Home education in Norway and other Nordic countries.


In the Nordic countries Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland and Norway there have been early historical home education in the 18th-centrury into the 19th--century. Rural peasant often educated their own children because of lack of schools.

Modern home education (HE) started in Nordic countries in the beginning of the 1990`s, in Norway and Sweden in strong conflicts with the authorities and with several court cases. Today the level of conflicts in Norway is lower and the legal situation more normalized. Norway, Denmark and Finland have a more liberal legal regime for HE than Sweden and Iceland. The number of HE-pupils in Nordic countries differs and seems related to legality issues, access of free/private schools and to trust in the national school-system in each of the countries.

In the Nordic countries we find the same motives for HE and the same groups of home educators as in other HE countries, with a domination of Christian traditional middle-class and new radical cultural middle-class, with a different mix in each country. In Norway the main HE-group is Christian, peasants and lower middleclass, in rural areas.

The ideological ground for HE gives critics of educational politics against content and methods in school, against the mass education and the school institution as such and more generally against secularization and statism in education. There is on the other hand, mostly in USA, also a critic against the educational politics of home education as right-populism, neo-liberal and neo-conservative ideology.

HE can be seen as front phenomena in a historical development in modern education toward more free choice and more personalized education, which now is possible because of new information technology and new economical conditions. An opening of the school-institution for more flexible solutions with some school and some home education is today an important issue in Norwegian HE.


Christian W. Beck,

A. Professor in Education.

Institute of Ed. Research,

Univ. of Oslo, Norway

E-mail: c.w.beck@ped.uio.no


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