Thursday, June 22, 2006

Update on our situation

In this post I mentioned that the education authorities had gotten wind of us and demanded that we apply for exemption of compulsory schooling. I sent a letter off requesting this, on the grounds that we move frequently and that we want to ensure educational continuity for our children.

Today I received a letter back requesting proof (eg. my husband's work contract) that we are not likely to be here much longer. For me this argument is problematical because it starts looking a bit silly if we are still here in two years time. The whole point is, though, that we can be forced to move at a moment's notice, even if we have the opportunity to live in one place for four years.

The letter stated the current legal situation (yawn - paragraph this and section that!)One thing that really jumped out at me was that "The state has control of education". I wondered why they can't at least exercise this control (or supervision or oversight, depending on which word you translate it with) by conducting regular inspections of homeschoolers, as is done in other countries. One country in which this works well is Ireland. I have spoken with a school inspector from the Irish National Educational Welfare Board, who is extremely positive to all manifestations of homeschooling, from curriculum-led to unschooling. I just think that the German authorities are too fearful and narrow-minded to consider this.

Another non sequitur in the letter is that the state determines the curriculum and educational objectives and routes. I guess they just conveniently forgot about all those Montessori and Waldorf schools that do their own thing. Nor did anyone tell them that the educational authorities themselves are trying to go more in the direction of natural learning. Sheesh. And of course the fact that I stated in my letter that our goal is to prepare our English-speaking children for the Irish school-leaving certificate has no effect on them - while they are in Germany we can forget all that and let them fall behind (if we weren't unschoolers - I'm speaking hypothetically here) while they moulder in a German school.

If they ask us, then why are we in Germany if we don't want to send our children to school here, my husband says he will answer, "To make money out of you idiots, because the German education system is so bad they have to use engineers educated in places like South Africa to do the work here." Hopefully they won't understand him.

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