Chile is the little country caught between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean on the west side of South America that looks like a long string bean. It is the country that is aspiring to be the most advanced and technological country in South America. They have imported everything possible from the United States of America in order to make themselves great in the eyes of their neighbors.
There are no homeschooling laws in Chile, but the Chilean constitution leaves the possibility of homeschooling wide open to its citizens. In one place it states that the parents have the right and obligation to educate their children and it corresponds to the state to give special protection to the parents in exercising this right. On the following page it says that the parents have the right to choose the place of schooling for their children.
My husband is an Independent Baptist missionary in Chile and we have lived there for nearly 28 years. For those twenty-eight years I have home-schooled our children without any problems. The education department in Chile has set up a system where the children can take a test after fourth grade, sixth grade, eighth grade and each year in high school and validate their grade level with the government so that there is an official record of their studies if the parents so desire, however, it is not necessary to validate their studies at those specific times. Our oldest daughter just did one exam at the end of her senior year in high school and validated that she had finished her schooling from first grade through twelfth grade. The system is very flexible, making it simple for parents with different ideas and goals to meet the needs of their family.
In the past 10 years, the Chilean school system in itself has gone steadily downhill with poor teaching and strikes among the teachers and students, making it very difficult for the students who want to study and learn to do so. Bullying and major problems among the student body along with the inability of the school system to meet the needs of students with special problems only add to the problem. As a result many of the Chilean parents are turning to homeschooling in order to find a solution for the learning needs of their children. Other families are attempting to reclaim their families and literally make their family, instead of the local school, the nucleus of the Chilean society.
Besides our seven biological children, five years ago we adopted five Chilean children in age from 15 months to 11 years. Since our family activities often revolve around our home school, it was our desire to also home school our five adopted children. We made this very clear in all of our adoption papers and it was accepted by the government adoption agency and the judges.
Two years ago we began to experience the bias and discrimination of the Chilean judicial system with regard to homeschooling in Chile. Homeschooling was okay for our children, but it suddenly became unacceptable for our Chilean children as in their eyes it just was not possible for these children to grow up and be normal children in the Chilean society if they were home-schooled. The children themselves are excited about homeschooling, have recuperated the grades they were behind when they came into our home and have flourished into individuals who are happy, content and can think for themselves. We have continued to home school, but are in a continual court battle in order to do so.
In spite of the fact that the Chilean constitution lays the responsibility of the children's education on the shoulders of the parents and allows them to choose the type of schooling for their children, and that there are no specific homeschooling laws in Chile, Chile is still a country that is biased and discriminatory in regards to who can be home-schooled.