homeschooling activism in Sweden

Jonas Himmelstrand 
Note: I believe Himmelstrand is at this time in exile on a nearby island technically outside of Sweden because of the anti-homeschooling law. 

Jonas Himmelstrand, President of the Swedish organization of home education,  ROHUS. The ROHUS YouTube channel and a blog post with video of John Holt speaking in Sweden, from Pat Farenga's page.)  Himmelstrand is also a business consultant and founder of the Mireja Institute. From their About page:
The Mireja Institute focuses on a key, but forgotten, aspect of the Western welfare system: Close relationships, often synonymous with family in the widest sense – all constellations where people live together in close intimate relationships. 
In Sweden many families find that they lack the power to make their own decisions about their close relationships, especially when children arrive. The symptoms are visible in the national statistics: High levels of stress-related sick leave, ambitious but insecure parents, increasing psychological ill heath among youth, plummeting learning results and more disorder in schools. 
The impediments are often well-intentioned: The everyone-to-work policy, gender equality, high subsidised day care, pre- and after-school care and school. But rather than create more welfare, these are in effect often hindrances to the close relationships which are so important to human health, learning and development. 
The Mireja Institute is politically and religiously unaffiliated and is neither based on any specific ideology, apart from democracy and human rights. The purpose of The Mireja Institute is to present the knowledge available today about health, learning and personal growth through attachment and relationships, to the political level. 
This knowledge is lacking today in the political debate in many countries, Sweden being no exception. When this knowledge is publicly known family policies in most political camps will look different, even though the solutions may vary. 
The goal is to make available the knowledge about the potential in close relationships to build welfare, development and democracy. 
Jonas Himmelstrand, Founder of The Mireja Institute
Another very good talk that delves more into issues that Sweden faces is here, presented to a UN Expert Group Meeting in June, 2011. There is more discussion of childcare/daycare issues in this talk.

Sweden has been grappling with home education movement. The sad case of Dominic Johansson brought Sweden to many homeschoolers' attention, a case about which I have posted.

Talk at 2011 Conference
Note: Partial transcription is mine. Himmlestrand discussed many legal issues as well in his talk but these quotes on socialization stood out to me.

"Home education is no longer merely an alternative form of education ... or an alternative lifestyle ... I would say that home education today is a spearhead of social change that .... will change our understanding of families and how children learn. We see that schools do not work and we are looking in the knowledge society for something new."

'via Blog this'

"Sweden is very family-phobic  ... 92% of our 18 month to 5 year olds are in daycare. Strongly urges by our government. It is very rare to see a two-year-old out of daycare. And the social authorities in Sweden regard you with suspicion if you haven't out your two-year-old in daycare."

"A key factor in here seems to be socialization and what we found in Sweden is that there is a new paradigm, a whole new way of thinking of how children are socialized. We got a lot of help here from Dr. Gordon Neufeld … he will basically say that social competence is not achieved through social activity. In fact, social competence cannot be achieved by cognitive means at all. Social competence is a process of maturation nourished by love and attachment and closeness. Its actually a function of the brain in the pre-frontal cortex where you learn to take in two feelings at the same time. Its the process when you can feel your own feelings in the presence of another …and the feelings of another … This process is often impeded in school due to much stress, too many friends, and too many peers and too few adults. He says that peer orientation is what happens in schools today when there are age-segregated groups, … many groups, few adults …  the children have to find emotional support in one another, which they cannot provide … bullying and all of these things come from this and in this way, peer orientation may actually be the biggest hindrance to socialization today." 

"Home education supplies a loving adult with … more experience than there peers in school…. and they can guide young people  … more experience than young people in school … and this is something that homeschooling can offer and it doesn't matter what you believe in, the key thing, you are there for your child and you take care of them fully and they are not fully mature until they can, as Dr. Neufeld puts it, they can mix without blending with others. They can mix with others, be with others, without losing themselves and that a process that usually takes until 18 or 20 years of age until you fully can do that.  … this paradigm is a key thing to understanding … once the world understands how socialization happens … school in the form we know it today is dead."

"Home education is here to stay and to grow. And in Sweden, I will say that the homeschooling movement is probably the strongest freedom movement we have had in the past 100 years … "


Homeschooling and the European Union « Homeschooling Research Notes:

Post a Comment