Any homeschoolers here?

We will be moving to Budapest this summer. Have 3 kids, boys born 2010 and 2013 and daughter born 2017. The boys speak fluent English and near-fluent Polish, but only just started to learn Hungarian.

We are thinking about home schooling. We are also visiting the city this week (March 5-8).

Are there any homeschoolers here who could meet with us so we could get a sense of how that works? Any tips or leads are welcome.

Welcome to the forum.

Why home school?

Children at a young age pick up a new language very quickly. I would not worry about them attending a state school.

Thanks.

We'll be learning Hungarian, that's not a concern. Our kids are already bilingual and will participate in various clubs (chess, soccer) where Hungarian will be spoken. They have always previously gone to school, and we are visiting a bunch of schools this week and may end up going that route again.

We've just been thinking about homeschooling for a while, to give the kids more time to explore their interests and, hopefully, learn more. Currently we live in a country (Malta) where home schooling is impossible, but in Budapest it is legal and we are considering it for academic reasons.

rajva :

We will be moving to Budapest this summer. Have 3 kids, boys born 2010 and 2013 and daughter born 2017. The boys speak fluent English and near-fluent Polish, but only just started to learn Hungarian.

We are thinking about home schooling. We are also visiting the city this week (March 5-8).

Are there any homeschoolers here who could meet with us so we could get a sense of how that works? Any tips or leads are welcome.

So your kids are 9, 6 and 2.   In Hungary, it's indeed possible to home school.  However, if I remember correctly, the government will want to assess them sometimes.  You can always send them to school for short periods for that, just a matter of a few days or a week.  Some kids at my kids' school do that. My kids are bilingual in English and Hungarian and go to a state school.

Other matters:

Compulsory vaccinations are needed to go to any school, kids over 6 must go to school (even if home school) and have a minimum weight to attend (it's a proxy for being able to carry books in a school bag).  For the development and medical issues, you need a doctors examination certificate to give to the school director.  Oh, and btw, Kids under 6 with an adult travel for free on the Budapest transport system.

Hi!

We have just moved back to the UK after three years in a small village in North Western Hungary. We have five children and they have been homeschooled from birth, bilingually as my hubby is British and I am Hungarian. After trying an alternative school (Waldorf), which we found was not our cup of tea due to its underlying spirituality (actual school and teacers were great!), we returned to homeschooling. Our youngest did go to kindergarten though for nearly three years and there were no problems. Neither did we have any issues with the others, although we have been registered with three different schools for the three school years we had in Hungary, and one of our children did try out the local school for half a year (horrible head of class, exhausting experience, took her out at the end of year).

As for NON-HUNGARIAN CITIZENS, I know that vaccinations are compulsory, but have not found evidence for legislation on their education. That does not mean it does not exist, but as it did not apply to us, I did not look into it.

I am sorry to say, but asking government officials on the subject will not necessarily yield a definite answer. Most of them have no idea about home education, and most of those who do are biased (against, as the government is happy to control what is fed to young minds). So, I would suggest to get reading the actual laws if you can understand Hungarian enough, or get someone you trust to do so for you. Alternatively, you can write to the Educational Department for a written statement. Otherwise, the important thing is what the stance of your local educational officer is, what he says goes for you, as he has the power of authority on his side. Fighting is not futile, but a) sometimes unnecessary for good reasons (like in our case they were extremely friendly, no need to fight, they were just enquiring), b) can be very draining (emotionally, mentally, financially) and does not necessarily have a happy outcome. There are Hungarian families that were homeschooling via American "schools" and were given compulsory school attendance orders. I have no knowledge of such foreign families.

In Hungarian law a HUNGARIAN CHILD LIVING IN HUNGARY has to be registered with a state approved (given a school registration number) educational facility. This does not mean the children have to attend school on a daily basis, as they can be "magántanuló" or "egyéni tanrendű tanuló", but they do have to take two half-yearly exams in their registered school and turn up for the yearly/biannual medical check-ups and compulsory vaccinations.

There are alternative schools, like Waldorf, Rogers, Zöld Kakas Líceum, Báró Wesselényi Miklós Alapítványi Iskola, Budapest International School, just to name a few. These are state acknowledged alternative schools with registration numbers. Parents pay for the priviledge.

There are also parent-sponsored groups that call themselves schools or alternative schools, academies, etc but have no such legal standing, as they are but a parent-paid teacher-led group of kids, who are also registered with proper Hungarian schools and taking their compulsory exams. However, they can be a really good place to get prepared for the exams, learn more freely and happily and also gives a social life on a daily basis.

Then there are homeschool organizations, like Clonlara, HomeLife Academy, West River Academy, that are American and are not acknowledged by the Hungarian Educational Authorities, and in reality are but an umbrella for homeschoolers, which have been enabling families to avoid the half-yearly exams, but still providing registration and certification. They promote themselves for being a legally acceptable solution - which is true in the US, but after a sudden uptake of their services by Hungarian families trying to flee the Hungarian educational system and some other issues, the Hungarian government has tweaked the law in November 2017, and thus it is no longer lawful to home educate Hungarian children living in Hungary through these schools. Some people will disagree with me on this, but I have dug deep into the law and came to this sad conclusion - by all means look into it if it affects you.


For homeschooled kids there are plenty of opportunities to meet other hs families in and around Budapest (eg monthly in Fonó in Buda), just join the "otthontanuló" or "otthonoktató" or "homeschool" facebook groups to find out more about them. Elsewhere in the country there are plenty of homeschoolers, but only few hubs/groups that meet up regularly, as families are scattered and most find it challenging to travel further than 30 mins due to family situation (eg little ones with nap times, no car, no money, animals to tend that cannot be left for the day, etc).

There are websites, facebook groups you can research on, albeit most of them in Hungarian, otthontanulok.hu could be worth registering with.

It is nice to home educate children if you can, and instill in them your own language and culture as well as others. You do not have live a life of a hermit, there are plenty of after-school activities your children can participate in, let it be sports, music or arts. And most of the time being homeschooled is not an issue amongst the children.

On the other hand, if you do decide to find a school, do not worry, children pick up languages very quickly, just find the right "osztályfőnök" and "igazgató" (head of class and headmaster). As long as they are supportive, there should be no problem ahead. You can also find "magántanár" who will privately tutor you or your child in whatever subject you need/want, even in English (especially in Budapest and Pest county).
There are some excellent and some awful schools in Hungary, and there is everything in between too. Most of the time, it boils down to who teaches the kids. If the teacher is a great person, your child will have an enjoyable time in school, although lots of rules, learning and homework are involved.

Either way can be beneficial, depends on your family's preference and circumstances.

To end with, I will put some links here for you regarding home education:
https://hslda.org/content/hs/internatio … efault.asp
https://www.nheri.org/neither-banned-no … n-hungary/
https://www.facebook.com/magantanulok/
Www.otthontanulok.hu

Mrspb :

Hi!

We have just moved back to the UK after three years in a small village in North Western Hungary. We have five children and they have been homeschooled from birth, bilingually as my hubby is British and I am Hungarian. ....

As for NON-HUNGARIAN CITIZENS, I know that vaccinations are compulsory, .....

For homeschooled kids there are plenty of opportunities to meet other hs families in and around Budapest (eg monthly in Fonó in Buda), just join the "otthontanuló" or "otthonoktató" or "homeschool" facebook groups to find out more about them. Elsewhere in the country there are plenty of homeschoolers, but only few hubs/groups that meet up regularly, as families are scattered and most find it challenging to travel further than 30 mins due to family situation (eg little ones with nap times, no car, no money, animals to tend that cannot be left for the day, etc).
.....
There are some excellent and some awful schools in Hungary, and there is everything in between too. Most of the time, it boils down to who teaches the kids. If the teacher is a great person, your child will have an enjoyable time in school, although lots of rules, learning and homework are involved.

Just to chip in here....re: the vaccinations and teachers.  There's a lot of fake news around on that subject and particularly these anti-vaccination sites are saying it's not a good thing to vaccinate your kids and some people want to home school in other countries because of all sorts of reasons including not vaccinating. 

I don't know what the situation is for home schoolers here but if it's the case that if non-vaccinated kids meet up together - for home school clubs for example,  there's a pretty good chance of catching one of the childhood diseases like measles or mumps.  That's definitely a bad thing as the former can be fatal and the latter lead to male sterility.  and then there's rubella and blindness.  Moreover, some of the diseases like meningitis are real killers. One of the kids in my own kids' school died as a result meningitis. Vaccination for the different varieties of meningitis is optional here.  Best to get the whole lot and keep it all up to date.  You never know who you'll meet who has not had their jabs.   

And as for teachers, the quality is highly variable in the state system.  Some teachers are close to useless and even abusive.   We're liberal people and we encourage free thinking. When our teenage daughter decided to have blue hair and earrings one teacher suggested she needed counselling and psychiatric help!

Mrs Fluffy put an end to that kind of discussion straight away.  Our daughter is just exploring and blue hair makes no difference to her academic results.  There are other things to worry about.

Hi Fluffy!


As I wrote earlier, compulsory vaccinations are compulsory for both Hungarians and foreign citizens.

Home educated children are not exempt from this law.

If a child is registered with a Hungarian school, whether they attend daily or only for exams as a private student (magántanuló), they have to turn up for the annual/biannual medical check-ups (overall health, height, weight) and any vaccinations that are due according to the immunization tables set out by the national medical board.

My personal opinion is that there are a lot of adverts on all Hungarian television and radio stations by pharmaceutical companies and a lot of scaremongering going with it too. (Your gum is bleeding? You are gonna die!)
With the amount of chemicals in our bodies, let it be from the great number of cars on the road polluting the air, the weed killers from our food, hormones from our drinking water, cleaning products in the household, over-prescribed antibiotics each generation's health is more fragile than the previous ones.
I and my family therefore are using natural preventatives and herbal medicine as much as possible and only resort to using pharmaceutical products if necessary.
I do think that as much as possible it is good to reduce the unnatural influences on our bodies, however, I am grateful that when needed we have medication even if it is man-made.

I do also see the point in the argument of both pro- and anti-vaxxers, but it is not in my power to say if one or the other is right, as the Hungarian law is absolutely clear on the matter: your child lives in Hungary - your child gets the compulsory vaccinations.

The only reason I brought it up is because it is not something even many Hungarian homeschoolers know, that they have to attend the medical check-ups and vaccination events in their registered schools.

If foreign citizens do not have to be registered with a Hungarian or any school when living in Hungary, childhood vaccinations are still compulsory. Those can be administered by the GP, if the child does not receive them in their school for some reason.

--

The reason behind writing that the person of the "osztályfőnök" (head of class) and "igazgató" (headmaster) is the important issue is because the osztályfőnök, especially in the first four years of "általános" (elementary school) moulds the kids in the class either into a brilliant, bubbly, lovely, accepting team, or he/she does not and then the kids might be nasty, unwelcoming or clique-y. The headmaster picks the teachers that work in the school.

I had excellent teachers in my schools as a kid, my son had great kindergarten teachers in Hungary. My daughter had a terrible teacher, who disliked US from the first moment of the first day we took her to school. Unfortunately, the teacher took all of her frustration and anger out on our daughter. Maybe she was envious of us coming from Britain?

Mrspb :

Hi Fluffy!


As I wrote earlier, compulsory vaccinations are compulsory for both Hungarians and foreign citizens.

Home educated children are not exempt from this law.

If a child is registered with a Hungarian school, whether they attend daily or only for exams as a private student (magántanuló), they have to turn up for the annual/biannual medical check-ups (overall health, height, weight) and any vaccinations that are due according to the immunization tables set out by the national medical board.

Well I hope they vaccinate them on the spot.  They do vaccinations in my kids' school.  I was surprised about that.  The latest one is HPV.

But there could be kids here who are not even registered as there are plenty of adults unregistered here.

Mrspb :

My personal opinion is that there are a lot of adverts on all Hungarian television and radio stations by pharmaceutical companies and a lot of scaremongering going with it too. (Your gum is bleeding? You are gonna die!)  With the amount of chemicals in our bodies, let it be from the great number of cars on the road polluting the air, the weed killers from our food, hormones from our drinking water, cleaning products in the household, over-prescribed antibiotics each generation's health is more fragile than the previous ones.I and my family therefore are using natural preventatives and herbal medicine as much as possible and only resort to using pharmaceutical products if necessary. I do think that as much as possible it is good to reduce the unnatural influences on our bodies, however, I am grateful that when needed we have medication even if it is man-made.

I do also see the point in the argument of both pro- and anti-vaxxers, but it is not in my power to say if one or the other is right, as the Hungarian law is absolutely clear on the matter: your child lives in Hungary - your child gets the compulsory vaccinations.

I don't see the point at all in the anti-vaccination people and Hungarian law on that subject is right! 

There are centuries of proof that it works - first smallpox vaccine in about 1800.  The weird thing is that the fact their unvaccinated kids are not sick with measles is proof that it works. Nearly everyone is immunised against say, measles, and therefore it's herd immunity.

And to be somewhat controversial, as for homoeopathy, that's pure quackology.  You've been influenced by those silly adverts on the TV in Hungary!  I have a constant battle with Mrs Fluffy not to be fooled into buy quack medicines pushed by both the local GP and the pharmacy.  Those people should know better.  I also fight against the use of branded medicines when same medicine as generics are just as good and a 1/3 the price. Shocking waste of money.

Mrspb :

I had excellent teachers in my schools as a kid, my son had great kindergarten teachers in Hungary. My daughter had a terrible teacher, who disliked US from the first moment of the first day we took her to school. Unfortunately, the teacher took all of her frustration and anger out on our daughter. Maybe she was envious of us coming from Britain?

We get this sort of thing all the time - from all sorts of people. Some people don't understand why we live here when we could be living in the UK.  I probably won't ever go back to the UK - can't afford it and like for like, the quality of life here is much higher despite the awful politics.  I expect our bilingual kids will go somewhere else in the end in the EU or further as they are highly internationalised and it's too "small" here for them.

As we are digressing immensely from the topic of the original conversation, I will be short. I would just like to point out that natural and herbal remedies are not the same as homeopathy. Eg. garlic is scientifically proven to relieve symptoms of cold or tea tree oil is a natural topical antiseptic, again plenty of research backing it (I read quite a few). On the other hand, homeopathic medicine is not supported thus by the medical and scientific circles.

When the weather turns cold, I make garlic toast often. For fever, we monitor, let the body fight off the bug, if fever really high, we try cooling baths before medicines. If we have any doubts, we go to the doctors/hospital as needed. If we have a cut, instead of using iodine, which the children are allergic to, we put a drop or two of tea tree oil on it. For sore gums we swish our mouths bicarb in water, for sore throat gargle with salty water, both antibacterial. Again due to allergies bicarb for deodorant, shampoo, vinegar for conditioner for hair and clothing in the wash. It is all tried and tested, working great. No quackery there, me Dear! 😊

Btw, the kids learn all these tricks and ancient remedies, beauty of home education is that we can research together if and why they work!

Mrspb :

As we are digressing immensely from the topic of the original conversation, I will be short. I would just like to point out that natural and herbal remedies are not the same as homeopathy. Eg. garlic is scientifically proven to relieve symptoms of cold or tea tree oil is a natural topical antiseptic, again plenty of research backing it (I read quite a few). On the other hand, homeopathic medicine is not supported thus by the medical and scientific circles.

When the weather turns cold, I make garlic toast often. For fever, we monitor, let the body fight off the bug, if fever really high, we try cooling baths before medicines. If we have any doubts, we go to the doctors/hospital as needed. If we have a cut, instead of using iodine, which the children are allergic to, we put a drop or two of tea tree oil on it. For sore gums we swish our mouths bicarb in water, for sore throat gargle with salty water, both antibacterial. Again due to allergies bicarb for deodorant, shampoo, vinegar for conditioner for hair and clothing in the wash. It is all tried and tested, working great. No quackery there, me Dear! 😊

Btw, the kids learn all these tricks and ancient remedies, beauty of home education is that we can research together if and why they work!

Surely off topic....I'm all that kind of natural uses just so long as it's not promoting homoeopathy.

There's persistent undercurrent of quackology hereabouts. I noticed this going on in Germany, Austria and here.  All sorts of concoctions and creams which have no scientific basis.   

Sodium bicarbonate (US: baking soda) is used (by me) for soda blasting car parts.  It's supposed to be natural and it works quite well when it works but the downside is that it kills my grass.

Everything in moderation! 😉

fluffy2560 :

I'm all that kind of natural uses just so long as it's not promoting homoeopathy.

There is a huge difference between phytotherapy and homeopathy.

klsallee :
fluffy2560 :

I'm all that kind of natural uses just so long as it's not promoting homoeopathy.

There is a huge difference between phytotherapy and homeopathy.

Reminds me of chewing on willow bark for pain relief.   Never tried it myself but I remember being told it in school.

I was educating my kids on rubbing dock leaves on sites where they'd been stung by stinging nettles. I am not sure it really works. I think it's just because dock leaves "cool down" the sting. 

Stinging nettles have a bad press as they are quite nice in soup. Hmm....might make some now I think of it....

fluffy2560 :

Stinging nettles have a bad press as they are quite nice in soup. Hmm....might make some now I think of it....

I had stinging nettles, and Amaranth leaves, with some of last year's squash, for dinner tonight. Threw in some of my winter onions. It was delightful.

Not planned but I went shopping today, but everything was closed... an Easter thing I guess. So I just came home empty handed, but not empty sourced as I simply foraged on my land and made up dinner with what was growing in the ground. :)

klsallee :
fluffy2560 :

Stinging nettles have a bad press as they are quite nice in soup. Hmm....might make some now I think of it....

I had stinging nettles, and Amaranth leaves, with some of last year's squash, for dinner tonight. Threw in some of my winter onions. It was delightful.

Not planned but I went shopping today, but everything was closed... an Easter thing I guess. So I just came home empty handed, but not empty sourced as I simply foraged on my land and made up dinner with what was growing in the ground. :)

Oh, crushed earthworms, beetles and moles for dinner?  Lovely but not veggie.

Yes, everything was closed Friday afternoon or optionally all day.  This is Good Friday and a public holiday in quite a few places in Europe.   It didn't used to be a holiday here but Mrs Fluffy told me they changed it. 

Everything is also closed (Easter) Sunday and (Easter) Monday.

We only knew for certain because of the kids' school holidays.  Home schoolers probably wouldn't know that.

fluffy2560 :

This is Good Friday and a public holiday in quite a few places in Europe.   It didn't used to be a holiday here but Mrs Fluffy told me they changed it.  .

The current government is trying to prove what good Christians they are.

By making Friday and Monday holidays, but letting stores open on Saturday is simply silly.

So no worker can have a real solid three day extended Easter weekend to travel to and visit with their families (so much for the claim the current government is pro-family). But break it up with one day off (Friday), then one day on (Saturday), then two days off (Sunday and Monday) which is kind of useless and annoying. Yeah... That makes sense.... not.

I also did an online banking inter-currency transfer on Friday. It was processed today (Tuesday) because both Friday and Monday were off days. Very annoying to loose four days of business. I may need to call the recipient and "explain" this all why their payment will be late -- and I doubt they will understand it all.

Translation -- of course that is the sort of stupidity one expects from politicians.

fluffy2560 :
klsallee :

I simply foraged on my land and made up dinner with what was growing in the ground. :)

Oh, crushed earthworms, beetles and moles for dinner?  Lovely but not veggie.

Semantics. Linguistics. Grammar. English is an interesting language. Actually inexact in form. So is based on content, and context. and should be read and interpreted as such. And there is a balance act to be done. Thus, Earthworms, beetles and moles are not in my original content, so have no bearing to my comment as they are out of my context....

Thus, while it is fun to play with English, and I do it myself and often, your comment is a possible non sequitur. :)

But.... to further classify and solve the inexact nature of English, I might say earthworms, beetles and moles rather mature in soil which surrounds them during development. But they do not grow in or develop in situ in soil.

:D

klsallee :
fluffy2560 :

This is Good Friday and a public holiday in quite a few places in Europe.   It didn't used to be a holiday here but Mrs Fluffy told me they changed it.  .

The current government is trying to prove what good Christians they are.

By making Friday and Monday holidays, but letting stores open on Saturday is simply silly.
....

I also did an online banking inter-currency transfer on Friday. It was processed today (Tuesday) because both Friday and Monday were off days. Very annoying to loose four days of business. I may need to call the recipient and "explain" this all why their payment will be late -- and I doubt they will understand it all. ....

It's worse than that.   They actually hang on to the money to use themselves, then they credit or debit you and they charge you for the privilege.   It could be an instant transfer if the payments cost structure was different.  One could ask for "fast" processing and get punished for it.  It's both a political and commercial issue. 

Good Friday has always been a holiday in the UK but working any holiday is voluntary.  I don't know if it's the same in Hungary but I can imagine huge pressure to work on those days anyway.       

When I'm away working I usually work public holidays in the country I am in.  Sometimes it's not allowed contractually but we can often work in the hotel or have team meetings off site.  Some holidays like Islamic ones like Eid are just too long to hang around doing nothing so we continue regardless or we leave the country and come back.

klsallee :

.......
But.... to further classify and solve the inexact nature of English, I might say earthworms, beetles and moles rather mature in soil which surrounds them during development. But they do not grow in or develop in situ in soil.

:D

Apart from all that grammar and logic which is noted, I move on to muse over if consuming insects vegetarian?

Grubs Up!

I suppose they are a bit like fish. Pescatarian and all that. Insectarian? People in Africa like fried insects.  Don't fancy it myself.

Update on Hungarian home education rules: Hungarian children need permission from the Education Department (Oktatási Hivatal) to learn at home.

It is highly likely that goes for foreigners wanting to settle too, but I have no knowledge of the exact law regarding immigrants to Hungary - if interested, please check before moving if home education is important to you.

Thanks for all of the comments. Thanks especially [at]Mrspb for the detailed answers.

We have the same question. The law has changed, I've done quite a bit of digging around, but can't quite figure this out. Is homeschooling still possible here and how can we go about it?

It seems that there are two potential avenues:

1. The official forms

I visited the "Oktatási Hivatal" and was referred to the following information and form:

https://www.oktatas.hu/kozneveles/egyen … _munkarend
[link under review]!Kozerdeku_adatok/oh.php?id=egyeni_munkarend_kerelem_szuloi

This is the only way for Hungarians can apply for homeschooling permission, and it's fairly restrictive. None of the categories listed there (physical illnesses, special needs, behavioral disorders, sports) really apply to our kids, but perhaps some pro-homeschooling psychologist would give us some kind of supporting document for section IV.

The two clerks at the "Oktatási Hivatal" were friendly and English-speaking but did not have the authority to make decisions and said that it's not possible to talk in person to whoever does make the decisions. The only way is to fill out the form and hope for a positive answer.

2. Foreigner status

Several people have suggested that it's not clear if these laws apply to foreigners, and have recommended that we explore that route, but this seems less clear.

It's possible to "suspend the student status" of the children via this form:

https://www.oktatas.hu/kozneveles/kozer … ueSSoRsigU

However, this requires specifically claiming trips abroad, under "criminal liability". It's not really for foreigners living in Hungary, it's for Hungarian residents spending time abroad.

Perhaps there is some other way. Perhaps a long honest explanation of our situation and interests accompanying the homeschooling permission form would do the trick. Or perhaps it's possible to just sign up at a foreign online school, skip the forms mentioned above, and see what happens (maybe nothing).

If anyone can help, please post here or DM me.

ps. Our kids went to a local private school last year but the school isn't accredited for next year and now we're sure we want to homeschool, after trying that during the quarantine.

rajva :

This is the only way for Hungarians can apply for homeschooling permission, and it's fairly restrictive. None of the categories listed there (physical illnesses, special needs, behavioral disorders, sports) really apply to our kids, but perhaps some pro-homeschooling psychologist would give us some kind of supporting document for section IV.

If it's not prying too much, why do your kids not match the list you provided?

We know some home schooled or foreign kids (or we did, school year finished now) and they had to attend state school twice a year for a short period to be "tested" to make sure the standard was high enough.   

I believe the government is not very keen on homeschooling these days.

My kids don't have any obvious physical illness or learning or behavioral disabilities and aren't elite sportsmen, at least not by normal definitions. I'm wondering if those exemptions can be used anyway since those things are arguably kind of vague. You're allowed to attach any supporting evidence you want to your application (in section IV).

The law was changed last summer and goes into effect this fall. Previously, you applied to a school principal for homeschooling permission and the requirements were more open-ended. Now, you have to go through the "Oktatási hivatal" and the requirements are more formal and strict. In both cases you had to be tested twice per year.

I've seen this law change interpreted as the government being unfriendly to homeschooling but it really depends on how the "Oktatási hivatal" applies the new regulations.

rajva :

My kids don't have any obvious physical illness or learning or behavioral disabilities and aren't elite sportsmen, at least not by normal definitions. I'm wondering if those exemptions can be used anyway since those things are arguably kind of vague. You're allowed to attach any supporting evidence you want to your application (in section IV).

The law was changed last summer and goes into effect this fall. Previously, you applied to a school principal for homeschooling permission and the requirements were more open-ended. Now, you have to go through the "Oktatási hivatal" and the requirements are more formal and strict. In both cases you had to be tested twice per year.

I've seen this law change interpreted as the government being unfriendly to homeschooling but it really depends on how the "Oktatási hivatal" applies the new regulations.

You didn't really say why you wanted to home school them. 

Maybe your reasons will be good enough but you cannot really expect people to assist in presenting persuasive arguments here without some details.   

The default scenario is that kids should go to school. 

We do know of one kid who had quite bad behavioural difficulties and the parents were essentially told they (the school) could not help them and the kid had to be removed and taught at home.

We plan to home school because our kids learn more at home. I work in software and have managed to teach them quite a bit, and they've also managed to teach themselves quite a bit from various online resources. We believe in active, hands-on learning which goes at the pace the student needs.

However, this isn't on the list of reasons which are accepted here. The accepted reasons are given here:

https://www.oktatas.hu/kozneveles/egyen … _munkarend
https://www.oktatas.hu/kozneveles/kozer … lem_szuloi

They are:

1. Medical problems.
2. Learning problems.
3. Behavioral problems.
4. Elite performance in a sport.
5. Long periods of time spent abroad.

There may also be unwritten reason #6:

6. Parents are foreigners. (??)

The law is new and it's hard to find anyone who has any experience with it. We probably just have to apply to the "Oktatási Hivatal", make the best case we can, and hope for a positive answer.

rajva :

We plan to home school because our kids learn more at home. I work in software and have managed to teach them quite a bit, and they've also managed to teach themselves quite a bit from various online resources. We believe in active, hands-on learning which goes at the pace the student needs.

However, this isn't on the list of reasons which are accepted here. The accepted reasons are given here:

https://www.oktatas.hu/kozneveles/egyen … _munkarend
https://www.oktatas.hu/kozneveles/kozer … lem_szuloi

They are:

1. Medical problems.
2. Learning problems.
3. Behavioral problems.
4. Elite performance in a sport.
5. Long periods of time spent abroad.

There may also be unwritten reason #6:

6. Parents are foreigners. (??)

The law is new and it's hard to find anyone who has any experience with it. We probably just have to apply to the "Oktatási Hivatal", make the best case we can, and hope for a positive answer.

I can see those reasons you cited are not going to be accepted by the government as you say. Their argument might say that you are doing it all wrong and you can do better. 

I suspect they'll just say kids need too go to school to learn how to operate in groups, socialise, get broader balanced knowledge and to be equipped to be an integral part of (Hungarian) society.   I don't think they'd directly say it's because you're a foreigner even if they'd be thinking that. 

The government here has an agenda.

There's believe there's a Hungarian home schooling association.  You could try and Google it.

fluffy2560 :

The government here has an agenda.

Yep.

And home schooling may not inject young people with enough government propaganda they will get is normal schools. Governments that reject home schooling are basically afraid of alternate information from the government standard.

rajva :

3. Behavioral problems.

In Hungary you have to think outside the box. In fact, a box may be a constraint you should simply ignore. And learn to be creative... if not devious.....

As already stated by others, when children are problem children, the school may tell you to home school.

So... Tell your kids to be the biggest PITA possible. They should whine, moan, scream and complain. They should not just be a PITA, but the biggest PITA possible. You may be surprised in a "conformist" culture like in Hungary how fast they may be declared a problem and you can then home school.

Again... Maybe devious... but it may work. In fact, over the past two decades, I have found here, the biggest whiners, moaners and complainers succeed more than not. Honest people not so much.

klsallee :
rajva :

3. Behavioral problems.

In Hungary you have to think outside the box.

As already stated by others, when children are problem children, the school may tell you to home school.

So... Tell your kids to be the biggest PITA possible. They should whine, moan, scream and complain. They should not just be a PITA, but the biggest PITA possible. You may be surprised in a "conformist" culture like in Hungary how fast they may be declared a problem and you can then home school.

Devious... but it may work.

Without even a hint of irony, being PITAs is a bit disturbing and messing with their young minds.   

You really want them to behave nicely of course but also conform to your standards, not to the Govt's agenda.   Bit tricky as kids tend to believe adults.  But a good dose of scepticism might help generate a forward thinking and questioning outlook.  And take all that nonsense with a pinch of salt.

We're heathens and it's a low level hassle to stop them being nudged in specific religious directions here.   It's creepy really the way they do it.   They did however  mostly accommodate our non-believer ideas with an alternate curriculum.

fluffy2560 :

Without even a hint of irony, being PITAs is a bit disturbing messing with their young minds.

Sure. That is one point and perspective.

Or you are simply teaching them to live in the modern world. Or even better, how to deal with an oppressive political system in creative ways. Thus, you are not giving young minds a disturbing message, but you rather are stimulating their creativity how to deal with oppression. (Cross reference: 198 Methods of Nonviolent Action - Albert Einstein Institution). It is all in how you, as the parent, present it to the child.

klsallee :
fluffy2560 :

Without even a hint of irony, being PITAs is a bit disturbing messing with their young minds.

Sure. That is one point and perspective.

Or you are simply teaching them to live in the modern world. Or even better, how to deal with an oppressive political system in creative ways. Thus, you are not giving young minds a disturbing message, but you rather are stimulating their creativity how to deal with oppression. (Cross reference: 198 Methods of Nonviolent Action - Albert Einstein Institution). It is all in how you, as the parent, present it to the child.

Interesting yet not persuasive theories.   The problem with most "formula" methods is that it  doesn't deal with exceptions and kids (all of them) are exceptions in multiple ways and at different times.  There's their own personality and own limited but forming belief systems.     

I think you could teach techniques creativity but there's nothing like experience to know what works in human interactions   But experience gained is usually at an expense possibly even at a terrible cost.  We don't want that. 

Kids are natural but basic manipulators and we're all suckers.  Crying kids will usually soften the heart of everyone (apart from psychopaths).   We're built to be sympathetic and protective towards them.  Hardly surprising really given the animal world purpose is to create more of the species. 

When the chips are down everything else is truly secondary.

fluffy2560 :

Interesting yet not persuasive theories.   The problem with most "formula" methods is that it  doesn't deal with exceptions and kids (all of them) are exceptions in multiple ways and at different times.  There's their own personality and own limited but forming belief systems.     

I think you could teach techniques creativity but there's nothing like experience to know what works in human interactions   But experience gained is usually at an expense possibly even at a terrible cost.  We don't want that. 

Kids are natural but basic manipulators and we're all suckers.  Crying kids will usually soften the heart of everyone (apart from psychopaths).   We're built to be sympathetic and protective towards them.  Hardly surprising really given the animal world purpose is to create more of the species. 

When the chips are down everything else is truly secondary.

Actually, this comment not only misinterprets what I said, but actually reinforces my comment and refutes your last comment. I agree that there is no formula. Which is what I said -- Encourage creativity in the youth. There is no "formula" to stimulating creativity. I never said there was.

Your last comment was, and I quote:

"being PITAs is a bit disturbing and messing with their young minds."

Which was a single minded, protective, defensive, parental reaction.

Yet you now claim:

"kids (all of them) are exceptions in multiple ways"

Yet still say:

"Kids are natural but basic manipulators and we're all suckers."

Very cynical. Youth are simply testing boundaries. That is natural and expected and in fact healthy to do so. Also, I give more credit to the youth than you do it seems how they can learn and grow positively with the correct guidance (i.e. don't be a sucker... be a sage) from such testing of boundaries (parents, society, etc).

I agree that the youth can learn from "elders". Experience does matter. But the youth and children, with a growing mind and neural network, are better than most adults at seeing around corners. We as adults should of course provide experience, but not hinder them in finding creative solutions. And we can not force experience on the youth. Sometimes the young need to learn from experienced on their own. it is painful to watch, but experience is also a good teacher.

I did contact Rev. Imre Szőke from the Hungarian Home Schooling Association. He recommended that we emphasize that we're not Hungarian citizens, don't speak Hungarian, etc. He thinks that if we just fill out the normal form (https://www.oktatas.hu/kozneveles/kozer … lem_szuloi) the chance is 99% that it will be rejected.

One thing I'm not sure about is whether we should get into our "educational philosophy" on the application. On the one hand, it could show that we've thought this through. On the other hand, it could be seen as an attack on traditional schooling, which might not go over well with that audience.

Having the kids misbehave on purpose is a hilarious idea! :D I doubt we'd actually do that in this case though - the kids are too young and there could be too many other problems, for example if the kids only manage to annoy the teachers and other parents without actually getting kicked out.

Another idea along these lines is to find a psychologist who will write that our kids have a behavioral problem. This also seems too crazy.

klsallee :
fluffy2560 :

Interesting yet not persuasive theories.   The problem with most "formula" methods is that it  doesn't deal with exceptions and kids (all of them) are exceptions in multiple ways and at different times.  There's their own personality and own limited but forming belief systems.     

I think you could teach techniques creativity but there's nothing like experience to know what works in human interactions   But experience gained is usually at an expense possibly even at a terrible cost.  We don't want that. 

Kids are natural but basic manipulators and we're all suckers.  Crying kids will usually soften the heart of everyone (apart from psychopaths).   We're built to be sympathetic and protective towards them.  Hardly surprising really given the animal world purpose is to create more of the species. 

When the chips are down everything else is truly secondary.

Actually, this comment not only misinterprets what I said, but actually reinforces my comment and refutes your last comment. I agree that there is no formula. Which is what I said -- Encourage creativity in the youth. There is no "formula" to stimulating creativity. I never said there was.

Your last comment was, and I quote:

"being PITAs is a bit disturbing and messing with their young minds."

Which was a single minded, protective, defensive, parental reaction.

Yet you now claim:

"kids (all of them) are exceptions in multiple ways"

Yet still say:

"Kids are natural but basic manipulators and we're all suckers."

Very cynical. Youth are simply testing boundaries. That is natural and expected and in fact healthy to do so. Also, I give more credit to the youth than you do it seems how they can learn and grow positively with the correct guidance (i.e. don't be a sucker... be a sage) from such testing of boundaries (parents, society, etc).

I agree that the youth can learn from "elders". Experience does matter. But the youth and children, with a growing mind and neural network, are better than most adults at seeing around corners. We as adults should of course provide experience, but not hinder them in finding creative solutions. And we can not force experience on the youth. Sometimes the young need to learn from experienced on their own. it is painful to watch, but experience is also a good teacher.

Oh, ok, bring it on.

You mentioned 198 Methods of Nonviolent Action - Albert Einstein Institution which by it's title is a systemised approach (i.e.  formula).   I suppose it's one of those quick learning business type books you see at railway stations.  You can actually teach "creativity" or rather techniques to see things differently. 

Amongst other things like personality and general behaviour, you have to look at the age of the kid to decide how you deal with them.  A 6-year old is a very different psychology proposition to a 16-year old.   Babies are the worst ones - there's no reasoning with them at all and they learn pretty quickly what brings entertainment, food, love etc.  And we'll do it without question.  On the other hand, even a 2 or 3 year old can be bribed.  Bribery with a 16-year old is completely different.  Sometimes you've just got to wing it.

I don't agree kids are better at seeing things differently. They tend to see things more simply.  They just don't have the experience to have a comparative model in their heads to sense potential outcomes  or brain development to think about the consequences of their actions.   That's why youth is impetuous at 15-16 years old.   Experience you can share but often they won't know what to do with it.  It improves in the early 20s.

Of course - in the species anthropology the exploration could mean being paired off to the kid in the next door cave., i.e.  independent living from Mum and Dad.   Different kind of boundary crossed.

rajva :

I did contact Rev. Imre Szőke from the Hungarian Home Schooling Association. He recommended that we emphasize that we're not Hungarian citizens, don't speak Hungarian, etc. He thinks that if we just fill out the normal form (https://www.oktatas.hu/kozneveles/kozer … lem_szuloi) the chance is 99% that it will be rejected.

One thing I'm not sure about is whether we should get into our "educational philosophy" on the application. On the one hand, it could show that we've thought this through. On the other hand, it could be seen as an attack on traditional schooling, which might not go over well with that audience.

Having the kids misbehave on purpose is a hilarious idea! :D I doubt we'd actually do that in this case though - the kids are too young and there could be too many other problems, for example if the kids only manage to annoy the teachers and other parents without actually getting kicked out.

Another idea along these lines is to find a psychologist who will write that our kids have a behavioral problem. This also seems too crazy.

You could just try and send them to HU school and take it on the chin.   They'd struggle at the beginning but at least eventually they'll know the language perfectly and increase their circle of friends etc. It could be an upside.  They could code in their spare time. 

I wouldn't ask someone to label your kid as a problem.  It could follow them around forever and could even end up on some official records.   Misbehaving ain't gonna be a good thing either.  If the kids think that's normal it would be a risk they'd bring their work home with them.

My kids go to state school but they are bilingual.  We know school has got problems and some weirdness with the way it works.  But we support the kids at home in our liberal environment.  It's working quite well.  They seem very independently minded and smart anyway - the school won't make them inherently smarter even if it increases their knowledge.

Our kids are also bilingual and learned English by being dropped cold-turkey into an English-speaking school in a new country. And it was fine. Challenging at first, but not overly so, and they adapted quickly. I felt that they really developed from it.

That said, we really do want to homeschool. The problem with trying to teach them after school is that the time just disappears. It's not just school, it's school along with everything else - homework, travel, after-school sports and activities, meeting friends, going outside to play, sporting events and chess tournaments on the weekends, visits abroad, visitors from abroad, online meetings with old friends, church, etc. Our kids also attend a local Polish after-hours school, that's another four hours per week. Plus, kids need some down time just sitting at home and relaxing - watching movies, playing some games, etc. A lot of schooldays are really grueling -- last year before the lockdown every Monday the kids left home 8:30 and returned 20:30, every Wednesday it was 8:30 to 19:00, and every Friday it was 8:30 to 20:00. Normal school hours just sort of wipe out the day and we never could really teach them much of anything else outside of vacations.

The lockdowns were a real eye-opener for us in this regard. We saw what they could do once they finally had a bunch of spare time.

I do agree about trying to squeeze into the "behavioral problems" loophole. It just seems too outlandish. Another risk is that we could succeed in convincing the authorities about one child but not the other. This would be a better idea if it was known to work -- you go to Dr. X at clinic Y, he's known to  support home-schooling, and will write what needs to be written. We don't really want to be the guinea pigs with something like this, going from psychologist to psychologist trying to get some magical document.

rajva :

Our kids are also bilingual and learned English by being dropped cold-turkey into an English-speaking school in a new country. And it was fine. Challenging at first, but not overly so, and they adapted quickly. I felt that they really developed from it.

That said, we really do want to homeschool. The problem with trying to teach them after school is that the time just disappears. It's not just school, it's school along with everything else - homework, travel, after-school sports and activities, meeting friends, going outside to play, sporting events and chess tournaments on the weekends, visits abroad, visitors from abroad, online meetings with old friends, church, etc. Our kids also attend a local Polish after-hours school, that's another four hours per week. Plus, kids need some down time just sitting at home and relaxing - watching movies, playing some games, etc. A lot of schooldays are really grueling -- last year before the lockdown every Monday the kids left home 8:30 and returned 20:30, every Wednesday it was 8:30 to 19:00, and every Friday it was 8:30 to 20:00. Normal school hours just sort of wipe out the day and we never could really teach them much of anything else outside of vacations.

The lockdowns were a real eye-opener for us in this regard. We saw what they could do once they finally had a bunch of spare time.

I do agree about trying to squeeze into the "behavioral problems" loophole. It just seems too outlandish. Another risk is that we could succeed in convincing the authorities about one child but not the other. This would be a better idea if it was known to work -- you go to Dr. X at clinic Y, he's known to  support home-schooling, and will write what needs to be written. We don't really want to be the guinea pigs with something like this, going from psychologist to psychologist trying to get some magical document.

I know what you mean about the time going.  This is the same here. We found sometimes our kids were very very tired returning from school.  They just couldn't take any more. They basically need a break or something had to give.  Perhaps the self-limiting feedback meant that COVID19 saved them from meltdown.

It's one of the hassles here. They are very obsessive with kids here - it's definitely an agenda to conform their minds.  There's a very stupid idea of banging stuff into kids heads without any time off.  The teachers also get it in the neck.   Who knows what happened to the perpetrator of this school system design to cause them to torture children and think it's a good idea.  I can only think their own childhood was painful.

We were obviously home schooling during the lockdown but what we found is that for the older one (aged 15) was more or less able to self-organise but the younger one (aged 10) was not able to do just to it on their own.  Mrs Fluffy then had to do nearly everything with that one so that means her own things she wants to do get neglected. I cannot teach them where Hungarian was involved. I was able to do more on their maths and science stuff as it's more universally understood.   

Overall, lockdown has been rather good for everyone - I'm at home so much more which means I can get on with my own stuff and just hang out with them helping where I can or I'm asked.  Zoom works pretty good - more than sufficient for most interactions and saves a lot of time.  Even the dog has benefited too from lockdown.

Anyways, as the kids have got older, they simply don't want to do the same things as they did before. . 
Our eldest here just want to do other stuff.  Some things will come in and some things will go out.  Eldest kid here is really into fashion and art and astronomy and chat via social media to her friends - wants to do that rather than play games.  Younger one wants to play multiplayer games on the PC all the time with friends from school. 

Maybe  the thing is just to get over the hump.  Once they are teenagers, they'll want to do their own stuff anyway.

Yeah, my wife and I have been over this a few times, trying to figure out what to do. This isn't one of those things where one approach is "better" than another. You just have to find the right tradeoffs for your family.

The schooling is very "Prussian" here -- discipline oriented, sit-on-your-butt-and-listen. I totally get the argument for that -- developing some discipline is good, and some things actually do need to be learned that way. Still, I think that active and interest-driven learning is more effective for most material. Our kids are also quite good academically so school often ends up slowing them down. During the lockdown the kids got very advanced with programming. Even the 7 year old was doing things which it never even occurred to me to try to teach the older one when he was the same age. This didn't even need that much time from me -- I spent one long week teaching them, that "cost" me maybe 20-30 hours, and then they took off, and just needed help a few times per day. Obviously, their interest will come and go, and not everything fits the interest-driven model as well as programming, but there are a lot of online resources for studying other topics and our experience so far is just too good to not act on.

If school was say 5 hours per per week, I'd be totally for it. 35 hours per week is just too "expensive".

And yes, kids get more self-reliant as they get older. There are tons of stories of teen-age homeschooled kids whose parents aren't even at home. The kid will wake up, do some work in an empty house, go to the gym mid-day to amused looks, then organize some social or learning activities on his own or even run a business, again often during normal school hours. Obviously this works better with kids who are self-starters. If a kid needs to be constantly pushed, it might not work as well.

Anyway, I've written a letter to the Oktatási hivatal, emphasizing our foreign roots and that our kids are already fluent in two languages, making written exams in their third language difficult. I did not get into our "education philosophy", or try to play "behavioral problems" card, for reasons discussed earlier. Will post back when I get a response.

rajva :

Yeah, my wife and I have been over this a few times, trying to figure out what to do. This isn't one of those things where one approach is "better" than another. You just have to find the right tradeoffs for your family.

The schooling is very "Prussian" here -- discipline oriented, sit-on-your-butt-and-listen. I totally get the argument for that -- developing some discipline is good, and some things actually do need to be learned that way. Still, I think that active and interest-driven learning is more effective for most material. ...e

If school was say 5 hours per per week, I'd be totally for it. 35 hours per week is just too "expensive".

.....

Anyway, I've written a letter to the Oktatási hivatal, emphasizing our foreign roots and that our kids are already fluent in two languages, making written exams in their third language difficult. I did not get into our "education philosophy", or try to play "behavioral problems" card, for reasons discussed earlier. Will post back when I get a response.

It used to be thought kids got muddled in multiple languages and that's been throughly debunked. Bilingual, trilingual and more kids have managed perfectly well for thousands of years.  I think it's pretty interesting stuff.  I've read reports that kids who have multi-language skills grow up more intelligent, better at maths and that they even live longer!  What's not to like?!

Our own teenager has taken to learning Spanish and is often found on the balcony at night admiring the stars and watching the ISS pass overhead and yet spends time doing her "art".  I guess the point is that  they might push back on the language argument.  You never know here. 

We know a couple who are professors of education here  in Hungary and also teaching at university level in Austria. From what we know of them, they shouldn't be let anywhere near kids. Their theories doesn't match anything like the practice.  They might even hate kids. Luckily they don't have any.   

Teachers are often loopy too and should be retired - one of them told our kid to be a hairdresser or nail technician.  Nothing wrong with that as a job of course but a) no interest; and b) straight-5* student with ambitions elsewhere.   WTF?  We had to spend time reversing the damage.

I can put time in with our kids - I'm a technologist primarily - but they aren't that interested in the subjects i know most about.  I'm working on trying to get some  common interest in say art critique or metal working sculpture but it's not working very well.  I find that sort of thing fascinating but they don't much care at all.  Everyone's different and we work to our strengths.

I reckon school should be 1/2 day 3 x a week.  35h is insanely long - full time job.  One of our kids cried when school was over this year.  Not because of missing friends or end of the time but because of the relief so much stress had been removed.   Of course it'll come back in September.

*Getting a 5 is like getting an A - as in Straight-A student.

rajva :

The schooling is very "Prussian" here -- discipline oriented, sit-on-your-butt-and-listen. I totally get the argument for that -- developing some discipline is good, and some things actually do need to be learned that way. Still, I think that active and interest-driven learning is more effective for most material.

Both my wife and I suffered under such rigid scholastic ideals. No wonder, we both became educators in our own way exploring other methods in our adult careers.

So, IMHO, no, discipline is not always good. Understanding the needs of each child is better.

I loved being at University. Finally.... No bells telling me when to go to class etc. I could learn at my own pace. I could explore. I did more and learned more during my years there than in all the years of primary and secondary education combined. I actually learned to love history, mathematics, philosophy, etc in just a few years of higher education without "rules".

If only there was a Montessori Method of Education school I could have gone to when I was between the age of 5 and 18.... Oh, the joy I would have had so much earlier.

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