Gidday all,

Something below to consider:

Craig Smith


Literacy is a hot topic at the moment, with more and more people leaving
school with low literacy levels. Many children, when asked how they
felt with regards to writing and reading, reply that it is boring,
requires too much effort or they feel the material just isn’t relevant
to their lives or their interests. Research has shown that children are
a lot more encouraged in their writing efforts when they know it has a
purpose (e.g. will be published in a real book). They have also been
found to read more eagerly when the material presented has been written
by other children. The beauty of a book like The Kids Journal is that we
can not only showcase great writing projects ( English, social studies,
history etc), but also photographs and instructions from art and
technology projects, book reviews, cartoons and jokes and even have kids
draw up brainteasers and puzzles for others to solve.


Started by a home educating family and aimed at publishing home
educators work, it has grown considerably, and is now also publishing
work by school children. However, it is still primarily a magazine by
children for children.

The journal idea is based on the “School Journal” format and will
contain as many entries as we can fit in. The Kids Journal is aimed at
not only the best submissions, but for struggling students who have
surpassed all expectations with their effort and commitment on a
project. (Including special needs students).These students deserve to be
recognised for work that does not come easily or effortlessly to them.

What do we envisage for the future?

We are in the process of collecting submissions for specific themed
journals, e.g. The Kids Nature Journal / Egyptology Journal /
Entomologists Journal etc. This would not only be a fun magazine for
children, but would also be a resource for teachers, parents and home
educators. With the enthusiastic start we have experienced, we envisage
this project to really take off.


The Kids Journal is sold at below cost to make it affordable for as many
families as possible. This is possible as we are currently sponsored by
Nature Discoveries, Wakelin Educational Services (Letterland) and
Learnex; which covers our extra publishing costs.

We publish 4 magazines a year, of not less than 40 pages, in A5 size.
Copies cost $5 plus $1.50 pp each. An annual subscription costs $20 +

We really appreciate your support with regards this venture.

For more Information, to send in work for publishing or to order your
copies contact us at:

The Kids Journal
153 Avon Rd

Tel: (03) 2163622 (office hours 10 am to 4pm)

Parents to get truancy reminders


Parents to get truancy reminders

By MARCUS STICKLEY – Nelson | Monday, 25 August 2008

Parents could soon start being prosecuted for taking their children out of school for a holiday, a Nelson principal says.

Primary schools have been reinforcing attendance rules with parents after receiving reminders from the Education Ministry to do so.

Under the Education Act, every pupil enrolled at a registered school must attend the school whenever it is open. Ministry guidelines say it is up to principals to decide whether an absence is justified.

Parents can be prosecuted for not sending their children to school, and fines of $15 a day – up to $150 for a first offence – can be imposed if they are convicted.

Hampden St School principal Don McLean said that for a school to prosecute a parent for taking their child away on holiday would be a “bold thing to do, but maybe it’s not too far away”.

In his school newsletter in May, he told parents that the ministry was taking a “tougher line on attendance and have clearly defined what a justifiable absence is and what truancy is”.

“Some of you may be surprised to hear that if you take your child on an overseas trip in school time, this is considered an unjustified absence and therefore your children are recorded as truant.”

Similarly, a week-long ski trip during school time would also be unjustified, he said in the newsletter.

Mr McLean told the Nelson Mail the school kept a record of pupils who missed school due to family holidays, and he planned to “take parents aside” to discuss the issue if they did it regularly.

“We have to get tough on them.”

However, he said the rules were “one size fits all”, which he did not agree with.

If a pupil was travelling to a destination such as Europe, the cultural education they would get could be more valuable than what they would learn in the classroom in that time, he said.

Mr McLean said four children were currently away overseas, mostly for family reasons.

“There seems to be a lot at the moment.”

Hampden St School parent Andrew Meffan has taken his two children on week-long skiing holidays to Wanaka during the school term in previous years.

He said he planned to do the same next week, staying with members of his extended family in a house that was available to them only at certain times during the year.

“But we don’t want to be on the wrong side of the rules and have a truancy officer knock on our door.”

Mr Meffan said truancy rules needed to be targeted appropriately.

“There needs to be more of an evaluation of cases based on the student and family, and commitment to learning.”

St Paul’s Catholic Primary School principal John Dorman said he had received a letter from the ministry before the start of the school year, saying schools should not condone parents taking their children out of school for holidays.

Craig wrote this letter to the editor:

25 August 2008

Letter to Editor

Nelson Mail


The idea of schools threatening parents with truancy notices for taking their children on holiday demonstrates one of the more obvious characteristics of state schooling institutions: that they are simply prisons or child warehouses, designed to baby-sit kids and keep them off the streets.

A holiday with the family, the MoE apparently informs the schools, is not a “justified” absence from school. So the MoE equates a geographical/cultural/social field trip with a child’s parents and siblings to hanging around the mall or sitting at home watching videos all day. The MoE demonstrates again its disconnection from the real world. Any formal notification by the parents that they are taking the child out of the schooling institution should be justification enough: the parents’ authority should trump that of the MoE any day.


German Youth Authorities Allow Gorber Children Home ‘Temporarily’



August 19, 2008

German Youth Authorities Allow Gorber Children Home ‘Temporarily’

In a surprise decision earlier this week, the Youth Welfare Authorities in Germany, the “Jugendamt,” have allowed the remaining five Gorber children to return home until the beginning of September. The five girls have been kept in youth homes for the last eight months with minimal visitation from their family.

The family’s attorneys have been arguing that there is no valid reason for the Jugendamt to retain custody of the girls. Earlier this month, a German family court judge ordered that the Jugendamt retain custody of the school-age children because the judge feared the parents would refuse to enroll the children in school and undergo court-ordered psychiatric examinations.

Mr. and Mrs. Gorber are so pleased that their children are now home with them. A person close to the family reported that the “children have held up well under the circumstances and have not been susceptible to manipulation by the Jugendamt or other children in the homes. This is a real testimony of the strength of the family and the parents.”

Despite Germany’s inhospitable education laws, the Gorbers have homeschooled there for quite some time, motivated by their sincere religious convictions. In January, authorities seized the Gorbers’ seven minor children in an aggressive raid of the family home conducted while the parents were absent. At the time of the raid, Mr. Gorber was visiting his wife, who was hospitalized due to a complicated pregnancy. The seizure was conducted without advanced notice and required authorities to carry off at least one child “kicking and screaming.”

A similar raid occurred in 2007 when the Jugendamt and police authorities seized Melissa Busekros from her home in Erlangen and kept her in foster homes for months with minimal visitation from her family. Melissa escaped from her foster home in April 2007, and is now at home. She is pressing her case against the state for breaching her and her family’s civil rights.

The Gorbers, too, have vowed to fight on until they regain permanent custody of all of their children.

Homeschoolers in Germany remain gravely concerned about recent changes in federal law that have made it easier for the Jugendamt to seize children from families who homeschool. In July, German President Horst Kohler signed a law that made it easier for the Jugendamt to take German children from families where the children were “endangered.” The term “endangered” is not defined in the law, and German Courts have already ruled that homeschooling is “an abuse of parental rights.”

Another homeschool family in Germany, the Dudeks, were sentenced to 90 days each in jail in July for homeschooling their children. The Dudeks, who receive daily letters of encouragement, told HSLDA that “they so appreciate the letters from American homeschoolers. Some days we are quite depressed about the situation in Germany, and then we go to the mailbox and we read a wonderful note of encouragement from an American homeschooling family. Our children love the letters and have already several pen-pals.”

The Dudeks’ attorneys will be filing their appeal of the conviction this week with the state appeals court in the German state of Hesse. The Dudeks are hopeful that their appeal will overturn their conviction. “Sending people to jail because they homeschool is wrong,” says Juergen Dudek. “We are educating our children well. They are well-adjusted and not deprived in anyway. We have again applied for status of a private school in Hesse. We are willing to work with the authorities to come to an understanding how we can educate our children, but we will not compromise on whether we, as their parents, will educate them. It is our duty and responsibility and our conscience will not allow us to give that up.”

Other families have fled Germany under threat of extraordinary fines, threat of jail and the possible loss of custody of their children. Some have fled to Canada, England, New Zealand, the United States and even Iran to be able to homeschool their children.

“Families should not have to choose between their homeland and homeschooling,” said HSLDA Staff Attorney Michael Donnelly, who coordinates HSLDA’s involvement in Germany, “These families are following their conscience, and Germany is simply out of step to treat parents who choose to educate their own children in this dramatically autocratic way. This kind of behavior by the Federal Republic of Germany is very disturbing. HSLDA is committed to helping persecuted homeschoolers in Germany and calls on state legislators in Germany to take action to change their laws to make homeschooling legal. Homeschooling works and is legal all over Europe—Germany should not be allowed to get away with this kind of repression of a fundamental human right.”

CBN news: Germany Declares War on Home-Schoolers plus video

Click on link above to watch the video in Broadband and Low Band

Scroll down to read the article:

Germany Declares War on


By Dale Hurd
CBN News Senior Reporter
August 11, 2008 – NUREMBURG, Germany – It certainly looks as if the German government has declared open season on Germany’s tiny home-schooling community.

CBN News was first to bring the story of Melissa Busekros to American television last year. The home-schooled teenager was snatched from her family by police in a SWAT style raid and put in a psychiatric ward. After an international uproar, Melissa was returned to her family.

But other home-schooling families face even worse persecution. More and more parents are being sent to prison. Heavy fines are leaving home-schooling families destitute. And more and more children have been taken into state custody.

Throw Back to the Third Reich

Victory for California

Parents Concerned over Home-school Rules

Californians Petition
Home-school Ruling

Exclusive: German
Home-schooler Speaks

They Took Our Daughter

More German Home-
schoolers Face Prison

Germany Crushes
Home Schooling;
Creates Refugees

It’s been 70 years since compulsory education was made law by Adolf Hitler’s government. And in what is eerily reminiscent of the 1930s, more and more home-schooling families have been forced to flee Germany or risk losing their children.

Klaus and Kathryn Landahl fled to England after they were tipped off that authorities were going to take custody of their kids.

The Gorber family, who reside in southern Germany, have had six of their children taken from them by the state.

And Juergen and Rosemarie Dudek each face 3-month jail terms, and are economically ruined from heavy fines.

These are just a few of the cases. But there are only about 400 home-schooling families left in Germany now.

The home-schooling experts CBN News spoke to believe the government wants to wipe out the small home-schooling community here, before it can become popular, like it has in the United States.

“What you’re having now is legitimate full blown persecution. They’re trying to eradicate this movement before it can gain traction and become a popular movement like it has in America,” explained attorney Joel Thornton, President and CEO of the International Human Rights Group, which defends German homeschoolers in court.

In the Bavarian town of Schwabach, attorney Johannes Hildebrandt, who also represents home-schoolers, says the movement is at a critical point.

“In the courts, it is in danger. Home schooling is very strange to the German people. They have no experience with this kind of education,” Hildebrandt said.

The German government’s argument against home schooling as stated by Wolfgang Drautz, German Consul General is that “The public has a legitimate interest in countering the rise of parallel societies that are based on religion or motivated by different world views and in integrating minorities into the population as a whole.”

“Germany does not want the kind of citizens that home schooling produces. They’ve seen how the home-schooling movement in the U.S. developed and they’re very keen on that not happening here,” said German academic Klaus Guenther, who is also an American citizen and was home schooled.

Home schooling Barred to Non-Germans

The Germans don’t even want non-Germans home schooling in Germany.

American missionaries Clint and Susan Robinson moved their family to Germany only to have their visa application turned down because they home school. They now have to leave the country, and are looking to move to Austria, which allows home schooling.

“What we’re trying to do is get a house just across the border so we’re living in Austria, where our visa comes from so the government can’t control us with home schooling,” says Clint Robinson.

Susan added tearfully, “We left our home country and came over here and God supplied this house and the environment and just everything, and now they’re saying ‘no, you can’t stay, you’ve got to leave.’ It’s hard.”

And at the same time that the German government is persecuting home-schoolers in Germany, including Americans who want to homeschool there, Berlin is encouraging its diplomats abroad, including its diplomats in Washington, to home school their children with a state homeschooling curriculum.

Thornton said, “Their officials are actually encouraged to home school and not put their children into American schools and into foreign schools.”

A Questionable Education

A lot of American Christians would have good reason not to want their kids subjected to German state schools. The sex education curriculum is often pornographic, even for young ages, and the occult is often celebrated.

Missionary Robinson told CBN News, “I know of schools right in our area where it’s not just mixed swimming but mixed showering after the swim class is over and mixed locker rooms and then they leave and go to the next class.”

German home-schooler Heiko Krautter told us he would be sinning to put his children in a state school.

He said, “These things in the school, the official state school, they destroy the children. And we teach the children in the things of God. And the people in the official school teach the children in other things, against God.”

Krautter fled Germany after this interview and took his family to Norway.

Thornton believes Germany’s war on home-schooling is just a part of Europe’s war against Christianity.

“This is a battle to eradicate spiritual life from every person in Europe, to eradicate spirituality and Christianity from the culture,” he said.

And the unfortunate victims in this battle are the families who believe educating their children is their God-given right.

Why ‘cotton wool’ children face risk of mental problems

Why ‘cotton wool’ children face risk of mental problems
Evening Standard (UK) 2 August 08
Children do not learn how to cope with life’s setbacks because a ‘cotton wool’ culture stops them experiencing hardships, an education expert claimed yesterday. Sandy MacLean says there is a link between a rise in mental health problems and a culture of entitlement which promotes the belief that success and celebrity do not need effort and hard work. She said youngsters must experience adversity so they develop resilience, but are increasingly protected from life’s hard knocks. Miss MacLean, an adviser to teachers and lecturers on mental health problems among students, blamed a tendency to treat young people like infants who cannot handle responsibility. But this only encourages them to behave like infants, she said.

Society has become too focused on the feelings of the individual, meaning young people ‘think that they are the centre of the world and blow out of proportion any setbacks or challenges in life’, she added. ‘Young people are not fragile  –  they can be likened to springs or balls,’ she said. ‘People can bounce back psychologically after being knocked out of shape, just like in nature.’

Miss MacLean said mental illness is on the increase, with 11 per 08cent of the UK’s 16 to 24-year-olds having a major depressive disorder. One in ten children between the ages of five and 16 is said to have a ‘clinically recognisable’ mental disorder. And there is evidence from the Institute of Psychiatry that the number of teenagers with emotional and behavioural problems doubled between 1974 and 1999.

Miss MacLean told the Times Educational Supplement that part of the problem is a culture of entitlement which vaunts instant success, increases self-obsession and undermines resilience. She also called for a fundamental change in attitudes towards feelings of negativity. ‘People are frightened of negative emotions,’ she said. ‘This encourages them to try to suppress their emotions. Paradoxically, research shows this causes more of the negative sensations they didn’t want. ‘People think bad feelings don’t have a purpose, that feelings such as guilt, shame and frustration are only negative  –  but research shows such sensations can galvanise us to do things differently. We need them to succeed.’