To celebrate, on July 6th I’m giving away five free print copies of the first book in the series, The Pilgrim Adventure. The books will be shipped by Amazon, so contestants will need an Amazon account. To enter the contest, just go to the following page of this website on July 6th: Lessons and Activities
Also, I have added a new page to this website. If you have read any of my blogs on reading, you will know that I think children’s series are a useful tool for teaching kids to love reading. The link titled “Children’s Series” on the top of this page will bring you to a list of some old classic children’s series along with some newer ones. Enjoy!
How Lucky We are to Be Able to Homeschool!
It has struck me lately how lucky we are to live in a country that allows homeschooling. Our country, in spite of becoming more and more regulated, still gives parents the right to choose how their children are educated. Others are not so lucky. For example, in Sweden on June 29, 2009, the Johanasson family had decided to immigrate to India where Annie, the mother of the family, was born. They were on the airplane about to take off when suddenly the Swedish police came on board and tore their 7-year-old son, Domenic, from their arms. Their terrible crime? A crime worthy of stealing a child from his parents? Child abuse? Murder? No, none of these. It was homeschooling. Oh and there was a further charge of neglect, due to Domenic having some cavities (which his parents were aware of and had planned to deal with once they reached India) and his parents’ choice not to give him some vaccines (something many parents chose to not do in this country). This story is incredible to those of us who live in a free society. In 2012, a Swedish appeals court ordered the guardianship of Domenic transferred to a third party. His parents are not allowed to have any contact with him at all. You can read more about this case at: Desperate Homeschooling Parents Plead for Help or Domenic Johansson to Face Christmas without Parents.
But Sweden is not the only country hostile to homeschooling families. Germany’s high court refused to strike down a statute that imposes penalties on homeschoolers, saying that “children can only learn how to be good citizens in schools.” One German judge has said that “The children would grow up in a parallel society without having learned to be integrated or to have a dialogue with those who think differently and facing them in the sense of practicing tolerance.” It seems to me that it is the judge who is practicing intolerance here.
The atmosphere in Germany is so hostile to homeschoolers that the Romeike family fled to the United States and asked for asylum so that they could continue homeschooling. Another homeschooling family, the Wunderlichs, have been battling the German authorities for years. According to an HSLDA factsheet, they were fined for homeschooling in 2006 and left Germany. Their children were taken away from them while they were in France, based on what the family thinks were vague complaints from German social workers. The French authorities found the children to be well cared for and immediately returned them to their parents. The family returned to Germany to find work in 2012, and custody of their children was taken away from them. The children were, however, allowed to stay with their parents. Then in August 2013, their children were taken from home in a police raid on the house. They were returned about three weeks later in September 2013. Since then, the children have been able to stay with their family, but their parents still could be facing steep fines and punishments. Recently they were warned that if they continue homeschooling they could face up to four years in prison. All of this government interference in a family was because they chose to homeschool.
I find the Germany homeschooler’s problems particularly interesting as it relates to a book I read a few years back titled, Hansi, the Girl Who Loved the Swastika. It is the story of a young Czechoslovakian girl who won a scholarship to a Nazi school in 1940. She says of the school, “Hitler was with us every hour. . . . His sayings were quoted in every class. His doctrines were our most important study.” This book is a great illustration of how a school curriculum can twist children’s thinking and change their basic beliefs. That, to me, is the most dangerous thing about a national curriculum. If you get the wrong people in charge of your government, you are giving them complete control over what children are learning in school. In a very short time, Hitler was able to gain control over the young people’s minds in his country by using the German school system. And now the German school system is behind the persecution of German homeschooling families for wanting to teach their children different values than they would learn in school.
I am very thankful that my country allows homeschooling.
May it ever be so.