Homeschooling in Bulgaria - Guide for Expats

The practice of homeschooling is a topic that increases in relevancy as the flaws of the public educational system become bigger and more apparent. Bulgaria has just begun this discussion, and there have been recent developments and policies that address homeschooling as a method of educating one’s children.

 In this article, we’ll explore the climate and the ways to homeschool children in Bulgaria – the country’s culture, laws, and educational system. If you’re an expat looking to start a new life with your family in Bulgaria, this information may be vital to you and your children.

Home vs government school

What are the differences between homeschooling and choosing the usual government education in Bulgaria? The first major drawback to Bulgaria’s government schools is the age and qualification of the teachers. In fact, the average age for teachers in the country is 50 years. That creates a myriad of problems, the most major of which would be the inability of these educators to handle the changes in the world.

The overwhelming majority of teachers in Bulgaria started their practice well before the explosion of computers and the Internet in the country, not to mention smartphones. Most Bulgarian students are being taught by people old enough to be their grandparents. Our world is becoming more dependent on new ideas and technologies, and our older generation can't keep up. Bulgaria has a lack of IT specialists and the problem can’t be improved without some flexibility and changes in education.

The lack of personnel, criterial demands for scores, and abundance of students makes it close to impossible for any specialized interests of the teachers towards specific kids. These children end up being an alphabetically ordered checklist. 

Another major problem in Bulgarian schools is the prevalence of bullying and the social environment. While some worldwide reports claim there’s a decrease in bullying, Bulgaria doesn’t seem to make much progress on that problem and teachers can’t do anything about it. A recent case showed that - an enraged father beat up his daughter’s bully.

Environmental factors in school can also cause other psychological problems and susceptibility to bad influences. Many Bulgarian students start using and selling drugs within the school circle. Bulgaria’s students must also drag around a lot of books and notebooks, which makes their backpacks quite heavy.

These problems can be solved by homeschooling. If you’re young enough to have kids, you’re also likely to be 15-30 years younger than the average Bulgarian school teacher, meaning you'll be more in touch with the recent trends in culture and technology. The social pressure and bullying issues are also solved, as there are no overcrowded classes or a large crowd of bullies.

And while some studies seem to point that homeschooled children have higher academic achievements than government-schooled ones, the usual argument against homeschooling are that it can create an echo chamber where the child cannot develop social skills or be exposed to influence outside the family. In the US homeschooling parents often group up and go on regular outings in order to develop children's social skills, and to provide a skills exchange between parents.

At the end of the day, similar to government schools, the quality of the homeschool depends on its methods and implementation. When the parent is also the teacher, things will vary greatly. Both options will have a massive impact on your child’s development and your shared life, so choose wisely.

The laws of homeschooling in Bulgaria

Bulgaria is a country that’s heavily discriminatory against people without government certificates for education. You'll have a hard time enlisting into university or getting a drivers license without having school diplomas. Not the actual levels of education and knowledge, mind you, as many students go out of Bulgarian schools functionally illiterate, and a certain percentage of university graduates can’t even speak the country’s language.

There’s no official homeschooling method that doesn’t involve a lot of government interference and exams. You’d still have to enroll your child in a government school and the child will have to take standardized testing. This testing can be done either on the school premises or remotely. 

The homeschooling option is called “individual form of education” while the standard one is a “daily form.” Here’s a translated quote from the Rules on the implementation of the law for national education, article 83:

 “(1)The individual form of education shall include study sessions as well as examinations or on-going examinations on subjects of study if this is provided by the individual curriculum approved by the school director.

 (2) The individual form of training shall be organized for:

  1. for gifted students as well as for pupils who, for family reasons, wish to complete their education for one or more classes in other periods.”

In other words, you can homeschool your child for family reasons that the school must find compelling enough to allow it. If you’re a responsible parent, and you can afford to teach your kids, the school is likely to grant your request. The wording is left vague as to avoid abuse of the individual form of education, as some malicious parents can make their children skip school for various reasons, including making their children work, which is of course against Bulgarian law.

With the right approach its possible to make the change. From there on it depends on the school principal (called the school director in Bulgaria), and the staff. We’ll update this article if there are any changes made to the laws, but it seems like homeschooling is only getting easier as time goes on. Before 2014 there was no legal option for opting out from school attendance for anything other than medical concerns or disabilities.

Bulgaria and homeschooling in the future

Reportedly, 15,000 children are being homeschooled in the country. While this option is still fairly unclear and less developed as in other countries, teaching your kids at home in Bulgaria is easier than it’s ever been. Taking that path can be tricky, as this road isn't as paved as it should be, but in the end, it may be preferable to letting your children in the hands of the aging teachers or the local school bullies. But that option will be much harder than leaving your kid in the morning and picking it up in the afternoon. You'll have to weigh the pros and cons. Hopefully, this article helped you make the right choice.

Useful links - Bulgarian Ministry of Education and Science

Alex Dimchev

Alex Dimchev is a writer, editor, and weapons master for

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