I know that I take for granted my right to homeschool. Because I was homeschooled for three years it just seems like something I’ll always have the freedom to do. I remember the moment my mom brought the idea up to me. We were driving somewhere around Charlotte and going under a bridge, and up onto another road (an on-ramp, maybe?). It was a novel concept then and sounded great, especially the part about missing the awkward middle-school years. I don’t think I ever once complained about being homeschooled. It fit me very well and I enjoyed the freedom.
Now, as a homeschooling mom I really enjoy the freedom! We don’t follow the state’s plan in teaching history/social studies from self-centered* to world-centered. We started in ancient times and are moving through the middle ages and will learn about modern history in 18 months or so. Then, we’ll start back over and learn all of those things again, but in much greater detail. It’s a little thing, but it’s the way we like to learn. And I could have never planned it this way but we are hitting the middle ages at the brief window of time we are stationed in Europe and can see the castles and locations mentioned (think ROME!!!). Yesterday we actually studied knights and what it took to become one.
(*Regarding “self-centered to world-centered” I simply mean that in public schools kids learn about themselves, then their community, then their state, then the US, then the world. We aren’t using that spiral approach. My kids learn about each of these things, but not in that particular order.)
As a member of HSLDA I receive their magazine every other month. I read an article last night entitled, “A first: Homeschooling on agenda of global rights conference.” The conference which discusses “the Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy” was held here, in Frankfurt, last August. Michael Donnelly, one of HSLDA’s attorneys, was present. One of the pro-homeschooling speakers shared his belief that parents should have the right to decide what form of education their children receive and that it is “a natural right founded on the basis of Holy Scripture.”
The article discussed that parents who homeschool in Germany (those not covered under SOFA status) are treated in the exact same manner as those who abuse their children violently. Homeschooling is a criminal act here.
Here’s a quick story:
In 2008 a German family who was about to be persecuted for homeschooling fled Germany to the US, seeking asylum. HSLDA brought the first-ever homeschooling asylum case before a U.S. immigration judge. They were granted asylum in January of 2010 but then the Obama administration appealed it. As of this past October (2011) they family was still waiting for answers.
This kind of difficulty may seem a bit extreme but it’s what German homeschooling families face. This conference provided a platform for the US to show that homeschooling is a fundamental right and that it produces socially well-adjusted citizens.
But what about our freedoms? You might think that Americans never struggle with this type of situation. Sadly, they do. In fact, HSLDA lists active cases and shares how they are able to solve them. In many cases each month the organization stands up to defend our rights. Situations as simple as one mother who didn’t get her notice of intent notarized stirred up Social Services and when HSLDA did some research, they found that notarization is not required by law. SS finally left the family alone. Dozens of cases like this are dealt with each month, in each state.
To make matters worse, the United States is quite possibly about to “adopt an international treaty, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), that would allow the government to override any parental decision if the government deemed its decision better.” If that didn’t scare you, is should have. Basically, if I am homeschooling in (pick-a-state) and the superintendent decides s/he would rather my kids go to public school then I would have no choice but to send them… or break the law and risk criminal punishment.
That’s why ParentalRights.org was formed… because if CRC is adopted, the United States may take a step toward Germany’s attitude regarding homeschooling.
I went to that website and signed the petition online. Here are the statements you are standing up for when you sign this petition:
Yes, I believe that parental rights should be constitutionally protected through the proposed Parental Rights Amendment:
The liberty of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children is a
Neither the United States nor any state shall infringe upon this right without
demonstrating that its governmental interest as applied to the person is of the highest
order and not otherwise served.
No treaty may be adopted nor shall any source of international law be employed to
supersede, modify, interpret, or apply to the rights guaranteed by this article.
I will be carrying around with me a paper-petition that I will mail in for those who prefer to sign with pen-and-ink. If you see me around and want to sign it, just ask. I’ll have it in my red bag. (The awesome red bag Matt got me for Christmas that I LOVE!)