In this Christmas season we have an opportunity to help support homeschoolers who are struggling in other countries. We can make a difference for the "least of these," our bothers and sisters who are faced with legal challenges and lack of finances.
We have sent out information periodically on Germany. The situation, unfortunately, is not getting any better, and they need your prayers and support.
Most recently, a decision was handed down by the European Court of Human Rights, in the Konrad case. This involved a homeschool family in Germany that Schulunterricht zu Hause, the homeschool legal defense organization, had handled. The decision came out in October and confirmed the ruling against the Konrads by the German courts.
Essentially, the Human Rights Court completely turned the European Union's Constitution's Article 14, the section on parent's rights to control the education of their children, completely upside down. The Court ignored the parent's rights to homeschool their children, and instead focused on the children's rights and their need to get a state education. Therefore, Germany is free to continue to go forward with their draconian laws outlawing homeschooling.
The decision applies to all the countries in the whole European Union. However, it is unlikely that other nations will follow suit since homeschooling is legal in one form or another in the other European countries. Nevertheless, if a country ever has a change in government and seek to outlaw homeschooling, the Konrad decision would give them the right to do so.
Meanwhile, the German homeschoolers continue to be unmercifully persecuted. In our last report, we explained that there were approximately 40 families in court at one stage or the other. Families are fleeing regularly to other foreign countries in order to continue homeschooling while the father stays behind to work. Ronald Richert, the attorney who handled the Konrad case, said "judicially speaking, there is not a real chance of changing this in the near future. We're talking about a thousand children that are being taught at home. The striking thing is, is that the state is after homeschoolers with all its power. What I find stunning about that, is that the state does not care much about the hundred thousand students who do not go to school at all, where the parents do not even care about their children."
A homeschool mom, Olga Block, was recently interviewed by CBN, and two days after the interview, she was sent to jail.
The Romenikes in Baden-Wurttemberg had police come by at 7:30 in the morning and forcibly take the crying children into a police car and drive them to school. They continued taking the children to school until the family moved from the area.
The Herrmanns, a homeschool family with twins, were forced to have their children 1attend public school even though one of the children was very sick. Their medical doctor even provided evidence why the child needed to be at home. Nonetheless, they are now faced with the threat of losing the custody of their children, so they have fled outside of Germany and are in the underground.
At this point, the best hope for German homeschoolers is to work to have one of the states change their laws to legalize homeschooling. This would create a haven in Germany for homeschoolers to come to and hopefully be exported to happening in the other states.
In the meantime, legal fees are still high, and some families are facing fines to the amount of 15,000 euros, which is equal to some of these families' whole year income.
If you want to support the German homeschoolers financially, you can give a tax-deductible donation to the Homeschool Foundation at https://secure.hslda.org/HSF/support.asp . Simply designate the donation toward homeschooling in Germany.
HOMESCHOOLERS IN POLAND FACING TROUBLE
The situation for homeschooling families in Poland is getting more difficult. Homeschooling is legal there but highly regulated
The educational system there enables parents to ask public schools principals for permission to teach their children at home. Government authorities and school principals have the discretion to make any demand they want on parents before granting them their right to homeschool. Also, every home-taught student is required to pass a non-standardized school exam at least once a year even though no public school student faces such a requirement.
Most homeschooling families comply with this law, but the number of public school principals refusing to grant permission to homeschooling is growing. This is one of the reasons why last summer, the Stebnikis, homeschooling parents, met with the Minister of Education who is in favor of homeschooling in order to work towards more parent-friendly law. One of the proposals was to include private schools among those who can grant the right to homeschool. A proposal was unofficially granted by the minister. Unfortunately, nothing has changed officially. Now several families who register their children are facing problems with the authorities.
The Poles have to fight with post communist red tape and unfriendly school officials. They ask for your prayer as they try to meet again with the Ministry by the end of January. They will try to meet with other officials to show them how affective homeschooling is and they need not fear it. They need a mighty move from above to protect and broaden their right to homeschool. Please pray for the parents wanting to exercise their right as parents to oversee the education of their children in the Polish Constitution but ignore the educational laws.
Anyone who wants to help support the homeschoolers in Poland can give a tax-deductible donation to the Homeschool Foundation at https://secure.hslda.org/HSF/support.asp . Simply designate the donation toward homeschooling in Poland.
HUNGARIANS NEED HELP WITH TRANSLATIONS
Imre Szoke, the President of the Hungarian Homeschooling Association, has established a vibrant homeschool association and network. He has traveled to the United States and to HSLDA's National Conference to gain information and strategies for helping homeschoolers in Hungary. Lately they have been working to translate more homeschooling books and curriculum into Hungarian to help meet the needs of the Hungarian homeschoolers.
Homeschoolers are able to teach their children as private students at home, as long as they generally follow the state curriculum standards and have the children examined twice a year.
If you want to help with this Hungarian translation process you can donate it to the Home School Foundation at https://secure.hslda.org/HSF/support.asp and earmark it for Hungary.
MEXICO HOMESCHOOL MOVEMENT IS GROWING
Homeschooling in Mexico is growing partly due to the efforts of the organization El Hogar Educador, which is run by Mike Richardson. They currently reach over 3,000 families and 32 Spanish-speaking countries with their free homeschooling magazine. They also hold two annual homeschool conventions in various parts of Mexico, which have upwards of over 1,000 homeschoolers in attendance.
One of the big issues that El Hogar Educador needs help in is with translating homeschool materials into Spanish. If you would like to donate to this ministry you can donate to the Home School Foundation at https://secure.hslda.org/HSF/support.asp and earmark it for Mexico.
Donations to Homeschool Foundation are tax deductible.
There are many other countries that have various needs and we urge you to look at http://www.hslda.org/hs/intern... and see all the international homeschool organizations in various countries represented. Any of the countries you can donate to by simply earmarking the name of the country and visiting the Home School Foundation website.
Thank you all for your time in considering helping these small, but growing homeschoo
l movements in other nations where children are being trained up in God's ways. In America we have so much and this is a wonderful opportunity to give to help these ministries.
Christopher J. Klicka
Home School Legal Defense Association
P.O. Box 3000
Purcellville, Virginia 20134
Phone: (540) 338-5600
Fax: (540) 338-2733