Family Education in Russia: A Legal Analysis

The right to family education (called “homeschooling” in most other countries) has been recognized in the Russian Federation since 1992. For the past five to six years, there has been an increased interest in family education, apparent in personal websites 1 and social media,2 where fami­lies who choose family education for their children share their related experience. In addition, state representatives have declared an increase in the volume of children in family education; programs, tutorials, and other resources and centers have been created especially for family edu­cation 3; and special associations and communities have been established by parents and special conferences and festivals have been held.4 From the Tsars to the USSR Family education in Russia has a long history. Before the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 children from noble families entered into lyceums and other educational institutions, but they had already been taught reading, writing, and mathematics. These children learned these skills at home from parents or tutors. A striking example of a family where children studied at home was that of the last Russian Emperor, Nicholas II: all four Grand Duchesses and Tsarevich Alexey were educated at home. Highly educated parents of that time considered home education the best one that they could give to their children. But it would be incorrect to con­sider family education a prerogative of the upper class. In peasant fami­lies, experience, skills, and crafts were passed directly from father to son, from mother to daughter, starting at a very early age. In the USSR, under the pretext of fighting illiteracy, the authorities adopted laws which made family education illegal and obliged children to go to state schools.5 The ban on family education was directly linked to the prevailing communist ideology and aimed at interrupting the trans­mission of family traditions and values from parents raised under tsarist Russia to children who were to
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