Monday, March 25, 2013

Is Homeschooling Under Attack by the US Government?

Have you seen the petition for the German homeschooling family going around the homeschooling community?  I have.  It's eveywhere!  It is so frustrating to me that homeschoolers are falling for this fear mongering hook, line, and sinker!!  Before you sign the petition......before you fall prey to the idea that homeschooling is under attack in this country, which the HSLDA (of whom I'm not a fan) is propagating, let's review the issues from a place that isn't about causing fear and panic. The Romeikes didn't get kicked out of Germany, they were asked by the HSLDA to come to Tennessee to homeschool.

In a nutshell-

- Family claims that the schooling in Germany goes against their religious beliefs. Though they do not actually state their religious beliefs only that they disagree with science, sex ed, and other academic lessons being taught. The HSLDA attaches the term "evangelical Christian" to them, although I have also heard them referred to as "fundamental Christian."

- Family decides to homeschool instead of choosing a private school that aligns with their beliefs. Homeschooling is illegal in Germany in most cases. I've seen conflicting information so I'm just leaving it at that.

- The family is fined, has issues with local authorities, and a number of issues because they decide to homeschool. Right or wrong, the law in Germany does not allow homeschooling for religious reasons no matter what.

- The family could have gone to the U.K. or France which are both homeschooling friendly, instead, they follow the advice of the HSLDA and come to America. They are given a visa, but overstay that visa by several months, then decide to seek asylum on the grounds of "Persecution for their religious beliefs." The family is initially granted Asylum, however, the DOJ appealed that decision and it was overturned by the BIA on appeal. Thus, the family was informed that they would have to leave the country and go back to Germany.

- The family is now appealing the decision of the BIA to strip them of asylum to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. Part of the reason the asylum was removed is because Germany is a western, Democratic country, and most asylum seekers from countries like Germany are denied asylum. A big reason though is that they did not meet the qualifications for Asylum because German Homeschool Law is applied equally and does not single out homeschoolers based upon religious beliefs. However, the HSLDA in the current appeal claims that it is applied unequally and that Secular homeschoolers have no problem homeschooling in Germany as many are given waivers that allow them to homeschool. Whereas religious homeschoolers are denied outright no matter what. The HSLDA claims in the briefs that secular homeschoolers often receive these waivers as they claim they are travelers, do not have a permanent residence or other reasons like medical or psychological issues.

-The HSLDA has failed to mention that they advised this family to move to the USA instead of advising them to go to the UK of France where they could have homeschooled without issue and could have gone without the need for Asylum. The hslda has used this issue to further promote the belief that the US government hates homeschoolers, is going to ban homeschooling, and all sorts of propaganda that preys upon the fears of many homeschooling families.

The rights of homeschoolers are NOT under attack from the US government. They are under attack from groups like the HSLDA who helped write some of the strictest homeschool laws in the country- N.Y. and P.A. - and now they spend thousands defending homeschoolers against the laws they helped write! Laws they felt the rest of the country should be modeled after. The HSLDA is no friend to secular homeschooling families and/or families that have chosen the best homeschooling approach for their children, which may not adhere to the supposed "standards" of the HSLDA.   (This includes unschoolers and relaxed/eclectic homeschoolers).

I support the right to homeschool for ALL families. Which includes Same-Sex families, Virtual school families, Unschooling families, Atheist families, Pagan families, Jewish families, Muslim families, Pastafarian families, Taoist families, Deist families, Agnostic families, Catholic families, and more. I do not support HSLDA's contention that only Christian Families should homeschool and that the rest of us are not worthy of homeschooling or the so-called "protections" offered by the HSLDA. I do not support the infringement of our rights, as Secular homeschoolers, by a group who would love nothing more than to have no one allowed to homeschool except for religious reasons.

If anything, supporting this family, signing the petition, could make things worse for secular homeschoolers. HSLDA's basis for declaring this a human rights violation is based on religious freedom. HSLDA wants homeschooling to be more narrowly defined to include Christian homeschoolers using approved curriculums. That doesn't help any of us who are Secular homeschoolers, unschoolers, or even relaxed schoolers.

~Mari B.
with contributing writer:  Gayle Miller


  1. Wow is the HSLDA ever messed up with thier info. I'm German and sending kids to school is mandatory. They don't care who or what you are or believe in. Your child either goes to school or the parents go to jail. The German family knew thisand it looks like they are playing dumb and relying on lies to get their way. I can't decide between calling it the 'poor me' or the 'entitlement' syndrome. They need to get over themselves and realize that laws, no matter which country they are from, also apply to them.

  2. Thank you! I feel the same way about this issue, and have wondered if I was the only one out here who did.

  3. If you support the right of ALL families to homeschool, then I don't understand why you don't think we should support the right of this German family to homeschool.

  4. The family is German. Their fight is in Germany. Do I believe it stinks that it's illegal in Germany to homeschool? Of course I do! Should folks in Germany petition and do what's needed to get it legalized? Sure, they should!

    That's not what's happening here. The HSLDA is using this family (and they are allowing themselves to be used) in a manner that is to promote religious homeschooling only and they are using fear tactics to try to motivate their religious base.

    The family doesn't meet the criterion for Asylum.

    It wasn't any of our business to begin with.

    Did you read everything? HSLDA stuck their nose into the case and did so by getting that family to move here! You don't find that odd??

    HSLDA should open international offices then and go fight the good fight in Germany.

    1. The real question is, is it a basic human right to train our own children, or are they the property of the government. This German family was fleeing their country for fear of losing their children to the government, and themselves fined and or imprisoned simply for homeschooling their own children. I'm not sure the point you're trying to make saying that they should have gone to the UK or France rather than the USA. Religious or not, Christian or what ever faith, no family anywhere should be denied the basic human right to educate your own children as you see fit. They absolutely did the right thing here, by seeking refuge in a country that champions personal liberty and freedom, and drawing attention to this gross violation of human rights by a country like Germany. Oh and by the way, any government forcing you to bring your children to them so that they can indoctrinate them, and if you refuse they can take custody of your children and throw you into prison, that is persecution.

  5. THANK YOU!! I feel the EXACT same way! This is an abuse of asylum, by the HSLDA, by the German family... It's not like they didn't have any other options than to go to Tennessee. They absolutely did (as you pointed out, the UK and France being two). Sharing this.

  6. Sing it, sister! I totally agree. Back when I started looking into homeschooling I was directed to HSLDA. I almost signed up with them too for "protection"....and then I saw an article on their website in which they were fighting against same sex couples adopting. What????? What does that have to do with homeschooling? Over the years since then they have supported many causes that are right-wing Christian, but not at all related to homeschooling. I decided should I ever need legal help in regards to homeschooling, I'll pay more money and hire a lawyer myself. I won't financially contribute to an organization that promotes hate and fear. While I feel bad for this German family, they either need to follow German law or fight for change within their own country.

  7. I think the united states should invade germany again and overthrow their wicked government

  8. I'm no fan of the HSLDA and their manipulation tactics, either. But I'm also not a fan of the federal government who sticks their nose into education where it does not belong. So while I agree that our rights to homeschool in this country are not currently under attack, in general Progressive politicians are pro-public schools/unions and not all that fond of homeschooling.

  9. The case is about whether this family should be given asylum, period. It really has nothing to do with homeschooling (although that is why they left Germany). If they left Germany because it has a law that all people that are found guilty of murder go to jail and that family doesn't want to follow that law because they don't think it should apply to them.... I'm sure they would be sent right back to Germany. I feel the same way you do, sorry for their luck but they did have other options.

  10. Good article. I agree with you.

    I feel sorry for this family, and any German family that wants to homeschool. In fact, I feel sorry enough for them that if this case and this family had NOT been brought here by the HSLDA, I might sign something in support of granting them asylum. But the HSLDA is using this family to further its own insidious agenda. And the agenda of the HSLDA is more dangerous to American liberty than anything the Federal or state Departments of Education might be contemplating!
    But, anyway, I do not believe that there is any plot by the Federal government to ban homeschooling. And I'm tired of seeing all the comments that claim that Progressives are anti-homeschooling. I homeschooled my kids, and I'm about as Progressive (and pro-labor-union) as they come! The true Progressive idea is that education is a human right - that all children have the RIGHT to get an education. This does not equate to an obligation to attend a school. The compulsory attendance part of our educational system is a Conservative, right-wing idea. The public funding of schools so that everyone has ACCESS to an education is a Progressive idea.
    The HSLDA would stop supporting the right to homeschool in a heartbeat, if America's public schools were all fundamentalist Christian schools!

  11. Hello there! Do you use Twitter? I'd like to follow you if that would be okay.
    I'm undoubtedly enjoying your blog and look forward to new posts.

    My page ... Retro German

  12. First they came for the Communists,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Communist.
    Then they came for the Socialists,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Socialist.
    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
    Then they came for me,
    and there was no one left to speak for me.

    1. If your implication is that I would stand idly by while our government did attack our rights as homeschoolers, then you haven' read my other posts nor are you familiar with who I really am at all.

      If your reply is a cautionary tale for us all to remember, then I do agree.


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