Monday, July 11, 2011

Decision Tree revisited

I am doing it folks, I'm home-schooling my kids. I'm homeschooling them here, in the United States, and I'm home-schooling them there, in Poland. That's it, that's all that needs to be said on the matter. Now, I just have to figure out *how*... (unless of course we decide not to home-school them, which could also happen :) )

The odds are stacked against me, that's for sure.

Let's do a bit of compare and contrast... color coded for your convenience...

124,798 children currently being home-schooled (just in Texas!)  Over 1,300,000 in the U.S.

Number of Homeschoolers: Over 500 families (in the whole country of about 40 million people)

   a. Homeschools can legally operate as private schools in Texas;

   Legal Status: Homeschooling is legal.
"Unfortunately, homeschooling is still largely underground in post-communist occupied Poland.
Parents often prefer to remain anonymous out of fear from state harassment or prying neighbors. Today’s fight for the right to homeschool is an uphill battle against government interference and a strong dose of post-communist red tape." 

3. As a result of the Leeper decision, homeschools do not have to initiate contact with a school district, submit to home visits, have curriculum approved or have any specific teacher certification. Homeschools need only have a written curriculum, conduct it in a bona fide manner and teach math, reading, spelling, grammar, and good citizenship. If you are contacted by your school district, please contact HSLDA for assistance in drafting a statement of assurance.

"In April 2010 the Polish Parliament passed an amendment to the Education System Act, clearly stating a parent’s right to apply for permission to homeschool from any school headmaster. Currently, there are five Polish schools—both public and non-public—that are very friendly to homeschoolers and grant permission to homeschool. This positive change for homeschoolers has caused the number of homeschool families to skyrocket..."

c. “A state agency may not adopt rules or policies or take any other action that violates the fundamental right and duty of a parent to direct the upbringing of the parent’s child.” Tex. Fam. Code § 151.003.
Standardized Tests: None. The court in Leeper specifically stated that the school district could not mandate standardized testing. 

"...While these positive changes over the past year are cause for much rejoicing, Polish homeschoolers realize that several unsolved problems stand before them. Among these, requirements for homeschooled students to comply with compulsory non-standardized annual academic examinations, as well as forced examinations at psychological-educational centers (both demands are unlawful in the light of anti-discriminatory claims of the Polish Constitution)... "

5. Homeschool graduates are specifically protected by law from discrimination by Texas colleges: “Because the State of Texas considers successful completion of a nontraditional secondary education to be equivalent to graduation from a public high school, an institution of higher education must treat an applicant for admission to the institution as an undergraduate student who presents evidence that the person has successfully completed a nontraditional secondary education according to the same general standards as other applicants for undergraduate admission who have graduated from a public high school.” Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 51.9241.

Shoot...I have no idea what an institution of higher learning would do with a home-schooler in to think about that another day...

Some personal thoughts: 
First and foremost, they are not, and I repeat, they are not, doing any type of forced psychological testing on *my* child, ever, or *anything* "forced," for that matter.  (for all I know, this could literally be someone just making sure we aren't teaching them that the sky is really neon green or something, but you never know...) If we can't get around that somehow, then the deal is off and I'll let the beauraucrats win (oh, I hate those beauraucrats, with their wee beedy eyes, "oh you're going to take my tests, oh...") and we'll put them in regular school... 

Secondly, while all of this sounds kind of difficult,and hairy, and, well, jut tiresome to be completely honest. I can't help but feel that's it's important. So important, that I am willing to talk to whoever I need to talk to, in whatever language I need to speak, for as long as it takes, to make it happen. So, yeah, there are a bunch of hoops, but you know, sometimes stuff is hard, and then you get over it, because you're an adult, and that's what you do.

 I really do hope this answers some of the questions I get daily from friends and family about home-schooling in Poland. If you follow any of the International schooling news ( I don't know why you would, but who knows...) there are several countries where it is a *criminal offense* to home-school your children, like Germany and Norway. Why these countries have to adopt "western" thinking on things that are completely worthless, such as fast food and pop culture, and not something as fruitful and meaningful as home-schooling is beyond me. I assume it's because they are afraid that their comrades,oh, excuse me,  I mean, *citizens*, might actually teach something that isn't approved by the government. The second reason I posted it all is because I think it's important for me to be able to visualize what I am up against, remain utterly thankful for what I have in this wonderful state, that allows it's citizens so much freedom, and remember that home-schooling in Poland is not impossible and hopefully ( fingers crossed!) it will only get better.

And, of course, if worse comes to worse, I'm sure we can always pull out this card, I don't know how, but we could find a way... because gosh darn it, we're doin' it...
Our "CARD:"   It is worth adding that foreign families of European origin who stay in Poland have an undisputed right to home-school here. In addition, American parents and children are totally free from any educational coercion in Poland.





  1. All I can say is: WOW. :)

    Site in Polish about homeschooling.

    But.. for children natural language learning will be in school.
    That's the way for kids.
    In my primary class we had girl from Finland. She didn't speak word in Polish, when she was introduced to the class. But after short time she become one of us. Just like that!

    1. Being around other children is the best way for them to learn the language. we know that, which is why homeschooling is going to be much more of an effort than it is here. We are going to have to go out of our way to make sure they are in clubs and after school programs, Church groups, etc. so they are exposed. Plus, they have about 10 cousins their age (all within 10-45 min. from us) there that only speak Polish. They will be speaking in a matter of weeks, I'm positive!

      And to your point... learning the language and the culture is best done in school, no doubt. But I don't care more about the language and culture of Poland (or America for that matter) than I do for what kind of education and lifestyle I want them to have. So, if it takes a little longer, or it's a little harder, so be it. If we were only going for a couple years, they would def. be in school.