I seem to be experiencing a bit of homeschool/life anxiety of late.
You know how sometimes as homeschoolers we go through these phases of wondering if we're doing the right thing? Wondering if indeed our kids are learning anything, if they are fulfilled, if they are keeping pace with their peers, if we're doing enough to ensure they won't grow up to be complete failures and sociopaths? Wondering if we're actually qualified enough to educate our own children?
Well, it's not that.
But what if someone came up to me tomorrow and asked me to prove that I'm qualified? Asked for my credentials, my certification, my curriculum vitae? Luckily, this is America and I'm not required to have any of that-- land of the free, home of the homeschooled, and all of that. But what if my family relocated somewhere else... let's just take a stab and say some small country in Europe. Then what? Well, that would be some kind of a pickle, because other than faith, fortitude and a creative spirit, I've got nothin'.
Homeschooling laws are exceedingly more strict on the other side of the Atlantic. In some places homeschooling is so outlawed that the authorities will fine you heavily, take your children away, and send you to prison. To prison! In Germany, they don't care about your ethical reasons, your religious faith, or your fancy teacher's certificate. Their primary concern is to prevent a parallel society, not to nurture the parental freedoms of their own individual German citizens. So if they imprison their own citizens for homeschooling, what about American citizens in Germany? They might as well begin and end their children's spelling lists with the word "deportation."
Germany aside, what exactly are the rights of American citizens homeschooling abroad? Honestly, it's not something I have ever thought about, nor a quandry I would have placed in my personal path. And yet. Here I am, pouring over websites, joining e-groups, and groping for a loophole in a foreign system that perhaps will have an issue with my lack of certification. And my curriculum? Oh yeah, that may be a problem, too.
Einstein has been invited out to interview for a very appealing job in Switzerland-- a position that would transport this very alternative American family overseas for 2 to 6 years. The last week or so I've been in a perpetual state of anxiety about it. Home education is up there at the top of our list as far as priorities go. It's a commitment we made long before any of our children became school-aged, and obviously not one I'm willing to forgo for a trip down the Rhine or a gander at the Eiffel Tower.
Don't get me wrong, the idea of spending a few years living and exploring in Europe fills me with giddy excitement. But the idea of going to prison? Not so much.