Here is some basic information about bagruyot for homeschoolers in Israel:
1. A child who doesn’t go to school would typically take the bagruyot as an “externi” student. This means you cannot take a test until you are 16 years old. (If you have a homeschooling permit, you may take externi tests at any age. Click here for instructions.)
If you sign up for the tests in advance then they are free until age 18. Otherwise they are NIS 60 per unit. (You have to pay an initial fee to “open a tik.”) You sign up at your local branch of the Min. of Ed. “Externi”. Note: you may pay with a credit card which is much easier than taking the form to the post office to pay and then returning.
Here is a list of the branches:
2. The minimum “full bagrut” is ~21 units and has specific required “miktzo-ot”. The exact requirements are listed at the Ministry of Education’s web site.
|Math||3, 4 or 5|
|English||3, 4 or 5|
|Citizenship (Ezrahut)||1 unit. Starting Summer 2012 this will be 2 units. Until then you can choose 1 or 2 units.|
|+ one 5-point subject of the student’s choice.||5|
Any subject can be studied more in depth for more units.
Here are links to PDF files detailing each subject:
3. English is very easy for a native English speaker/reader/writer. Our son did all three tests in one day to earn 5 units.
4. A couple of months before each test, the “mikud” is announced, which lists which material will NOT APPEAR in the upcoming test. Within a couple of weeks after that, the various textbook publishers (Reches, Ankori…) put out a special “mikud” study book that teaches the exact material that may appear on the test and include many practice tests with detailed explanations of the answers.
5. We have been successful in finding great teachers for the subjects that we weren’t able to do alone, but it can cost a lot: 80 to 150 NIS per hour.
6. History and Tenach have both a regular and a “dati” version. From my son’s school friends I understand that Dati history includes more info about modern Jewish history such as the Chassidic movement, and more about the religious groups that were involved in early Zionism. Our son is planning to do regular history and Tenach dati. Regular tenach looked to me like it is basically “Bible Criticism” (J, P, E, etc.).
7. There are two testing periods each year: Winter (~January) and Summer (~June). Some tests are only given in Summer.
How to register a child under age 16 for Bagrut Externi
Submit the following to your local bagrut externi branch:
- A letter from your local Kabas/Kabasit stating that your child has approval to homeschool.
- A copy of your homeschooling ishur from Misrad Hachinuch.
- Copy of teudat zehut of the parent in which the child is registered. Include the sefach showing the child’s name and teudat zehut number.
- A letter from an educator stating that the child is ready to take the test(s).
- A letter from the parents, which should include the following:
- Child’s name and teudat zehut number, birth date (age)
- Parents’ names and teudat zehut numbers, address and telephone number
- Request to open a tik for a child under the age of 16, with explanation that the child homeschools.
- List of the tests that the child intends to take in the upcoming testing season (Winter/Summer.)
For the summer testing season, the above should be submitted between February 1st and March 20th.
For the winter testing season, you must submit your request before the end of October. (To the best of our knowledge; need to confirm this.)
We were able to successfully do this in 2013 for our 15 year old daughter, but after they gave us firm resistance we also included the names and teudat zehut numbers of three other homeschooling kids we know who had already taken bagruyot through the externi system before age 16.
The mefakachat who approved us is named Chaya Maor in the Jerusalem branch. Ayelet at the Jerusalem Externi office was very helpful in getting through the process.
You can contact me (Ephraim Tabackman) for additional help or with any questions.