|HOME SCHOOLING / INTERNATIONAL|
February 21, 2017
The Last Homeschooling Family in Sweden
What if homeschooling was illegal in your state? What would you do? Would you move to a place where you could homeschool in peace, or would you stay and fight?
It’s a hard question for Americans to answer. Our rights to homeschool have been protected by law in every state for decades.
But in Sweden, one family’s decision to stay and homeschool has resulted in escalating government repression.
Thomas and Marita Sandberg of Mörbylånga, Sweden have endured threats, fines, investigations, and even public shaming as they continue to defend their right to teach their own children.
Taking a Stand
Their tenacity makes them unusual.
According to Swedish National Homeschool Association President Jonas Himmelstrand, who like many of his homeschooling compatriots lives in exile in Finland, the Sandbergs are the “last known homeschooling family in Sweden.”
As a result, Himmelstrand said, “the pressure is intense on this family.”
The Sandbergs have been ordered to pay thousands of dollars in fines. Local school official David Idermark, supported by the chief judicial executive on the National Education Board of Education, denounced the family publicly on television.
Threatening to interfere with the custody of the children, child welfare caseworkers have investigated the Sandbergs—twice. Both times, they found no problems.
“The Sandbergs are determined to fight for their right to stay and homeschool peacefully in their home,” said Himmelstrand. “All investigations into the family demonstrate that the children are healthy, happy, socialized and well educated. Apparently the government just will not stop until all homeschoolers are gone from Sweden.”
We Stand with Them
As HSLDA’s Director of Global Outreach, my message to Swedish officials is simple and forthright: We will not abandon the Sandbergs.
Homeschooling is not going away, and the Swedish government will not succeed in bullying this family out of their fundamental right to educate their children at home.
The right of parents to decide how their children are educated is a fundamental human right. The Swedish government is showing its true colors by stubbornly refusing to allow families in Sweden the right to educational freedom. Home education is accepted in most European countries, but in recent years there has been increasing pressure as governments continue to use school as a means of control.
American homeschoolers need to remember that what is happening in Sweden and Germany now was happening to us just a couple of decades ago. The fight for freedom to homeschool may seem distant, but government repression is not constrained by national borders. It is important that we keep the flame of freedom burning brightly by helping these brave people in Sweden.