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European Home Ed problems, solutions, and networking...


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First to the moderators....I realize that this is really a "Network board" type of thread....BUT I'm hoping so much that you will let it stay here and not get lost in the sea of American networking and penpals threads...as this board gets people from Europe checking regularly.

 

On the European continent, home education freedoms are being severely challenged and limited. Recently Swedish people have lost the freedom to home educate. Before German people did. 1/4 of the cantons in Switzerland have lost their freedom..the situation in Spain is tenuous, the Netherlands too have very restrictive laws...lots of people cannot do it...

 

Some people succeed in creating agreements with the local government or with the judge. But for the moment I can't see how we can go back or how we can use the Wereldschool for homeschooling while living in the Netherlands.

 

Maybe we need first a European law allowing homeschool everywhere, and for any reason...

 

Meanwhile we stay in Belgium hoping the homeschoollaw will not become more strictly...;)

 

***

While writing this I receive an announcement of the Dutch government.

Homeschooling for academic reasons stay not allowed.

Homeschooling for religious reasons become with more rules.

 

I also received a questionnaire from the Belgian Government about our homeschooling. We still hope rules will not change here.

 

Had to change computers there and didn't want to lose what I'd started, so now an edit...

 

The amazing thing is, that out of the difficulties, are being born new understandings about the value of home education...The German home educators (yes there are still some) under the heat of adversity have become more determined and see even more clearly the problems of school and the benefits of home education.

 

Each family has the possibility of being a witness to friends and neighbors, of the value of home education...As societal structures break down the typical family, the family that is home educating has the possibility of being this witness of what was lost, what it is to love each other and work together in a way that is very rare in families where the kids are off each with their own friends and belittling each other...

 

There will be a meeting in January for people from European countries to try to see how to promote home education.....It would be good to have someone from Belgium, France, etc who is really interested in the future of home education in Europe....

 

ETA - Could people email me if interested? If you click on my name above, the email option comes up...BUT if I don't answer the email, then do the PM...I did have someone say they emailed with that link and I didn't get it. But I have gotten other emails....I'm just having a lot of trouble not having an overflowing box.

 

 

Joan

Edited by Joan in Geneva
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Hi Ester Maria,

 

Got the PM...would it be possible to do it by email? My PM inbox is constantly ready to overflow, not that I get a lot, just have trouble deleting...

 

But this thread can still serve as a source of information...eg about home ed in Europe and research in Europe....

 

For some reason, there is a distrust in Europe of American home ed research, so we're trying to find studies done in Europe...

 

Eg. here is one done in Switzerland, but it is in German...there are two people translating it into French and English so hopefully it will soon be readable for a greater number...

 

National Study

 

Joan

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For some reason, there is a distrust in Europe of American home ed research, so we're trying to find studies done in Europe...

 

Eg. here is one done in Switzerland, but it is in German...there are two people translating it into French and English so hopefully it will soon be readable for a greater number...

 

National Study

 

The big problem with studies like this is the small number of participants - if I understand the study correctly, they have just 58 students in it. Any conclusion drawn based on this number is not very useful.

 

The situation in Germany will be worse, because there the very small minority of homeschooling families is in no way a representative sample of the population, and the conclusions one would come to by examining this group can not be extended to a situation where homeschooling would be legal and "normal" people would participate - not just people for whom this is such a vital issue that they are willing to get into a fight with authorities.

 

I see this as an unsolvable dilemma: can't have good studies as long as homeschooling is illegal because samples will be small and extremely biased - and can't get legality without good studies. But the homeschooling families in Germany that are very vocal and have big medial presence are not the kind of people that could sway the general public towards homeschooling. (I would suspect similar situations in other countries with strong homeschooling restrictions.)

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one about the importance of school in the social-emotional development of a child

 

Thanks loesje! Curious about this study - I tried to use Google translate but since it is a doc and not a web page, it was not possible...Still trying to figure out how to do it....I'm presuming that they say "school" is important?

 

Perhaps not, at present - we're not sounding like very good Europeans.

 

Yes, I do consider the UK European, although the Anglo-Saxon thinking is really quite different than that of Germany for example, so I'm not sure how authorities there look at the UK (I'd really like to know).

 

That is a helpful site! Is that a definitive list of research done in the UK? If you come across anything else - please post!

 

The big problem with studies like this is the small number of participants - if I understand the study correctly, they have just 58 students in it. Any conclusion drawn based on this number is not very useful.

 

Well regentrude, we work with what we have....the numbers here are very small...if we don't talk about them, then we don't talk about anything...At least it points out what can happen...

 

the very small minority of homeschooling families is in no way a representative sample of the population,...

 

.....But the homeschooling families in Germany that are very vocal and have big medial presence are not the kind of people that could sway the general public towards homeschooling.

 

Could you PM me as to your perception about the home ed situation in Germany if it is better not to go into specifics online? What makes them so different from the general public?

 

OK, I know they are ready to "buck" the system - which is very unheard of in Germany and separates them from the Anglo-Saxons (and Americans who are very individualistic)...

 

NEW QUESTION

 

Does anyone have a link to a list of Europeans who have been home educated?

 

Thanks,

Joan

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While checking links associated with that site Laura (trying to find authors)...I found this one with statistics about bullying, etc...presuming they are for the UK...

 

http://www.vizu.com/vot/Current+Events/yes/poll-vote.html?n=148304&cId=

 

Sylvie - on her "horsmurs" site also has a page about problems in France...

 

http://horsdesmurs.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=54&Itemid=97

 

Anyone have any other links?

 

Thanks,

Joan

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Can you PM me details of the mentioned meeting? We are in Eastern Europe, where homeschooling is just becoming legal (hopefully!).

 

Could people email me? If you click on my name above, the email option comes up...BUT if I don't answer the email, then do the PM...I did have someone say they emailed with that link and I didn't get it. But I have gotten other emails....I'm just having a lot of trouble not having an overflowing box.

 

Thanks,

Joan

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No on the contrary,

 

The research is limited to elementary level (age 5/6 - 12), and although the selfconfidence of children stay stabile at school their motivation and wellbeing decrease. At the end of 6th grade children show demotivation of learning and dislike of school. Compared to home ed. children

schoolchildren are more aggressive and more competative.

Henk Blok suggested the government several times to be more open to home ed. and not being to afraid of possible negative consequences (which he doesn't expect on a wide scale) but they ignore his researches.

HTH

 

 

Oh - that sounds really important! Has anyone asked him about translating that study to English or other languages - French or German? It might have been helpful recently...

Joan

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I just did it and discovered he has done a lot more researches about home ed...

 

Is he planning on having them translated then?

 

And for those studies...how many students did he study...ie was it a large or small study..

 

Thanks,

Joan

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I think you have to fight for your freedoms.

 

Stop trying to get "research" that "proves" homeschooling

is acceptable.

 

Demand your freedom to homeschool.

 

If your government is oppressing you, organize people,

write letters, print articles in the newspaper--demand your

rights!

 

Europe should not be controlling its citizens like this. You

guys fought hard for democracy hundreds of years ago!

Demand your liberties!

 

(Of course, this is written from someone who has always

had freedoms. So I am sorry if I seem narrowminded.)

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I'm not in Europe and am not on top of the current situation there. However, I do have some links to Norwegian articles and studies done, which may be of some use to you.

Christian Beck, a professor at the University of Oslo has written numerous articles on home education. His English website is here and his Norwegian one is here. He has also written a book on homeschooling in Norway, which is available for free here (unfortuantely, I am not aware of an English translation).

 

I hope the homeschooling situation in Europe will become easier. Those of us in North America are extremely fortunate.

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Could you PM me as to your perception about the home ed situation in Germany if it is better not to go into specifics online? What makes them so different from the general public?

 

 

I have no problem answering your question on an open forum.

(I just want to preface this by saying that I do not wish to start a religious discussion; I am merely reporting what predominant teachings are. I wish no debate.)

 

The families who are very vocal about homeschooling and who choose to have themselves portrayed in the media fall basically into two categories:

religious fundamentalists and extreme unschoolers.

Among German Christians (I grew up in the Lutheran church), people who take the Bible literally are a very small minority. A more prominent view (and this is what is taught in children's bible studies as well) is to interpret many things from the Bible as parables, used to make the teachings understandable to humans. For example, I have never encountered anybody who believes in new earth creationism. So, the families who homeschool for religious reasons are viewed as at a very far end of a spectrum, with views that are alien even to almost all German Christians. The idea that children should be prevented from participating in P.E. and se*ual education is perceived as absurd by most people.

 

The few unschooling families who have gone public have uttered views that also do not mesh commonly held ones. Withdrawing a child from school after a week "because the child did not like it" is not seen as a solid reason for breaking the law. The fact that one of the other family's ten year old can't read and they don't worry about it is seen as proof for homeschooling failure. These views are so far form the parenting culture of even progressive families that they are not being taken seriously.

 

Completely missing in the media debate are families whose reasons for homeschooling can be understood by a broader public: academic reasons, children with disabilities, etc, and whose child rearing philosophies are closer to average. The academic pressure is certainly less, because there is good access top quality public schools. And if your child has issues at school, they have to be very severe before you choose to break the law and start an unpleasant battle with authorities - so most people, even if they are unhappy with the schools, will not go as far. Also, please keep in mind that there is no history of homeschooling in Germany - so nobody knows "normal" people who have done something like this.

 

I encounter all these stereotypes when I spend summers in Germany and talk about homeschooling. They know nothing about it except for what they see on TV -and these are considered extreme cases who would not sway the general public to push for a change in the laws.

Btw, if I lived in Germany, I would not homeschool, not even if it were legal - because my reasons (academics) would no longer exist.

Edited by regentrude
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Also, please keep in mind that there is no history of homeschooling in Germany - so nobody knows "normal" people who have done something like this.

 

You probably know more about this than I do, but I thought there was a history of homeschooling in Germany before WWII. Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his siblings were homeschooled...I thought Albert Einstein basically afterschooled (he started studying at home on his own in middle school)...also Goethe homeschooled (if I'm not mistaken) and Mozart was homeschooled by his father. So, I think Germany has a history of homeschooling, they just aren't looking deep enough for it.

 

(And, I apologize for interrupting the conversation. I don't live in Europe, but I've been reading this thread with interest. I am actually very sad that homeschooling isn't legal or mainstream in many places there. Homeschooling has been an incredible experience for my kids.)

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I hope the homeschooling situation in Europe will become easier. Those of us in North America are extremely fortunate.

 

Yeah, I feel bad. :o Homeschooling used to be illegal in Texas. I thought there were some big court cases and they eventually granted homeschoolers "private school" status.

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You probably know more about this than I do, but I thought there was a history of homeschooling in Germany before WWII. Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his siblings were homeschooled...I thought Albert Einstein basically afterschooled (he started studying at home on his own in middle school)...also Goethe homeschooled (if I'm not mistaken) and Mozart was homeschooled by his father. So, I think Germany has a history of homeschooling, they just aren't looking deep enough for it.

 

If you go back a few centuries, of course there was "homeschooling" because there was no general public school for everybody. Well off families such as Goethe's had private tutors (which is not the same thing as being homeschooled by a parent).

First attempts to mandate general schooling can be traced back to the 16th century; more serious laws to the mid-1800s; but the government did not have a public school system to enforce these laws until 1871. Contrary to popular belief, mandated schooling was not introduced by the Nazis.

 

My point was not history, but rather that the people who discuss homeschooling now have not grown up with that tradition - during the last few generations, homeschooling was extremely rare, if it existed at all. So, most Germans have never given homeschooling a single thought because it is not on their radar - I certainly have never thought about it while I was still living in Germany.

 

To address your examples:

Bonhoeffer's mother homeschooled him until he entered school at age 7. That hardly counts, as German kids do not start formal schooling until 6 or 7 years of age.

Afterschooling to supplement a school education is not at issue and is not considered even related to the issues about homeschooling; how you supplement a school education is nobody's concern.

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To address your examples:

Bonhoeffer's mother homeschooled him until he entered school at age 7. That hardly counts, as German kids do not start formal schooling until 6 or 7 years of age.

 

In the Eric Metaxas biography, they didn't start school until 9 or 10. I think he said the mom had a teaching certificate and that was the only reason they were allowed to stay home. The parents thought the German school system "broke a child's will" or something like that. :001_huh:

 

(I obviously don't live in Germany.) Is there a big push for homeschooling to be legalized? :confused: What would people there have to do to have it legalized?

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I do have some links to Norwegian articles and studies done, which may be of some use to you.

Christian Beck, a professor at the University of Oslo has written numerous articles on home education. His English website is here and his Norwegian one is here. He has also written a book on homeschooling in Norway, which is available for free here (unfortuantely, I am not aware of an English translation).

 

I hope the homeschooling situation in Europe will become easier. Those of us in North America are extremely fortunate.

 

Thank you!!!

 

In most cases, it doesn't seem to be getting easier...

 

But trials and problems can give birth to innovation :001_smile:.

 

Thank you too regentrude and starbuck.

 

Joan

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Well off families such as Goethe's had private tutors (which is not the same thing as being homeschooled by a parent).

 

Here I would have a caveat - "not necessarily the same thing"...

 

And note the fact that in this day and age, many parents are probably more educated than many of the "private" tutors in those days due to the increased exposure to education..

 

I do agree that the concept of home education is quite foreign to the general German public, though it is getting increased positive media exposure...

 

The concept of "do-it-yourself" and doing things differently than your neighbors, from what I have heard, is quite foreign also in Germany...

 

Wondering here, regentrude, if your travels back to Germany take you to both the ex East and the ex West...ie are you speaking more about the level of academics in the ex East?

 

Joan

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Is there a big push for homeschooling to be legalized? :confused: What would people there have to do to have it legalized?

 

There is a movement to get it legalized, but I would not consider it a big push.

In order to have a chance at legalizing, the homeschool proponents must address the two major concerns of the society about homeschooling: extremism and educational quality.

People are worried that families with extreme religious and political views use homeschooling to indoctrinate their children and to fail to teach them the societal values of a democratic country (a concern which has to be viewed in the light of 20th century history). People are also worried that home education by non-trained teachers leads to an inferior education (the bar hangs much higher than in the US because of overall school quality and teacher expertise.)

Right now, both these worries are actually reinforced by the homeschooling families who present themselves in the media: they are either perceived as extremists who want to isolate their children form mainstream worldviews, or as negligent parents who do not provide their children with a good education.

If these perceptions are to change, the public must see examples form homeschoolers who fall into neither stereotype.

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The concept of "do-it-yourself" and doing things differently than your neighbors, from what I have heard, is quite foreign also in Germany...

 

 

Yes, that is a correct perception.

Wondering here, regentrude, if your travels back to Germany take you to both the ex East and the ex West...ie are you speaking more about the level of academics in the ex East?

 

 

Are you talking about academic quality of schools?

I go mostly back to the East. The schools in my home state are among the best in the country, but there are also certain West German states in the same league. Variations between states exist, but they are nowhere near as big as variations between public schools in the US. There are certain things that are mandated, no matter where your school district is: a school must teach all subjects (there is no such thing as a school not "offering" physics, or upper level math), and the teacher have to have a degree of teaching in their subject, not just some general education.

This, plus the existence of different kinds of schools (12 or 13 year college prep, 10 year non-college prep) are the reasons for the overall better academic quality of a normal public school.

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I have to correct my self. I received his answer today. What I mentioned above wasn't a research but an article. He did researches as well about:

 

- effectiveness of Home Ed.,

- if parents give any Ed. in case of Home Ed.

- reasons for Home Ed. in the Netherlands.

- research about government supervision in case of Home Ed.

- further education of home ed. children (tertiary education)

 

other researches are additional researches to these.

None of them are available in other languages then Dutch.

 

Apologizing for giving incorrect information...

 

Thank you! No worries - you were trying to help!

 

 

Thanks also, regentrude, for your answers...

 

Joan

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I'm not in Europe and am not on top of the current situation there. However, I do have some links to Norwegian articles and studies done, which may be of some use to you.

Christian Beck, a professor at the University of Oslo has written numerous articles on home education. His English website is here and his Norwegian one is here. He has also written a book on homeschooling in Norway, which is available for free here (unfortuantely, I am not aware of an English translation).

 

I hope the homeschooling situation in Europe will become easier. Those of us in North America are extremely fortunate.

 

I appreciate this since I live in Norway. Thank you.

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There is a movement to get it legalized, but I would not consider it a big push.

In order to have a chance at legalizing, the homeschool proponents must address the two major concerns of the society about homeschooling: extremism and educational quality.

 

People are worried that families with extreme religious and political views use homeschooling to indoctrinate their children and to fail to teach them the societal values of a democratic country (a concern which has to be viewed in the light of 20th century history). ...

 

 

Right now, both these worries are actually reinforced by the homeschooling families who present themselves in the media: they are either perceived as extremists who want to isolate their children form mainstream worldviews, or as negligent parents who do not provide their children with a good education.

If these perceptions are to change, the public must see examples form homeschoolers who fall into neither stereotype.

 

I am neither European nor living in Europe, but I have been following the situation there for other, unrelated reasons, and I really think that regentrude has it exactly right about the fear of extremism. The narrative of the individual actor seeking freedom from government regulation and institutions, which carries so much political power in the U.S, just doesn't resonate the same way. If you read, say the 2006 European Court of Human Rights decision in Konrad (I think this is available on the HLSDA website), the animating fear is the rise of splinter groups with antidemocratic values, with the schools as bulwark against that, protecting *everyone's* freedom. And I agree that not only are the families that make it into the news not helping the cause, but I think that frankly, the American example doesn't help much, either.

 

Again, I'm at a good distance from this myself, but if I were to launch a PR campaign for homeschooling in, say, Germany, I would try to highlight mainstream families who are homeschooling for very specific reasons -- say, a combination of giftedness and LDs that just can't'/won't be accommodated in school.

Edited by JennyD
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if I were to launch a PR campaign for homeschooling in, say, Germany, I would try to highlight mainstream families who are homeschooling for very specific reasons -- say, a combination of giftedness and LDs that just can't'/won't be accommodated in school.

 

In a presentation I gave about home education this past summer, I mostly tried to make the case for such people as I was dealing with internationals who came from usually "unfriendly" countries....to try to help them see these people's complete need for the option of being educated at home...

 

There seemed to be very little empathy out there...I told them they (the class) were the survivors, but there are many who are not; still little empathy. Hopefully it will make them think twice at some point in the future if confronted with a choice...I'll bring up your point in January, to try to highlight such cases in the media.......

 

Joan

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In a presentation I gave about home education this past summer, I mostly tried to make the case for such people as I was dealing with internationals who came from usually "unfriendly" countries....to try to help them see these people's complete need for the option of being educated at home...

 

There seemed to be very little empathy out there...I told them they (the class) were the survivors, but there are many who are not; still little empathy. Hopefully it will make them think twice at some point in the future if confronted with a choice...

 

Yes, from my experience in Germany, there would be very little empathy, because for almost every person, there will be a public school that fits and delivers a good education (as I said before, the issues that force me to homeschool my gifted children in the US would not exist in Germany, and I could find adequate schools for them.)

The cases of children who really can not be schooled in a building school are very rare; most people would not have such a case among their acquaintances.

I am not an expert on the legal details, but I do know that children who absolutely can not be educated in a school can be exempt from mandatory schooling and that parents, for instance of a severely autistic child, would be allowed to homeschool their child, even in Germany.

The lack of empathy is there because none of the homeschooling families in the media looks demonstrates a need to homeschool - it comes across purely as a strange lifestyle choice. No wonder they do not generate empathy.

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Thierry Pardo lives in Quebec, but is originally from France.

http://educationpirate.wordpress.com/

 

He's an unschooler at heart though. His point of view is that of a nomad, for whom schooling the kids comes in the way of discovering the world. He may or may not be helpful to Europeans. At least he's not a religious extremist. France has a big culture of world travellers, so what M. Pardo will say will resonate with some at least.

 

http://journaljose.blogspot.com/2011/12/anatomie-dune-education-reflechie.html

 

Christine Brabant is now in Belgium

http://pages.usherbrooke.ca/cbrabant/Christine_Brabant/Accueil.html

http://www.fondationtrudeau.ca/program/scholarships/past/2006/christinebrabant

she homeschooled her kids while doing her research on home education. You can try and get in touch with her. She should remember me as Cleo.

Edited by CleoQc
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Thierry Pardo lives in Quebec, but is originally from France.

http://educationpirate.wordpress.com/

 

He's an unschooler at heart though. His point of view is that of a nomad, for whom schooling the kids comes in the way of discovering the world. He may or may not be helpful to Europeans. At least he's not a religious extremist. France has a big culture of world travellers, so what M. Pardo will say will resonate with some at least.

 

http://journaljose.blogspot.com/2011/12/anatomie-dune-education-reflechie.html

 

Christine Brabant is now in Belgium

http://pages.usherbrooke.ca/cbrabant/Christine_Brabant/Accueil.html

http://www.fondationtrudeau.ca/program/scholarships/past/2006/christinebrabant

she homeschooled her kids while doing her research on home education. You can try and get in touch with her. She should remember me as Cleo.

 

 

Thank you so much Cleo!!!! Esp for the Brabant info...

 

Joan

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I'm assuming you know this French association

http://laia.asso.free.fr/

 

Hi Cleo, there is a person from this organization who I believe will attend the meeting - BUT I'd never seen their website. So Thank You!

 

Plus, for others, it might be helpful.

 

I see they are doing two "sondages". Good idea to do a cheap, though uncontrolled, investigation. There is so little on home education in Europe....

 

Thanks!

Joan

ETA - I've been trying to reach Brabant to try to get her to come to the meeting, using the two email addresses in the links you gave. Do you have any other way of contacting her? I figure she might be back in CA for the holidays. But it might be quite helpful for her to be there, if you have any way of contacting her....

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There are certain things that are mandated, no matter where your school district is: a school must teach all subjects (there is no such thing as a school not "offering" physics, or upper level math), and the teacher have to have a degree of teaching in their subject, not just some general education.

 

regentrude - just curious about the existence of Steiner/Waldorf schools and how they meet all the criteria, especially in the lower grades?

 

Also, aren't they falling into the category of parallel society?

 

Curious,

Joan

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ETA - I've been trying to reach Brabant to try to get her to come to the meeting, using the two email addresses in the links you gave. Do you have any other way of contacting her? I figure she might be back in CA for the holidays. But it might be quite helpful for her to be there, if you have any way of contacting her....

 

I don't have any other way of reaching her right now. But I know some people who might know. It will take a few weeks.

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regentrude - just curious about the existence of Steiner/Waldorf schools and how they meet all the criteria, especially in the lower grades?

 

Also, aren't they falling into the category of parallel society?

 

Curious,

Joan

 

Sorry, I am not very familiar with Waldorf schools. They are accredited schools, and the students take the same exit exams after 10th or 12th/13th grade as public schools for the respective states (they take the same college prep exam Abitur as the other students, so they must be teaching all subjects.) The "Waldorf diploma" is not legally accepted as a regular high school diploma.

They do follow a different time table, especially in the lower grades, and do not give grades.

 

They are not considered a "parallel society", they are well accepted in certain segments of the population. Some Waldorf ideas are extremely popular and in line with main stream parenting concepts in Germany, especially in the early years. I would say the overall public opinion would be Waldorf is great for younger kids - and a bit more scepticism in regards to older students.

One aspect in favor of Waldorf acceptance is probably the demographic of parents; these schools are especially popular among highly educated parents, and the students do perform well. It is not easy to separate how much credit is due to the Waldorf school alone, and how much is simply due to the student coming form a good socioeconomic background with very involved parents. Waldorf schools are usually not plagued by the problems involving large numbers of minority students with lack of German language skills coming from low income families. Those kids attend public school. OTOH, the kids who attend Waldorf schools would most likely have succeeded anywhere.

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Thanks regentrude.....

 

What you say about well-educated parents makes sense..

 

I just realized also that maybe because Steiner was European, German speaking, and the movement has been around for a century, that even though the lifestyle is so different in some ways, that it is completely embraced and accepted as "ok".

 

Joan

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I just realized also that maybe because Steiner was European, German speaking, and the movement has been around for a century, that even though the lifestyle is so different in some ways, that it is completely embraced and accepted as "ok".

 

I think one needs to distinguish between lifestyle and anthroposophic world view.

Many families who send their children to Waldorf schools are NOT subscribing to the anthroposophic worldview. They embrace the idea of delayed academics, the focus on Art and music, nature studies, toys made from natural materials, child centered education, the "kinder and gentler" tone at the schools, the absence of grade pressure (many of these are ideas that are present in German mainstream parenting, so the lifestyle aspect is not considered as different at all!).

They will, however, have nothing to do with the theology, the astral body, angels etc.

Basically, they pick the elements they like and feel free to disregard the rest. This is true for almost all the people I personally know who choose Waldorf schools for their children.

In turn, many lifestyle elements that might be considered "Waldorf typical" are standard for parenting in most educated families (wooden toys, all cotton natural puppets for infants, music, art and nature focus...).

Edited by regentrude
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Basically, they pick the elements they like and feel free to disregard the rest. This is true for almost all the people I personally know who choose Waldorf schools for their children.

In turn, many lifestyle elements that might be considered "Waldorf typical" are standard for parenting in most educated families (wooden toys, all cotton natural puppets for infants, music, art and nature focus...).

 

That is interesting and I can see what you mean about 'natural' experiences/toys/ etc.

 

However, it seems like there haven't really been studies about the effectiveness of the education - at least according to this site.

 

http://waldorfcritics.org/faq.html#Success

 

And then aren't there other aspects of Waldorf thinking related to medicine, science and agriculture that are different or are those embraced by German society as well?

 

And it is interesting what you are saying about people wanting something different than the typical public school experience, who are then willing to pay for it. From that, it seems that a certain percent of people have already revolted against the public school mentality.

 

I'm glad you can discuss this with me since you have both an understanding of home education and of German society. :001_smile:

 

Joan

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However, it seems like there haven't really been studies about the effectiveness of the education -

 

I just did a quick search - I don't have time to research the topic in detail. In 2007, there has been a rather comprehensive study

http://www.waldorf-absolventen.de/rezensionen.html

in Germany where the authors surveyed Waldorf alumni. (I only briefly read the reviews, not the original study)

 

According to this study, two thirds of Waldorf students take the Abitur, the exam that qualifies any German student to enter university.(elsewhere I found 50%; this is higher than the percentage of ps students, don't have numbers right now) . This is the same exam the public school students must take. Again, as said before: Waldorf students typically have highly educated parents.

 

And then aren't there other aspects of Waldorf thinking related to medicine, science and agriculture that are different or are those embraced by German society as well?

 

Some ideas are viewed as "odd", yes. I have never met a person who views the potato as bad food because it grows in the Earth, most people would laugh at these kinds of notions. Most families do vaccinate and do not share the Waldorf view on the benefits if childhood illnesses.

But others match very well a typical lifestyle in educated families, for instance the emphasis on home remedies and natural medicine (teas, lukewarm compresses for fever reduction are standards in pediatrics; compared to the US, German parents give their children much less OTC medication for fever and pain etc.)

 

And it is interesting what you are saying about people wanting something different than the typical public school experience, who are then willing to pay for it. From that, it seems that a certain percent of people have already revolted against the public school mentality.

 

I think "revolted" is too strong. The parents choose among the accredited schools the kind that they find best for their child, and some happen to think it is Waldorf (they are very popular and it is hard to get a spot). I have not seen the big distinction between "public" and "private" schools, to be honest, I don't recall ever seeing a specific word for "public school" - it's all just "school". (the Waldorf schools call themselves "Free schools").

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I just did a quick search - I don't have time to research the topic in detail. In 2007, there has been a rather comprehensive study

http://www.waldorf-absolventen.de/rezensionen.html

in Germany where the authors surveyed Waldorf alumni. (I only briefly read the reviews, not the original study)

 

According to this study, two thirds of Waldorf students take the Abitur, the exam that qualifies any German student to enter university.(elsewhere I found 50%; this is higher than the percentage of ps students, don't have numbers right now) . This is the same exam the public school students must take. Again, as said before: Waldorf students typically have highly educated parents.

 

Thanks for that regentrude....so I see the other site isn't up to date. Or maybe they don't read German, but they did mention another study that was German but repressed a long time ago.

 

But that statistic is still a bit tricky...2/3's of the students that finish I guess...but there are ones that might go back into 'regular' school at some point so would not be part of the stats. Then there are ones that do the 10 year program you mentioned in another post? I'm not picking on you regentrude, I'm trying to find out what their stats say and if those things are taken into account. I'm guessing from the article's title that Waldorf schools were absolved of something....of not giving a proper education, I presume?

 

You say you are busy at this point - but some time when you are less so, could you help by finding more details or reading the study itself? I couldn't find a link to the actual study (some didn't work at all so don't know what they had linked to). It seems there was a book published...

 

I think "revolted" is too strong. The parents choose among the accredited schools the kind that they find best for their child, and some happen to think it is Waldorf (they are very popular and it is hard to get a spot). I have not seen the big distinction between "public" and "private" schools, to be honest, I don't recall ever seeing a specific word for "public school" - it's all just "school". (the Waldorf schools call themselves "Free schools").

 

I realized I'd made an assumption. Would parents have to pay for the Waldorf school? In the US, private schools are paid separately by the parents. (trying to figure out public perceptions in Germany). And when you say "free" I don't think it means not paid but am guessing probably free in terms of 'tradition'? I know someone who went to a private American school in Germany....aren't there other "paid" schools too? Or have they incorporated most other ideologies and put them into government sponsored schools?

 

And I thought of another question....what if a family was really into Waldorf methods and there was no such school nearby...would people then respect their desire to home educate using "Waldorf" methods?

 

Some Waldorf ideas are very similar to "free learners" such as delayed reading or at least no forced learning of reading....

 

And if there are lots of statistics in the UK about 'free learners' ending up doing well after they graduate having done A-levels (the equivalent of the Abitur level) wouldn't that be the equivalent of the Waldorf statistics of Waldorf-educated students doing the Abitur?

 

I'm trying to find a way for people in Germany to find home education acceptable, which means finding common ground I think....

 

Do you have any idea of the percent of students in Waldorf schools? (Guessing the stats would be in German which you can easily read and therefore find):001_smile:

 

Joan

Edited by Joan in Geneva
typo
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But that statistic is still a bit tricky...2/3's of the students that finish I guess...but there are ones that might go back into 'regular' school at some point so would not be part of the stats. Then there are ones that do the 10 year program you mentioned in another post?

 

 

No, not 2/3 that finish! They all finish - the 2/3 finish with the exam needed to go to a 4 year university! The others finish with the diploma that does not constitute admission to university, but is a valid high school diploma for students entering trade school or vocational training.

 

I realized I'd made an assumption. Would parents have to pay for the Waldorf school?

 

Yes, parents would have to pay tuition. About $300 per month, although there can be a tuition reduction for low income parents. The schools are subsidized by the taxpayer.

 

And when you say "free" I don't think it means not paid but am guessing probably free in terms of 'tradition'? I

 

"Free school" means "free" in the sense of "freedom from too much regulation and restriction", not "free of cost".

 

know someone who went to a private American school in Germany....aren't their other "paid" schools too? Or have they incorporated most other ideologies and put them into government sponsored schools?

 

Sorry, I do not know enough about private schools.

 

And I thought of another question....what if a family was really into Waldorf methods and there was no such school nearby...would people then respect their desire to home educate using "Waldorf" methods?

 

No. Home schooling is against the law, and the desire to follow a Waldorf method would not be viewed as a strong enough reason to break the law. Most people would think this family should send their kids to a perfectly good public school and save their Waldorf for after school - after all, elementary school kids ARE home at noon, leaving plenty of time for art and music and enrichment of all kinds. German schools are reserved for academics; they are not supposed to take care of the whole student life.

 

I'm trying to find a way for people in Germany to find home education acceptable, which means finding common ground I think....

 

This is a very hard task.

 

Do you have any idea of the percent of students in Waldorf schools? (Guessing the stats would be in German which you can easily read and therefore find):001_smile:

 

There are about 82,000 students enrolled in Waldorf schools. Germany has about 12 million students, so 0.7 % of all students attend Waldorf schools.
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There are about 82,000 students enrolled in Waldorf schools. Germany has about 12 million students, so 0.7 % of all students attend Waldorf schools.

 

Thank you for these and other stats/info about price.

 

Please don't be concerned that I'm asking all these questions. I'm really trying to understand the social situation and public perception in Germany.

 

They all finish - the 2/3 finish with the exam needed to go to a 4 year university! The others finish with the diploma that does not constitute admission to university

 

Here's an example...2 families in the regional network here took their children out of Waldorf schools. So those children did/will not "finish" as Waldorf graduates. Other families take their children out and put them back into public or into other private schools....

 

Does "every" student who starts in Waldorf in Germany go all the way to the 10th diploma or 12th grade exam - Abitur?

 

Another example - the private school where ds2 went 'skewed' their statistics to their benefit by not permitting students who were not doing well enough to take the "matu" exam (like the Abitur) using their school as their school on the exam. They could apply as "independent" candidates. That way, if they did not pass, it did not get counted as a failure towards the school. In some ways it is understandable...why pay the $500 for the exam when the student will fail? But it also gives a faulty perception of what the school is capable of doing. Some of those students would then go back to school for another year....So more accurately it should be asked, how many years does it take the students to pass the exam? And how many who were intending to take the Matu/Abitur took it vs how many opted out for the easier diploma (Here there is no such thing but they can go into apprenticeship programs or go into business schools eg)

 

Home schooling is against the law, and the desire to follow a Waldorf method would not be viewed as a strong enough reason to break the law. Most people would think this family should send their kids to a perfectly good public school and save their Waldorf for after school - after all, elementary school kids ARE home at noon, leaving plenty of time for art and music and enrichment of all kinds. German schools are reserved for academics; they are not supposed to take care of the whole student life.

 

I meant for people who felt strongly about delaying reading for example, or not getting grades. But I'm not suggesting they 'break' the law. I'm talking about the public accepting the notion of "delayed reading" since it is part of Waldorf.

 

There are the primary years where Waldorf methods are quite at odds with a typical public school, the middle years which I know less about, and then the high school years where they seem to then be able to take the same exams as students from public schools. So the greatest difference seems to lie in the primary years and it's those I want to address in relation to public opinion of accepting differences.

 

In one of your earlier posts, you mentioned that if the home ed'ers were doing home ed differently, ie more 'normally', maybe they would be more accepted...here...

where homeschooling would be legal and "normal" people would participate ..........But the homeschooling families in Germany that are very vocal and have big medial presence are not the kind of people that could sway the general public towards homeschooling.

 

So what are these people doing that is so "different" from Waldorf schools in the primary years?

 

And, if the children of these people were then able to successfully take the Abitur, wouldn't that show that indeed other paths are valid?

 

Also, it seems like there is a move in Germany to have children go to school "all day" now, to allow more mothers to work....so that would change things as well wouldn't it?

 

Thank you regentrude!

Joan

Edited by Joan in Geneva
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Does "every" student who starts in Waldorf in Germany go all the way to the 10th diploma or 12th grade exam - Abitur?

 

I have no idea. Probably not; I would assume that a portion of parents send their kids to a Waldorf school for the early years, but switch to a traditional secondary school because they are concerned about academic rigor.

 

Another example - the private school where ds2 went 'skewed' their statistics to their benefit by not permitting students who were not doing well enough to take the "matu" exam (like the Abitur) using their school as their school on the exam. They could apply as "independent" candidates. That way, if they did not pass, it did not get counted as a failure towards the school. In some ways it is understandable...why pay the $500 for the exam when the student will fail? But it also gives a faulty perception of what the school is capable of doing. Some of those students would then go back to school for another year....So more accurately it should be asked, how many years does it take the students to pass the exam? And how many who were intending to take the Matu/Abitur took it vs how many opted out for the easier diploma (Here there is no such thing but they can go into apprenticeship programs or go into business schools eg)

 

I do not know, and I woudl imagine it hard to find statistics about this.

 

I meant for people who felt strongly about delaying reading for example, or not getting grades. But I'm not suggesting they 'break' the law. I'm talking about the public accepting the notion of "delayed reading" since it is part of Waldorf.

 

Well, homeschooling WOULD be breaking the current law, and people would have to feel extremely strongly about these things to go that far.

Delayed reading is one of the things that is not accepted by a wide public; it is seen as a weird notion, except maybe for parents who have children with reading disabilities.

I personally find the delayed reading philosophy absolute nonsense, and I know parents of gifted children who were really at odds with their Waldorf schools about their reading policies. Kids being ready to read not until they lose their first tooth is viewed as ridiculous by the public. By that time, my DD was reading 800 page tomes.

 

In one of your earlier posts, you mentioned that if the home ed'ers were doing home ed differently, ie more 'normally', maybe they would be more accepted...here...

So what are these people doing that is so "different" from Waldorf schools in the primary years?

 

The homeschooling families that show themselves in the German media are either radical unschoolers or religious fundamentalists.

The fundamentalists follow very traditional structured schooling with nothing Waldorf about it; here the public objections are not about the curriculum, but about the isolation of the kids from other opinions and world views. There is nothing that can be done to persuade a German public to find this acceptable.

The unschoolers are not following anything Waldorf either. Waldorf is in its own way a very structured education with deep reasoning behind all ideas. one does not have to share these ideas, but the fact is that Waldorf education is a deliberate product of a certain philosophy, not an accidental course of education determined by whatever happens to strike a child's fancy. The unschooling notion goes against the grain of the German sense of method and order ;-)

 

And, if the children of these people were then able to successfully take the Abitur, wouldn't that show that indeed other paths are valid?

This could lead to more acceptance of unschooling, but not of religiously motivated homeschooling because there, the educational outcome itself is not what is questioned, but the integration of the children into society.

 

Also, it seems like there is a move in Germany to have children go to school "all day" now, to allow more mothers to work....so that would change things as well wouldn't it?

 

No, I do not think so.

The all day schools are not primarily intended to let more mothers work, but are an attempt to "improve" education and to level the playing field.

In East Germany, almost all women worked, and schools were still out at noon for elementary and at 1 or 2 for secondary. There have always been after school programs up to 5th grade for children of working parents. In the West, the situation is a bit different because many more women stay home.

The all day schools are not generally accepted, because many parents prefer their kids to have the afternoon time to play sports or take instrument lessons (which, in Germany, are not seen as duties of the schools, but are relegated to the private lives). In my circle of friends, I see vehement opposition against the notion that mandatory school days should be lengthened.

I do not think Germany will see mandatory all-day schools any time soon, and I do nto think it woudl change homeschooling perception if it did.

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I don't believe you can turn the general German opinion positive to homeschool very easily. These where high-educated, wide-oriented people, they could see what I did, but their opinion about homeschool was fixed: you don't homeschool; no exceptions. Never.

 

If I read Regentrude's posts I don't think it was an incidental case.

It is more the moral of that country.

 

The statement of mine that you quoted

There is nothing that can be done to persuade a German public to find this acceptable.
referred specifically to acceptance of religiously motivated homeschooling.

 

I can envision a German public accepting that some children should be homeschooled who can not get a quality education that fits their needs through schools (provided there is strong monitoring). I can absolutely not see the German public accepting people opting out of assimilation and homescholing their children to shield them from exposure to thoughts and ideas. This is not going to happen, not with Germany's 20th century history looming large over the collective conscience. Any attempt to legalize homeschooling with these arguments (religious freedom, parental rights) are, in my opinion, doomed to fail. OTOH, Germans are pragmatic and might be swayed to accept homeschooling if academic justifications existed; the high quality of the schools makes this hard to demonstrate.

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