, since you have teaching credentials, your children are doing well with home schooling it would be almost impossible to have your credentials recognized by the Ministry of Education here in Brazil. As you can see from the reports in the link on the case against Cleber Nunes the government and courts take a hard-line position about keeping your children out of traditional schools. Despite the fact that Nunes' children were doing much better than other students he was charged with "Intellectual Abandonment". This is a very serious charge here and can lead to the removal of children and adolescents from the custody of there parents. While Brazil is a democracy you have to remember it is still a police state.

If you are coming to Brazil for an extended period of time, do yourself a favor - forget the idea of home schooling while you are here, unless you are looking for a whole world of grief landing on your doorstep. The private schools here are excellent.

Is there some reason that you are fundamentally opposed to traditional schooling? What is your motivation in home schooling, you do not mention that. If you would not consider any other option than home schooling for your children then you would be wise to consider leaving them with realtives in your home country where home schooling is permitted. Unless you are some kind of diplomat and thus enjoy diplomatic immunity, you will be subject to all Brazilian laws including the Estatuto de Crianças e Adolescentes (ECA) keeping your children out of the traditional school setting here could not only run you afoul of the judicial system and child welfare authorities, but also immigrations. In many instances the police here won't even lay charges against foreign nationals, they just make a few calls to the Federal Police which result in an "official invitation" to leave the country voluntarily or be deported. Since I presume you are coming to Brazil for work purposes any problems with the authorities here are generally made known to an individual's employer, another possible conseguence you might want to consider.

Once again, good luck.

I will sit down later and explain our homeschool story to you later, but I'm extremely pressed for time at the moment.  I wanted to quickly ask if there were half day private schools there.  We still know nothing concrete about our move.  We only know that we will most likely be in the greater Sao Paulo area.  Our manufacturing company is only in the preliminary stages of planning themselves.  If you know of schools that I could look up online, I would really appreciate it.  I sometimes have trouble finding things (even using google) about Brazil online.  I do so appreciate all the information and time that you have given.

thank you!

The private schools here are full day generally. A google search of Escolas e Colégios particulares em São Paulo should get lots of results, you will need to translate the pages into English of course. Probably better to leave the school search until you have a better idea where in São Paulo you will be living, it is after all the 4th largest city in the world.

"Intellectual abandonment"  that's rich coming form a country that lets children run and sleep in the streets.  This is the part I find ironic they don't even have a law in Brazil that states all children must go to school which is obvious by the favela dwellers whose children work at ages 6, 7, and 8, (or does the government feel those kids don't matter because they live off grid, makes no sense).

Secondly since their public school system for lack of a better word s*x maybe they should allow homeschooling.  I am sure a lot of educated Brazilians can do a better job than the system they currently have.  Especially those from America who know how a normal school should run since they all went to one like me.  I am definitely supplementing and will send my daughter to school so that she can get a good social education not academic.  Or hopefully I will be pleasantly surprised by the higher quality of life in Parana.  Or I can spend thousands of dollars I am sure sending her to a questionable private one?  Does the US even accept degrees from Brazil?(doubt it) 

If Brazil isn't going to allow home schooling then they should offer and alternative that is better otherwise they should mind their own business. 

And that's my opinion, of course logic never reins supreme.

p.s. How much are private schools in Brazil, for example Parana.  I want to know if this alternative is even realistic, since nothing in the country is priced realistically.

p.p.s appreciate your knowledge.

Did you move to Sao Paulo? Are you homeschooling. I am and would love for others to interact with.


I take it you've never been to Brazil before and that you're relatively new in the country as well. Just now getting your reality check.

Things aren't about to change here so don't waste your energy complaining. The Brazilian government has for centuries kept the general population uneducated by design and they aren't about to change. You'll make yourself old and gray before your time if you keep on bucking the system, trust me. I've been here eleven years and I know what I'm talking about.

To correct one point that you've mis-stated, actually they do have a law that obligates parents to send their children to school. The Conselho Tutelar is responsible for enforcement, but they are notoriously overworked and many kids as you rightly point out fall through the cracks.

What you have to keep in mind is that you are in what is still essentially a police state where there are extreme social injustices and inequality that we North Americans have never experienced unless we've travelled to some Third World counties.

These conditions are completely out of your control, you have no legal right here in Brazil to take any action to change things or even become politically involved. Even speaking out can put you in violation of the Lei de Estrangeiro and end up in getting you deported. That's the reality we expats must deal with. It takes a long time for us to realize we can't change the world no matter how much we want to do so. Even complaining in front of other Brazilians will just end up in you being considered a traitorous gringo, Brazilians take any kind of criticism very badly, as if it were a personal attack on them.

I know you are really anguished right now and I see that you are experiencing a really bad case of culture shock. We all do to varying degrees. I would ask you to do one thing, not for me, but for yourself. Please read my posting (link below) just the first half, which deals with culture shock. I think you will see yourself without anyone pointing it out. You really need to find some way to deal with that stress and anger that this place is causing you, no matter what it takes. You can't change the system, you have to accept that. Even the Brazilians have given up on that centuries ago. Good luck to you, I know you have your heart in the right place, just don't let this country break it.

William James Woodward - Brazil Animator, Expat-blog Team

With all due respect i  appreciate and have learned a lot from what you have written. I have surpassed the culture shock 3 yrs. ago. We have 5 children 4 of which have been in the Brazilian schools and one in an Britain school. I homeschooled for years before moving to Brazil. Legally as long as I am a US citizen I am legal to homeschool my child in Brazil. I know I've been told by all the schools I encountered no. And they even thought they didn't want to think of a child in their schools who'd been homeschooled. It is just ignorance and fear. I have a teen whom I am now enrolling to homeschool.  THe schools were surprised by his test exams to enter. Now if we became a permanant resident of Brazil yes; it would be illegal.

I agree with you completely on everything you have said. And it angers me. Yet I stay quiet. With 2 in a university, one next year, another the following year, and one yrs. away we need to keep our income. We love Brazil. However education is one of the things I find so umfair, unequal, ......... The only downfall to homeschooling in Brazil is the lack of social for children as there are no others.  A difficult decision indeed.

Hello, everyone. I am a Brazilian mom who homeschools a child in the US. To answer the question above: yes, you can homeschool your child in Brazil, I have personally known people who did it, if you're not a Brazilian citizen. The law in Brazil requires that BRAZILIAN children go to school. Right at this point I am trying to find out what we will need to do in case we decide to move to Brazil and place our child in a school. I am Brazilian, my husband is American and my child is of both nationalities. I understand that the possibility of a child being homeschooled in Brazil is a subject that only now is being subjected to debate, but since the constitution gives it space, I think it is only a matter of time it starts happening legally, though I believe it will be with lots and lots of regulation. Obviously, for reasons of ignorance, and I mean it in the original sense of the word, homeschooling is sometimes feared and vilified. In our case, we opted for homeschooling not for religious or ideological reasons, not even for the so much advertised state of public schools in America. Coming from Brazil, I was able to live once in a house in the US where there lived an 8 year old child. And I was honestly shocked. That child worked like he/she had a full time job. School took all the child's life. And this was way before I had my own child. When my child came, I found that I had to think and weigh all the options. I kept remembering that kid and how he/she woke up at 5:30 in the morning, came back home at 4:30, and with homework to do after piano or whatever lesson she had planned for her that day (No. I am not saying I was sorry for her. She was fine. Kids can and will adapt). However, I remembered how in Brazil I had 4 hours of classes a day, and how the rest of the day I played hard with my friends in my house and on the streets. And I thought that even with only those four hours a day, I was still able to grow and come to America for my Ph.D. in Linguistics. So, we finally chose to homeschool. In this, I ended up as part of a community that was to my surprise incredibly diverse in their beliefs and interests. I do not advocate homeschool as 'best', for I don't think it is for everyone, in the same way I believe traditional school isn't either. I do not believe, for instance, that my sister in Brazil could homeschool her kids, simply because she would not have the interest or have that level of commitment that is required for the task. However, I would like to say one thing: until you homeschool a child or personally know a homeschooling family for a good period of the time, you are not really knowledgeable to evaluate homeschooling. For instance, on the matter of socialization, I would like you to know that homeschoolers socialize big time with their peers, but not only with them. No one homeschooling family I know keeps their child alone to themselves in their homes, no one. On the contrary, kids are free to go, as they are free from the constraints of school hours and homework. My child, now ten, sees other children every day. She is out there, she has friends of all walks of life, every age, including the elderly. She has friends that are conservative, she has friends that are liberals, and friends that aren't either. And as she has never had to waste precious time with homework, she is now literate in both English and Portuguese, and is in LOVE with Math. I do, however, intend to take her to a school if we move to Brazil since the hours will be much less and there is almost no homework there, as far as I know. Now, one final thought: I do not understand how socialization should ever be a problem in Brazil. The problem (if you want to see it this way) I faced when I was there, just the beginning of this year, was trying to accommodate the kids who kept showing up and looking for my child ALL the time uninvited. She played for hours with them everyday :). Believe me, I saw just that. Peace to you all.

Hi Petronila,

At this point in time homeschooling is still not legal in Brazil and with all the other problems the politicians are facing right now I don't think the issue is going to be very high on their list of priorities for a long time to come.

I've heard that some expats have done it without being charged. I don't, however, know if those reports are true or not. Even if they are I wouldn't advise it since you are a Brazilian and they won't be so easy on you. Also your children will be considered Brazilians (first and foremost) by the laws here. So, they will be required to attend school until there are any changes in the law.

Side note: If your children are minors, they will automatically be considered Brazilian citizens upon arrival (Lei 818/1949 - Lei da Nacionalidade) if they have reached the age of majority, they can apply for citizenship.  Cheers,
  William James Woodward – Brazil Animator, Expat-blog Team

I will not homeschool in Brazil, as I am aware of the legal situation and am not looking for trouble or to become a celebrity :) And I do not recommend a Brazilian to do it. But someone will fight for this, specially with the crack existing in the constitution. It is already happening, in fact. But, as I said in my post, I will look for a school for my child. I will try to get in touch with my American friends who were living in Brazil and homeschooling several of their kids in my hometown. Maybe they can give us some info. Peace.

Hello there
I've been reading this debate on home schooling with great interest. I made a similar decision 4 months ago when I arrived here with my 2 young children. 
Firstly I would confirm private schools are the only option in Brazil, public ones, are , sadly pretty appalling. One thing I discovered in my search for schools was, just because a school calls itself "international" this does not mean it has international students or staff that speak anything other than Portuguese. I searched many private, international schools in Santos Sao Paulo, in search of English speaking staff, with very little luck. I believe if you are looking for schools in the centre of S.paulo you will have more luck as there will be more expats in the city. But there are not a huge no. Of English speaking expats in Brazil, which is reflected in the schools.
I decided on a school which had 2 members of staff who only spoke in English with the children, so there would always be someone available for my children if they were struggling to communicate. As you said, the children are only in school for half the day, either 7.30am to 1pm or 1pm to 6pm, usually the older children study in the morning, young ones in the afternoon, however some schools are different. If parents work full time they have the option of sending their children for a full day, but only half the day would be study, the other half is more fun, with activities or doing homework, its more like childcare than school.
The fact that school is only half a day, is why I decided to send my boys. I educate them at home in the mornings using the British national curriculum, then in the afternoons they are at school socialising & learning Portuguese. This is a perfect balance for us, and I believe would work for you, if it is really illegal to home educate.
Some schools you should look into are; Objetivo, Casa Branca, Maple Bear, Carmo, Universitas, Jean Piaget, and there's a British school in Sao Paulo called St Pauls (very expensive!).
You may have difficulties finding staff that can speak to you in english, so I would recommend emailing them using good old "Google translate" and asking if there are staff who speak English who could phone you back.
If you require any more info or help I am always happy to share what I have learnt so far about Brazil!
Good luck!
Amy perner

Hi Amy,

Thanks for your valuable insights on the private schools. The one point I would like to make is about Maple Bear School, they only deal with children at the Elementary School level. They have an excellent reputation and operate in several major cities in Brazil. If you have young children I would have no problem in recommending them.  Cheers,
  William James Woodward – Brazil Animator, Expat-blog Team

I'd have to concur that home schooling is illegal in Brazil. I know some people that send their kids to Brazilian schools and homeschool in the afternoon.

I also agree that most international schools are not all that international and just charge 3x the amount other schools charge.

Just as an addendum, there is no active fiscalisation done, but a person could denounce you with the police for not sending your children to school, which may result in criminal charges, or worse, having the children temporarily removed from your home/family.

From ECA:

Art. 55. Os pais ou responsável têm a obrigação de matricular seus filhos ou pupilos na rede regular de ensino.

and from the penal code:

Art. 246 - Deixar, sem justa causa, de prover à instrução primária de filho em idade escolar:

Pena - detenção, de quinze dias a um mês, ou multa.

Actually for any foreigners here in Brazil for anything other than tourism, keeping your child out of school can have serious legal implications. While our guest is right, that there is little real enforcement, the Conselho Tutelar is responsible for ensuring that all school age children are enrolled either in public or private schools and attend regularly.

If you can't afford the extremely high fees charged by private schools, you might want to consider enrolling your child in the public school system which gives them 4 hours of classes per day and homeschooling them in addition to that. There is no prohibition on homeschooling per se, just the requirement that they attend classes in the traditional education system. You can add to that as much as you want without any worry at all. You just can't homeschool your kids in place of the schools. The obvious advantage of this method is that YOU don't necessarily need to be the one to do the teaching, you can hire whoever you feel best qualified.  Cheers,
  William James Woodward – Brazil Animator, Expat-blog Team

The following countries have explicitly forbidden homeschooling in their national laws with no exceptions:

Bosnia and Herz
El Salvador
San Marino
Trinidad and Tobago

We are not here to argue the pros and cons of homeschooling. It is not the intention of this topic to do so, nor can it since postings that violate local laws will be removed (see Terms & Conditions).

This topic thread is to discuss the legality of homeschooling in Brazil. To date homeschooling is ILLEGAL in Brazil. Two laws govern the issue:

Brazilian Penal Code: Decreto/Lei 2.848/1940

Art. 246 - Fail, without just cause, to provide primary education for your school age child:

Penalty - Detention of 15 days to one month, fine. (there is jurisprudence for a fine of R$10 thousand / USD 5 thousand).

Estatuto de Criança e Adolescente: Decreto/Lei 8.069/1990 (and amendments thereto)

Art. 55. Parents or guardians are required to enroll their children or wards in the regular school system.

Brazilian courts have held that international treaties notwithstanding, the Constitution of the Federated Republic of Brazil supercedes such treaties and judges always rule using the laws cited above. Brazil may have ratified any number of Conventions and Treaties, however they do not comply with them, claiming the Constitution does not allow it.

The laws are clear, courts will make no distinction between a Brazilian child or a foreign child in this situation, they will most certainly deal with violations in exactly the same way. The Conselho Tutelar has the authority to remove children from a parent's custody if they are not placed in school in this country.

So, you homeschooling advocates and activists - while nobody is arguing with you about the advantages or disadvantages of homeschooling; are you willing to risk going to jail, a heavy fine or losing (even temporarily) the custody of your children??? Not something that I would advise.

These laws apply to all expats as well as Brazilian citizens, until such time as they are repealed. While enforcement may be "hit-and-miss" and you might get away with homeschooling if you're extremely lucky, chances are just as great that you'll get caught and prosecuted regardless of what anybody else may tell you to the contrary. It's easy for somebody to "armchair quarterback" and tell you NOT to put your children into school in Brazil, it's not them that is going to be prosecuted or maybe lose custody. I'm sure as heck not prepared to let some education rights zealot  put my kids in harm's way, I don't think you should be either.

If you are concerned about your child's education then homeschool by all means, but play it safe do it IN ADDITION to regular schooling, not in place of regular schooling. You can legally do that, there is no prohibition whatsoever.

Just to cite a couple of cases in Brazil:

A couple, a Brazilian mother and an American father, was investigated in 2010 by the municipal government of Serra Negra, São Paulo, for homeschooling their children. The local authorities were tipped off by an anonymous source because the couples's two daughters did not attend school. The Public Ministry expected to reach an agreement with the family to enlist the children in formal schools.

A Brazilian couple from Minas Gerais state, Cleber Nunes and his wife Bernadeth have been slapped with fines equivalent to a total of $3,200 for refusing to submit their children to the Brazilian school system. (2010 report)

William James Woodward - Brazil & Canada Expert, Expat-blog Team

How about paying for students to attend a private virtual school like K12?  Would this be a way to get around the illegality of homeschooling in Brazil?

Hi kimmickal,

It's not getting around the legality of home schooling that's the problem. It's getting around the legal requirement of placing your child in the traditional school system (public or private schools).

You must send them to school or face stiff penalties and possibly lose custody. You can home school your children IN ADDITION TO regular schooling, just not IN PLACE OF it. Do you understand the problem a little better now?

You can do BOTH, but not just homeschooling by itself. It is not legal in Brazil and there is absolutely no sign that it ever will be.

William James Woodward, Expat-blog Experts Team

read this

I am currently homeschooling in Brazil as my son has not adapted to brazilian schools, neither private nor public.

Hi krika24,

Just for your own protection, be extremely quiet about it. Don't let anyone know you're home schooling especially any Brazilian neighbors.

It just takes one person with a grudge to phone the Conselho Tutelar and then the full weight of the Brazilian government comes crashing down on you like an old building collapsing.

My very best advice to you would be enroll your son in a regular school even if he's not doing well and home school in addition to that. How is your son learning Portuguese if you're home schooling? That's going to be what they trap you on!

The article you have linked to is a nice piece of writing, however it is full of errors.

Firstly home schooling IS NOT LEGAL yet, legally there IS SOMETHING TO PREVENT IT and that is the Estatuto de Criança and Adolecente, which remains unchanged and judges use to make legal ruling here, despite what the writer may think about Conventions and Treaties, judges violate those all the time. They rule using Brazilian law and nothing else. So please don't rely on any protection under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the American Convention of Human Rights.

While there have been some proposals to legalize it, home schooling is not seen as a popular or important issue by lawmakers here. Education is not on their political agenda nor their radar. It is highly unlikely that there will be any moves toward legalizing home schooling any time in the foreseeable future.

Please don't take legal information from a business writer for a magazine. She's a good writer, but a lousy lawyer!

William James Woodward, Expat-blog Experts Team


I'm not against home schooling by any means. As an educator with a career that spans over 25 years I know that it has just as many good points as bad.

What I am talking about here is ONLY the legal situation of home schooling in Brazil. I don't make the laws and I don't have to agree or disagree with them, they're laws and that's that.

Presently home schooling is ILLEGAL in Brazil, end of story! The Estatuto de Criança and Adolescente requires ALL parents (regardless of nationality) to enroll their children in school. This can be the public school system or in private schools.

Despite the information given in the article in the link posted by @krika24 regarding Conventions and Treaties, they mean absolutely nothing in Brazil. Brazilian judges ignore them and always base their rulings on the Estatuto de Criança e Adolescente and the Código Penal. While the writer is correct that "in theory" these Conventions and Treaties are second only to the Brazilian Constitution, judges here always opt for national laws to guide them, not just regarding home schooling, but everything else. One need only look at cases where other countries have requested extradition of wanted criminals or in international child kidnapping cases where Conventions and Treaties are routinely ignored and violated by Brazilian authorities to see just what I'm talking about.

You'll hear some expats telling you that "the law does not apply to foreigners" or that the Brazilian authorities will simply turn a blind eye to the fact that you're home schooling. Both statements are patently untrue. The law applies to everyone, Brazilian and foreigner alike. While there is a remote possiblity that authorities might pretend not to see the practice, the chances are greater that they will take action to stop you from home schooling and can apply heavy fines, threaten imprisonment and/or removing your child(ren) from your custody.

You need to understand Brazilian culture... here, public servants all have the attitude that only Almighty God is more powerful than they are. Some of them may even think they're more powerful than Almighty God. The truth is that there are numerous laws that almost make that true. You can't even argue with them because that puts you at risk of being charged with contempt (desacato) which could in itself land you in jail here.

Yes, the Brazilian education system is in chaos. Yes, it's inferior in every conceivable way to what we expats are accustomed to. In this situation yes, even the worst kind of home schooling would be superior... I'm not arguing that. That said, it is still ILLEGAL.

Rather than argue back and forth about the legality, let's focus on the practical way to resolve this situation to our satisfaction! That is to enroll your child in the pathetic educational system as required by law and supplement that with home schooling. There is absolutely no law to prevent that and as long as you've met your requirement under the law what you do beyond that is entirely up to you. That's what I've been saying all along.


Hello Sir,

How long does it take to establish residency in Brazil to qualify Expat children to take the adaptação exam to enroll in Brazil public school? 

Also, what is the max. residency allowed for Expats before enrollment of children in Brazilian Public/Private Schools is mandatory?  I have heard long wait list is common for reputable Private schools.

I would like to weigh the cost for providing a part-time salary to a Certified teacher with BA Degree that can teach multiple subjects K-12 for four children in home verses tuition and fees for 4 children at above mentioned private school.  I would like to integrate my family both culturally and socially as much as possible.

In any location, a private school education is limited to a high socio-economic level.  This is even more so with the high cost of living in Rio de Janeira. Brazilian Public Schools are free of charge. However, Expat children can only enroll in public schools if they have adequate Portuguese skills and pass the adaptação exam set by the school in question.  Even the private American School in Rio strongly recommends supplementing on campus Portuguese classes with private lessons. 

What is the timing before prospective students are able to repeat the language proficiency examination to enroll in Public School upon a failed first attempt?

Conservatively it will take a minimum of 6-12 months for my children to obtain the language proficiency to pass the public school admittance exam.  There exist safety, health, transportation, and social concerns to consider for American children attending a Brazilian Public School.

We are considering enrollment in either the American School and Rio International School. I would be happy for my four sons to attend either of these schools. However, with Rio's high cost of living our budget can not afford the tuition and fees for all our children to attend. Sadly, even with careful money management, a lifestyle change, and the sibling discounts, I can only enroll my oldest child in Middle school, or one of the younger two in Lower school. 

One main factor for us to afford living as Expats in Rio is to homeschool our children with a reputable IB online program and supplement with private tutoring in Portuguese.  I understand from your post that homeschooling is illegal in Brazil even for temporary Expats.  I have no desire to risk legal consequences of not enrolling my children in school.

If you could direct me to online resources or books for more information and provide suggestions it would be greatly appreciated!! Thank you for your sharing your insight on this  I hope to hear back from you.

Hi emom,

As far as I am aware there is no period of exemption to the legal requirement for enrolling your children in the school system in Brazil. I would think that it's logical if you were to arrive in Brazil during the school year, which runs from February to December (roughly) depending on the area that you would probably be required to enroll your kids for the beginning of the following school year at the latest. As far as school goes it's my impression that you'd probably be considered just like a tourist for the first 180 days. This would give you ample time to get your kids some intensive Portuguese language training that could help them fit into the school system here.

In the public school system there are no "entrance exams" per se, in fact the government is obligated to provide spaces for all children within the catchment area of their school systems. Depending on the ages of your children transportation can be a concern. All schools have a list of acredited school transportation drivers that they make available if there is not a specific route, and thus a regular driver, that would be picking up your children.

It would be wise, if you can find someone who speaks fluent Portuguese to contact the Conselho Tutelar in the area where you'll be living who can explain to them the language issues and find out what their position regarding their time-frame  for putting your kids in school would be. Regardless of anything else, if you follow the recommendations of the Conselho Tutelar you can't go wrong, because they're the people who'd be coming after you if you DIDN'T put your kids in school.

William James Woodward, Expat-blog Experts Team

Hi there,

I just got curious with your question about the legalities of homeschooling in brazil, like, you heard something like that? Or you read about that? I find rather amusing that a government that barely understand its Constitution, disrespect its citizens from left to right, are engaged, or better saying, deeply rooted in dumb corruption, could ever lay grounds for a law that prohibits homeschooling.
I swear to you, it took some laughs out of me!
Thank you. Good luck if you already here (I'm typing this in Rio de janeiro).

Thank you for your response.  So sorry it took me 3+ years to see your response.  May homeschooling be legal for everyone one day in Brazil. 

Since my post, my family and I moved to Ecuador where homeschooling is legal for non-Ecuadorians.  We've been living in Ecuador since Sunday, November 16, 2014.

We live near Paute, Azuay, Ecuador.

Hello I'm and American from San Francisco California living between Brasil (Bahia) and California since 2006.  Have permanent residence in Brasil but would like to live in either Ecuador or possibly Colombia.  If so inclined tell me how Ecuador stacks up against Brasil.

Even though there is an election going on here in Ecuador, Ecuador is more politically stable than Brazil at this time. 

Homeschooling is legal for non-Ecuadorians.  Homeschooling information is not blocked. 

There are beaches here but they are on the Pacific Ocean and beautiful. 

Internet here is good...especially in and near big cities. 

Also, Ecuador is the only country besides Chile that doesn't border Brazil.


James we're very appreciative of your responses, which you put with absolute clarity and it didn't come across as biased, just communicating the facts about the legal implications, which seem serious. We have two children born in Brazil, i.e. Brazilian citizens. We are proud that they are Brazilian and do not want to change this status.

They are 5 and 7 years old. We don't want to send them to school half-days and then give them lessons on top of that, children need a lot of time to play and use their imagination in an unstructured way.

On a more personal note, to explain our reasons, my daughter, 7 years old (and very skinny), is returning home saying that she doesn't want to get 'fat', she quit her robotics classes because she was the only girl, and she is getting panicky in group situations. She has been in (Brazilian) school for three years "learning" to read and write and she still can't read or write. I have no problem with learning to read at a later age (I went to German school and we started learning to read at 7), but I have my doubts about spending three years of her young life in a futile activity. We help with homework, but this amounts to one hour a day after school, and this in itself seems ridiculous. She is not flourishing in this environment.  She is intelligent and empathic, but this situation is not working for her.

We don't want to homeschool secretly. We think that we are, ethically, in a good position to homeschool. My husband and I have 15 years of teaching experience between us and some teaching qualifications, but no Brazilian qualifications. We run a scientific institution with 200 employees, some very strong scientists and we live in the middle of the Atlantic rainforest. We have a PhD and some Masters degrees between us. I mean to say that we are academically qualified and are very serious about giving our children the best chance we can academically and the context in which we live could help with all of this.

I understand that even the MEC allows children to legally be educated by a private, Brazilian-qualified tutor, is that correct? That would, nominally, be an ok option for us. Does anyone have experience with this (principally experience in not getting arrested!?) - (hey you can cry or you can laugh)

[On a side note, I've just registered and what the heck is going on with my avatar automatically being a pink girl dressed in a skirt....?]

My family and I were in Brazil (São Paulo) for 3 years and all my children were homeschooled during that time.  They would work by the pool, taking wet breaks occasionally, comfortably sitting on lounge chairs with my wife being the facilitator (and the warden, if you will).
From Brazil we moved to Mexico, the whole thing got disrupted, and they fell behind but, upon returning to California both my oldest son and daughter passed GED test and got their high school diplomas without any additional studying.  My baby boy, who had finished 6th grade when we moved to Mexico, upon arriving in California he was tested and placed in the second semester of the 8th grade.
We used and licensed homeschooling academy from Illinois.
While in Brazil some nosy person (a lady) told me that it wasn't legal in Brazil.  I told her that I couldn't care less and that I would go all the way to the Supreme Court if anyone  stuck their noses on our way of educating our children, which was obviously working well.

It's not true at all - Home schooling is perfectly legal in Brazil and I know quite a few kids who are home schooled
I have no idea how this stupid rumor got started here

- sounds like the nosy lady just didn't like kids hanging around the pool during the day - there are some extremely miserable people in these Sao Paulo condominium blocks, just the other day I was moving a washing machine and got a detective level questioning on weather this was a "Mudançia)" (moving)
and trying to suss out if I had sheduled it.....we moving out of our rented condo flat now -- never again
these places have more rules than North Korea

Well Steve,
The first thing that comes up when you are doing something at your apartment is "oh, these foreigners..." or "oh, these gringos...".
The person put in charge of the building HOA immediately assumes a position of dictator, assuming a role of protector of the residents' best interests and looking down at renters, those without a voice.
That is the main reason I never rented nor will I rent an apartment in Brazil.  I am more of a boss around my house than at an apartment.
In any event, I can't wait to be out of here.

My children go to a American  school at the moment. They’ve been in the school for 3 years. The American school is quite good , definitely better than any brasilian’s one. However, our finances have changed and the school is very expensive, so we are considering homeschooling using a  online homeschooling curriculum . The only thing that is a concern, is the possibility of being found out buy the authority.

My children were homeschooled in Brazil, through an American academy that sent all the materials, for a period of nearly three years.  Some "lady" once tried to tell me that it was not permitted by the Brazilian authorities and I "vehemently" told to shut the f....k up and that I would like to see any authority tell me what was best for my children.  Nothing came out of it.

Hello Ron
When your children were out and about doing other activities, what would they say about school? Bcs ppl always ask: what school do they go to...

Also what is the academy you used? The mateosere sent online?

How did you do about books? Now I have access to English books at their school, but that will end once they are not students anymore.



I believe it is illegal to homeschool Brazilian children. I'm not sure about Non-Brazilian children. What you can get away with and what is legal are two separate things. Also when it comes time for the University it might be a problem. If it were me I would seek out answer further. Maybe a Lawyer.


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