Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Math card war

I stumbled across this post thanks to the Carnival of Homeschooling.

Haven't got much time to read it, as we're off to visit these friends this morning.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Part 7 - The Rest of the Decision

2. The plaintiffs have no claim to have their children released from the general obligation to attend school.

According to para. 57, section 2 of the Bremen School Statute the possibility of being released from the obligation to attend a state or state recognised school exists only in cases of ‘special exception’. Decisions in this respect are to be made by the schools supervisory authority (‘Schulaufsicht’) at its due discretion (‘possible exemption’). The limits of this discretion are set by the content of the judicially unrestrictedly verifiable undetermined legal term ‘special case of exception’. If such a case is given, then there is generally no scope for discretion; the degree of discretionary freedom reduces to zero. In maintaining that the school authorities have not exercised the discretion granted to them plaintiffs have failed to appreciate this. This is borne out by the authority’s statement that it has never released a primary age pupil from the obligation to attend school. The present case requires, however, no exercise of discretion, because it does not represent an exception and certainly not a ‘special’ exception. The defendant has rightly pointed out that there is a wide range of school options amongst the state schools in Bremen, even for children with school phobia and especially in the primary sector. At any rate the simple participation in ‘homeschooling’ or in a correspondence course with an unrecognised private school does not represent a particular exception in the sense of an important hardship justifying a (complete) release from the general obligation to attend school. Notwithstanding the fact that, following an Anglo-American trend which can be observed in some neighbouring countries as well, alternative educational possibilities are finding increasing favour amongst parents, the fact remains that these alternative schools in combination with home teaching do not lead to school-leaving qualifications which are recognised in Germany, so that entrance to most vocational training schemes or institutes of higher education will be blocked or at least made excessively more difficult for the (school) graduates. In addition there is no guarantee that the educational aims promulgated by the state will be attained, nor is a later transfer to a regular school easily possible, as the example of the sons of the plaintiffs with the time-limited cooperation agreement displays impressively, the aim of which is to synchronise the home learning with school learning aims, expressly in order to enable the children a smooth transfer to a regular state school. This is in itself sufficient reason for the desire of the plaintiffs to teach their children at home to be given a lower priority than the welfare of the children (cf. section 1.; also Niehus/Rux as above, marginal note No. 320); it does not represent an especially exceptional case.

Detriments to their children’s health which the plaintiffs allege to have established as being a consequence of their children’s periodic attendance at school also do not, in their case, provide grounds for homeschooling. Such psycho-somatic incursions on pupils’ health can also be caused in other pupils, often and mainly by fears of school or examinations, without this constituting grounds for a claim to be completely freed from the obligation to attend school. The school [as institution] must take account of difficulties such as these in some other way within the framework of its widely diversified primary school programme. Only health problems of considerable gravity which cannot be solved in the long-term and of which school attendance is the cause can constitute special circumstances which justify the exceptional exemption from the obligation to attend school. This is certainly not the case in the present instance. It may remain open to question as to whether the plaintiffs’ statement that their children experience feelings of unease and display symptoms of psycho-somatic disturbance when attending primary school is credible or whether the possibility is not to be discounted that the physical reactions to school attendance displayed in the past recur as the result of a self-fulfilling prophecy, because there is some reason to believe that the children’s potential disturbance syndromes are implemented as a means to the end of achieving the parental desire for homeschooling (thus the expertise of the Bremen Health Office – Social- Paediatric Department – dated 09.06.2006 resulting from the school authority’s request for a medical examination of the children).

The motion to hear evidence placed during the hearing which involved calling for an expert opinion as to whether from a medical (including psychological or psychiatrical) point of view reasons exist as to why the children should not attend school, whether there are alternatives and to what extent obliging the children to attend school would prejudice their welfare in view of their refusal to attend a state school does not contain a statement (of facts) which is open to verification. This results from the use of the word ‘whether’, which the plaintiffs’ representative continued to use despite the court having pointed this out. The motion, being based merely on suppositions and in no way on concrete indications (such as medical reports or certificates), places no obligation on the court to instigate further processes for obtaining or hearing evidence (BVerwG, B. v. 31.01.2002, 7 B 92/01; JURIS; OVG Bremen, B. v. 29.06.2005, 2 A 257/04.A).

Apart from this, a medical expertise at the present point in time would not be able to establish any indications of illness relating to school attendance as the children have not attended school (disregarding very few exceptions) for more than one year. An examination would presuppose that the children attend school, which the plaintiffs refuse for reasons which they themselves have to answer for.

The decision to award costs is based on para. 154, section 1 of the Administrative Costing Regulations.

The regulation of the provisional enforceability is based on para. 167 of the Administrative Costing Regulations in connection with para. 708 No. 11 of the Civil Processes Regulations.

Instructions on the rights of appeal

[There follow two statements concerning rights of appeal. One concerns the possibility of appeal against this judgement to the next highest court (the right to appeal is granted as the case has a basic significance which extends beyond the boundaries of this individual situation). The other statement concerns the possibility of appeal against the determination of the ‘Streitwert’, i.e. the nominal amount of money involved in the case.]

Part 6 - More Fairy Tales

The plaintiffs’ argument that they cannot act against their consciences by, notwithstanding their open attitude towards school in general, forcing their plaintiffs [sic – clearly the children are meant here] to attend school against their will cannot be admitted.

According to paragraph 60, section 4 of the Bremen School Statute the plaintiffs are responsible for causing the fulfilment of their children’s obligation to attend school in their capacities as agents for bringing up their children. This ruling mainly affects the general external relationship between the state and its citizens, but also indirectly the special internal relationship between children and their parents, in that it provides an adequate construal of the terms care and education as contained in Article 6, section 2, page 1 of the Basic Law. In this respect that ‘natural’ approach applies which, as a special aspect of this section, concerns the scope and limitations of parents’ responsibilities (cf. Dreher, Basic Law Vol. 1 1996, Art. 6, marginal note No. 95). There can be no collision between parental rights and children’s rights where a child is incapable of being aware of these on account of its lack of rational/intellectual maturity. In such a case no conflict with the parental right to educate can arise. On the other hand, if the educational aim of engendering a self-determining and selfresponsible personality is (partially) fulfilled, the aspect of parental responsibility contained in Art. 6, section 2, page 1 of the Basic Law is no longer applicable (Dreher, see above). The parental right to educate serves to promote the welfare of the child and is accompanied by obligations; thus it must, on account of its purpose and character, be surrendered when the child has reached an age at which it has gained sufficient maturity to judge its own life situation and be legally responsible for itself. As a right which is oriented to the child and the development of its personality it represents a part of its nature that it should become increasingly superfluous and immaterial according to the child’s growing maturity (cf. Decisions of the FCC 59, 360).

In view of this it is irrelevant as to whether the constitutionality of paragraph 60, section 4 of the (common law) Bremen School Statute is questionable insofar as it assigns the responsibility for fulfilling children’s obligation to attend school to the agents responsible for their education, i.e. also in respect of adult children as the case may be. Certainly in the case of the plaintiffs’ children aged seven and nine respectively the parental authority assigned by Art. 6, section 2, page 1 of the Basic Law includes the right to determine unilaterally for them. The very word ‘education’ (original: ‘Erziehung’, includes wider sense of upbringing) – when viewed without ideological ballast – constitutes ‘determination from without’ simply according to its basic meaning. The formal conflict between parental rights (and duties) and children’s rights is resolved by the constitution unilaterally in favour of the rights of the parents. If the will of the parents is in accordance with the child’s welfare it enjoys the basic support of the legal framework governing parental rights. To the same extent, the will of the children carries no weight (cf. commentary to the Bonn Basic Law, see above, marginal note 141) (Presumably the Bonn Commentary to the Basic Law is intended.) Thus it behoves the plaintiffs, who have on their own account an open attitude to school as an institution, but favour homeschooling for their children, to do justice to their responsibilities and for the sake of their children’s welfare (see above) to ensure their attendance at school. This does not entail an extraordinary hardship which could be at variance with the fulfilment of the obligation to attend school. This will be addressed further later (see 2.).

It is also basically to be expected of the plaintiffs that they should react appropriately to the educative necessity resulting from the children’s lacking ability to judge the situation and should insist on their attending school. This does not necessarily involve compulsion. The parental right to educate, which with its attendant obligations should serve exclusively to promote the welfare of the child (see above), does not give the parents freedom of choice in the sense of unfettered self-determination (cf. Decisions of the FCC 59, 360), but rather aims to encourage family discussion of matters of parental concern on a level suited to the child’s stage of development with a view to achieving a consensus (cf. also para. 1626, section 2, German Civil Code). The idea that this should not be possible in the case of the plaintiffs’ seven and nine year old children appears unrealistic. Insofar as the children have not been (subconsciously as the case may be) influenced to boycott the school in order to oblige the parents, it may be demanded of the latter to issue an energetic appeal. Also, in order to persuade them to attend school it should suffice to point out to the children what the parents may expect in terms of the coercion which has already been threatened (fines, substitutional coercible detention (‘Erzatzzwangshaft’) and other measures up to and including the withdrawal of their custodial rights. Furthermore, pupils who do not fulfil the obligation to attend school can, according to paragraph 64 of the Bremen School Statute, be forced to attend school. ‘Obliging’ parents who exercise indulgence towards their children can, objectively, certainly cause harm to them if they, for instance, fail to supervise the child’s school attendance sufficiently or fail to send it to school over a long period of time on account of a condition which they themselves have diagnosed (cf. commentary to the Bonn Basic Law, see above, marginal note No. 192) (Presumably the Bonn Commentary to the Basic Law is intended.) Finally, children of the age of the plaintiffs’ sons generally require (parental) authority which shows them where their limits are in order to acquire self-discipline. At that age they expect their parents to give them clear guidance and to intercede when conflicts arise. At the same time this means that the educational rights and duties of the parents specifically serve to protect the immature child from the disadvantageous results of a discharge of duties which has practically been put at its disposal.

As they admitted during the hearing, in exercising their rights to bring up their children in other areas of life the plaintiffs unquestioningly, as it were, insist on asserting their own wills against those of the children where this appears to be in their interests and do not thereby get caught up in an irresolvable moral conflict. Why this should be impossible in, of all things, an area of such importance for the children’s development as school remains obscure and suggests that the plaintiffs’ behaviour is influenced not only by the children’s welfare but perhaps also by the thought of presenting and promoting the possibility for individualised educational educational paths (homeschooling), which they consider to be the better form of education anyway, in a manner inviting much public attention. Be that as it may. (Possibly correct interpretation of mysterious sentence: Das mag aber letztlich auf sich beruhen.)

Thus it may be stated with certainty that the plaintiffs’ children are basically subject to the obligation to attend school (paras. 52 ff, Bremen School Statute) and that in order to fulfil this obligation they must attend a state or state recognised school in the State of Bremen (para. 55, section 1, Bremen School Statute). The obligation to attend school covers amongst other things regular attendance in classes (para. 55, section 7, page 1, Bremen School Statute) which the plaintiffs must ensure as a matter of principle on the basis of their commission to bring up their children.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Part 5 Grounds for the Decision

Grounds for the decision
The plaintiffs’ appeal is permissible but unfounded.
The plaintiffs’ children have the obligation to attend school (1.).
The plaintiffs have no legal right to have their children released from the general obligation to
attend school (2.).

The plaintiffs cannot, as they claim, choose freely between their children’s obligation to attend school and the home education which they favour. Rather, the children are subject to the general obligation to attend school. This follows immediately as a consequence of Article 30 of the State Constitution of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen. According to this a general obligation to attend school applies. Further details are laid down in the Bremen School Statute.

This is not contrary to the right of the parents to provide for the care and education of their children as guaranteed in Article 6, section 3, page 1 of the Basic Constitutional Law (Grundgesetz), for the latter is subject to limitations which are themselves stipulated in the
Basic Constitutional Law. This includes the obligation to provide for education which is assigned to the State in Article 7, section 1 (cf. Decisions of the Federal Constitutional Court (DFCC) 34, 165; 93,1). As a result of this the general obligation to attend school which has been enacted with a view to realising this state obligation represents a generally acceptable constraint. Individual conflicts arising between the parental right to educate and the educational obligation of the state are to be resolved by means of consideration according to the principles of practical concordance (praktische Konkordanz, German legal phrase) (cf. DFCC 93, 1). However, the state may also pursue its own educational ends independently of the parents (cf. DFCC 47, 47), although it must display neutrality and tolerance for parents’ educational ideas and may not exercise particular influence in favour of any given political, ideological or general philosophical trend.

The general obligation to attend school serves as a suitable and useful instrument for achieving the legitimate aim of realising the state education obligation. The assigned obligation is not confined to the transfer of knowledge and bringing up children to become independent personalities. It is also concerned with the making of citizens of the state who take part in the democratic processes of a pluralistic society with responsibility and equality.

Social competence in communication with those who think differently, practised tolerance, powers of self-assertion and the ability to defend minority views can be more effectively put
into practice if contacts with society in general and the differing views to be found in it are made not only occasionally, but are part of the daily experience which comes with regular school attendance (cf. FCC, B. v. 31.05.2006, 2 BvR 1693/04).

Furthermore, the obligation to attend school represents a reasonable measure in view of the
positive effects which are to be expected as a result of its being exercised for the state educational assignment and the interests of the common good which form its background. The
general public has a justified interest in counteracting not only religiously or philosophically
oriented parallel societies, but also certain educationally oriented groups whose obvious intention is to undermine the general obligation to attend school, e.g. by registering in an (international) private correspondence school or by establishing international or regional
educational networks, to deprofessionalise the education system and to cut themselves off
from society. (Translator’s note to the above: The original sentence was even more chaotic
than this (being a syntactical catastrophe); I have tried to convey the exact sense, if that’s the
right word.) In this regard it is irrelevant that with homeschooling the children experience a
large amount of familial attention and in respect of a number of school subjects in the primary
stage, for instance, receive an adequate, or even in the opinion of the plaintiffs a better education. The final determinant is the objectively assessed welfare of the child (cf. Bonn
Commentary to the Basic Law, dated 10.96, marginal note 195), which the plaintiffs justifiably claim to be able to judge. In this respect the FCC (E34, 165) refers to the parents as the ‘natural advocates’ for their children’s education. However, the plaintiffs fail to take into account that the children’s pleasant learning experiences at home do not alter the fact that their sons must reckon with serious disadvantages in the later course of their lives because their educationally motivated exclusion from the state school system may be expected to prevent them from acquiring the competence to assert themselves under ‘normal’ social conditions, so that they can only live according to fixed rules in a small, narrowly enclosed parallel society (thus Niehues/Rux, Schulrecht (School Law), 4th edition, marginal No. 321).

As a result they would be educated to a state of immaturity, which is not compatible with the
personality envisaged by the Basic Law and which therefore cannot be justified. In addition, it
is doubtful whether the plaintiffs are at all capable of providing their children by means of
homeschooling with the knowledge and skills which section 20 of the Bremen School Statute
prescribes for the schools subsequent to the primary stage (secondary school, comprehensive
school, grammar school) (in respect of state and state recognised alternative schools). The plaintiffs have said that they wish to cross such bridges as they come and take decisions on a
case-by-case basis.

Court Judgement Part 4

The plaintiffs apply to oblige the defendant to release their under-age children Thomas and Moritz from the obligation to attend a state school or state recognised school in the Federal City
State of Bremen for reasons complying with section 57 of the Bremen School Statute and also to rescind the decisions of 21.03.2006 and 12.07.2006.

The defendant applies to have the plaintiffs’ application rejected. The defendant responds to the plaintiffs’ demands with reference to the disputed decisions.

Within the framework of a process to compel school attendance (case No. 7 V 2003/06) which is being pursued parallel to the present appeal the plaintiffs and the defendant have reached an arbitrational cooperation agreement, effective from 13.09.2006, in order to ensure that the education and development of the two children may take place in a form which is supervised and monitored by the school authorities and success orientated. The aim is to synchronise the home learning with the school learning aims so that it remains possible for the children to enter a standard school. In this respect working according to the concept of the Clonlara School is regarded by the Senator for Education and Science as supplementary furtherance. The basis for the educational work with the plaintiffs’ children is the Bremen School Statute and the curriculum framework for the primary stage with the standards prescribed for the end of the 4th class or end of the year 6 respectively.

The (School) Authority file (24-12-111/7) was available to the court. Its content constituted a
part of the hearing, insofar as the decision is based upon it.

Court Judgement Part 3

On 20.07.2006 an appeal was lodged against this refusal.
In addition to their previous statements in the original application and the appeal the plaintiffs
pointed out that even taking account of the arguments of the other side, sending the children
to a state school would be injurious for them. This was borne out by the intention expressed
by the school authorities to have the children examined by the school doctor to see whether
there was any medical reason why they should not attend school. Further, the school
authorities had not exploited their powers of discretion in respect of agreeing to an exception
to the rule, as was confirmed by their statement that they had never made an exception for a
pupil in the primary school section. Finally, the plaintiffs protested against the implication
that they had exercised an ideologically motivated ‘formative influence’ on their children
which would throw an unfavourable light on the institution school. Rather, on account of
major psycho-somatic detractions on the part of their children they had begun to question
whether an absolute legal obligation to attend school can be allowed to have priority over the
obvious welfare of the child. On an international level the German legal interpretation of the
right to education in the form of an obligation to attend a state (public) school which should,
if necessary, be enforced by coercion represents a puzzling anomaly. Therefore the plaintiffs
had taken account of the international legal situation in formulating their application. This
does not mean a general rejection of the institution school, but rather the freedom of choice
which is self-evident in most developed states today.
Furthermore the plaintiffs protest against the implication that their children may have
(behavioural) abnormalities, personal instabilities and social integration difficulties simply
because they did not go to school, but wished to learn more effectively at home. In most other
countries, including neighbouring countries such as Austria, Denmark, the Czech Republic,
Poland, Belgium, France, Italy, Sweden, Portugal and Finland, this desire is not only accepted
as normal, but legally guaranteed or even expressly included in the constitution (Ireland,
The school authorities’ argumentation was based implicitly on the unproven assumption that
attendance at school is generally better suited for the education of children and especially
better able to secure their social competence than education and knowledge assimilation at
home or from home.
Article 6 of the constitution recognises parents’ status as independent agents responsible for
bringing up their children. For the sake of a child’s welfare neither parents nor a school as
responsible agents should be allowed to alienate the child against the respective other side nor
actively agitate against it. Parents and state can only fulfil their common educational tasks by
working together constructively. Conflicting interests are to be balanced out in way that is fair
to all parties and as favourable as possible. The common task is to promote the development
of the child so that it can become a responsible personality within the social framework.
Insofar as the parents do this, thus fulfilling their constitutional obligation, the ‘other
educational agent’, in this case the school, may not be allowed to force its own methods upon
the parents. This would have the effect of turning the relationship of equal standing between
the agents into one of higher and lower priorities. This is, however, in conflict with the
expressed aim of the constitution.

Court Judgement Part 2

In a statement dated 21.03.2006 the Senator for Education and Science rejected the parents’
application to have their children released from the legal obligation to attend school in Bremen: The educational programme of the Clonlara School for children not attending school was not admissible as a means of fulfilling the obligation to attend school. In Germany – as to some extent is the case in other countries – there is not merely an obligation to dispense education, but also for children to attend school. Teaching at home can only be considered in exceptional situations such as where parents are working abroad or for children who cannot be transported on account of handicap or illness (‘Krankenunterricht’, approx. ‘teaching for indisposed persons’). But even in these cases the curriculum prescribed by the state should provide the basis for the teaching. Furthermore it should be borne in mind that learning in school is not merely a matter of increasing one’s fund of knowledge but involves other learning experiences with other people. A learning process is involved which is not concerned only with fact learning, but comprehension in common learning. In this respect teamwork and cooperative working on a common task is important. In this way each child experiences certain limitations, must learn acceptance (tolerance of frustration) and learn to accept others in their differentness (tolerance). These are important prerequisites for being able to take on responsibility for oneself and for others in future.

The plaintiffs appealed against this rejection, amongst other things with the argument that
homeschooling children develop a degree of social maturity above the average and as adults
they display a significantly higher level of involvement in social matters than the average, e.g.
in that they vote more often at elections, do more voluntary work and become more politically
involved. This has (according to the plaintiffs) been scientifically confirmed in large scale studies. On the other hand there is no evidence to suggest that children specifically and exclusively receive furtherance in respect of social skills and team competence in state school classes. On the contrary, it is generally deplored that state schools are increasingly subject to the ‘law of the strongest’ (‘Faustrecht’) and that the children’s social behaviour tends to be determined by the lowest common denominator. Especially children who are used to conflicts being resolved at home through discussion and without resort to violence learn that this approach in no way protects them from brutal attacks from other children who have not learned it themselves.

Their sons’ social behaviour, including their attitude to people from other social and cultural backgrounds, did not improve during their time attending school, but on the contrary it became significantly worse. Since then it is once again of the highest standard. Also, their children are sufficiently confronted with the fact that in the rest of the world and in Bremen things are not as peaceful as they are at home by their exposure to public places, bus journeys, in the choir, from newspapers, radio and television. It is not, however, necessary to force them to be exposed to this violence in their immediate surroundings in order to become aware of this and take it into account.

The appeal was rejected. In his rejection statement of 12.07.2006, which will be referred to
and amplified later, the Senator for Education and Science stated amongst other things that an
exception in respect of school attendance for the plaintiffs’ children did not come into question. The children’s purported or real refusal to go to school could not be accepted as sufficient grounds. Whereas there was considerable doubt as to whether they were not subject to their parents’ formative influence, even an authentic psychologically or psycho-somatically initiated refusal would not represent a reason to release them from the obligation to attend school. State schools are regularly confronted with conspicuous behaviour, sometimes of an extreme nature, on the part of children, including so-called school phobia. State schools are equipped to attend to such children with appropriate pedagogic measures, to stabilise them in their personalities and to integrate them socially. This succeeds so much the better when the parents cooperate with the school.

Court ruling against German Homeschoolers Part 1

I have received an English translation of the recent court judgement in the case of my friends, the Neubronners in Bremen. The judgement îs very long, so I'm breaking it up into smaller posts. Don't get too excited when you read the first parts, because it's just a summary of my friends' case.


In respect of the Administrative Court case
(Neubronner, plaintiffs) vs City of Bremen (defendant)
[+ names of legal representatives etc.]
the 7th Chamber of the Administrative Court of the Free City of Bremen, represented by
[names of judges] has decreed that
the plaintiffs’ case shall be rejected.
Costs shall be borne by the plaintiffs. Appeal against this judgement is permitted.
Facts of the case
The plaintiffs require the defendant to release their children from the obligation to attend
school (‘Schulpflicht’). They wish to educate (‘unterrichten’, literally ‘teach’) their children at
home according to an alternative learning concept (so-called ‘homeschooling’).
The plaintiffs are the parents / have the rights/duties to bring up (‘Erziehungsberechtigte’)
their two sons Moritz and Thomas, nine and seven years old. In June 2005 the family returned
to Bremen from the Allgäu [South Germany], where the plaintiffs had been founder members
of a group involved in starting up a free Montessori school. There, Moritz was registered at the primary school in Borchshöhe as a child required to attend school (‘schulpflichtig’). He had predominantly learned at home until that time. At the beginning of the school year 2005/2006 Thomas was enrolled at the same school, having become of an age requiring him to attend school as well. Both children attended school regularly at first, but stopped doing so after about ten days because they – the children – had expressed the wish to be taught at home. According to the plaintiffs the children developed psycho-somatic symptoms during their attendance at school, including belly and headaches, nightmares and heart complaints.

On account of this their paediatrician declared them to be ill. At this point the plaintiffs decided to permit their sons to take part in so-called ‘homeschooling’. Attempts to reach an understanding with, amongst others, the education authorities were unsuccessful, because the
authorities insisted that the aim of synchronisation of the learning at home with the school
curriculum should be to make it possible for the children gradually to take part in normal school. At the end of October / beginning of November 2005 the plaintiffs removed their children from the school, giving as reason “a move to Ireland”, and registered them at the Clonlara School in Jewett/Ireland for the school year 2005/2006. This school is an international private (correspondence) school with a special programme for pupils who are educated at home according to the requirements of the regional school authorities. The plaintiffs planned at first to spend several periods in Ireland as a family, although not to move there permanently. However, the school authorities made this a requirement in order to free the children from the obligation to attend school. This was not possible in view of, amongst other things, the economic situation of the plaintiffs. Thus they registered their sons at the Schönebeck primary school in Bremen on 08.12.2005. Since then the children have practically not gone to the school at all.

The plaintiffs have applied (? on 18.01.2006 – sentence incomplete) to the school inspectorate
to have their children released from the obligation to attend school according to paragraph 57,
section 2 of the Bremen School Statute. This application is founded upon a moral conflict as
perceived by the parents. They have an open attitude towards school, as is borne out by their
involvement in founding a Montessori school. They in no way prevent their children from attending school and have tried by means of attending classes themselves as well as talks with
the children and teachers to engender a situation in which it would be possible for the children
to decide for themselves to attend school. Attendance at school produces, according to the
parents, a state in which the children feel under negative pressure and to which they react with
psycho-somatic symptoms. Their children feel troubled by other pupils and their behaviour;
they wish to be able to learn in a self-determining manner without this scholastic environment. As parents, they cannot exercise psychological or physical pressure on their children, particularly in view of the fact that the law allows for exceptions to the obligation to attend school. Children are not to be seen as passive objects to be educated. Rather, children and their parents have the right to choose their education as they see fit. Their sons can learn better and more effectively at home than in state or recognised private schools. This is borne out by examples from other countries where homeschooling is accepted.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

These poor unsocialised homeschoolers

I took the kids swimming today and lo and behold there were FIVE boys there who knew my poor unsocialised son. He teamed up with a couple of them and had a great time.

Rowena has been watching a replay on TV of Domino Day 2004. Looks like I'm going to have to invest in a few boxes of plastic domino stones.