Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Grateful? Thankful?

We can feel both grateful and thankful. They're similar yet different. Gratefulness doesn't have to be directed toward someone. Gratefulness is more of a "Whew!! I'm glad that worked out!" Thankfulness is directed toward someone -- toward a giver -- who gave us something we value. When it comes to our children, and the freedom to homeschool, we tend to feel both grateful and thankful. No matter what our faith, we know that we didn't make our children or create them. They were a gift to us.

I also know that there are many people who work hard to ensure that homeschooling remains legal in the U.S. I got an email from HSLDA (home school legal defense association) on how sad it is for families in Germany. Home schooling in Germany is very illegal.

"Homeschooling Illegal" Declares German School Official

Seven homeschool families in Northwest Germany are being forced to enroll their children in public school. The Paderborn County school board has levied fines against these families and ordered the children to attend school by Monday, January 10, or the police will forcibly take them to school. Any resistance by the parents will result in the removal of these thirteen elementary age children from their homes and into state custody!

Despite the lack of state recognition in Germany for homeschooling, these families pulled their children out of public school earlier this year to begin teaching them at home. Their primary reason, as Christians, was to protect their children from the humanistic and godless values being taught to their children in the public school.

While the school district responded by stating that homeschooling is illegal, the parents' maintained that their fundamental rights as parents would be violated if they were forced to return the children to public school. All of the families obtained excellent packaged curriculums from German correspondence schools, and demonstrated to school officials that their children were receiving a proper education.

Heinz Kohler, the county education director, dismissed the families' beliefs, stating, "you and your children are not living in isolation on some island but rather in an environment posing intra- and extracurricular situations where you'll have to accept that your world view will be curtailed." Mr. Kohler further explained that homeschooling could not be allowed as "children should not be encapsulated or kept apart from the outside world. In these cases, the parents' rights to personally educate their children would prevent the children from growing up to be responsible individuals within society…"

German homeschoolers have seen much persecution in recent months, and this action by Paderborn County affirms that the problem has not been solved. The United States has been blessed for many years with the freedom to homeschool. Germany does not have this freedom. If American homeschoolers do not try to help "the least of these," then who will aid them?

Requested Action

Your decision to contact the embassy may determine the success or failure of the German homeschool movement.

Wolfgang Ischinger
German Embassy
4645 Reservoir Road NW
Washington, DC, 20007-1998
(202) 298-4000

The embassy can be e-mailed from its website: http://www.globescope.biz/germany/reg/index.cfm

You may also contact the local German officials involved in the case:

Landrat Paderborn: Mr. Manfred Mueller [landrat@kreis-paderborn.de] (county official)

President Nordrhein-Westfalen: Mr. Peer Steinbrueck – Local media
[landespresseamt@stk.nrw.de] - CC [poststelle@stk.nrw.de]

2. Pray for endurance and protection for these courageous families.

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