Germany Declares War on Home-Schoolers, 11 August 2008, Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), Virginia Beach, Virginia
It certainly looks as if the German government has declared open season on Germany’s tiny home-schooling community.
1. I was told the same thing when I started homeschooling in Munich in 1990.
(American military under the auspices of the NATO status of forces agreement, so the schooling law did not apply to us)
2. This is not news.
It’s been 70 years since compulsory education was made law by Adolf Hitler’s government.
Hitler didn’t start the trend. It has been 200 years since compulsory schooling was instituted in Bavaria (one of the states that make up modern Germany). Charlemagne was the first leader in the area to think compulsory schooling is a good idea. For those of you for whom history is not something you keep up with, Hitler killed himself 63 years ago.
The Germans don’t even want non-Germans home schooling in Germany.
Duh. And American highway patrol officers don’t want German tourists driving at Autobahn speeds on the Interstate highways. What part of “that’s not legal here” is misunderstood?
The United States State Department has advice on the matter of following local laws when in another country:
Assistance to U.S. Citizens Arrested Abroad
While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country’s laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law.
But I’m jumping ahead of myself.
What is not mentioned in the CBN article is that an Irish citizen is petitioning the European Union(E. U.) for E. U. citizens to be allowed to homeschool since:
- Germany’s education policy violates the freedom of workers within the EU
- German citizens living abroad are encouraged by the German authorities to teach the national curriculum to their children
American missionaries Clint and Susan Robinson moved their family to Germany only to have their visa application turned down because they home school. They now have to leave the country, and are looking to move to Austria, which allows home schooling.
Susan added tearfully, “We left our home country and came over here and God supplied this house and the environment and just everything, and now they’re saying ‘no, you can’t stay, you’ve got to leave.’ It’s hard.”
When Mr. and Mrs. Robinson moved to Germany, it was with full knowledge that homeschooling isn’t permitted. They went anyhow. If you are going to be a martyr, be a brave martyr.
Americans push German school law limits, 28 January 2008, Home Education Magazine News and Commentary [links at my other blog post]
[The Robinsons] intend to train “nationals for leadership” concerning their goals. How would we feel about ‘missionaries’ from other countries who intended to train American nationals “for leadership” concerning their goals? Is our sympathy level still high? How about if you know that one of the attitudes about the country to which they’re going is that it is a “pit” and that you have no intention to “cooperate with liberal organizations, men who are lost, erring brethren, and those who do not take similar stands of separation. (Groups that I would avoid cooperating with would be the liberals, neo-orthodox, new evangelicals, the World Council of churches (WCC), the NCC, the National Association of Evangelicals, Charismatic and Pentecostal groups, Southern Baptists, etc.)”
But, back to the article.
A lot of American Christians would have good reason not to want their kids subjected to German state schools. …
Then. Don’t. Go.
Missionary Robinson told CBN News, “I know of schools right in our area where it’s not just mixed swimming but mixed showering after the swim class is over and mixed locker rooms and then they leave and go to the next class.”
Yep. That’s the way it is.
- At my daughters’ ballet class, boys and girls changed clothes in what was essentially the back foyer, with moms and dads standing nearby. Sometimes the teacher changed, too. (she was Australian, fwiw)
- There are billboards depicting families enjoying saunas in the nude, because … you don’t wear clothes in a sauna.
- People change clothing outside at swimming pools.
- The younger brother of a co-worker of mine changed his trousers in the living room while his mother, sister and I were talking together.
Again, if local customs are that offensive, don’t go. The time of foreign missionaries with enough clout to clothe the unsightly natives is long past. No, people in Germany do not walk around nekkid in public, but the sight of the bodies we keep inside our clothing is not a big deal. Two years ago I wrote about this at Homeschoolers and nudists.
“What we’re trying to do is get a house just across the border so we’re living in Austria, where our visa comes from so the government can’t control us with home schooling,” says Clint Robinson.
Good luck with that, although you won’t escape the nekkid people. It was in Kaprun, Austria that our oldest son and I saw our first ‘naked sauna users.’
It was 1977 and we were on vacation. My husband andI had determined that we would turn around in Austria and go back home to Germany when we got to the halfway point of our money. We’d hoped to make it to Vienna, but, wow, was that ever wishful thinking. After a long day on the road, my seven-year old son and I were relaxing by leaning on the sill of our 2nd-story hotel room window, just watching the world go by. (hanging out the unscreened windows that open like doors is a popular Germanic past-time) All of a sudden, some doors that looked to be directly under us in the basement flew open, steam rolled out, and two fellows in their birthday suits ran out of the doorway and jumped into the nearby Alpine stream to cool down. It was all very culturally interesting.
Austrians appear to be no more prudish than are the Germans.
As it is, Mr. Robinson doesn’t mean to stay out of Germany.
Thank you for your prayers!
We can have a house just across the border in Austria and we already know that we can get a visa there. Since the border is completely open, we could still have a ministry in Germany (with residence in Austria).
Since Austria is a German-speaking country, we would not be hindered in any way from functioning in this country (and they seem as if they have more freedoms there).
From a homeschooling perspective, it is unfortunate that the German states have strict schooling laws that they take seriously. However, if homeschooling is to succeed there, the state legislatures will have to change their laws. For that to happen, the people in those states will have to accept homeschooling, just as Texans, Arizonans, Virginians, Floridians and all the others did. An alternative would be for the E. U. apparatus to declare that Germany is out of compliance with E. U. standards.
Working the system from the E. U. standpoint looks like the best bet because forcing the issue of German laws is unlikely to succeed any more than American military immunity from quiet hours is likely to happen.
However, if people want to martyr themselves, well, there’s not much anyone can do about it other than to point out that martyrdom is seldom pleasant.