Sunday, July 1, 2012
Swedish Home Schoolers Need Your Help!
Anytime an authority grossly misunderstands and forbids a fundamental freedom, I just can not keep my mouth closed about it. I hope you will spread the word in your circle, and through your blog about this...
Sweden has made home schooling a crime. People are refused meeting to even discuss approval of their plans to home school, and their requests for meetings are met with fines of $20,000 per kid per year instead. There are a number of cases in Scandinavia where social services takes the children from parents like that of Dominic Johnson and Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya in Norway, so parents here are afraid not only of fines but that their children will be removed from the family and put in foster care. This means they do not feel safe to stay in the country and fight the law with acts of civil disobedience, but must leave the country to insure their family is safe. This impacts me because the one family we see on a weekly basis home schools, and will move away this fall. They are relocating the technology company the husband runs to USA. We will miss them, and are sad to see the great lengths they must go to make a choice freely available to responsible adults and parents through out the rest of the free world. It worries me even more, as the response of the average educated Sweden here is not indignity, but to defend the move to outlaw homeschooling. Puzzling.
We also are undecided about our plans for the future, and have been trying to work out a life that involves living part time in Sweden, and part time in the USA. Our schedule will not sync with the school year, so we would home school. My home town in Florida has a very active home school group we could be a part of, even some Waldorf home schoolers. But, it would not be safe to stay in the Swedish system and not follow the school enrollment rules, so we are looking at just making the move more full time to USA so we can home school and be free to travel, with out the burden of the Swedish schedules.
There are only about 100 families home schooling in Sweden. I easily know that many home schoolers myself. I know it is a fun, exciting way to provide individualized education. In the age where we can work anywhere, certainly people should understand children can learn anywhere.
The following is a message and video about an action to raise awareness about the situation for home schoolers in Sweden.
Latest updates are available at: http://askofamilycamp.info/?page_id=199#eng
"For many of you this may be a new concept, but here in little old Sweden the government have passed a new law making education in schools compulsory unless you have exceptional circumstances. This means that home educating has become increasingly difficult, and has left many people struggling with councils, local governments and the government. In many cases the situation has forced them to leave the country due to the pressures and fines placed on them because of their desire to home educate. The laws passed go against article 2 of the European convention of human rights.
So what is actually happening in Sweden today in 2012 is that families are fleeing their home country due to a new law that have been passed. This law goes against the Human Rights and is robbing the families of their right to freedom. Sweden, previously known in the world for being a safe place for refuges is now creating its own. And this just because families want the right to educate their children at home, something that has been proved through research over and over again just as good as any school – and often even better.
So we’ve had a new thought about how to try and raise awareness over the situation of home education here in Sweden. We thought we could end the Askö Family Camp by setting off on a “Walk to Freedom”. Well, our thought is to walk from little Askö to Åland which is about 170 km to the ferry in Stockholm. This represents the sacrifice made by so many of the Swedish home educators who are leaving the country they love with the endeavor to find the freedom of home educating. Åland, a Finnish island of the coast of Stockholm, has different home educating laws and home education is not prohibited and also the official language is Swedish. So by walking from Askö (“Sweden’s international home education camp”) to Åland where many people are fleeing, we hope to portray what people are going through in order to achieve this freedom.
We were hoping to walk via Eskilstuna, Strängnäs and Södertälje on our way to Stockholm to try and make awareness in some of the bigger places on the way. Stockholm, being the capital is of course very important in this sense. We would get the ferry from Stockholm to Åland because if we don’t it’s a pretty long swim out in the Baltic sea.
With many educators moving to Åland, we are hoping that this will symbolise the struggle that some of you have gone through and that to find Freedom you actually have to leave Sweden. This, we believe, will make a powerful message to send out to society, the media and the government and will help promote awareness of the issue.
Well if you’re up for being a part of this please let us know. We’re hoping that families, parents or anyone that is interested will join. It should be a fantastic adventure, challenge and will give us all another opportunity to promote and make awareness for home education here in Sweden.
The intention is to walk the whole distance in 5-6 days and of course get the ferry from Stockholm. We were thinking to start the last day of or the day after the Askö Camp has finished on the 13th July.
If you just want to walk part of it, the start, the end, meet us at places we aim to be (if we get there), walk just a little, drive with us or carry equipment, then please feel free to join us, the help and support will be much appreciated. If you can or cannot join us but wish to help or get involved in the walk to freedom here are a few suggestions:-This is a short list of possible ways to help, if you think of anything else please let us know.
-spreading the word (inviting friends, family or sharing on other blogs and forums)
-If you know of any contacts (people within the media or potential sponsors)
-Financial aid (help with cost of ferries and possible support vehicles)
And, the more the merrier, so we hope many will join us and turn this into an awesome manifestation!"