|HOME SCHOOLING / INTERNATIONAL|
NGOs Attack the Freedom of Families to Homeschool
by Peter Porumbachanov
For the seventh time, families across the country gathered for our national conference devoted to home education. A cozy hotel sheltered us for four unforgettable days high in the Gabrovo Balkan mountain range in central Bulgaria. Many old and new friends shared life with one another, asked questions and provided insight on topics concerning educating children at home. Our meeting this time included fewer lectures and more time to enjoy all the intimate dinners that we spent in pleasant talks.
|The national Bulgarian conference provides opportunity for many good discussions|
For us, the organizers from the Home Education Association (HEA), it continues to be a pleasant surprise that at each of our conferences there are many new families. Some of these families make a firm decision at the conference to educate their children in their homes. Homeschooling in Bulgaria is a difficult road and can be walked only by those who are devoted to their children and who understand the investment of time, money, and emotional and moral resources that is required. For all of us, it is a blessing that the homeschooling movement is continuously growing and is becoming more resistant to the attacks of what few critics there are.
In addition to the many useful conversations and discussions, participants at the conference discussed the growing pressure from Bulgarian and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs). These NGOs have huge financial resources and use them to influence government officials to pass policy that attacks the freedom of families to educate their children according to their religious and philosophical beliefs. We are standing firm these the right to direct the education of our children is guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria and by numerous international documents, such as the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (Protocol 1, Art.2), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (Article 18.1), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Article 18.4), and the Convention Against Discrimination in Education (Article 5.1, section b), among others.
|The youngest conference attendee!|
Against this backdrop, families concerned about the future of their children are determined to protect their heirs from the “care” of state and non-governmental organizations, who under the pretext of protecting the “best” interest of the child, ruthlessly put a wedge in the heart of the family institution, intent on destroying it. Proof of this are the current draft laws in our country: “Law for the child” and “Law on preschool and school education.” These laws, inconsistent with fundamental human rights, cruelly suppress the freedom of the family and instead head back toward the era of a brutal, totalitarian state.
Along with passionate discussion on state actions, there were given and other useful, practical lectures, including the philosophical foundation of homeschooling. The lectures provoked interesting comments, debates and issues that ultimately led to the decision of some families to actively undertake homeschooling and led other families to seriously consider this educational alternative. Practical lectures presented the philosophy and technology of different subjects such as math, history and Bulgarian language and literature, foreign languages, arts and sports.
We parted with the knowledge of a successful conference, and a hope to see each other again next year for encouragement, help, and to adjust as needed. We wish success to all families around the world dedicated to home education; may you achieve your goals!
Peter Porumbachanov is the president of the Bulgarian Homeschool Association.
| Other Resources|
For more photos or to read this article in Bulgarian, visit the Bulgarian Homeschool Association website.