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April 26, 2012

Russia: A Social Network for Home Educators

By Pavel Parfentiev

Families participating in the new “Home Education in St. Petersburg” support group

Home educating families in Russia are gradually creating their own informational resources. Among those resources are several projects known to home educators nationwide, such as the Family Education project. This project was started by the family of Igor and Valentina Chapkovsky, who were one of the pioneering families of the modern home education in Russia. Among other popular resources are the Freedom in Education project and the website of the Interregional Public Organization For Family Rights, which, among other activities, helps home educating families in Russia protect their rights under the law.

Recently, a new project for the Russian home educating families started. The “Learning at Home: Home Education in Russia” project is a specialized social network that can be used by the home educating families for common projects, communication, sharing experiences, and more. It was specially designed to satisfy the needs of the home educating community with its different approaches and requests. The website includes a huge amount of possibilities for each registered user—by the way, the registration and participation is completely free of charge‐including personal blogging, private personal messages, and creating closed and open communities, which could include regional groups, special interests communities, common projects, and more. The site also includes a Q&A service, a bulletin board where individuals can post announcements, a resources catalogue—to which users can add—and also an articles section where interesting materials are published, as well as external links to home education related publications on the internet.

The project is an independent initiative created with the help of IPO “For Family Rights,” but operates separately and is run by a relatively small project team. The Learning at Home network is open for all home educators and home education related specialists, regardless of views, opinions, or approaches. It functions as a community agency under Article 3 of the Russian Federal Law on Public Associations and was launched in January 2012.

Contact the “Learning at Home” Social Network.

Home Education in St. Petersburg

In another significant development, a club for home educating families began in St. Petersburg in December 2012. St. Petersburg is one of the biggest cities in the Russian Federation with a rapidly growing interest in the home education option. For a long time many home educating families there wished to have a place for meetings, communication and socializing. Now they have such a place: the new club “Home Education in St. Petersburg” conducts its monthly meetings in one of the state city schools (which have traditionally been friendly and supportive towards home educators).

Each month about 30 mothers and fathers attend meetings (some with their children) where they can talk about different aspects of their home education experiences, gain mutual support and encouragement, and meet with more experienced home educators.

Families participating in the new “Home Education in St. Petersburg” support group

The number of participants is gradually growing, and they already have plans to organize family recreation activities. Participation in the meetings is free of charge.

The club was started with the support of IPO “For Family Rights,” yet works independently as a community agency under Article 3 of the Russian Federal Law on the Public Associations. The IPO “For Family Rights” helps many Russian home educating families to protect their rights and interests under the law.

In addition to encouraging home educating families to meet and socialize, the club also plans to advocate for the protection of the rights of its members and to promote the public interests of home educators on the municipal and regional level.

Contact the “Home Education in St. Petersburg” Club.

Pavel Parfentiev is Chairman of the IPO “For Family Rights,” an advocacy and legal organization for home educators in Russia.

Learn more by visiting HSLDA’s Russia webpage.