homeschooling in europe umbrella or accredited schools
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Homeschooling in Europe – picking an accredited or an umbrella school

Homeschooling in Europe and particularly in Romania – picking an accredited school or going the umbrella school way? I will tell you about our choices and my research in the matter.

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

There are some countries in Europe where homeschooling is illegal. As for the rest of them, there is either a gray area when it comes to it -like Romania- or homeschooling is legalized.

I’m going to write this from our experience in Romania where homeschooling is in a gray area and where you need to be enrolled in some sort of school in order to homeschool legally.

To make sure you are following the rules and regulations of the country you live in, please research your particular area.

Whatever details and advice I give here is solely my opinion and every parent should research these things independently.
Also, most of the schools and accreditation I talk about in this article are based in the US. That’s the system we chose and I am most familiar with it.


I feel the need to clarify some aspects of homeschooling in Romania because I am on familiar territory here.

  • homeschooling in Romania is LEGAL.
  • you need to be enrolled in a SCHOOL that is RECOGNIZED (as a form of school) in the region/country where it functions. For example a UK school must be recognized in UK as a school, a USA school needs to be recognized in the state or origin as a school or accepted as a form of education in that state! Make sure to thoroughly check the background of your intended school! Do not opt for schools that “promise” they will get that recognition in the future . It might not happen. Go for tried and tested schools (list below). I would not pick a local school because of this very reason. Don’t believe everything you hear, please research on your own before you decide.
  • kids need to be enrolled in a system OUTSIDE the Romanian educational system.
  • you need to have a clean and clear cut with the public school: after enrolling the children in the umbrella/distance school, take them out of the public school. (there is much to be discussed here on the WAYS you should do that, feel free to contact me if you have any doubts on how to do this).
  • you don’t have to opt for an accredited school in order to homeschool in Romania but note that accreditation HELPS when it comes to recognition. A solidly-accredited school should be automatically recognized in Romania.
  • if you opt for a non- accredited school, you should know that your children can pass the GED exam which is recognized in Romania.
  • expect to homeschool in another language! Preferably the language of the school you pick or the language of the educational system you opt for. It makes sense: US/UK schools will teach in English, France based schools in French, Hungary based schools in Hungarian and so on. It’s more genuine to show a transcript which reflects that your child studied in another language to go with the fact that the school was based outside your country. For this reason, if you or your children don’t know the language well, I urge you to take a year to immerse yourselves in the language and learn it as much as possible before starting.
Homeschooling in Europe  - picking an accredited school or going the umbrella school way

1. Homeschooling – types of schools

As a new homeschooler, I was overwhelmed by the multitude of options. One of the most stressful choices was picking a school.

As I mentioned, in Romania, in order to be homeschooling legally, we need to be enrolled in some sort of school. I will write here about the different types of schools and give examples of the schools I’ve come across. There are many more, and I invite you to use this list as a starting point for your own research.

Umbrella Schools

Umbrella schools are the most common schools chosen by homeschoolers to “prove” that their children are engaged in some sort of education. What I mean by that is that umbrella schools are the most flexible, mainly used for the legal paperwork aspects and not much more.

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, ranging from FREE registration to about $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.

  1. Home Life Academy (HLA):
  2. West River Academy :
  3. Crossroads Christian School (CCS) –
  4. Clonlara –
  5. Global Village School –
  6. Hillcrest Academy Free School-
  7. Royal Hollow Academy:

Distance Learning Schools and Online Schools

These schools usually offer their own curricula either in offline (textbook-workbook form) or online. Sometimes they have advisory teachers that help you out in your journey, testing to make sure you are on track and more rigorous requirements.

They are mostly accredited, although not all of them will have a solid accreditation which is widely recognized.

For me, for the elementary school at least, it’s important that M. is doing his school mostly offline. I want him to learn the traditional way before moving to online schooling. But the list below is a mix of schools that offer online/offline or both options.

Please research each school on your own before enrolling- it’s important to make sure they can give you the paperwork you require and that they meet your needs and learning style.

Online or offline schooling
  1. Bridgeway Academy (our current school- read more about it here):
  2. Calvert (our past school, we don’t recommend it anymore) :
  3. Wolsey Hall Oxford (UK)-
  4. Oak Meadow :
  5. Seascape Private School :
  6. CLASS :
  7. The Oaks Private School :
  8. Laurel Springs :
  9. Keystone :
  10. Abeka :
  11. Forest Trail Academy:
  12. American School of Correspondence:
  13. K12 –
  14. NFC Academy –
  15. Alfa Omega Academy –
  16. Mother of Divine Grace :
  17. Set on Home:
  18. The George Washington University Online High School:
  19. Indiana University Online High School:
  20. Stanford Online High School-

2. Accreditation – does it really matter?

Accreditation is a hot-topic among homeschoolers. Do you really need it or not? It all depends on what your plans are and where you live.

My choice was to go the accredited route for my peace of mind. I work best when held accountable for what I am doing and accredited was the best solution for us. I also feel that solidly accredited schools are more “serious” and offer you more support. They are also automatically recognized in Romania. So I would rather pay extra and have that option.

Most people start looking at accreditation for high-school and that’s ok. You don’t really need accreditation for elementary unless you chose it like I did, for your peace of mind.

Just know that even an accredited school cannot guarantee that your diplomas will be recognized in the country you are in. You will have to dig deeper and see the legal situation of diploma recognition in your country of residence.

In Romania, solid accreditation in the school’s state will spell automatic recognition of your paperwork.

Solid accreditation:

Since I mentioned that some schools that are accredited are not always recognized, I decided to share with you a part of my research on accreditation.

There are a lot of accreditation bodies in the USA You need to look at REGIONAL Accreditation bodies because those are the most widely accepted and recognized.
Some of the most well-known and accepted accreditation bodies for lower education (up to high school) that I encountered are:

The six regional accreditation boards that are widely recognized:

Here’s a list of the schools I looked into that have a (more) solid accreditation, but please research each of them before enrolling.

  1. Bridgeway Academy– read about our experience with them here
  2. Wolsey Hall Oxford (UK)
  3. Oak Meadow
  4. Clonlara
  5. Calvert
  6. Laurel Springs
  7. Keystone
  8. The Oaks
  9. Abeka Academy
  10. Forest Trail Academy

To read more on what we picked and our experience with our school, read this post.

I will do my best to update the lists from time to time and keep them accurate, but feel free to add more suggestions in the comments.

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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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