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February 5, 2010

Homeschoolers Sought for German-American ePal Program

Homeschool Legal Defense Association continues to assist homeschool families in Germany who face severe persecution including crushing fines, imprisonment, and loss of custody of their children. A change in German law, however, will require a change in the way Germans view home education.

Part of HSLDA’s strategy to improve Germany’s views is to use cross-cultural exchange programs to educate German citizens on the benefits of home education. One of these programs, which HSLDA fully supports, is the German-American ePal Program.

This program connects American homeschool families with German families, benefiting everyone involved. American homeschool students (ages 12–17) are paired with same-gender German students who become “ePals” and correspond via email. This helps German students improve their English and gives homeschoolers a unique cultural learning experience. More importantly, it creates an excellent opportunity to expose German students to the advantages of homeschooling by allowing them to receive inside information from an actual homeschool student.

HSLDA Staff Attorney Michael Donnelly commends the ePal Program:. “A cross-cultural program like this can only be helpful for homeschool freedom in Germany.”

Fourteen-year-old homeschooler Claire Gleason and her mother, Susan, developed the program in 2008 during an annual trip to Germany. While Claire's primary purpose for starting the program was to improve her German, she says her typing/computer skills have also improved, and she thoroughly enjoys the new friendships.

“Most find homeschooling extremely interesting” Claire says. “My ePals have been enthusiastic about the program and are consistent about writing.”

The Gleasons (HSLDA members) are both fluent in German and are connected with many public and private schools in Germany. Through the ePal program, they are seeing a new understanding of home education among Germans. Susan reports that many teachers in Germany are astounded by the concept of homeschooling and think it is a great idea.

Join other homeschoolers across the nation who are participating in the ePal program. For more information and to sign up, visit the German-American ePal Program website.

There is a one-time enrollment fee:

  • U.S. Homeschoolers: $6
  • Family Fee: $10 (if you have 2 or more homeschoolers in your household) Homeschool America Inc. has partnered with the German American ePal program and oversees American applications.