Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sign your name and help Sweden's homeschoolers


Your mad editor has not been asleep at the wheel — she’s been working through a lot of pain and worry, and apologizes for the prolonged absence. She also apologizes for her occasional tendency to slip into the third person. Thank you for your patience.

Below is an open letter I’d like to send to Sweden’s government, and also possibly a Swedish newspaper. (Our friends in Sweden can help with translation, thank goodness.) In order for it to have as big an impact as possible, I’d like it to have as many signatures as possible.

Will you please sign it, and pass the word around?

I will send the letter to the government contacts my friend in Sweden has given me, along with the names (but not any contact information) of those good enough to offer their solidarity to the homeschoolers in Sweden.

To “sign,” please send me your name along with any titles that might help said name pack some extra wallop. If you’re an MD or a PhD, do mention it. If you have a university position, have written books, head up a group or organization, are a social worker...say it loud and proud. Name, title if any, and an acknowledgement that you agree to sign this letter. Again, any contact information remains absolutely private. My email address: deborah @ 2ds dot org

Some of the ideas this letter expresses may not seem optimal. Please bear in mind that it was written in order to speak to the concerns — fears, really — that the Swedish government has about homeschooling, and to raise awareness about homeschooling in a country that knows very little about it. Sweden’s population is about 9 million people; out of that, there are maybe 200 homeschooling families. Either the government sees them as some kind of threat, or they figure that it’s not worth worrying about the rights of so small a group. Or both. We’re trying to convince them otherwise.

America has a decent homeschooling population, and our homeschooling success story was often brought up as a case in point when England was fighting anti-homeschooling legislation. Let’s hope our reputation will work in our favor and help our homeschooling neighbors in Sweden.

Here’s the letter:

We are Americans who are shocked and saddened that Sweden is considering making homeschooling virtually illegal. How could a country that seems to us a paradise of beauty and egalitarianism refuse to let its citizens choose how their own children will be educated?

Though homeschooling is completely legal in every state in America, we homeschoolers are still a tiny minority. Only about 3% of school-aged American children are homeschooled. If you fear that homeschooling as a completely legal option means that the vast majority of children stop attending school, take it from us: this isn't the case. American parents appreciate having homeschooling as an option, but we know it's not for everyone. Freedom of choice is what makes life rich and interesting.

The homeschooling community is ethnically, religiously, economically, and philosophically diverse. Please don't draw your ideas about homeschoolers from stereotypes. Every homeschooling family is different; we all have our own reasons for wanting to educate our children independently. This serious decision is not made quickly or easily. All of us researched and considered our options before we made up our minds to homeschool. We homeschool our children for the same reason other parents decide to send their children to the school of their choice: we think this is what's best for our family. We love our children and want what's best for them -- not because we're homeschoolers, but just because we're parents.

Our children are like their schooled peers: they spend time with friends, take music and art lessons, enjoy team sports, volunteer their time for good causes, live, learn, and love. Many of them will go on to college; all of them will continue to learn, wherever their lives and careers lead them.

Homeschooling is a great deal of work. It takes commitment, time, patience, and energy. As such, it's a very personal decision to make -- almost as personal as the decision to have children in the first place. We firmly believe that the freedom to make such decisions for oneself is an integral part of being a genuinely free nation.

We the undersigned urge you to accept and support homeschooling as a legal option in Sweden.

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think it's a bit limiting to limit it to homeschoolers. I'm not a homeschooler (don't have kids) but I would sign.

Nadine said...

Signed,
Nadine Toppozada and Jean Pierre Trapenard

DM said...

Good point, Anon. I'll change the phrasing to something like "supporters of homeschooling." That way, our friends and families can sign. Thank you for pointing this out, and I hope to see your siggy soon!

Carolyn said...

This is beautiful! Well written and a great idea. Look for my signature in your email!

Esperanza said...

Esperanza Casteneda

Adesa said...

I completely agree!

Signed,
Adesa Hafford, founder
Natural Learners of the Shenandoah Valley

Anonymous said...

Ok, where do I sign?

Dawn Alger
Headmistress, Western Reserve Academy

T said...

Count me in!
Signed,
Tracy Merritt

DM said...

Signing here is great (the Mad Editor says), because I do get a note via email every time someone posts a comment. So your name will still go in my file o' signatures. I do appreciate the direct emails; I just wanted people to know that I'm getting *all* the signatures. And am very thankful for them.

DM said...

I'm getting some notes from wonderful people apologizing for not having anything flashy to go with their names. Two things to keep in mind:

1. We want just plain lots and lots of names. We want to show that homeschooling has a lot of support from a wide range of people. Just signing is incredibly helpful and deeply appreciated.

2. It may not seem flashy, but if you have a B.A., that would be wonderful to know in this case. I'm being uncharacteristically title-snooty about this because unfortunately, we're fighting a great deal of ignorance about homeschooling. I think it might be very important to show that educated people choose to homeschool and support homeschooling.

--The Mad Editor!

Bonnie said...

Bonnie Lindblom

title: Homeschooling Mom :-)

Cheryl Malaguti said...

Do you want our signatures if we previously emailed? If so, please sign my name as well.

Cheryl Kilgore Malaguti
headmistress, Quercia Academy

Phyllis said...

I homeschooled both my children - where do I sign??? Sweden has so many liberties, it is surprising (or is it?) they would be against homeschooling. Probably so they can push their socialist agenda & can teach the little ones about sex.
So I'd like to sign,
Phyllis M.A.

DM said...

Cheryl -- Yes, please, and I appreciate your time and work!

Phyllis -- Thank you! Can you email me with your last name? deborah @ 2ds dot org

--Mad Editor

mindfulbeader said...

signed: Eleanor Jackson MA(Oxon), DipLib, MCILIP
Librarian, teacher and parent of three formerly home-schooled children making their way in the world.

Kim said...

Kimberlie Carpenter,
Homeschooling Mother

Karen M Gibson said...

Signed,
Karen M Gibson

Pretentious Wombat said...

I'll definitely sign. I've been a home educator since the mid 1980s and still have about 5 or 6 years to go. I don't know what I would do without that freedom.

Patricia Ward

Anonymous said...

Signed Catherine Saccente

mricasale said...

Matthew Casale (F.D.A. International Drug Expert)
Rachel Casale
We homeschool our gifted child because she was not learning enough in school. We support freedom of thought in every form, including schooling.

Sagor och drakar said...

This is so great!! Thanks everyone for your support. As for Phyllis comment; how strange it might sound the politicians making this chenge in law is not socialist but liberal...

Great letter, Thanks a lot Deborah!

Jenny (in the middle of this fight in Sweden...)

Spooky said...

Signed,

Beckie Tetrault

Mary McDonough said...

It is in the best interests of any country, Sweden included, to have a well-educated population. Home schoolers are educating their children well, at little or no expense to the government, and should be encouraged to continue doing so.
Signed,
Mary McDonough, B.A.
Tom McDonough, B.S.

crzslady said...

Loyd S. Butcher
Stephanie E. Butcher, former member Chariho Regional School Committee

Alysha Beery said...

Signed,
Alysha Beery

Phyllis said...

Deborah, you asked me to send you an email with my last name - I tried, but what is your email address? I copied & pasted what you wrote, but it didn't work :(
Phyllis

Kimmie said...

Kimberley Smahay

KC said...

Signed,
Krystal Cummings, BFA
Steve Cummings, BSME, MBA

DM said...

Thank you, Phyllis! Just take the spaces out of the following:

deborah @ 2ds . org

Everyone else -- thanks so much, and please continue to spread the word! As of this writing, we have 73 signatures. I'd really like to have 100 before sending it along to Sweden, but time is an issue...

Anonymous said...

Caprice Ashe, support group leader for the Walton Co. Homeschoolers

joy said...

signed

Joy Rex

April said...

April Walker
Newberry SC 29108

sbrehill said...

Sabrina Hill
Gulf Breeze, FL

Anonymous said...

Signed,

Linnea McKinsey

Kimberly Jumper said...

Signed,

Kimberly Jumper

Anonymous said...

Signed,
Jenifer Ochs

kerry said...

kerry bennassar, secular homeschooling mom of two boys in los angeles, california

Anonymous said...

Thank you for organizing this.
Please add my signature!

Ann Genuth

Nance said...

Signed: Nancy Gauvreau.
No title unless you're using "homeschooling mom." :)

Anonymous said...

Signed,
Laci Olson

Rachel said...

Signed,

Rachel Lopez
Proud Homeschool Mom

Anonymous said...

Signed,

Korin Mattei

Anonymous said...

Signed,
Theodore and Lisa Norden
Homeschooling Parents

theorams said...

Signed,
Peggy Oram, M.A.

Shannon said...

Shannon Taylor Hodnett,
homeschooling mom =)

heather said...

Signed,
Heather Cushman-Dowdee and Kevin Dowdee

thecowgoddess.com and mama-is.com

THE NUT FARM said...

Signed,
Jennifer Ivey

Eclectic Mama said...

Oh, I hope I'm not too late! Use any of the stuff after my name that you want.

Signed,
Camille North
Co-creator, www.GeoBeeUniverse.com
Organizer, National Geography Bee, Austin Area Homeschoolers
Founding member, Kingfisher Homeschool Foundry
Editor, API "Links," Attachment Parenting International
First James Michener Fellow, University of Texas Press
M.A., Biopsychology, University of Texas at Austin

cara lou said...

Hope it's not too late to sign. Great letter!

Cara Stpehens