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Found 8 results

  1. Some of you might remember my request to write HSLDA...they and the board are being intransigent for reasons which are beyond our comprehension... As we (in Europe) are thinking about this more, we wonder why it would be called a "Global Conference" as we hypothesize that not many people from other continents would attend. How many home educators in Africa, South America, Asia, Australia would actually be there? Very hard to know...but with airfare at more than $1000, closer to $1400, it is hard to imagine many... And then how many North Americans would even attend and pay hotel prices in Berlin? My guess is that it would be North American home education businesses that would attend which turns it into a money making venture and not really one of 'aid' which is how they like to portray it. Anyway, how many of you would go to Europe next November 1-4 for a home education conference AND have the money to actually go? Thank you so much for voting! Joan
  2. Hi all, a friend in Germany wrote this letter to the board of the conference that they want to hold in Germany. I thought there were some very interesting points, especially about how the Berlin wall fell to begin with..But it is long so I've cut it in two...:001_smile: Dear Mr Donnelly, dear members of the organizing committee, Thank you for your detailed answer to my email. In your reply I got more answers than the members of the LU-list got from D and J before. You say that you will take my concerns into consideration when making the final decision about where the conference should take place. I am not the only one who is against this conference, and I have seen the answers from you to several others who have written to you. After reading those answers I don't believe any more that you will really take our concerns into consideration. You say that there have been several conferences about home education in Germany and that they didn't create a significant risk for families. It is true that there have been two or three conferences in Germany but the conferences I am aware of have all been organized by Germans and the goal of those conferences was quite different. You are writing: „I am aware that there are families who are able to practice home education in their communities and live with some level of mutual tolerance between them and the authorities. I'm glad that this is the case for these families. Of course, this does not help those other families who would like to home educate their children nor does it have any impact on creating further awareness about the problems of global public policy that may be hostile towards home education." Although you are a home educating parent yourself and you are saying you are working for home educators and for the legalization of home education, you don't seem to be able to see the groundbreaking work these families are doing. In my opinion it is far more than any conference can do. These families are positive role models for those families who would like to home educate and who think it is impossible to do it in Germany. New families notice that it can be worthwhile to work up all your courage to resist even major threats. They also see that not all representatives from the school authorities or legal or youth welfare offices are bad people who are working against home educating families, indeed some have a great deal of civil courage which becomes contagious to officials in other districts who might not make a first step, but are willing to follow a narrow trail once they have seen it. The children of families who are practicing home education in Germany are the best promotion for home education itself. Everyone who is in contact with those children is positively surprised. This is something I did experience with my own sons and one of my daughters and it is what others are experiencing every day with their neighbors, friends, in-laws, doctors, shop assistants, their local school teachers and heads, in their music classes, sports activities and so on. This builds the very ground of awareness, especially with the profound unhappiness of most of the children and parents in Germany with their school situation. These home educated children make people think about it much more thoroughly than any conference can do. Even if families resist in a threatening situation just for one year, it matters. It is another NO which gets openly expressed in the face of authorities. I think it is the same as it was with the major political changes in Germany in the nineties when the Berlin wall came down. *This** **wasn**'**t** **done** ** by** **a** **conference** **of** **some** **big** **organization** **-** ** it** **was** **done** **by** **the** **people** **on** **the** **streets** * *who** **said** **NO.* One of my main concerns is that those families who are risking a lot in Germany become endangered by having this conference in Germany. If there is only one family who will be in danger due to this conference, that is just one too many. You have not acknowledged that many of these families are very active politically, even though it puts them at risk. Those of us who are living and working here have the knowledge and experience needed to see what will be productive and to decide which risks are worth taking. Another of my major points of concern is the major involvement of your association in this conference. You, D (German organizer) and J (Swedish organizer) say that HSLDA is just one of many others who are organizing and funding the conference. Whom do you want to convince with repeating this over and over and over again? Most of the board members are from HSLDA or organizations related or similar to HSLDA. The board does by no means represent the broad variety of the home education movement. D is not representing any organization and doesn't really work together with the existing organizations in Germany nor with the other activists. J is representing a small European homeschooling organization. Why are there no big unschooling organizations on the board especially those from countries with a home education history longer than the USA, like Britain, Australia and New Zealand? Even in other European countries there are bigger organizations with a lot of more experience than this small organization has. Most of the members of the European network just don't buy the statement that HSLDA has just a minor role in the conference, and they probably won't attend it because of HSLDA's negative involvement with their organizations or in their countries. If the committee does want to show German officials and media the diverse range of styles, nationalities and families through the attendants as a way of "taking a large step in further recognizing home education as a global movement" as you say, then you have to begin by communicating with us in Germany and the other European countries and with those organizations who have had bad experiences with HSLDA in a different way. That means in my opinion to cancel this conference and bring us all together to do the planning together, otherwise I fear that this conference will be a one-sided business and is likely to cause a split in the German and the European movement. You say that the conference will get positive attention in the media, and you haven't experienced bad reporting about HSLDA, but there is no guarantee that this will be the case with this conference as well. I think HSLDA will be seen by the general public as a right wing fundamentalist Christian association, disrespecting the rights of children. There are a number of statements on the HSLDA homepage that confirm this perception, for example your rejection of the Convention on the Rights of the Child: "1. Parents would no longer be able to administer reasonable spankings to their children." In Germany it is illegal to use violence in any form against children („Children have a right to non-violent upbringing. Physical punishments, psychological injuries and other degrading measures are inadmissible"). There are other things on the website as well which wouldn't be easily accepted by the general public in Germany. Do you really think that journalists won't look for background information and won't mention these things at all? You express a lot of hope but you can 't guarantee this. If I can find statements like the one above on the website, journalists certainly will be able to do the same. As far as I can see the argument of "avoiding the emergence of parallel societies" most often offered by officials as a reason against legalizing home education relates to exactly this perception of home education. Over the last years the home education movement in Germany has put a huge effort into showing a different picture. I don't want this effort to be wasted. ETA - comment by Joan - some other friends from Germany recount how when children go to school, they are asked by the teacher to raise their hand if they have gotten any spanking at home. Then the teacher takes any names and the parents will get a visit. This has caused the removal of some children from their family. And after another friend had her first child, she got a visit from child welfare and the lady told her that she is not allowed to spank her children. So this is considered very serious in Germany. continues in next post....
  3. Ok, Moms, looking for some help here. DD is a sophmore and is heading to Ulm the end of February to mid-August. She's doing a semester and was accepted to do a research project. She seems to have basically everything planned out and is very fortunate to have scholarships/grants to pay for it all. DH & I have moved a bigillion times but never traveled overseas. Soooo, any suggestions, words of wisdom, talk me down from the ledge advice out there? From a mom who is so excited, happy and already:crying: that her baby is going to be gone sooooo long!
  4. I'm looking for a movie about the demonstrations the preceded the events when the Wall came down. I'm thinking in particular of demonstrations around one of the churches in a big eastern city, probably Leipzig. Or if anyone can think of another good movie on the topic. I already have both The Lives of Others and Goodbye Lenin. I was trying to explain to my kids the months (years even, if you back to Solidarity in Poland) of events that culminated in the the opening of the border.
  5. This is the last day to sign the petition. (ETA - it ends today the 16th but European time!) Some people have wondered if it will help if you are not German. But the German homeschoolers have requested that outsiders sign. They say that it will help the issue become known and that it will help people find out that it is possible. So please sign and get your children to sign as well. Any age can sign. You can do so through different sites. The simplest to understand is HSLDA - but it is not their petition. I believe it is actually by an unschooler. The petition in German An explanation with some translation HSLDA's directions IMPORTANT - once you have gotten permission from the site, you will be linked to the list of all the petitions being presented for all kinds of different things. BUT if you go back to HSLDA's website, the second link brings you exactly to the petition itself with instructions about which hyperlinks to click. Thanks for the German homeschoolers. Joan
  6. Part 1 - because this is so long, there are two posts. There is a new case where a child could be removed from his parents even after leaving the country. He was not being homeschooled in Germany but is now in his new country. There are other families who have their children removed from them even after they have left the country. Because the child was sickly (asthma), he was frequently absent from school. The authorities claim that the mom was getting doctors to write false medical certificates and wanted to take her child away. There was no legal case against her though. Here is the letter that has been sent to them. (in German) http://eu-le.eu/bvnl/download/bilder.pdf There are addresses where you can write if you want to try to make a difference for them in the next post. I received the following from a woman who knows about the situation, who used to live in Germany. Thanks for reading and even more for writing (to the court), Joan This was written by someone who knows the case (not myself) Dear friends of freedom and variety in education The Sontowski family needs your support. The authorities are unfortunately not able to accept that they cannot persecute a family that is no longer living in Germany. Because Angela Sontowski and her son were not left in peace when they moved abroad, with the authorities harassing them after they were no longer living in Germany, the whole family has been put under enormous stress. Anyone who can offer assistance is asked to contact us. It costs money for them to write letters to the authorities and Angela's husband now has to travel back and forth between two countries. Other costs that were not anticipated have also arisen. The family has had to appoint a lawyer, who also has to be paid for his services. We would also be grateful if you could pass on this story, and ask others, particularly people living in countries around Germany, if there is any way that they can help the Sontowskis. Unfortunately, as other families have had their children removed from them after they had left Germany, the Sontowskis could still be in danger. The addresses of the various authorities involved with this issue are listed at the end of this letter. We would appreciate it if you would take a few minutes to write a brief letter to even one of these authorities (it would probably be a good idea if letters were sent to the court) to express your disbelief and shock at how the Sontowskis have been treated. If you do decide to write a letter, please keep it brief, pleasant and polite, mentioning that the Sontowskis had not broken any German laws and that in your own country, people do not fall under the jurisdiction of local courts once they have left the country. It is important to avoid any references to Nazis, which would be totally counterproductive. An example of such a letter is also given, but it would be great if you could express yourselves in your own words. This was not a home education case per se (although Angela Sontowski will now be home educating her son in a country where this is legal), and the authorities in Niedersachsen could have applied the education laws of that state to provide private tuition for Tarek. When we were living in Niedersachsen, we were told by the authorities that exemptions from Schulpflicht were only possible where the reason for the exemption lay in the person of the specific child. This is what they had to say about this: (my translation) ..according to Article 63, Section 5 of the Education Law of Niedersachsen, … private instruction may only be granted to school age children in the first 6 years in exceptional circumstances. Article 63, Section 5 states a rule-exception relationship. There must be important reasons to justify the granting of private instruction. Grounds for an exception must normally have to do with the person of the child, i.e. his or her physical, emotional constitution or his or her character. As you can see, it is very clear that Tarek would have fallen into this category and the education authorities could have given his mother the opportunity to apply for such an exemption so that he could receive private tuition from the state. However, in this case, they chose to make the assumption that this mother was falsifying sick notes, or perhaps getting doctors to write false medical certificates on her behalf and, instead of approaching her and offering to work with her, just threatened her with fines and then tried to take her child away from her when she decided to leave the country. Rina Groeneveld The contact person in this matter is Corinna Fischer Email: falumafischer@t-online.de
  7. A couple of days ago I stumbled across a couple of educational toys from a company in Germany called LUK: the bambinoLUK (for 3 - 5 year olds) and miniLUK (5 and up). I did a search here on the boards to see if anyone had a review or comments, and didn't come up with any hits even referencing them. I've found them at a several quality online independent educational toy retailers and on Am**zon -- but never in person, so I haven't been able to do the hands-on Mommy approval test. The are technically, I suppose, a toy. The company claims that the system provides "basic and essential learning activities for children's intellectual development in the areas of memorization, concentration, visual perception, logical thinking, linguistic skills, and basic arithmetic." I know this is a vague description, but I'm having a hard time explaining what they are without a picture. Here's a link to their website http://luklearningsystem.com/index.php (Is it okay to post to a manufacturer? I'm new to this board...I looked at the FAQs, and didn't see anything agaist it. I have no stake in it whatsoever, and am not a salesperson. If it isn't ok please delete this line...but can you keep the rest of the post up?) Also, I'm just beginning to read WTM and get the feeling that perhaps this type of toy doesn't really jive with the grammar stage goals -- PLEASE correct me if I'm incorrectly reading something into the philosophy! I'm looking for something that would keep my 3 yo dd's attention for decent stretches of time while I begin this HSCH journey with my 5 year old, and educate her in the meantime. Of course, my ultimate goal is to get them almost at the same level...isn't that every mom's goal? :tongue_smilie: Thanks so much!
  8. My little brother called this morning - he's home from IRAQ! (another reason it's a fabulous wonderful day) He's based in Germany and since dh isn't home, we're going over there for the month of December. So, how do I pack for 4 kids, for 4 weeks? I know, I know, they have washing machines, but I'm not sure if I should pack one week of clothes or two weeks? How cold does it really get in Germany? Here in Dallas winter is a little bit of a joke. Are we talking artic cold? Or just run of the mill - eh, it's chilly out? Help!:confused:
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