Thursday, March 12, 2009

Enjoying our freedom....

I was just reading a bit of officialese about the ins and outs of how the German educational authorities can make use of information about children registered in a community to enforce school attendance and I have to say that my feeling was one of overwhelming relief that we are not living in Germany - not even on a part-time basis. After we bought our house in Ireland, we did the back-and-forth thing a few times, with my husband remaining in Germany and the children and I spending time between both places.

The end result was that I felt as though I was living in some kind of spy film about East Germany. The school authorities had set one of the local officials to report on our movements to them and he went about a job with the utmost gusto. Luckily, this chap had a relative living in our very quiet street, so he had plenty of opportunity to stroll past our house and report that our car was parked in front of the house, our trash was being collected, our trampoline was still in the garden and often there were children playing in the garden on weekends. I started really paranoid - after all, who knew what neighbour was co-operating with the authorities.

Once my husband's job in Germany came to an end, there was no use staying in Germany at all and we thankfully decamped to Ireland on a permanent basis. Our children have now been registered as home-educated here in Ireland and we were visited by an inspector, who seemed quite impressed, if not a little overwhelmed, by the plethora of books and educational toys and games that clutter our house (other women buy handbags, I buy books).

I was at a conference here in Ireland last week, the main topic of which was actually breastfeeding (my other "speciality") but they had a well-known Irish parenting expert as the keynote speaker. Just by the by, the issue of homeschooling was mentioned three times in the question time after his talk (in contexts such as "homeschooling is not an option for us" - with a daughter who had been having a hard time at school - , "I would happily homeschool, but my daughter is looking forward to starting school" - with a daughter who is extroverted - and a comment from a home educating father). I was absolutely bowled over by the matter-of-fact attitude to home education, compared with Germany, where the topic is just plain taboo.

1 comment:

Bee said...

Hi there,
Your blog was so quite for a while that I nearly forgot about the URL ...
However, great to see you are writing again !
For all who are still into the system it is as depressing as it was, maybe even more.
Meanwhile nearly everyone is looking for a way out ...
Take care !