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April 26, 2012

Families Choose to Homeschool under Hardship

By Gabriel Curcubet

The Romania Home Schooling Association held its latest conference on March 24 in Szekelyudvarhely, which is in central Romania. We originally had a promise from a Romanian businessman who wanted to make a big splash by sponsoring a large conference for teachers, students, and homeschool parents with a foreign speaker. This businessman then changed his mind in January. However, we knew there were families wanting to start homeschooling this year that needed our encouragement in this. So we went ahead with them in mind, and with HSLDA’s help, and were not disappointed. We wanted to help these families now, so they would still have time to enroll their children in US umbrella schools this year. So we carefully chose our topics, which included: What is homeschooling?, How the state usurped from parents the right to educate their children, The proven success of home education, Why start homeschooling in Romania in 2012?, What about the current law?, and frequently asked questions.

Initially we had 50 families that pre-registered, though 18 withdrew due to sickness, finance and other reasons, leaving 32 families who came. But everyone who attended the conference told us that the conference helped them decide to homeschool their children. This means that all these parents are heroes for the following reasons:

  1. This decision will affect their family budget. Low salaries and growing prices are a reality all over the world, but in Romania, 41% of the population is on the edge of poverty and 23% are under the poverty line. One of the families attending our March 24 conference told us they are living in a house made of reeds, but still want to be faithful Christians and homeschool their children in spite of their economic condition.
  2. This decision will anger local school authorities who do not want to lose income from the state (the state pays the school based on the number of children). This means that the government could try to take their children from these families.
  3. This decision goes against the position of mainline Christian churches which agree with state or so-called private education based on the national curriculum and state-approved textbooks. Some “veteran” homeschool Christian families have been rejected by their “faithful” churches.

The number of families in the Romanian homeschool community is still low compared to the US or UK. Yet people here continue to choose to homeschool in spite of a hostile environment and a bad education law, which does not allow parents to educate their children at home unless the children are enrolled in a foreign school. This is currently the only way to homeschool legally in Romania. Often, it means that parents must teach their children in the language of the foreign school. Only a small number of homeschool parents have the possibility of teaching their children in the Romanian language.

Conference attendees and sessions at the Romanian Home Schooling Association’s conference in March 2012

Two important decisions resulted at the end of this conference: We want to organize a nationwide conference for “veteran” homeschoolers in fall 2012, and we want to organize regional conferences as far as possible in every part of Romania. A small group of homeschool parents in Transylvania has already decided to organize a homeschool weekend for their region in the town of Cluj in May 2012. In this way we hope to encourage the development of homeschool support groups.

Participants in our March 24th conference bought copies of Chris Klicka’s book Home Schooling: The Right Choice, which has been translated into the Romanian language. They bought some additional copies for their relatives and friends too.

Please pray for this new group of Romanian homeschoolers to be faithful in their decision to homeschool their children. Please pray for upcoming regional conferences and the nationwide conference in the fall. Please pray for resources to help homeschoolers who are in great financial need, not because of laziness, but due to conditions in Romania. Please pray that our lecturers will be able to travel to the regional conferences. Please pray for Romanian homeschoolers who face hostility from authorities, churches, and sometimes within their own families. And please ask God to help us continue to coordinate the work among Romanian homeschoolers (both Romanian- and Hungarian-speaking) and for our battle to legalize homeschool in Romania.

Gabriel Curcubet is the president of the Romanian Home Schooling Association.

Learn more by visiting HSLDA’s Romania webpage.