homeschool activism in Germany

Homeschooling activists face resistance from the German government which they discuss here. These mothers share a lot about the legal situation and what homeschoolers are doing to cope with that. Homeschoolers, like these activists in Germany, are helping change ideas of education and schooling, by bringing power back to families, the people cut out by compulsory attendance laws designed to override and exclude the family from schools in undemocratic and authoritarian ways.

Karen Kern, Silke Ohlert and Kelley Schwab (Germany) - YouTube:

These three women discuss homeschooling in Germany where the legal situation is very difficult. Activist families of all beliefs are homeschooling in Europe and they are organizing. And yet you can hear what homeschoolers in the US will recognize: families gaining strength in the task from their children, from seeing the improvement and happiness of their kids. Others can see it, too. This is a common experience among homeschoolers.

Karen Kern wound up moving to France after trying to homeschool in Germany and coping with two court cases. The speaker runs the German Clonlara program (Clonlara is a longtime homeschool curriculum provider.) And the legal situation and fines are also discussed.

The whole thing is worth listening to but at 24:00, there starts an especially good section just after a long question in Spanish. Kelley Schwab is quite eloquent and she is honest about how hard the fight is in Germany. She is an American married to a German and she says many good things, from the reliance on institutions to the distrust of ourselves and the belief in experts, from how happy her kids are to neighbors that think the kids are really nice, she makes a lot of standard homeschooling points in a very intelligent and passionate way. Very worth a listen.

24:00 (roughly)   "... they all say 'we have to protect our pluralist society'  but the homeschooling society is the most pluralistic community that I know of …. no community is as pluralistic as the homeschooling community ….  from strict conservatives …. to unschoolers …."


Mass schooling is the experiment, not homeschooling. The provision of public schooling may at one time have strongly supported local communities by providing hard-working families positive options. But today, our mass factory style education, extended for an ever-increasing number of years, exists in an entirely different world, a world of declining social capital.  The schools themselves have become concentrated, refined like white flour is refined for longer storage, schools have centralized massively and the social experience within schools has also intensified and changed. Increasingly toxic social experiences, like school shooting, are signs of this change.

The socialization experience of schools needs re-examined in our society. An increasing amount of evidence on the effects of testing, grading and ranking on learning shows how the factory model of learning works against our natural human instincts. And the growing documentation of the effects of peer-orientation fostered by ever longer time spent in institutional settings is alarming. These findings draw on knowledge gained the hard way by those coping with the orphans and separated families left in the massive destruction of WWII.  Attachment theory would grow out of these events and also out of the new science of psychology. And now this knowledge is helping people understand the difficulties parents face trying to raise kids who spend so much time in large, authoritarian institutions.

We can change schools in ways that actually maximize the socialization process by empowering families with real choices in every school.  Only by empowering families with the ability to control and modify what services they access, can families each make decisions about their social lives and in doing that, begin shaping a more positive social experience. Democratic methods could help families and communities transition from a credential factory model to a learning services model that allowed users to shape their learning and social experiences. That kind of granular control could reshape social experiences across the board.

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