How to homeschool in Europe- Accredited Schools or Umbrella Schools

Homeschooling in Europe – Picking an Accredited or an Umbrella School

Inside: Considering Homeschooling in Europe? You might need to choose an umbrella or accredited school But among the many options, which one should you choose? This article explains the differences between the various types of schools and what accreditations to look for.

Homeschooling in Europe isn’t always straightforward. Fortunately, if your country allows homeschooling, you can meet the rules and requirements. While this article mainly focuses on school options for homeschooling and proving your kids are legally schooled, remember to consider other local regulations too.

If you are a complete beginner and unsure of the steps to homeschool, check my article on Homeschooling 101 for helpful tips.

Disclaimer: Please note that the information and advice provided in this article are based on our personal experiences and opinions. Every parent should conduct independent research to make informed decisions. Additionally, most of the schools and accreditations discussed here are from the US, a system we are most familiar with.

Homeschooling in Europe- Umbrella or Accredited Schools

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1. Homeschooling in Europe

Homeschooling regulations differ across European countries, and they can change over time. So I recommend researching the legal status of homeschooling in your specific country. A useful resource for this is HSLDA, where you can find information about homeschooling regulations by country.

Certain European countries permit homeschooling but with specific guidelines, such as mandatory exams, inspections, and notifying authorities.

  • These countries include Ireland, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Bulgaria, Finland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia (ages 6-10), Slovenia, Switzerland, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, Belarus, the Czech Republic (for primary aged students), Iceland (requires teacher certification), Liechtenstein, Malta, the Netherlands (religious exemption), Romania, and Serbia (for special education needs).

In some European nations, homeschooling is generally illegal or allowed only under very strict conditions.

  • These countries include Germany, Greece, Sweden, Spain, France, and Hungary.
Homeschooling in europe

2. Types of schools beyond umbrella schools

As a new homeschooler, I was overwhelmed by the multitude of options and the differences between the schools. What are umbrella schools and what makes a distance or an accredited school better?

Umbrella schools – maximum flexibility

Umbrella schools are a popular choice for homeschoolers looking to meet legal requirements while maintaining flexibility. These schools primarily handle legal paperwork and may not be accredited or accredited by lesser-known associations.

Umbrella schools are usually not accredited, or accredited by lesser-known and accepted associations that are not widely recognized. The only recognized accreditations are REGIONAL ones like AdvancED/Cognia (see below).

These schools are the cheapest option available, averaging around $300 per year.

They offer you the transcript and you have to deal with everything else from choosing a curriculum to grading your child’s work. There are no teachers to check your children’s work and there are no tests and almost no requirements.

This is the best option for unschoolers because it offers the most flexibility.

Here are some popular umbrella schools – please note these are not automatically recognized and sometimes the diploma obtained through them is not valid since they are NOT accredited or their accreditations aren’t regional (internationally recognized).

Distance and online schools

These schools offer their own curricula, available in offline (textbook-workbook) or online formats. Some provide advisory teachers, testing, and stricter requirements.

While most are accredited, the recognition of their accreditation may vary. Consider your child’s learning style and preferences when choosing.

Keep reading for a list of accredited distance schools.

online homeschooling

3. Accreditation – does it really matter?

Accreditation is a hot topic among homeschoolers, and its importance varies based on your plans and location. Accreditation can provide accountability and recognition, but it doesn’t guarantee diploma recognition in your country. Research your country’s diploma recognition policies.

In Romania, solid accreditation in the school’s state can lead to automatic recognition of your paperwork.

Solid accreditation- Cognia and beyond

When it comes to accreditation for K-12 educational institutions, regional accreditation is vital for achieving global recognition and credibility. Several internationally recognized accrediting organizations stand out in this regard:

  • Cognia
  • MSA (sometimes known as MSA – CESS)
  • WASC

Cognia, in particular, serves as a prominent parent organization overseeing three major accreditation agencies:

  • North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI): Operating in various states and regions, including Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, and more, NCA CASI extends its accreditation services to a diverse range of educational contexts, including Department of Defense Dependent Schools.
  • Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC): As an integral part of Cognia, NWAC enhances the organization’s ability to provide comprehensive accreditation and school improvement services.
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI): SACS CASI serves a wide array of states, such as Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and others, and extends its accreditation to Department of Defense Elementary and Secondary Schools, showcasing its global outreach.

Beyond these, several other essential regional school accreditation agencies operate in the U.S.:

  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA): Covering regions from Delaware to the Middle East, MSA plays a crucial role in maintaining educational standards across a vast geographical area.
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC): NEASC’s jurisdiction spans states in New England and regions in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, underscoring its international impact.
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC): WASC provides accreditation services to a wide range of locations, including California, Hawaii, and various Pacific islands, ensuring educational quality across these diverse areas.

The importance of regional accreditation, especially by these agencies, cannot be overstated. They ensure that K-12 educational institutions adhere to high-quality standards, which is essential for their recognition and acceptance on an international scale.

This accreditation validates the educational programs offered by these institutions, making it easier for students to transfer between schools worldwide and ensuring that diplomas are respected and recognized by higher education institutions and employers globally.

accredited homeschool

4. What accredited schools should you choose?

Here’s a list of schools with regional accreditation that we explored. Remember to research each school at the time of enrollment, as accreditation status can change.

(Note: We do not endorse these schools except Bridgeway Academy, where we have been enrolled for the past 5 years. Prices are starting points and subject to change.)

AccreditationSchool NameLinkGrades offered (some offer PreK)Pricing starting at (/year unless otherwise stated)Included materials in price
Cognia + WASCBridgeway Academy$1395NO
MSA CESSAbeka Academy$835YES
MSA CESSAmerican School$1000YES
CogniaThe Oaks Private School$1500YES
NEASCOak Meadow$3225YES
CogniaInternational Schooling$2200YES
CogniaAccelerate Online Academy$1895YES
WASCStanford Online High School$29850YES
CogniaIU High School Online$231/class + taxesYES
Cognia + MSA CESSNFC Academy$950YES
CogniaWestern Christin Academy (WCA)$1995YES
Cognia + MSA CESSForest Trail Academy$950YES
Cognia + WASCLaurel Springs$5200YES
MSA CESSClonlara$1245NO
MSA CESSArchway Online$199 /monthYES
CogniaSterling Academy$335 /monthYES
Cognia + MSA CESSNorthgate Academy$1690YES
CogniaEnlightum Academy$575 /semesterYES
CogniaIdeal School$379 /monthYES
Cognia + WASCSora$12000YES
CogniaCambrilearn UK SYSTEM to A-level$690YES
Cognia + MSA CESSExcel High School$159 /monthYES

I will do my best to update this list regularly, but your research is crucial. Feel free to share additional suggestions in the comments. Good luck with your homeschooling journey in Europe!

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  1. Buna ziua Laura,

    Felicitari pentru blog! Il gasesc foarte util pentru oricine doreste sa faca homeschooling in Romania. Stii cumva ce examen(e) din US echivaleaza examenul de capacitate si cel de bacalaureat romanesc?

    1. Buna Madalina,

      Pentru capacitate, SUA nu are echivalent si nu e nevoie de asa ceva.

      Exameneele echivalente BAC-ului din SUA sunt SAT sau ACT. (Pentru UK avem A-levels) Unele universitati cer in plus TOEFL sau IELTS pentru limba engleza.
      Pentru Romania, ar trebui echivalate diplomele la CNRED dupa cum urmeaza:
      – diploma de liceu
      – GED (daca liceul nu a fost acreditat regional)
      – uneori SAT dar am auzit ca nu e obligatoriu.

      In principiu daca liceul la care ati fost inscrisi e acreditata, ai nevoie doar de diploma de liceu si SAT pentru universitate.

      Pentru o lista a examinarilor de toate felurile din SUAȘ

      Sper ca am raspuns complet. Daca ai alte intrebari, o sa le raspund cu drag.

      1. buna, sunt la inceput de drum si ma documentez despre homeschool, foarte util artocolul tau, multumim !! deci, sa inteleg ca poti urma o scoala neacreditata, pot alege eu materiile dupa care studiaza copilul, inclusiv pt liceu, iar la sfarsit de liceu, poti opta pt examenul GED, care inteleg ca este echivalent diplomei de liceu? si mai apoi, trebuie sa dea SAT pt a se inscrie la facultate sau se poate cu GED? sau daca e nevoie de SAT , care e sensul de GED atunci ? pt ce e nevoie mai exact ?

        1. Buna Mari,

          Da, asa e. GED tine loc de liceu, e un examen pentru dropouts (cei care renunta la scoala). Se cere tocmai pentru ca scolile neacreditate nu sunt recunoscute. In Europa, din ce am cercetat eu, nici nu se uita la GED, au nevoie de o diploma de la o scoala acreditata. Dar depinde de la facultate la facultate. In Romania GED se ofera ca optiune pentru cei care au absolvit la licee neacreditate.

          Am aflat recent ca pentru diplomele de liceu de la scolile acreditate Cognia nu se mai cere GED pentru echivalare. De exemplu, scoala la care suntem noi inscrisi, Bridgeway e acreditata Cognia.

          SAT se cere de obicei pentru a arata ca esti pregatit pentru cursurile de facultate. Uneori e optional, insa depinde mult de facultatea la care vrei sa aplici.

          Sper ca ajuta. Mult succes!

  2. Bună! Sunt mama a doi băieți și de 1 an nu au mai mers la grădiniță. Găsesc extrem de folositor acest blog și îți mulțumesc pentru timpul care l-ai acordat scriind aici atâtea informații prețioase.

      1. Buna ziua.
        Si noi avem un băiețel de 4 ani pe care vrem sa il înscriem la grădiniță in sistem am gandit la Wolsey Hall . Ce părere aveti? ati putea sa ma ghidati putin? Mulțumim pt toate informațiile.

        1. Buna Adina,

          Imi poti scrie pe Facebook sau e-mail daca vrei sa discutam in detaliu. Wolsey Hall e o scoala buna, insa trebuie sa luati niste lucruri in considerare:
          – vorbeste limba engleza? la o scoala precum Wolsey sau Bridgeway Academy (unde suntem noi) se lucreaza in engleza
          – doriti sistem UK sau SUA? Wolsey e pe sistem UK
          – doriti materiale obligatorii? Wolsey e pe tip boxed curriculum, deci veti avea materiale impuse dupa care lucrati. Daca doriti scoala acreditata si flexibila, recomand Bridgeway Academy – pe sistem SUA.

          Daca vrei, imi scrii in privat si iti spun mai multe sau ne putem auzi intr-un call.

  3. Buna Laura,

    Am citit aici ca diploma de GED se poate echivala cu Bacalaureatul in Romania. Sa inteleg ca sunt cazuri precedente? Nu am gasit nimic concret pe internet. Stii cumva daca este suficienta doar diploma de GED sau este necesar si SAT-ul ca o conditie extra? Multumesc mult.


    1. Buna Laurentiu,

      Am cautat mult sa gasesc un raspuns concret, si il poti citi si tu pe noul meu grup (in Announcements):

      Un parinte care a trecut deja prin experienta echivalarii a scris exact de ce a avut nevoie pentru asta: GED+SAT+alte documente (aici probabil e vorba de foile matricole pentru anii de liceu).

      In teorie, daca liceul e acreditat (si recunoscut de CNRED- nu cunosc criteriile lor) atunci nu ar mai fi nevoie de GED.
      SAT e de fapt un examen folosit pentru admiterea la facultate, nu un echivalent direct al BAC-ului.

      Sper ca am reusit sa mai lamuresc din aspecte. Pe masura ce aflu mai multe si eu voi mai rectifica informatiile.

      O zi frumoasa!

  4. Buna Laura. Ce pot spune? Multumesc, foarte detaliat articol, si cu raspunsuri la toate intrebarile.

    keep up the good work

  5. Hi Laura 🙂 thank you for all the precious informations in your blog! Do you know if there are french or romanian speaking accredited umbrella schools that are ”accepted” in Romania? Thanks a lot!

    1. Hi Fleur,
      I’m happy you’re finding the information useful.
      There are no umbrella schools in Romania that function 100% legally (Romania doesn’t allow distance schools to function legally before high-school). And France has a totally different system to regulate homeschooling. Plus they just adopted a law that will make homeschooling there virtually impossible. You can research more on that topic.
      The only legal schools that work are US or UK-based.

  6. Bună! Și noi suntem in căutarea unei școli umbrelă în România pentru adolescenta noastră, care in momentul de față este elevă in cls a9-a la un liceu de stat. Ne-am oprit cu căutările asupra HLA. Totuși, am dori și părerea cuiva experimentat. Ce ne recomandați în cazul nostru? Menționez că ne dorim pe cât posibil să avem și acoperire din punct de vedere legal. Mulțumim, anticipat!

    1. Buna,

      Daca inca nu faceti parte din grupul meu de Facebook: Homeschooling in Romania de la A la Z (link: va rog sa aderati.

      Am discutat acolo pe larg despre multe aspecte ale homeschooling-ului in Romania (eu si alti homeschooleri cu experienta), inclusiv faptul ca nu exista scoli umbrela in Romania.
      Apoi trebuie sa intelegeti bine diferenta dintre scoala umbrela si scoala la distanta. Pana la liceu se poate fara probleme merge pe o scoala umbrela. De la liceu lucrurile se complica putin pentru ca e importanta directia in care doriti sa mergeti. Din nou, am dezbatut aceste aspecte pe grup mai pe larg.

      Acoperire legala va ofera orice scoala care functioneaza LEGAL, ca SCOALA in statul sau tara unde isi are sediul. HLA functioneaza ca scoala in statul unde se afla, deci ofera acoperire legala. Acoperirea legala pentru homeschooling-ul in Romania presupune eliberarea de foi matricole si adeverinte de scolarizare.

      La liceu trebuie sa aveti in vedere obtinerea de credite pentru High School Diploma. Mai apoi pregatirea pentru GED (examenul care se foloseste in locul diplomei de liceu in cazul in care liceul NU e acreditat, precum HLA) si examenul SAT sau ACT (echivalentele americane ale BAC-ului romanesc). NU va putea sustine BAC-ul romanesc decat daca e eleva inscrisa la un liceu din Romania (care functioneaza legal, adica apare in lista ARACIP:

      Pentru a aplica la o facultate din Romania, documentele de mai sus (si ce va mai fi nevoie) se trimit la CNRED pentru echivalare:

      Pentru mai multe detalii si nuante in aceste aspecte, va rog aplicati pentru aderarea in grup (sunt 3 intrebari, trebuie sa raspundeti la toate 3 pentru a fi aprobata).

  7. Buna ziua. Extrem de util pt noi. Totusi suntem la inceput de drum ,ne ati putea explica toti pasi pt inscrierea in homeschooling. Am un baietel de 7 ani si as vrea sa l inscriu in acest sistem. V as fi foarte recunoscatoare daca m ati ajuta. Va multumesc anticipat! Felucitari

  8. Thank you very much for the great list of various schools, from a Balkan perspective!

    We are a family of five, who live on a sailboat, but are transitioning to land life in Bulgaria this summer, 2022, (Bulgarian/US mixed family).

    Having a tween and two teenagers, and having only used non-accredited schools in the past, I am starting to research the best way to continue our kids’ high schools and beyond, giving them the best chance to continue their education in University, if they choose to do that.

    Your review of the accredited curricula and the umbrella schools will be most useful, thank you!


    1. Hi Jurgita,

      Sorry for the late reply. I was going through some family problems and didn’t have time to check back.
      I am not familiar with Portugal and its laws, but from what I’ve read, you can homeschool through a distance school and the parents must have a university degree.
      You also need to submit some proof of learning.

      I recommend you research the local laws thoroughly.

      A school like Bridgeway Academy might be accepted as they are accredited and very serious about the learning plan (

      I hope this helps.

  9. Hello!

    Thank you for the great list of resources. We lived in Europe for two years and chose Seascape Private School for homeschooling. A really wonderful program, in my opinion. I just wanted to let you know the link you have is broken. It should be


  10. Buna Laura,
    poti sa ma ajuti cu o clarificare te rog. Din tot ce am reusit sa aflu pana acum, pentru atestatul de echivalare a diplomei de Bac e suficient foaia matricola de la HLA, diploma de absolvire la ei si GED plus Toefl? sau e neaparat necesar si SAT? Eu tot citesc ca e optional, totusi, toti il depun si pe el la echivalare, desi el e folosit la facultate, nu pt a dovedi liceul. Stii cumva vreun caz care a obtinut fara SAT , doar cu restul enumerat, echivalerea de la CNRED? Multumesc mult de raspuns

    1. Buna Irina,

      Lucrurile se pot schimba oricand, insa momentan diploma HLA+GED ajung pentru echivalare din ce am auzit eu.
      Cu foaie matricola de la un liceu acreditat Cognia (precum Bridgeway Academy) nu mai e nevoie nici de GED.

      Cel mai bun raspuns il primesti direct de la CNRED. Poti suna sau poti sa le scrii.

      SAT e mai mult pentru facultate. Daca facultatea la care vrei sa aplici cere asta, va trebui sa dai si SAT-ul.

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