The following is a public letter sent by an American family to fellow homeschoolers who arrived in Sweden wanting to homeschool their children. They underline the statist climate of fear that reigns here in the new Swedish Gulag:
First I'd like to thank all the people on this site who have helped me over the past year and a bit with my homeschooling questions. I admire the courage, hard work and determination of those of you who continue the fight.
We homeschooled for 4 years in the US. Our children have always been able to choose between public- and homeschooling. We arrived inin June 2009. We have never been totally "anti-school" but simply felt our children could develop better morally and emotionally at home. And as a family we could have a better lifestyle. I still believe this.
When we arrived in Sweden we knew homeschooling was an unpopular choice and there would be few other homeschoolers. I believe this was the principal reason my daughters, then 11 and 12, decided to attend public school.
We were pleased to receive permission to homeschool our sons for autumn 2009 and then again for spring 2010. It was a difficult time for me for many reasons. Living in a new country and learning a new lanuage is never easy. But on top of that I was in constant fear that some official could fine us or deem our education unsuitable, or possibly take our children. This was at the same time as the Johannson case and I couldn't help thinking: that could happen to us. And of course everyone was worried they would change the law – and they did.
For our family the change was also pronounced. With two children at school my sons lost two companions for work and play. There were no homeschooler's living anywhere near us and most of the neighbourhood children were in fritid in the afternoons. We also had to work to the school schedule a lot more, to accommodate the girls.
We did however apply to continue homeschooling our 2 sons, 6 and 9. Our application for our 6 year old was accepted but we were declined for our 9 year old.
They said: Instruction in Swedish has not been assessed to meet the requirements and questions surrounding other goals such as democratic education, equality, environmental awareness and group work. (my translation)
In that first year my 9 year old learned functional Swedish from the friends he had made – on his own, not from some “socialisation education”
We decided to appeal. Summer arrived and so did the new law. We were left in limbo as to the outcome of our appeal and uncertain about how they would apply the law. I did not want to start the school year with the fear, much more real this time, that half-way through we would be told our sons had to attend school. We explained the uncertainty to our sons and they were not afraid to go to public school. So I gave up. They had won.
A few days before school started we heard from our kommun that they were discussing a combination of public school and homeschooling as a possible solution for our son – as if to make our decision to stop fighting even more difficult.
How can this help anyone?
I still believe in homeschooling! Perhaps even more so, especially if you are a Swedish national. Fight for the freedom to choose! Perhaps my fears were irrational but while we were trying to establish ourselves in this new country I could see people leaving so they could homeschool. They shouldn't have to. I feel I have let the team down. I feel beaten. I am disappointed in Sweden.
I will keep watching the news that appears here and do what I can to support your efforts.