This story caught my eye. I'd heard rumblings before about homeschooling in Germany, but I never fully realized the extent of the situation.
Homeschooling is illegal in Germany, plain and simple. And so avoid further prosecution, one family immigrated to the US and is now seeking political asylum.
I'm not going to comment on the politics or the specifics of the situation; there may be more to this case than any of us knows. What struck me, though, was the lack of freedom and personal choice. I can't imagine NOT having the freedom to make choices regarding my boys' education.
The United States educational system is far from perfect, but at least here, we have choices. We can choose to send our children to public school, or to a private school of our choosing. We can choose from Montessori, Waldorf or faith-based programs. We can hire tutors, sign our older children up for community college classes, or teach our children at home using a variety of methods.
Sometimes, we feel limited by our choices. How many of us initially started homeschooling because we were frustrated with the available educational choices in our community? How many parents feel hemmed in, knowing that the public school in their neighborhood is not equal to the shiny new one in the suburbs? How many of us wish we had enough money to send our children to specialized schools?
Yet compared to Germany, we have a ton of educational freedom. Despite all the pressues pushing in on the American family, American parents still retain educational freedom. It's up to us to choose and provide the education that's most appropriate for our children and our families.
That's a freedom I'll longer take for granted.