Home Education—is that legal? As a fundamental human right, it should be!
Join us to advance the cause at the first-ever Global Conference!
The early years of home education in the United States were challenging for parents. The first question usually asked about home education was “Is that legal?” Isolated and often questioned by family, friends, the church and society in general for taking a different educational path, homeschoolers were seen as a countercultural oddity. There are now over two million home educated students in America, comprising about 3–4% of the school age population. After forty years, home education has become an increasingly popular, almost mainstream, educational alternative. Feelings of isolation have faded with plenty of opportunities for mutual support, encouragement, and coordination. The success of the American homeschooling movement has been due in large part to Divine Providence and to many dedicated families all across the country standing together to support and encourage one another and to maintain unity in the face of opposition.
Yet this is not the case in many countries today. In many countries around the world, government authorities and even society in general are openly hostile or pessimistic toward homeschooling. With small numbers it is difficult to influence public policy or public opinion, and many families feel isolated and alone. As homeschooling grows in popularity all over the world, more often than not, it is attracting unfavorable attention from the authorities who subject families to the kind of persecution that Americans knew in the early years of the US homeschool movement. We see this persecution today in countries such as Germany and Sweden: hefty fines, social services investigations, emigration under pressure, and court cases.
In order to advance the cause of home education as a natural, fundamental human right, individuals from nine countries—including Canada, Germany, Mexico, the Philippines, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, and the United States—are organizing a Global Home Education Conference (GHEC). The major purpose of this conference will be to positively impact public policy and the public perception of home education. The conference will provide a forum for academics, homeschoolers, homeschool organization leaders, and public-policy makers from around the world to network and mutual support and encourage one another. Parents who home educate their children have much in common, and all are invited to the conference regardless of pedagogical methodology or personal motivation. HSLDA and the Home School Foundation along with other sponsoring organizations are pleased to support this internationally organized conference.
The conference is scheduled for November 1-4, 2012 in Berlin, Germany. Located in the heart of Central Europe with easy access from all over the world, Berlin is an ideal location for the GHEC 2012. Once isolated and divided, the city now symbolizes how freedom overcame tyranny. Berlin is the natural site for a conference to advance the idea that educational freedom is an important component of pluralism and democracy. The conference board has selected Europe as the best continent to hold the first conference because homeschoolers in Europe are under the most attack by an increasingly hostile state educational apparatus that seeks to control the values learned by children in an effort to “homogenize” society. The conference features several important educational policymakers in European governments as keynote speakers.
The idea that the state should bear the responsibility for raising and training children is becoming a pernicious and pervasive concept—even in the United States. In contrast to state-centric child education models, homeschooling encourages and requires the direct involvement of parents in the lives of their children. An integral mark of a free society is the ability of parents to make decisions regarding their children; we must protect this freedom. Regardless of geography, the homeschool movement reinvigorates and re-empowers the institution of the family, which serves as a countermeasure to totalitarian state control over education.
By connecting homeschool advocates, supporters, activists, and practitioners we can advance liberty and influence policymakers more effectively. Individuals, organizations, and corporations are welcome to participate, sponsor and endorse this exciting inaugural global conference. Register before August 1st for the best rate. Visit www.GHEC2012.org to learn more.
Mike Donnelly, Director of International Affairs