ROME — Home schooling is a relatively new phenomenon in Europe, compared to how widespread the educational method has become in the United States over the last 40 years. Recent estimates indicate that more than 2.3 million students are being home-schooled in the United States (against an average of 850,000 in 1999 and 1.5 million in 2007), and there are, reportedly, an estimated 48,000 students in the U.K. (against approximately 20,000 in 2009), 30,000 in France (its number has doubled over the past seven years), 4,000 in Spain (although home schooling is not yet officially legal there), and approximately 1,000 in Italy.
The phenomenon has been constantly gaining ground in all the countries where legislation provides for freedom of education and has gradually emerged as an alternative to public school’s shortcomings, whether concerning the collapse of the quality of education or the spreading of ideologies of which parents disapprove.
In Italy, numerous new initiatives have contributed to the rise in alternative educational methods. Associations promoting home schooling and home-school cooperatives or home-school academies are flourishing in the country and are being led by parents who are inspired by the success of such methods in the United States.