Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Freedom of Education

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.


  1. WOW! three years of german in high school, learning the language, culture, and history...amazing how that never came up! and true, we don't know the full details of the case, but it's time that people start taking control of their children's education! if the school your child is at doesn't jive with your views, find one that does! if you don't feel a traditional school can do that, then home school (man i wish i was fortunate enough to be able to home school when it's time!), find somewhere that you have that freedom. kudos to this family for doing just that! and kudos to the rest of you who home school as well...i don't want to leave you out! as a public school teacher, i commend you for doing what you do, and taking such a huge part in your children's education!

  2. We are lucky, and yes, we all take things like that for granted until we hear a story like you have posted. All those stories make me glad to be here, however bad we may think it.