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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Government Slowly Withdrawing from Control Of Homeschool In New Zealand

I received a very interesting (and nice) letter from a mom in New Zealand that I’d like to share with you. (I’d like to thank her in advance!) She describes the homeschool situation at this time in New Zealand. Here, slightly abbreviated, is her letter.

I thought you might be interested in the current situation in New Zealand as it has recently become somewhat freer to home educate here since our new right wing government was elected and all is about making money and reducing costs now. In order to home educate here, it is necessary to apply for an exemption for each child before their 6th birthday in which you must cover in detail your curriculum plans and when this is approved the family receives a meager allowance from the government every six months - this is, of course, nothing close to the amount a school would receive for having the child enrolled with them but every little helps. This exemption application need never be updated unless the child goes to school and then returns home again. In the past, home educating families were also then subject to periodical review by the same governmental agency inspecting schools and it could make recommendations including rescinding their exemption certificate and requiring the child to go into school. The new government, however, has determined that home educating families will no longer be subject to inspection unless they are referred by someone who has a concern over the care and education of the children. They have done the math, apparently, and found that there were never any concerns about a child's education when families were reviewed as part of the ongoing periodical reviews so it is not a good use of their resources. They will continue to review families where concern is expressed by an outsider as it has only been in these cases in the past where the inspectors have found the education being received to be wanting.

So, even though the reason for the change is not pure in spirit, it is certainly a good outcome for those of us who wish to be free to educate our children in the way we see fit.


I appreciate her letter, and found it very interesting. Here are some thoughts:

First, how can a parent possibly know what their curriculum plans will be for a six-year old? That child is just starting his education. The parent has no idea what will or will not work for that child. The family may (and should) start with a certain approach, a certain curricula, but they may discover that it flat out does not work for their child.

This idea of determining in an inflexible manner the curricula and approach to be used, when applied to homeschooling, forces the parent into the same set of limitations that schools have! It locks the family into a specific approach. That’s what schools are stuck with. Schools can’t tailor their curricula or approach for each child, they’d never keep up. But why should a homeschooler have that problem!?

Homeschooling allows for the maximum in flexibility. That is except when government sticks its nose in. This restriction removes one of the most important advantages of homeschooling. And who reviews the curricula which a homeschooler may use, on behalf of the government. Um…probably someone familiar with what their schools are using, like a teacher in a school. What on Earth would qualify a teacher trained in school technologies to evaluate a homeschool situation. Simply put, they are the least qualified people to evaluate homeschooling. Such teachers and administrators are completely locked into doing things “as they are done” – in the schools. Again, the homeschooler is almost assuredly going to find themselves limited by the system.

Second, I’m not sure that I’d take any of the government’s money. With money comes restrictions. Governments already control far too much regarding education, and with far too terrible results.

Third, I’d like to know more about what “referred by someone who has a concern” means. Can the “someone” be anyone? Because that could mean a pissed off neighbor who just longs to make trouble, a grandparent who believes in schools, even the local postman who, walking by one day, heard the child cry (because Little Johnny stubbed his toe). That’s a dangerous situation. And since a report leads to investigation, it’s also sort of “assumed guilty until proven innocent”. I find that mentality pretty abhorrent.

I do like that the exemption is forever, barring a change in circumstances. I think government, as a whole, should have nothing at all to do with education, but at least this is a real step in the right direction. And I like the limit on inspections, though what gives a government the right to EVER inspect the private workings of a family eludes me. Like the very nice mom who wrote the letter, I agree that the government’s motives are questionable, but I do appreciate that the results are moving in a laudable direction.

I guess the real question I have is why on Earth do we hand over control over our children and their education to any government?

I’ve recently completed writing a book about the woes and possible solutions of education today, and had to really look at this. I simply do not believe that a monolithic organization such as a government (national or local) can successfully do something as intimate and personal as educate a particular child. I don’t even think a school, public or private, can do this very well.

Governments (like schools) work with numbers. Governments even assign people numbers. You have a bar code, trust me. Look at your driver’s license. But to your government, you don’t have a name or face. They don’t know you or your children, not at all. So who made governments the “experts” in the educating of YOUR child?

You did. We all did. We relinquished both responsibility and control over our children’s education. And having done that, we really can’t complain about the lousy results, can we?

The answer, and the only answer to successfully educating our own children is to reassume both responsibility and control for them. This is exactly what homeschoolers like this terrific mom are trying to do! Given the utterly miserable results that public education has had now for many decades, governments should utter a loud sigh of relief and throw a parade each time a family takes the homeschool route.

Of course, that said, the two words I used were “responsibility” and “control”. It’s not enough to have control over what and how your children learn. You must also succeed at educating them, that’s the “responsibility” part. And please note, education is not “indoctrination”. Education is not religious or political in essence, though it can certainly include religion and politics as components. Knowing your Bible or Koran, knowing that you live in “your great country”, is not the same thing as knowing your Algebra and your world history. The homeschooler has taken on the assignment of preparing a child for a good, productive, intelligent, moral life in a very complicated world. They must succeed where the schools have failed. If the homeschool family fails, then homeschooling has no value over schooling for that child.

It’s up to us to more than simply homeschool our children. We must also succeed at the goals of education. If schools accomplished these goals, I’d have no complaints with schools. They don’t succeed at these important goals. Neither does government.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Tread On Me - Please!

We are discussing altered history textbooks. These are books that are changed to teach history in a biased manner that somehow serves an ideology or the state, but which has little to do with truth. In the last post, we discussed what has been done along these lines recently by China, Iran and Russia.

Let’s move closer to home. Let’s talk about Texas.

The yellow rose has wilted. Texas, once a land fabled for open spaces and for being a tower of freedom, has become the land of ideological indoctrination and petty-minded educational bias. (The following is based on an article found in The Week, October 1 issue, and is my response.)

If you’re a school kid in Texas, thanks to the intrepid work done by a group of zealots placed on the Texas Board of Education, here’s what you’re going to start learning from your textbooks in 2012:

- Thomas Jefferson was NOT an important founding fathers. He’s a “minor figure”. This because he authored the idea of separation of Church and State, so the zealots on the School Board are going to get back at old Tom. And he really wasn’t important to American History, now, was he? He was only our second Vice President, our third President. Tom and Ben Franklin brought France into our Civil War which was instrumental in winning that war and our freedom. Oh, and he did write an unimportant document that barely deserves to be discussed, the Declaration of Independence. You know, “When in the course of human events blah blah blah”?

Oh, and by the way, nearly ALL of the founding fathers supported separation of Church and State. They and their immediate ancestors had fled a Europe dominated by nations controlled by churches. Remember the Inquisitions? The Thirty Years’ War? Our founding fathers wanted to build a nation where anyone could worship or not in freedom and as they saw fit. So maybe they were ALL unimportant? George Washington, John Adams, the whole lot of them? They wanted separation of Church and State. Washington insisted on it as her did not want to be like Henry VIII, the head of state and of the state church. I guess George wasn’t very important either. Man, those are going to be very thin textbooks!

But let’s not allow facts to get in the way of a well-slanted history textbook. At least, not in Texas. Thomas Jefferson, a minor figure indeed. But Texas school children, thanks to an incredible degree of blind zealotry, will be taught this lesson. It is so “mandated”, and major publishers greedy for educational dollars are rewriting textbooks as we speak to satisfy this bizarre set of demands. There’s more.

- Cesar Chavez is no longer to appear in history at all. Thousands of immigrant farm workers whose lives were drastically improved through his efforts are going to be very sorry to learn that there really was no Cesar Chavez, not so far as history is concerned. Their cause was never represented. They have no place in history. At least, not in Texas.

- I know many people in our Southern States will approve of this change in history. America never indulged in slavery. Nope, there was no slavery here! In the new Texas textbooks, there was only “the Atlantic Triangular Trade”…and that form of enforced servitude (let’s not call it by the impolite term “slavery”, let’s maintain our manners and sip our mint juleps) was all the fault of the British! (I know that they will be horrified to discover this in Britain, but then, history textbooks are never wrong. Bad, British! Bad! To bed, and no supper for you!)

Congratulations, Jefferson Davis, you won the PR war after all! And Lincoln and the North, well, what DID they fight that Civil War thing over? If there was no slavery, why the war? It’s going to be fascinating to see how the Texas textbooks spin that little war, isn’t it!

I actually am having a very hard time deciding whether the Texas School Board is insane, utterly dishonest, just plain stupid or all of the above. What I do know is that by indoctrinating children in such an appalling and dishonest manner, they are guaranteeing an end result of mis-educated children who will have little or no actual understanding of history or of the nation they are a part of. They will, however, be well-indoctrinated ideologues who will cause endless problems with abiding by the mistaken and frighteningly ignorant ideas they will have acquired in school. Of course, there can be little doubt that ideologically brainwashed children is the goal of such a “Board of Education”. And the Inquisition has finally made it to America!

Folks, I am not a Texas hater. I’ve spent a fair amount of time there. My wife was born and raised there. A University Grad (University of Texas Austin) with a Masters Degree, she would have been SICK to see what’s happening in Texas, if she had not passed away in 2001. Her mother was a librarian, her father a scientist. They would have been equally disgusted. I like a lot of Texas and a lot of the people there. But I have to tell you that if you support such a bastardization of history textbooks, if you support the acts of such a “school board”, then you are profoundly participating in the dumbing-down of education, and doing a disastrous disservice to your children. And shame on you!

If you live in Texas and were unaware of these activities, get active. It’s your school board. Do something about it! Remove the ideologues from office and get some school board members who actually care about children and not about re-creating the world in their own image. Believe it or not, there is a substantial difference between education and indoctrination. It’s time that your school board learned the difference. If they can’t serve their children more honorably, they really need to catch the next stagecoach out of San Antone.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Yes, I Love My Uncle Joe, And My Textbook Tells Me So.

Did you know that China defeated Japan in WW II?

Yup, China whooped Japan! And they did it without any help at all from the United States, Australia, or anyone else. The United States never dropped those two atomic bombs on Japan, nope. It was all the heroic people of China, they defeated Japan. At least, that’s what current Chinese textbooks say, according to an article in The Week (October 1 issue) about how textbooks are being altered to accommodate political or religious views of history.

As if education hadn’t already sufficiently failed our children.

Yup, those Chinese and their textbooks, they’re pretty funny. They don’t have much to do with actual history, of course, but then – how important is history, anyway? (That’s irony, folks.) Given China’s once remarkable heritage as amongst the first historians dating back to the wonderful writings of Confucius, their newest textbooks are a barrel of ideologically inspired garbage that would surely set Confucius spinning in his deservedly peaceful grave.

Chinese textbooks are nearly as funny as some currently used Iranian textbooks that advise the young to “strike fear into the hearts of the enemies of God”. That’s a good lesson to pull from one’s history text. Or was it a lesson from comparative religions? How about the part of the text that assures women that they are, indeed, second class citizens? Yes Sir, that’s a lesson I want my daughter to bring home from school. I’m sure that in someone’s bizarre, sad little universe these “lessons” fulfill requirements for a modern education. Cups up to Iran, center of modernity and learning! And this in a land which, through the Dark Ages in Europe, offered the only known bastion of education. Only in Islamic nations at that time could one find the ancient writings of the Greeks and Romans, amplified with the thoughts and discoveries of brilliant Islamic philosophers and scientists. Well, those ancient and impressive Islamic keepers of the flame of knowledge were probably misguided, huh? Wouldn’t you say? I’m sure there’s some sort of reference to that end in Iran’s newest and brightest texts.

And then, folks, there’s good old Uncle Joe. You remember him. You know! Uncle Joseph Stalin! The man who had 20,000,000 of his own people murdered and buried in mass, hidden graves because they…um…didn’t like him. Can’t imagine why someone might not have liked Uncle Joe.

Count if you can the number of families that lost members during Stalin’s purge. Even today, how many people yet live who were directly damaged by his acts? And yet, well, it simply never happened. Not according to Aleksandr Filippov in the revisionist history texts he’s authoring for impressionable Russian school children. After all, per Filippov; “It’s wrong to write a textbook that will fill the children who learn from it with horror and disgust about their past and their people.”

Um, right. Change history. Do it for the children.

Let’s change the Russian history books, by all means. Only in this case and in the real world where some of us choose to live, “the past and their people” were really one psychotic dictator and his rabid (and terrified) military adherents. Well, let’s not allow the truth to get in the way of a good history textbook, shall we?

Russia had a long history prior to Stalin. I mean, they had some nasty old Czars. They had a pretty brutal revolution. They killed a lot of Jews. They tried out Communism there for a while, and it really didn’t work out. Maybe the books could just remove all of that, as well! Ivan the Terrible could become Ivan the Butterfly Collector! There were no pogroms, not in the revised books, the Jews just fled…sorry, left Russia because there was this, um…great kosher tea party that they all wished to attend. There was no Communist revolution, no Communist Party, perish the thought! There was just a Tupperware Party. The last Czar wasn’t murdered along with his family, they were…um…retired. To Bermuda. There they live happily ever after, with their neighbors, the tooth fairy and Sherlock Holmes. And there you go.

Are you laughing? Well, stop it.

It’s really not funny, and for several reasons. First, young people raised with such idiotic and damaging texts will grow up to believe what they are taught. Sure, a few self-motivated children and parents will see to it that they acquire info from other and more reliable sources. (Though that will be hard to do in lands which even restrict the Internet, such as China.) Your children will be dealing with those nation’s misinformed, ideologically blinded children as they all push into their adult years – if we all make it that far. Because such ideologies inculcated in the young in the guise of education most certainly lead to institutionally approved hatred of others. Hate leads to war for those of you who may be wondering.

By the way, if you live in America, you can stop laughing right now, please. I’ll get to what’s being done to textbooks in Texas in my next post. For now, be careful who you decide to throw stones at, unless you’re pretty bloody sure that you are without sin or revisionist textbooks.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Sweden – Dream land! Homeschool nightmare!

In the last article, we talked about Germany and its government’s disgusting treatment of homeschool. If you look back, you’ll note that I’ve quoted several documents signed by Germany (as well as nearly every nation on Earth) guaranteeing the right of a parent to decide upon their own child’s education. Apparently when they signed, what some governments really meant was “unless we change our minds”, or perhaps “unless we need votes”, from the politician’s viewpoint.

If Germany was an isolated instance of suppression against home school and parental rights, perhaps their acts against homeschoolers would not be so worrisome. Homeschoolers could leave Germany if they had to. Of course, they would not leave. Not any more than most Jews left Germany before WW II, even knowing that they were in danger. They did not leave then and would not leave now because Germany was and is their home. I understand this sentiment, and the belief that one should be able to change the system from within. The problem with such a belief is that it sometimes ends in something resembling the holocaust. It can certainly end that way if one does not make enough noise about what’s happening, and if one does not join with many others to do so.

So we come to another beautiful land. It is a land with a wonderful standard of living. It is a land whose government is at this very moment determining whether they will follow in Germany’s footsteps and ban homeschooling. But why wait for the force of law? It certainly appears that Sweden has begun its tandem polka, a dance of repression in rhythm with Germany.

This excerpt is from the WorldNet Daily, dated April 26, 2010. I’ll provide a link to the complete article after the excerpt.

It "appears likely that the same circumstances that currently exist in Germany would appear in Sweden, forcing Swedish citizens who wish to homeschool to flee their home country. It is our understanding that some Swedish families have already chosen to flee because of the harassment from local school authorities," the letter says.
Further, such action would violate several established precedents, HSLDA said, including:

•The European Convention on Human Rights, which includes rights of liberty, security of person, respect for private and family life, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, education, equality and nondiscrimination.

•The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, in which Article 26 states parents retain the right to choose the kind of education their children receive.

•And the Treaty of Amsterdam, which "calls for respect for those fundamental rights."


Bottom line, “educators” and “politicians” in Sweden have fabricated a law that would end homeschool in Sweden. It is, needless to say, to the educator’s advantage since they get paid by the student, and politicians want their votes. As you will see, some people have fled Sweden in anticipation of the proposed law taking force. Or at least, they have tried.

Please read the article and to get the whole ugly picture, at http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=146273


We all need role models. It’s good to be able to look up at a big brother and say “I want to be like him!” But Germany is no role model, most particularly not in the area of homeschooling or education. Germany is a land that tells its children in some of its history books that there was no WW II! (I’ve seen the books, so believe what you like. And before you start laughing over such efforts to “revise” history, wait until you read the next two articles for this blog. If you live in Russia or the United States, believe me when I tell you that you have nothing to laugh about.)

By the way, the Swedish government is not waiting for the law to take effect to suppress homeschoolers. As it states in the article, a family homeschooling in Sweden but preparing to leave was pulled off the plane and separated, their 7 year-old child for the past 10 months forced into foster care. Their crime? They homeschooled in Sweden!

Need I tell you that the violent, enforced suppression of human rights is a vile and dangerous trend that leaves no one in a nation safe? Need I say again that what is being done to homeschoolers is powerfully reminiscent of the tactics of repressive regimes which have taken it as a part of their agenda to control the minds and actions of their children?

If you live in Sweden, WHY allow such a thing?

It’s your government. You are responsible for its actions. You elected them, you can unelect them. I read that you have a Parliamentary Democracy – so use it! Write, complain, march, protest and make such a noise that your government will be forced to reconsider its barbaric acts. This has occasionally worked in the past. It’s certainly more effective than doing nothing.

Don’t resort to violence, but by all means, protest. Do you need a role model? Choose Mahatma Gandhi, or Henry David Thoreau. Try non-cooperation. This approach may require work. It may even be a little dangerous. But how could non-cooperation be more dangerous than allowing your government to tear apart families and dictate precisely how you will live at threat of imprisonment or worse?

Or you can do like big brother Germany. Just stay quiet, follow orders, and watch as your neighbor’s family is ripped apart for the crime of educating their child as they see fit. But don’t worry. On some pretext or another, some new law, your family will be next. We’ve all seen this slippery slope before, and we all know how it ends – when we’re not too busily revising history.

As to revised history and its place in the future of education – next post.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Changes. Comments? Followers?

Hi folks,

We're going to be moving these articles about the attacks on homeschool to a new site soon, and I wanted to give you a heads up. Probably happen in the next few weeks. Then this site will revert to articles about how to homeschool, as it was intended to be in the first place. PLEASE follow if you're visiting, and feel free to leave comments!


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Who Started the Ban on German Homeschools, and Why?

Here we’ll continue our discussion of the ban on homeschooling in Germany and its brutal enforcement, from our last post.

When did the ban on homeschool in Germany begin? Whose idea was it to eliminate homeschooling in a land where self-education had for centuries produced Bachs and Mozarts? I think the answer is going to appall you. This is an article from September 29, 2006, found in the World Net Daily. I’ll provide a link to the article after the excerpt I’d like you to read.
A new ruling from the European Human Rights Court has affirmed the German nation's Nazi-era ban on homeschooling, concluding that society has a significant interest in preventing the development of dissent through "separate philosophical convictions."

The Strasburg-based court addressed the issue on appeal from a Christian family whose members alleged their human rights to educate their own children according to their own religious beliefs are being violated by the ban.

The specific case addressed in the opinion involved Fritz and Marianna Konrad, who filed the complaint in 2003 and argued that Germany's compulsory school attendance endangered their children's religious upbringing and promotes teaching inconsistent with the family's Christian faith.

The court said the Konrads belong to a "Christian community which is strongly attached to the Bible" and rejected public schooling because of the explicit sexual indoctrination programs that the courses there include.

The German court already had ruled that the parental "wish" to have their children grow up in a home without such influences "could not take priority over compulsory school attendance." The decision also said the parents do not have an "exclusive" right to lead their children's education.
Here’s the link. Please read the rest of the article.

Yes, the banning of homeschooling in Germany started with the Nazis.

We all know how many wonderful ideas the Nazis had. They not only left the rest of Europe in flames, but did themselves and Germany in, in the bargain. If ever a group had no regard for human life or human rights, certainly that group would be the Nazis, would it not?

Let’s ask the obvious. Why would the Nazi’s ban homeschool. Clearly they intended to precisely control everything that a child learned. How else could the Hitler Youth have come into existence? Why else would a child turn his own parents into the SS unless that child had been thoroughly brainwashed – er, excuse me – “educated”.

We know better today, right? Germany is no longer under the control of the Nazi Party, right? That is right, isn’t it? Yet the banning of home school in Germany, initiated by the Nazi Party, continues today. It is violently enforced, using tactics frighteningly reminiscent of the Nazis.

Much of the rest of Europe falls into goose-step line as we speak, as we will cover in upcoming articles. Perhaps Hitler will win the war after all. He certainly will win it in Germany if the German people do today as they have done in the past – support their “government” and obey orders.

Where can a German homeschool family turn?

In 2003, the trial mentioned above was held at the European Court of Human Rights. This court, established in 1998, is seen as a “last recourse” for the people of Europe who feel that their rights have been violated. It was established by the European Convention of Human Rights, a treaty signed by almost every European power all the way back in 1953. Ever hear of it? In the charter it specifically states that “The State shall respect the right of parents to ensure education and teaching is in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions.” That’s a quote from the document which underpins the existence of this “court”. Keep reading.

The 2003 trial was initiated by a German family insisting on its right to homeschool. The family wanted a more Christian-based education for their children than the German Schools provide. That was their reason for homeschooling. The court’s decision? That a nation has the right to decide how children will be schooled. Parents do not have this right. That a family's beliefs should not be allowed to in any way determine their child's education. (And, by the way, that a "strong belief in the Bible" was reason to prevent that family from homeschooling.)

That’s right – families have NO right to determine what sort of education their children receive, a decision precisely contravening the founding document of that so-called court, as well as tossing out the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, which in Article 26 guarantees that the parent has the prior right to determine how their child will be educated.

Between 1953 and 2003, apparently “human rights” in Europe has been somewhat redefined. Today, it seems that “human rights” really means STATES RIGHTS – that the state shall have all rights at the expense of individuals.

This trend contradicts the very purpose of civilization. Civilization is a system whereby individuals may work together for their mutual survival and well-being. In other words – governments exist for the protection of the people and their lives and rights. People do not exist to protect governments and their rights. This all-important key to understanding the relationship between government and its people has been reversed and redefined. When President John F. Kennedy said “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country”, he unfortunately verbalized the reversed ethic that today empowers the state over its constituents.

Historically and in fact, countries exists to protect individuals and their rights and lives. Without this as the sole and entire goal of a government, there is no reason for that government or country to exist. No less a creator of governments than Thomas Jefferson would have encouraged a revolution against a government that has forgotten the central purpose of its existence, to serve the people.

The banning of homeschooling in Germany by the Nazis and upheld by their current government is a classic example of government rights protected by government (the judges sitting on the court were selected by the governments participating) and at the expense of the people. It is government gone mad. But again, why should anyone be surprised that government has gone mad in Germany?

What we should be surprised and profoundly worried about is that other European nations are following Germany’s lead.

More to come.