05 Apr 2023

A Guide to Homeschooling in Japan

Are you considering homeschooling for your child in Japan? If so, learning about the legalities and benefits of this approach to education is essential. In this article, we’ll provide an overview of the main components involved in making a successful transition from traditional education systems to homeschooling in Japan. We’ll cover everything from understanding current laws around homeschooling and determining if it’s right for your family, to exploring potential positive outcomes associated with choosing this route. With our help, you can obtain valuable information on all that pertains to homeschooling in order to make the best decision possible on behalf of your family’s needs. Read on as we dive into uncovering what makes pursuing a home-based educational experience unique!

Homeschooling in Japan – A Brief History and Legalities

The path to homeschooling in Japan has been a winding one, with the concept gaining traction most prominently in the 20th century. Traditionally, Japanese culture values respect for authority and education within academic institutions has been the norm. But by the turn of the 21st century, more families had begun considering homeschooling as an alternative education option due to changing regulations and awareness campaigns.

Mainstream education is compulsory for resident children up to high school age in Japan, meaning elementary and junior high school are mandated in the country. However, homeschooling becomes a legal and viable option once your child reaches 14 years old, as high school is optional. Despite this, parents must request permission from their ‘enrolled’ school to homeschool their children. The ‘enrolled school’ is typically the school assigned based on the expat’s address, but school for the middle grades subscribes to different appointments according to the specific city or district.

Among expats, homeschooling is a common option in Japan. Whilst technically not illegal for foreign nationals, there aren’t many legal provisions to help with homeschooling and therefore it can be seen as a bit of a grey area. Schools in Japan generally understand the situation around education and expats, and agreeing to the request to homeschool is seen as making everything easier for everyone involved, particularly if the school does not have English support.
Benefits of Homeschooling for Japanese Families

Homeschooling in Japan at high school age is on the rise as more parents realise the many benefits it offers their families. One of the primary advantages of homeschooling is the ability to tailor learning to a child’s individual abilities, interests, and needs. Japanese parents can create personalised learning plans which are usually far less rigid and structured than those employed by traditional schools. Furthermore, homeschooling provides an opportunity to cultivate certain values and beliefs that may be shared among different family members. This can help form strong, lasting bonds between children and parents while encouraging creativity, critical thinking, and self-sufficiency. Lastly, having more control over lesson plans often means that students have plenty of time for extracurricular activities such as arts, music, sports or outdoor activities like hiking and mountain biking, instilling valuable life skills in an enjoyable way.

What You Need to Know About Curriculum and Education Resources

Knowing exactly what curriculum and resources you need for homeschooling in Japan can be a daunting task. While certain required subjects, such as Japanese language and mathematics, are mandated by the Japanese government, the decisions regarding alternate education materials are yours to make. Fortunately, there are plenty of options available: you can choose from retail books and computer-based programs, or even enrol in an online course. Local libraries supply additional learning resources. Make sure to also check with other homeschool groups online or in person as they may have specialised programs to help you find the materials that best suit your pedagogical approach.

Dealing With Socialization Challenges when Homeschooling in Japan

Homeschooling can be a rewarding experience for children living in Japan, offering the convenience of having learning materials and resources available at home as well as an opportunity for parents to tailor the learning experience to their child’s needs. However, one of the most commonly cited disadvantages to homeschooling anywhere is that it can sometimes leave our children isolated from other kids their age. Fortunately, parents navigating the world of homeschooling in Japan have plenty of options when it comes to providing socialisation opportunities – from enrolling in co-op classes, attending meet-ups and playdates with other homeschool families and even joining local sports teams or clubs. With so many ways to engage with others, there’s no reason why your child needs to miss out on meaningful socialisation while still receiving an education at home.

As we’ve seen, homeschooling in Japan is an alluring educational option for many parents. It offers a chance to tailor their children’s learning experience to their needs and interests.

Homeschooling can even provide deeper socialisation experiences for those willing to put in the extra effort. Ultimately, it’s up to families in Japan to decide if this is the right route for them. The decision will depend on curriculum requirements, support from family and friends, and determination to overcome potential challenges. With the right preparation and commitment, homeschooling can be a rewarding experience that serves Japanese parents and students well.

A japanese girl being homeschooled.