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:

"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!"


Rose said...

As a homeschooling mama, this makes me so sad. I only wish all families could know the joys of homeschooling and I'm so disappointed to hear this about Sweden. Hopefully those there will fight for the right to make their own educational choices--and to decide what's best for their children.

Anonymous said...

Why would you not let your kids go to school? I can't think of any reason to homeschool, I even fins it quite scary that anyone is allowed to just take the kids out of school, as if just anyone could be a teacher?

SwedeLife said...

Anonymous poster, I guess I am glad you asked. Culturally, home schooling is so foreign in Sweden. I hope other reader will chime in too.

But yes, actually anyone can be a teacher.

I guess I will have to write a post about it, and would encourage you to do what a home schooler would do- if there is something you are curious about you want to know more about, seek to learn about it, and see how that process goes! You can ask experts, seek out people who are doing it, borrow books about it, and of course google it and read blogs, watch youtube videos, read research about your topic, or find a meeting or conference on your topic of interest to attend. Think like a home schooler and it will not be hard for you to learn more about home schooling and see that one does not need to be in school to learn!

For our family, my husband is a programmer, he can work from anywhere, and I am writing and doing phone consultations for midwifery clients, providing information for people from a far. We are not tied to a physical location for our work.

We want a life in two locations (or more) and that does not sync up with the school year. There is a whole community of people doing what is called world schooling, which is traveling around the world as a family, parent educating as they go, basically living life as like one big field trip, learning by doing. Imagine learning art history at The Louvre, or Spanish in Peru, or Greek myths while visiting the ancient site. Home schooling presents a world of exciting possibilities. There are a bunch of blogs by world schooling families, as I said, think like a home schooler and do some self directed research! Here is a good post to get you started,

"30 Traveling Families Share Their Best Educational Experiences"

Here is a blog roll of traveling families:

The above families are not rich or lucky, most say by doing slow travel and choosing they spend less on the road than they did maintain a home. Here is a FAQ post from a world schooling family with 4 kids :

Though most home schoolers do not road school, but that is my interest at the moment.

In USA there are 2 million home schooled children and they out perform their peers in school. This is a short pdf on home school facts.

The resources for families planning to school at home are so is a page of some examples. and

I come from Floria, there is even a free online public school for people who want to work with the system but school on their own.

My town has a full schedule of meet ups with home schoolers every week, the kids could have more playdates with other children than I could manage to take them too if we home schooled in Florida. And of course kids do activities like sports, or horse back riding and scouts that gives them the experience of being part of a group of kids.

The world is a big place and there are may ways to go at anything. Learning can happen anywhere, this is as true or more true for children as it is for adults.

Sweden has so few parents at home even with small children, families have a hard time imagining what it would be like to be with older children all day. And Sweden has a certain deference to authority, people are more likely here than most places to believe an expert is imbued with some special magical knowledge unattainable by the rest of us (like doctors or teachers).

Anonymous said...

No, anyone can NOT be a teacher. It takes knowledge in a lot of different subjects. Not only does homeschooling mnean a great risk of not learning, it means the childre will basically only get the parents view of the world. Most parent who wants to homeschool their children are pretty much fanatic religious people. It's a good thing it is not allowed! Parents will always give their children their way of looking at things, but then the school can broaden the perspective and the children will meet other people, both adults and children, there. Luckily, most people here understand that.

SwedeLife said...

Anon, you sum up very well the position of most Swedes on home schooling, the very reasons it is illegal here. However, the reasons you give are not based on facts but on outdated stereotypes. There is solid research that home schooling works, and you need only se it in action and meet families who are truly walking this path to understand what it is about. I will put a post with some more information, and do my little part to educate Sweden about home schooling.

As far as the families I know here in Sweden, one educates at home as her children are trilingual and far advanced of what is taught here in Sweden, her poor children would could read and write English, German, and Swedish by age 4 would be bored sick in a Swedish school. Another friend who wishes to home school has a son with a sensory processing disorder and he simply can not hear or function in crowds, a classroom setting is torture, not help for him. He has been asked to leave a dozen schools, as he reacts terribly when stressed by the noise his body simply can not manage. School is not for everyone, and home schooling is a valid method used around the world. People have a number of reasons they do not fit the mold of school, and they should have the freedom to choose to educate another way. Even if you do not agree, the European Convention of Human Rights does, it recognizes home schooling as a right. It is just a matter of time before an EU court case puts an end to the struggles of those who wish to home educate in Sweden.

You must remember school has only been the thing to do the last 100 years or so, and I assure humans functioned quite well and were learning and leading productive lives!

Anonymous said...

Showing that homeschooled children do well doesn't mean anything unless you can show that they do well "All other factors taken into account". My guess is that parents who homeschool their children devote a lot of time to their children, which is good of course. But that doesn't mean that they wouldn't have done even better with devoted parents but aloud to go to regular school with teachers with better education in both the subjects and learning, and being able to meet more other children.

And again - many people who wants to homeschool their children are religious. Having parents that seriously believe in, and are making decisions based on a belief in, the supernatural, and thus not understanding science at all, is in it self a MAJOR reason those children should meet other people.