Who Started the Ban on German Homeschools, and Why?

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

Here we’ll continue our discussion of the ban on homeschooling in Germany and its brutal enforcement, from our last post.

When did the ban on homeschool in Germany begin? Whose idea was it to eliminate homeschooling in a land where self-education had for centuries produced Bachs and Mozarts? I think the answer is going to appall you. This is an article from September 29, 2006, found in the World Net Daily. I’ll provide a link to the article after the excerpt I’d like you to read.
A new ruling from the European Human Rights Court has affirmed the German nation’s Nazi-era ban on homeschooling, concluding that society has a significant interest in preventing the development of dissent through “separate philosophical convictions.”

The Strasburg-based court addressed the issue on appeal from a Christian family whose members alleged their human rights to educate their own children according to their own religious beliefs are being violated by the ban.

The specific case addressed in the opinion involved Fritz and Marianna Konrad, who filed the complaint in 2003 and argued that Germany’s compulsory school attendance endangered their children’s religious upbringing and promotes teaching inconsistent with the family’s Christian faith.

The court said the Konrads belong to a “Christian community which is strongly attached to the Bible” and rejected public schooling because of the explicit sexual indoctrination programs that the courses there include.

The German court already had ruled that the parental “wish” to have their children grow up in a home without such influences “could not take priority over compulsory school attendance.” The decision also said the parents do not have an “exclusive” right to lead their children’s education.
Here’s the link. Please read the rest of the article.

Yes, the banning of homeschooling in Germany started with the Nazis.

We all know how many wonderful ideas the Nazis had. They not only left the rest of Europe in flames, but did themselves and Germany in, in the bargain. If ever a group had no regard for human life or human rights, certainly that group would be the Nazis, would it not?

Let’s ask the obvious. Why would the Nazi’s ban homeschool. Clearly they intended to precisely control everything that a child learned. How else could the Hitler Youth have come into existence? Why else would a child turn his own parents into the SS unless that child had been thoroughly brainwashed – er, excuse me – “educated”.

We know better today, right? Germany is no longer under the control of the Nazi Party, right? That is right, isn’t it? Yet the banning of home school in Germany, initiated by the Nazi Party, continues today. It is violently enforced, using tactics frighteningly reminiscent of the Nazis.

Much of the rest of Europe falls into goose-step line as we speak, as we will cover in upcoming articles. Perhaps Hitler will win the war after all. He certainly will win it in Germany if the German people do today as they have done in the past – support their “government” and obey orders.

Where can a German homeschool family turn?

In 2003, the trial mentioned above was held at the European Court of Human Rights. This court, established in 1998, is seen as a “last recourse” for the people of Europe who feel that their rights have been violated. It was established by the European Convention of Human Rights, a treaty signed by almost every European power all the way back in 1953. Ever hear of it? In the charter it specifically states that “The State shall respect the right of parents to ensure education and teaching is in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions.” That’s a quote from the document which underpins the existence of this “court”. Keep reading.

The 2003 trial was initiated by a German family insisting on its right to homeschool. The family wanted a more Christian-based education for their children than the German Schools provide. That was their reason for homeschooling. The court’s decision? That a nation has the right to decide how children will be schooled. Parents do not have this right. That a family’s beliefs should not be allowed to in any way determine their child’s education. (And, by the way, that a “strong belief in the Bible” was reason to prevent that family from homeschooling.)

That’s right – families have NO right to determine what sort of education their children receive, a decision precisely contravening the founding document of that so-called court, as well as tossing out the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, which in Article 26 guarantees that the parent has the prior right to determine how their child will be educated.

Between 1953 and 2003, apparently “human rights” in Europe has been somewhat redefined. Today, it seems that “human rights” really means STATES RIGHTS – that the state shall have all rights at the expense of individuals.

This trend contradicts the very purpose of civilization. Civilization is a system whereby individuals may work together for their mutual survival and well-being. In other words – governments exist for the protection of the people and their lives and rights. People do not exist to protect governments and their rights. This all-important key to understanding the relationship between government and its people has been reversed and redefined. When President John F. Kennedy said “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country”, he unfortunately verbalized the reversed ethic that today empowers the state over its constituents.

Historically and in fact, countries exists to protect individuals and their rights and lives. Without this as the sole and entire goal of a government, there is no reason for that government or country to exist. No less a creator of governments than Thomas Jefferson would have encouraged a revolution against a government that has forgotten the central purpose of its existence, to serve the people.

The banning of homeschooling in Germany by the Nazis and upheld by their current government is a classic example of government rights protected by government (the judges sitting on the court were selected by the governments participating) and at the expense of the people. It is government gone mad. But again, why should anyone be surprised that government has gone mad in Germany?

What we should be surprised and profoundly worried about is that other European nations are following Germany’s lead.

More to come.

As you probably know, I am an advocate for homeschooling. It’s my belief that homeschooling potentially provides a student with a vastly superior education than schooling in any form. This is backed up by a lot of numbers and research. I’ve taught for public and private schools, at the University level, as a private instructor in thousands of workshops, and as a homeschool dad running a homeschool group. Homeschooling by far works best for most students- and most families.

But I understand that many parents do not believe they can effectively homeschool. They’ve been told that they “don’t have degrees,” and that they “aren’t qualified.” This is all nonsense, of course. You’re legally not required to have any kind of a degree to homeschool your kids anywhere in the U.S. A lot of people who have degrees and who call themselves “professional teachers” are simply awful, and even destructive at what they do. A lot of parents…hundreds that I know of…have homeschooled their kids right into universities and careers.

In a serious effort to make homeschooling easier to do, and more commonly successful in terms of education received, I’ve authored my own curriculum. It took some 15,000 hours to write, over more than a decade of work, and is intended to replace the need for schooling a student from age 5-Adult Continuing Education. The curriculum is called Steps (or “CTT”). It has been used by over 20,000 students worldwide over the past 10 years. Hundreds of “success stories” attest to how well CTT works.

CTT courses are written in a way that gradually allows the student to take over his own education. Each course itself largely does the teaching, relieving mom and dad of that duty unless they wish to use our daily lesson plans in various subjects as springboards for family discussion and discovery – as many families do, every day. The parent has the job of making certain the student is working and has what they need to study. (And you’ll need to find a good math program for homeschooling as we don’t provide one. There are many.)

Below are links to our site discussing each level of curriculum, and every subject at that level that we offer. (You can start any level at any time. We don’t have “semesters” that start at a certain time, and each course stands alone well.) You’ll find free videos describing how every subject and each level works. You’ll discover free samples of every course we offer. Our site offers many other services and surprises, including numerous free courses you can download and try out.

Starter is for ages 5-6, and for preliterate students of any age. It focuses on starting to develop literacy skills, while teaching about various subjects. Starter includes full two-year programs in Reading, History, Science, Creative Writing, and Living Your Life, courses that develop life and study skills for the youngest students. Every lesson plan at the Starter level works to develop literacy.

Elementary is for ages 7-8, and for students who are developing literacy. It includes two-year programs in Reading and Spelling, History, Science, Creative Writing (which also teaches the parts of language at this level), and Living Your Life courses which develop life and study skills in preparation for more advanced studies to come.

Lower School (ages 9-10) offers two-year programs in Study Essentials, Reading and Spelling, History, Science, Creative Writing, P.E. Electives, and in various arts such as Animation, Music Theory, and Acting. At this level, students must read fairly well, and studies are progressively turned over to the student.

Upper School (ages 11-High School, and Adult Continuing Education) provides programs in Study Essentials, Reading and Spelling, History, Science, Creative Writing, Current Events, Literature Guides, P.E. Electives, and in arts such as Animation, Acting, Music Theory, and Music History.

For parents who wish to teach at home, but are intimidated at the thought, and for parents who just wish to improve the homeschool experience, we offer a ten course homeschool program for homeschool teachers, as well as several books about education and homeschooling today.

We want you and your children to win with homeschooling!

15 comments on “Who Started the Ban on German Homeschools, and Why?”

  1. …And the hair stood up on the back of my neck… terrifying.

  2. I understand, believe me.

  3. Another homeschooler says:

    Makes me glad to be Canadian, once again…

  4. Wow this is deep! All religious groups should come together and fight against this! Let us pray that they do not get what they want!

  5. Wow, shocking. Glad to live in England now, however I sincerely hope that the German way doesn’t creeps over here. I have every plan to homeschool our daughters who are currently two and a half and eight months. No way am I allowing the state to decide what’s best for my children, thank you!

  6. I understand.

  7. Wolfgang Rund says:

    I have good friends in Germany, who fought for the right to teach their children themselves, and they succeeded largely (but not fully). I am admiring their education, but I would not back a general right to keep away children from any school in the surrounding area. Maybe a guarantee of a certain standard of home education would do (as I tried to contribute as a math-teacher in the home-schooling of my friends).

    The duty to see a school as a general rule (may be with well-defined exceptions) was a much older success fighting children’s working duties at home and even for foreign people.

  8. Hi Wolfgang,

    Good for your friends! Good for you helping as a tutor in math! Glad you admire the education your homeschooling friends received.

    But as to the rest of what you wrote, it’s nonsense.

    WHO would determine the “standards” for homeschooling – and how would they be different than the ever-decreasing standards of public schooling…since the people determining the standards would be the same people? Government.

    And you wouldn’t back the right of parents to have their children educated as they wish? Really? You believe in your heart that the state knows best for children? Well…we’ve seen this sort of thing in Germany, before.

    Even though Germany signed the same agreement most nations on Earth signed, the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights – and that agreement guarantees parents that precise right, to have their children educated as they see fit REGARDLESS of the parent’s personal beliefs or practices? Your country is in violation of an agreement they signed. But then, well, Germany kind of specializes in violating agreements, historically. (I am no fan of Germany today or historically, and their rigid and disgustingly destructive current stand on homeschooling hasn’t altered my view.)

    Well-defined exceptions would be allowed to homeschool? Hmmm. So the government would decide who gets to educate their children, right? And the rest, the vast majority, must follow the party line? Well, that sort of absconding of personal rights and assigning power to the state ends up in only one place – and as a German, you should know exactly where. It is hard to make an error in the direction of MORE freedom. It’s very easy to make an error in the direction of less – and the populace pays the price of that mistake.

    As to duties at home, well, ALL children have duties at home, or they should. That’s one way they contribute to the family that contribute so heavily to them. They can learn and contribute, there are plenty of hours in the day for both, and play, and more. Unless all of one’s hours are regimented, determined by others. The direction Germany always seems to go.

    Get on board! As an educator, you should be fighting for what you’ve already seen works, per your post! Or are you protecting your teaching job?

  9. I would not place the basis of an entire article on anything WND says. Inflammatory and rarely corroborated by any site other than those printing back to them, they tend to twist facts for the largest possible reaction.

  10. Hi Jema,

    That may or not may be the case with WND, but I simply use their article as a starting point. The fact that the Nazis banned homeschool is corroborated in many places, including in their own extensive records. The findings indicated in my article of the European Human Rights Court were that body’s findings. My article is entirely accurate, and I’ll continue to stand by it.

    I REALLY hope that your response here is not intended to a) protect some perverse “golden memory” of Nazis, or b) in any way defend the idea that homeschool should not be legal, or that it should be outlawed, as the Nazis most certainly did outlaw homeschooling. Your critique here is not very useful, regardless, as you’re for some reason attacking a source, rather than the actual ideas and facts presented. Germany HAS banned homeschooling, and does so today, according to numerous German families who’ve written me. And they DO protect the ban with draconian measures which are very well documented through many news services. The case indicated in the article is a very real and very sad case for which I’ve received occasional correspondence. Your own bias against WND does not in any way change the facts, here.

  11. And to think that our own Department of Justice has now said that homeschooling is not a fundamental right.

  12. I am German, and live in Canada where I homeschool. It has been a struggle to discuss homeschooling with my older generation of friends in Germany and my mom here. Now in my 5th year, my mom accepts what I am doing. The rest don’t really understand, but know that trying to convince me otherwise is futile. 🙂
    Germany is a patriarchal society and is very slow to change. This works well for their economy, but not for creativity or schooling. Their schools are getting worse as well according to my younger friends. Most of the older people are set in their ways as it is a safe place to be. Remember, the ones who are alive now and in their 70’s and 80’s went through a very terrible time (not every German supported the Nazis), probably have PTSD, don’t realize it and just want to be safe. I hope that the younger ones are willing to question everything and have the strength to implement ideas that are more liberal in thinking. We are traveling there this year in Sept, so I can at least educate some of my younger friends. Maybe someone should organize some demonstrations, letters to the government, etc? I could see it starting as very tightly controlled by the government and slowly relaxing over many years. Convincing them and the society is the hard part. I keep hearing that Germans are stubborn. 😛 (That would be a reflection of me, btw.)

  13. Hi Iska,

    Well done on homeschooling despite the opposition! Stubborn can be a very good thing. It can always be hoped that younger generations will reconsider the mistakes of their parents – but since they generally receive an education from the older generation, they only know what they’ve been told. A movement IS needed, as you point out. I don’t know how such things work in Germany, but I think a global movement is needed. There are many millions of homeschoolers, and somehow, we need to work together to protect a right that should be universal and inviolable. Government should have absolutely nothing at all to say about how a family chooses to educate their children. No government should, not anywhere. Family life should be regarded as sacred. The decisions parents make for children, and the decisions that young adults such as yourself make for themselves, should be held sacred. We do not live our lives to please governments – or we shouldn’t. Historically, we have governments because an agreement was reached – a strong man or leader would protect the people who would be allowed to live their lives in freedom and safety, with some (minimal) sacrifice to the state to support his efforts. This approach makes sense, so long as that “strong man” or government protects the people WITHOUT INFRINGING ON THEIR PRIVACY OR RIGHTS. And that’s where we’ve all gone backwards.

    Anyway, remain stubborn, and do talk to others when you feel it is appropriate. Homeschooling is very important, and your right to homeschool is essential.

  14. I live in Israel and home schooling was practically unheard of here when I first started home schooling my children in 2002. Of course, I was told by the local school principle that I would go to jail, lose custody of my children, etc. as a way to intimidate me. Funny enough, it was a secretary at the Ministry of Education who told me home schooling was an option for me. I thought it was illegal. Yes, it was illegal, but there was a way for me to get around it. Parents have the ultimate right to make decisions for their children. The state’s laws say school education is mandatory, but parents can receive exemption from this law if they deem schools to be unsuitable for their children. This was a little known “secret” in the system because no one heard of it before. It’s the same in Europe (even if it isn’t upheld by governments).

    Other families were home schooling using the unschooling method; some openly and some in secret, moving constantly so the system wouldn’t find them. Families were threatened with jail, others taken to court.

    I was never threatened. Of course, it helped that I registered my daughter with Calvert School and faxed copies of my daughter’s schoolwork and tests to the school district offices every week. I explained to them that Calvert School is internationally recognized as a distance learning program. If Calvert School wasn’t a good enough school for my child then authorities would have had to close down all other international schools in Israel who used the same international recognition as their only source of legitimacy. There are quite a few of those and diplomat children attend them. I wasn’t rich, but I’m sure there was at least one legal firm willing to back me up without charge. I was asked not to send faxes proving my daughter is learning because the system wasn’t worried about academics. They were concerned with social conformity and said so outright.

    Naturally, the local school fought my decision. The school principle came to my home and actually told me he was against book education because it was more important for a child to be socialized than to learn history and geography. He was the only one in that school who put up a fight. All the teachers – all of them – supported my position for my daughter despite the principle’s objection.

    It took nearly an entire school year to receive exemption from the law and my daughter remained at home throughout that year despite the law that she needed to attend school. There was a constant pressure from the from the local school district for my daughter to return to school, except for the field officer in charge of my case. She gave me support. I stood firm because I know what is best for my children; strangers couldn’t possibly know what’s good for them.

    That same year, 2002, home school became legal in Israel. The system realized there was nothing they could do to prevent home schooling so they were forced to accept it and deal with it the best they could. According to the Ministry of Education’s statistics about 95% of families requesting exemption from the law of mandatory education receive exemption. There is no explanation why the remaining 5% do not receive it. Despite this, many families don’t bother to ask for exemption because they don’t believe they have to ask for permission to do something that is their right to begin with.

    Today the public attitude about home schooling has changed. The “first generation” of home schoolers has “graduated” and people see the benefits. The military sees that home schooled soldiers are an asset. The Ministry of Education is now campaigning for more parents to get involved in the schools and help with teaching values at home. There is more of an emphasis for parents to help with their children’s school work because teachers don’t have the time to teach them in class.

    Parents see that school education isn’t as valuable as they once thought and are now turning to home schooling. Those that don’t turn to home schooling because of their job responsibilities are turning to home schooling families for help in educating their children outside of the school environment, leaving the school as a babysitting service.

    I view parental involvement as a huge positive step. I am looking forward with hope that someday soon home schooling will be the norm in Israel.

  15. Hi Shoshana,

    Well done on sticking to homeschooling! It is surprising that Israel, of all countries,would align themselves in ANY way with an idea that the Nazis gave birth to! I hadn’t heard any of this before. As a Jew, I am completely stunned and rather disgusted. Of course,you know I agree with what you wrote, and believe that the change taking place toward favoring homeschooling is a very good thing. The U.S. government is quietly, grimly toward an attempt at this time to shut down homeschooling – prompted by heavy funding from teacher unions. Might need to move to Israel… Thanks!

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