July 31, 2014

Swedish home education leader goes into political exile: “The dangers for the family were too great.”

Riksföreningen för Hemundervisning i Sverige – Rohus

“In the end, the safety of my family could no longer be guaranteed. The threats from Uppsala municipality were too many, too brutal, and every invitation to dialogue was turned down. The actions of the Uppsala local government could hardly be interpreted in any other way than as a hidden message of deportation”, says Jonas Himmelstrand, President of the Swedish Association for Home Education (ROHUS), regarding the silent move of his family from Sweden to the Aland Islands, Finland, in a form of political exile.

The Himmelstrands have had a conflict with Uppsala municipality about the right to home educate for three and a half years. The top Municipal Commissioner, Ms. Cecilia Forss of the Moderate Party, is politically responsible and claims to be well familiar with the case. From the start the lawyer for the municipality chose an extremely restrictive interpretation of the school law. After two years of struggle the Himmelstrands finally got a leave of appeal at the Kammarrätten, the Swedish mid-level court, where the verdict was still pending when the Himmelstrands left Sweden. Even with this leave of appeal, Uppsala municipality still directed a modern form of political persecution of the family which escalated in the months before the family left Sweden.

In November 2011 the principal of the school that was enrolling the Himmelstrand’s youngest home educated son reported the parents to the local social authorities. The report was filed the day after Jonas Himmelstrand debated home education on national radio with the chair of the Educational Committee of the Swedish Parliament, Margareta Pålsson of the Moderate Party. It is not known whether these events were connected or not. The reporting principal had never met Mr. Himmelstrand or his seven-year-old son. However, she did know that the Himmelstrand family were already homeschooling their 13 year old daughter and had now filed the application forms to home educate their son.  The principal reported the parents to the social authorities stating in three sentences that she was concerned that the child was not in school. When directly questioned she said it was ”routine” to submit such a report. No higher official has yet responded as to the legal nature of this ”routine” report which appears to be calculated hostility towards the family.

Jonas Himmelstrand met with the social authorities without his son. The social worker was somewhat surprised at the minimal information the principal had provided and the fact that no meeting had taken place before the report was submitted.  The social authorities decided not to do any further investigation of the family. In their report they concluded that this was a question for educational law and not a matter for the social authorities. The Himmelstrands were lucky. Not everyone called to the Swedish social authorities has been this lucky. Every Swedish home educator knows about Dominic Johansson who was taken into custody for home educating. Before leaving the social services office, Jonas Himmelstrand asked if the safety of the family could be guaranteed while home educating in Sweden. He was told that if he wanted to home educate safely he should leave Sweden.

Just before Christmas the Children’s Board of the Uppsala municipality, led by Ms. Cecilia Forss, applied at court for a fine of $26,000 USD for home schooling one child, the Himmelstrand’s daughter, for the school year 2010-2011. According to ROHUS sources, this amount is nearly ten times higher than any homeschooling family has been assessed in recent years.  ”It is hard to interpret this excessive amount in any other way than as a punishment for being President for ROHUS and for my international criticism of Swedish family policies”, says Jonas Himmelstrand.

During 2011 Jonas Himmelstrand presented a critical view of Swedish family policies, based on his own research, in nine cities in eight countries on two continents, including the UN in New York. This was done in the role of family research expert at the Swedish family association Haro, and as the founder of the Mireja Institute, a Swedish secular pro-family think-tank. Jonas Himmelstrand is also the chairman of the board of the world’s first global home education conference, scheduled to take place in Central Europe in November 2012.

After being informed about the $26,000 USD fine, Jonas Himmelstrand wrote a sharply worded letter to Ms. Cecilia Forss and asked if she felt it was reasonable to devastate the financial stability of a family for the sake of a controversial political principle. Mr. Himmelstrand also wrote that he perceived the threat to the family of a sum which they could never pay to be a form of hidden deportation. Ms. Cecilia Forss chose not to answer the letter directly. However, two weeks later a letter arrived with another decision from the Children’s Board, again led by Ms.  Cecilia Forss, asking the court for a new fine for the current school year of approximately $15,000 USD.

”It is not possible to live in a country where leading politicians are ready to financially ruin a family for the sake of ideology, and threaten families with the sometimes incompetent, but always powerful Swedish social authorities. Beyond that, they have refused every invitation to meet and discuss the situation. It is not healthy to live under such stress,” says Jonas Himmelstrand.

The Himmelstrand family quietly left Sweden in early February and are today living on the Aland Islands in Finland, where home education is allowed under Finnish law. ”It is an incredible relief, and only now are we starting to understand the degree of pressure we have lived under for many years”, says Jonas Himmelstrand. ”At the same time it is an almost surreal experience to be forced to leave Sweden for an issue which in most of the democratic world, and by the UN, is regarded as a human right.”

The Himmelstrands are not alone in leaving Sweden and living in exile due to their desire to home educate. During the last two years about a dozen families have left Sweden for the same reason. ”We have several Swedish home educating families as neighbors on the Aland Islands,” says Jonas Himmelstrand.

Even if half of the board members now live in exile in Denmark and on the Aland Islands in no way will this diminish the work of ROHUS. ”In fact, we will be more effective when we do not feel our families are under threat”, says Jonas Himmelstrand.

Home education is regarded by the UN as a valid form of education under the concept of ”the right of education”. Home education is permitted in most of the world’s democracies with the exception of Germany (under their school law of 1938) and now Sweden. The research on home education shows excellent student results both academically and socially. Removing the choice to home educate must therefore be seen as an infringement on a human right.  Those who are punished for home education must be seen as politically persecuted, and those who are forced to emigrate as going into political exile.

To read this article to to:

http://www.mynewsdesk.com/se/view/pressrelease/swedish-home-education-leader-goes-into-political-exile-the-dangers-for-the-family-were-too-great-737463

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From the Smiths:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/craig-smith-26-january-1951-to-30-september-2011/

Updated 24 February 2012: Life for Those Left Behind (Craig Smith’s Health) page 6 click here

*****

Needing help for your home schooling journey:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/needing-help-for-your-home-schooling-journey-2/

And

Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:

http://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

http://hef.org.nz/exemptions/

This link is motivational:
http://hef.org.nz/category/all-about-education/

Ten P’s in a Pod

Ten P’s in a Pod


Author: Arnold Pent III
Format: Hardback (198 pages)
Age Range: Great for the Entire Family

$40.00

” During these uncertain times of political and financial instability and hardship, God has an answer for each one who turns to Him in faith. We know this, but when it comes to excercising our faith in troubled times, it can be hard. Joy in the trials comes from God alone, through the working of His Holy Spirit, and keeps us depending on Christ Jesus for our life. In so doing, our lives will change for eternity. To encourage you, we are offering this book at basically cost, to encourage your family in your faith, and your walk with Jesus. These are times of the greatest opportunity for all of us to seek the Lord’s guidance as we have never done and to see His hand in ways beyond our human reasoning. Over the next year, if God changes your life because of the impact of the book and you can relate something God has done as a result of your faith being increased in your family, write me a letter and give testimony to it. This will be a blessing to all of us and certainly bring encouragement to me and all of my family.” – Mr. Arnold Pent, author of Ten P’s in a Pod.

Future historians may look back on the Arnold Pent family and describe them as the “first modern home school family.” Long before there were any state home schooling organizations or curriculum fairs, Arnold Pent declared his independence from government education and his dependence on Jesus Christ in the training of his children.

No one told him to do this. He simply read the Bible and determined to follow the clear principles found within its pages and to be obedient to God — regardless of the consequences.

Like all great visionary leaders, Arnold Pent was a man with many wonderful directives for his family. The world would probably describe these initiatives as eccentricities, but they were not.


Read World Magazine’s Review

In fact, Arnold Pent discovered something that all fathers would be well advised to consider: True Christian leadership in the household is born in the fire of adversity. The noblest and most God-blessed expressions of biblical fatherhood are cultivated always and only by taking the path less traveled.

I feel a special kinship to the Pent family. As a boy, I traveled constantly with my father, having visited forty-nine of the fifty states by the time I was eighteen. I sat with him for tens of thousands of miles and listened to books on tape, sermons, histories, and theology lectures. They were glorious times. We discussed everything, we saw great sights, and I always felt like I was a part of my father’s life mission. There is no doubt in my mind that my life was shaped by a father who made it his commitment to have me by his side and to daily speak words of life and love into my heart.

As Beall and I seek to raise our own children in the fear and admonition of the Lord, I daily think back to the example established for me by my father, and desire with all my heart to be for my children what my father was for me. Ten P’s in a Pod has not only filled our house with laughter, but it has reminded me of the mission that God has set before my bride and me. For this, I am truly grateful.

Over the years, many readers have been attracted to the endearing stories of family life found in such classics as Kathryn Forbes’ Mamma’s Bank Account (also called I Remember Mamma), Clarence Day’s Life with Father, and Frank Gilbreth’s Cheaper by the Dozen. The beauty of this book is that it combines the very best elements of those classics, but with a distinctive and uncompromising Gospel message. As a publisher, I consider it the highest honor that the Lord and His servants, the Pent family, have allowed Vision Forum to bring to press what we believe will be a new classic for twenty-first century families.

To order do one of the following:

send email to sales@hef.org.nz with visa number

post cheque or visa number to PO Box 9064, Palmerston North

fax 06 357-4389

phone 06 357-4399

order here:  http://www.sella.co.nz/user/hef/display-80/

Information from: http://www.visionforum.com/search/productdetail.aspx?search=ten+p%27s+in+a+pod&productid=85726

Genevieve’s baby

baby1

Peter and Genevieve de Deugd together with their parents, Henk and Sue and Craig and Barbara, would like to praise the Lord for the arrival of Natalie Elizabeth born at 9:07pm on Saturday, 20 December 2008 weighing 10 lbs 5! The Lord answered all Pete’s and Genevieve’s prayers for a natural, drug-free labour and also that they would be able to be thankful and joyful in the face of any complications needing medical intervention for which they are very grateful.

After the birth Genevieve was taken to theatre requiring surgery and stabilization due to heavy blood loss (nearly 3ltrs). She spent the night in intensive care and an extended stay in hospital for observation. She is very weak but otherwise recovering steadily and enjoying with Pete the wonders of new parenthood.

As for Natalie, her name is one which honours the birth of our Lord and Pete and Genevieve’s desire for her is that she will honour Him with her whole life. Thus she is also called Elizabeth, “consecrated to the Lord.”

May the Lord God be praised from everlasting to everlasting. His mercies are new every morning. All we have needed His hand has provided. May our mouths always speak of His magnificent goodness!

PS. As much as Pete and Genevieve would love visitors and  phone calls, Genevieve’s weakness and need for rest means this should probably be put off for the next few weeks.

(Note from Genevieve’s Mum – Due to the huge blood loss, about 60% of her body’s blood, please let Genevieve rest. She is sleeping most of the time. You can email her or send land mail. She probably wont reply straight away and may take some time to reply.)

Concerned teachers seek police help

Perhaps schools are the wrong place for these children.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10535486&ref=emailfriend

Concerned teachers seek police help

4:00AM Friday Oct 03, 2008
By Martha McKenzie-Minifie
Teachers are asking for more help from police to handle students who act up in class, as they abandon a suggestion to establish “timeout rooms” in high schools for troublemakers.

A new disruptive students paper by the Post Primary Teachers Association’s Hutt Valley region showed teachers faced verbal abuse, physical attacks in class and had students turn up with weapons or high on drugs.

A survey, released at this week’s PPTA conference, found almost one in 10 teachers surveyed were frightened of students with severe behaviour problems.

Hutt Valley region executive member Martin Henry said delegates yesterday voted to pressure the Government to call a conference where teachers, police, Child Youth and Family and other groups could work directly together.

“It’s not just teachers that are going to solve this problem – there’s a whole lot of societal factors that come in as well,” said Mr Henry. “These students don’t come to schools without a whole lot of issues.”

He said the earlier suggestion to push for timeout rooms in secondary schools as a place to send problem students in the heat of the moment was yesterday withdrawn.

“They were looking at the room and it’s not the room that’s the important thing – it’s what you do with the kids,” said Mr Henry.

Members also voted to push ahead with a controversial plan for the PPTA to work to amend legislation to allow information sharing about students with a history of high-risk behavioural problems that may put members of a school at risk.

Mr Henry said teachers were frustrated to discover new students had behaviour problems they were not warned about because of privacy laws.

“It’s not about blacklisting kids or schools, it’s about doing better things for them.”

Father to Son: Manly Conversations That Can Change Culture

Watch for this to come to New Zealand:

From the Botkins

http://visionarydaughters.com/

Announcing…

We are proud to announce our family’s latest project: “Father to Son: Manly Conversations That Can Change Culture” — a six-part DVD series on the father-son relationship, coming this Fall. (That is our spring so this will be out soon. )

We’re moving into the post-production process right now. We consider this to be one of the most significant productions our family has ever embarked on. We’d appreciate your help circulating the news about this exciting new series!