I've been home-schooling my children, aged 10 and eight, in the United States and had planned to do so when our family moves to Hong Kong next month. However, I've been told home-schooling isn't allowed there. Is this really true and if so, why? Liz Gooch, education writer, responds: The Education Ordinance states that home-schooling is illegal without reasonable excuse and children aged between six and 15 are required to attend school. Parents who fail to send their children to school can face a HK$10,000 fine and three months in jail. An Education and Manpower Bureau spokeswoman explained that the EMB believed all children had the right to an education and attending school was in their best interests. School education could provide children with a balanced and structured formal curriculum as well as extra curricular activities and opportunities to interact with their peers and teachers. These elements of education were considered essential to a child's overall growth and development. However, the EMB acknowledged that there might be a few 'rare' and 'exceptional' cases where alternative forms of education could meet a child's educational needs. The spokeswoman said that parents who wished to home-school their children should contact the EMB and provide details to explain how they intend to do so. Every home-schooling case was carefully examined to ensure it met legal requirements and the educational needs of the child. The EMB sought to ensure that home-schooling was conducted with the necessary resources, knowledge and skills, and not at the expense of the child's educational and social development. There are known to be a number of expatriates in Hong Kong who home-school their children. Some parents have established a private co-operative, which has links to Adventist College, a liberal arts college founded and supported by the Seventh-day Adventist church in Sai Kung. About six children of its church members attend lessons taught by a group of parents. The parents teach different subjects according to their individual strengths and follow a curriculum set by an accredited institution in the US.