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February 23, 2011

Continued Battle for Homeschooling

Speak Out on Behalf of Swedish Homeschoolers

Swedish homeschoolers continue to face battle after battle in a long fight to protect their right to direct the education of their children. The Angerstig family and other homeschool families in Sweden have faced hefty fines, threats from authorities, and the denial of their due process rights. Several families have even been forced to flee Sweden. A Swedish newspaper included an article on the situation in its February 22 edition. The families ask that you take a moment to read the article and another moment to post a comment.

Please read the English translation below and then visit the Uppsala Nya Tidning website to post a comment.

  1. View the original article online
  2. Scroll down below the Swedish article and click on “Kommentara Artikeln” ("Comment on the article")
  3. Enter a subject, comment, and your personal information
    • Förnamn = first name
    • Efternamn = last name
    • E-postadress = email address
  4. Click the box stating “Jag har taget...regler” (“I have read the rules”)

Note: This article is a translation of the original in Swedish that appeared in the newspaper Uppsala Nya Tidning.

Photo caption: Lisa Angerstig wants to homeschool her 13-year-old son.

The struggle goes on for two families in Uppsala who want to have the right to homeschool their children. Yesterday one of them turned in their appeal to a higher administrative court, the Kammarrätten.

In January this year the lower administrative court in Uppsala, Sweden said in their verdict that the Uppsala municipality was right in their decision concerning the families’ desire to homeschool. The verdict was that the children have to go to school and that the parents will be fined as long as the children are kept home.

Lisa and Per Angerstig want to homeschool their 13-year-old son. The couple’s other three children go to school. The motives for the denied permission to homeschool their son is the same as in their previous court cases. The court does not think that the parents have enough knowledge in the school subjects to teach grade six, and it emphasized the social training that children get in school. The Angerstigs had permission to homeschool their son until the fourth grade. During fourth grade their son went to school. When the parents again applied for permission to homeschool for fifth grade the Children’s Committee (barn- och ungdomsnãmnden) in the municipality said no.

Lisa Angerstig was born and raised in the United States, where homeschooling is common. She thinks the court’s verdict is wrong. She cannot understand what it is that makes the court doubt her capacity to teach her son. When her son went to fourth grade in school he was as good or better as the other pupils in all subjects, according to a testimony from the principal of the school. Based on materials from the Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket) Lisa has herself created individual development plans (individuella utvecklingsplaner) for all subjects.

“I am highly educated,” Lisa states. “How am I not qualified? Neither the Committee nor the court can give an answer to that.”

The argument about social training she finds hard to understand. In his free time her son plays both hockey and floor-ball, and according to her, often has friends at their house. Per and Lisa Angerstig have in many different ways tried to show that they can manage to homeschool. But they do not feel that the municipality officials and local politicians have wanted to listen to them. Only on one occasion during the autumn of 2009 were they allowed to meet the Children’s Committee. No one, she says, has ever talked to her son. Her sense is that the real reason for the court verdict comes from the general view of homeschooling in Sweden, not about her academic knowledge or her son’s social abilities.

“I am surprised that we do not get permission to homeschool in Sweden, that individuals do not have the right to choose,” says Lisa.

On Monday Per and Lisa Angerstig handed in their appeal to the Kammarrätten. But there is no guarantee that the court will take on the appeal.

Despite this, Lisa says, “We will continue to homeschool. No matter the size of the fine, there is nothing that will make me change my mind.”