Dana Hanley’s radio interview with Catherina Groeneveld

Last week, Dana Hanley interviewed Catherine Groeneveld, whose Irish family is homeschooling in Germany. Dana begins the interview sharing a bit of her experience in Germany. Ms. Groeneveld explains how and why she has petitioned the European Commission concerning problems her family and other foreigners have faced while homeschooling in Germany.

You can listen to the interview here and you can learn more background of the situation and the petition at HEM News and Commentary.

Natalie Criss of P.E.A.K. – Podcast Interview

I recently learned that Parent Educators and Kids (PEAK) is hosting a fun-filled retreat July 25 and 26th in Mississippi. When I saw that the contact for the event was P.E.A.K.’s founder, Natalie Criss, I got a hold of her to see if she would tell us more about the event.

In addition to helping coordinate great events for P.E.A.K., Natalie lives with her husband and two daughters near Jackson, Mississippi where they have been homeschooling for several years.

You can listen to our interview and enjoy Natalie’s inside glimpse of their upcoming event here. [display_podcast]

Thanks again, Natalie, it was great talking to you! – Mary

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California Update – Interview with Debbie Schwarzer

On June 23, 2008, the California Court of Appeals held their rehearing in regards to In re Rachel L.

Debbie Schwarzer, homeschool Mom, HSC Legal Co-Chair and Attorney attended the hearing and she spoke to me earlier this week to bring us up to date.

You can hear the interview here:[display_podcast]

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Truant, homeschooling or a push-out?

Have you ever heard of the term push-out? It is a newer term that describes a child whose family has been told by their school district that their child would most likely be better off not enrolled there. As hard as it is to believe, the reports keep coming in that this is happening. I’m not complaining mind you, as I believe many a child thrives when given the opportunity to live and learn in an environment with a nurturing family, but I think it should be a family choice, not a coercion.

I’ve know many children who were having a hard time in a school setting who left those circumstances and thrived at home. Susan Ohanian has written about push-outs for many years here. Many push-outs are ending up in the news. Too often we read stories such as the truancy case that Susan Ryan and Valerie Bonham Moon posted today about the Missouri mom jailed for her son’s truancy. Susan and Valerie both provide good resources on this situation and past push-outs in the news.

This is not a new story. A quick search brought up a post at Why Homeschool from February of this year, that talks about Another Case of “Push-out.” If you ask any homeschool activist about push-outs, most will have a story to tell you. Over fifteen years ago, I attended a speaking engagement featuring John Taylor Gatto and he warned the audience then that school districts would start sending their ‘troubled’ students into homeschooling to bring down the bar so to speak. I said then and say now to bring them on and welcome these families and their children with open arms. Share the ropes with them. Tell them about natural learning and that they aren’t alone. There are many, many square pegs that don’t fit into the round hole of public school and homeschooling might be just the safety net that will help their child to flourish.

I’ve read and heard some comments on these cases that state that perhaps these are just cases of abuse or below par parenting? If so, then we are talking about criminal acts and there are laws that address those situations. However, I think there are times where this might be a case of blind judgement. What is the proper way to homeschool, anyway? How does one properly parent? There is a Seneca saying that states: “If you judge, investigate.” My version of this would be before you think a family is not qualified to homeschool, talk to them yourself. Find out where they have come from. How has their child been treated in school? How have they been treated? Put yourself in their place and imagine where they have come from and how much better off their child might be in a loving and nurturing environment. I know there is a book in the works by HEM Publishing that will help these families, but in the meantime, I’ve been wondering something. I have to wonder if we parents have reached a place that we think there are very narrow and proper ways to parent? Are we buying the NCLB mandates of how, when and what a child is to learn at any given age? In this day and time of Zero to Three, Universal Preschool and testing for all mentality perhaps it is high time we stood together as parents, helping new folks if they want help and encouraging those who might be having a hard time of it. Parents are a child’s biggest support network, but sometimes the parents don’t have support. I think as informed parents we can and should start a revolution of empowerment and let others know how to find their rights and responsibilities so that they too can be their family’s best expert.

I hope that Kathleen Casteel and her family are getting that kind of support.

A Parade poll, teacher cruelty and more…

Parade Magazine that is inserted into papers all over the country, has a poll in this weeks issue that asks, Should Home-Schooling Be Illegal? It is in response to the California Appellate Court decision, ” In re Rachel L” that had been issued on February 28, 2008 and the upcoming rehearing concerning the case there.

Susan at Corn and Oil and Dana at Principled Discovery have some excellent posts up about Educational Anarchy. I think we have been anarchists for years, but it will be interesting to watch how the California case proceeds this week.

Valerie Bonham Moon at HEM News and Commentary has information on the situation last week where a school teacher asked her young students to tell a young classmate what they disliked about him??? The teacher then had the children vote whether or not they wanted the young boy to stay and they voted him out of the class. Valerie has links to an interview with the Mom and other resources on the attack that this teacher initiated. I find the whole situation unbelievable.

Toni over at Musings in NC has been sharing her thoughts on the Lynn Paddock trial. She is wisely and kindly not sharing the testimony of the children, but I know that as important updates occur, you can check her blog for her local insight.

Finally this week, the courts in Texas ruled that the FLDS children were wrongfully removed from their homes and they will be returned to their families.

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