The Home School Court Report
Vol. XXIII
No. 1
Cover
January/February
2007

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by Christopher J. Klicka
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Homeschooling in Poland

About 10 years ago, Polish parents began hearing about homeschooling when college professor Marek Budajczak started homeschooling his own children. Mr. Budajczak wrote articles, battled in courts for the legal right to homeschool his children, and even wrote a book for Polish homeschoolers, Edukacja domowa. He has served as president of the Polish homeschooling organization, Stowarzyszenie Edukacji Domowej, for over a decade.

Although the Polish Constitution (1997) guarantees parents the right “to choose schools other than public for their children” (Article 70.3), the Educational System Act of 1991 places heavy testing and reporting restrictions on those who homeschool. This means that parents homeschool under what is, essentially, an approval system through the public schools. (For more information, visit www.hslda.org/PolandHomeschool.)

Today, Mr. Budajczak has been joined by a couple dozen more homeschooling families, and the opportunities and resources for these families are slowly expanding. In April 2006, longtime homeschooling parents Wiesiek and Nancy Stebnicki offered a seminar for current and prospective homeschoolers. Nearly 20 families attended to hear the Stebnickis along with speaker Jesek Preda. During the seminar, the Stebnickis explained some proposed legislation that would help parents homeschool legally and with fewer restrictions.

Courtesy of Stowarzyszenie Edukacji Domowej
Polish families gather for a homeschooling retreat in fall 2006.

In fall 2006, the Stebnickis offered a homeschooling retreat, featuring an American homeschooling mom who coauthored an online curriculum following the Charlotte Mason method and currently lives in Poland.

Under a New Umbrella

In July 2006, the Stebnickis had the opportunity to meet with Poland’s minister of education, Roman Giertych. They presented him a letter from Home School Legal Defense Association Senior Counsel Christopher Klicka that explained the many benefits of homeschooling and how it works legally in America. Then the Stebnickis asked the minister of education to allow Polish homeschoolers to register their children with a private school and homeschool under that covering, instead of having to register with the public schools. A strong proponent of parental rights, the minister of education proved very open to homeschooling and agreed to the Stebnickis’ request, thus setting a precedent that has enabled at least 10 more families to teach their children under the umbrella of a private school.

Exploring a Potential New Law

Klicka is working with the Stebnickis on language for a new law or policy that would help homeschoolers more easily utilize the umbrella school as a legal option. In the United States, many homeschooling families operate under the “private school model.” Parents set up private schools that comply with the private school laws, and

Courtesy of Stowarzyszenie Edukacji Domowej
Homeschoolers in Poland are working on language for a new law that would make teaching their children under the umbrella of a private school a legal option.
homeschool students then enroll in these private schools, but parents do all the teaching in their home. Since private schools are not government regulated in many states, homeschooling families have maximum freedom and minimal or no restrictions on their children’s education. HSLDA has helped homeschoolers establish the private school model in other countries, such as Hungary and Romania, so that homeschoolers can operate legally even where the law may not specifically allow for homeschooling.

We hope that Polish legislators will see the importance of granting freedom to families to homeschool.

If you are interested in supporting the homeschooling movement in Poland, donations can be sent to the Home School Foundation. Be sure to designate your donation to “Poland.” Send donations to P.O. Box 1152, Purcellville, VA 20134, call 540- 338-8688, or donate online at www.hslda.org/PolandDonation.

Pioneering Homeschoolers Move Forward in Romania

Romanian law does not specifically allow for homeschooling; however, families have found a legal loophole that allows them to legally teach their children at home. Parents who homeschool under the auspices of the Romanian Homeschool Association (RHA) are viewed by the state as being accountable to the organization, and are therefore left alone by authorities. Established a few years ago by homeschooling father and pastor Gabriel Curcubet (a.k.a. “Gabor”), the RHA operates much like a United States private umbrella or satellite school.

In fact, the RHA even uses curriculum supplied by a U.S. satellite homeschool program. A few years ago, Home School Legal Defense Association Senior Counsel Christopher Klicka worked out an arrangement with Christian Liberty Academy Satellite Schools (CLASS), out of Arlington Heights, Illinois, to provide curriculum to Romanian homeschool children.

CLASS subsidized half of the expense while HSLDA’s Home School Foundation (HSF) covered the other half. As a result, Romanian homeschoolers (many of whom earn a very low income) receive the curriculum absolutely free. For the 2006-2007 school year, CLASS and HSF have been able to provide curriculum to over 30 students.

Courtesy of the Romanian Homeschool Association
Founder of the Romanian Homeschool Association, Gabriel “Gabor” Curcubet hopes to see homeschooling legalized by fall 2007. He and his wife, Gabriella teach their four children at home.

The Romanian school year began September 15. Although the law requires 180 days of schooling, these homeschoolers are following CLASS’s 210-day calendar. All of the children learn English, and grades 4 and above spend an additional two hours per week studying Romanian history and geography. Parents send Gabor weekly reports through an online reporting system. A free education network system is improving communication between parents and the RHA.

Although the “back door” of the RHA’s umbrella coverage is providing tentative homeschool freedom for a few Romanians, this freedom will not be secure until homeschooling is recognized in the law. Klicka and Gabor have been working long hours on legislative language and lobbying tools to see this goal come to fruition. In response to their request that the government legalize homeschooling, the minister of education recently sent an official answer—homeschooling has been included in the educational law’s modification project. The modifications will then be voted on by Parliament. Expected to pass, the law would probably go into effect in the fall of 2007. This change would legalize homeschooling in Romania!

If you are interested in supporting the homeschooling movement in Romania, donations can be sent to the Home School Foundation. Be sure to designate your donation to “Romania.” Send donations to P.O. Box 1152, Purcellville, VA 20134, call 540-338-8688, or donate online at www.hslda.org/RomaniaDonation.