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April 26, 2012

Finland: Homeschoolers Welcome Swedish President in Exile

Submitted by Suomen kotiopettajat

Finnish homeschoolers welcome Jonas Himmelstrand, president of the Swedish Association for Home Education (Rohus), and his family to Finland while we grieve him being forced out of his homeland. We highly value his efforts as chairman for the first-ever Global Home Education Conference.

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A Finnish magazine that is popular among young adults recently included an in-depth article on homeschooling. “The article identifies three main reasons for homeschooling,” Paavolainen says, “religious, academic and ‘safe environment.’ The journal’s tone is critical, but at large, it is a good piece that highlights the rise of homeschooling as an educational option.”

Finland continues to enjoy significant homeschool freedom, in stark contrast to its Nordic neighbor to the west. The Finnish National Board of Education (FNBE), in its recent “Learning 2030” educational barometer, predicts that the trend toward homeschooling will continue to rise in Finland. FNBE Director Irmeli Halinen states that homeschooling is “at the edge,” but has not yet “penetrated” the Finnish educational scene. We are hopeful that continued growth and developments are still to be seen. Finnish homeschoolers sincerely wish for the fertile discussion that begun under former FNBE Director General Timo Lankinen's leadership to continue under the new Director General, Aulis Pitkälä.

Suomen kotiopettajat, the Finnish Home Educators Association, is actively helping homeschool families gain even treatment from local officials, according to the law. “We currently have a case at the Supreme Administrative Court, another one at the Office of the Chancellor of Justice, and a few at the Regional State Administrative Agencies. “As the cases proceed, they become more challenging,” notes Juhani Paavolainen, chairman of Suomen kotiopettajat, also completing his legal studies at the Univeristy of Helsinki.

Learn more by visiting HSLDA’s Finland page.