March 22, 2005

Homeschooling is Growing in Hungary and Romania - But They Need Your Help

Homeschooling is steadily growing in Hungary and Romania as more parents turn away from the secular government schools.

Three years ago, Dr. Robert Rapp of Westminster Biblical Missions (WBM) contacted Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) and asked for help with the organization of homeschooling in these two countries. At that time, there were only five identifiable families homeschooling in Hungary, and none of them had contact with one another. In Romania, there was nothing at all, not a single homeschooling Romanian family. Dr. Rapp's mission, however, was training Hungarians and Romanians to be pastors and to plant churches. After graduation these young men started homeschooling and successfully planted churches in Hungary and Romania.

They are now convincing members of their congregations to homeschool.

HSLDA urged them to start national homeschool associations, which are now growing in both countries.

For the past three years, the associations have held spring and fall homeschool conferences, developed a homeschooling newsletter, and seen many more families turning to homeschooling outside their congregations. The Hungary Home School Association, directed by Reverend Imre Szoke, just had a conference in Miskolc, Hungary, with Dr. Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute as the guest speaker. Twenty-five adults and 22 children attended.

In Hungary, parents wanting to homeschool their children can generally enroll them in a nearby school and teach them at home. This requires cooperation from local authorities, but local authorities have an incentive because the state pays schools for the number of students they have enrolled. Therefore, local authorities usually allow this arrangement and only ask for monthly testing to make sure that the children are keeping up with their material. In the meantime, the parents can teach from a Christian vantage point and homeschool in a parent-controlled environment.

In Romania, WBM's mission workers have developed the Romania Home School Association (RHSA), directed by Curcubet Gabriel, and several hundred parents have indicated a desire to homeschool their children. Romania is a larger country and the mission has more workers there. But there is a problem. Homeschooling is not yet legal. The one good thing that can be said of the situation is that regional authorities are not, at the moment, trying to stop it. Therefore, RHSA has gone ahead boldly. They hold conferences twice a year, publish a paper, advocate homeschooling over radio and TV and - most importantly - have 18 students enrolled in a dozen locations. HSLDA has partnered with Christian Liberty Academy of Arlington Heights, Illinois to provide homeschooling curriculum for needy families in these two countries.

HSLDA has also been helping RHSA lobby their Parliament to make homeschooling officially legal. This includes providing them with letters from U.S. Congressmen calling for their government to support homeschooling.

HSLDA especially wants to bring the work in Romania to your attention because it needs your help to set up an office, allowing it to take serious steps toward legalizing homeschooling in that land. RHSA cannot stand still. It must move forward or lose the battle. Moving forward means having an office of its own, a full time director and a secretary if it is to meet the challenge of legalizing homeschooling in Romania.

It would be a great encouragement, therefore, to these new believers in Romania and their children if some in our land of prosperity could give a generous gift at this time. Gifts totaling $6,000 would pay the rent and utilities of an office for a year. Another $4,000 would pay the yearly salary of a full-time director and $2,500 would pay for a secretary. And $10,000 would provide office equipment and funds for travel to promote homeschooling. The RHSA needs your help to succeed.

If you wish to make a tax-deductible gift to the homeschool families in Romania and Hungary please send your gift to the Home School Foundation and designate it "Homeschooling in Romania" or "Homeschooling in Hungary." We will ensure the funds are sent to the homeschooling associations in each country.

You can contribute on-line at https://secure.hslda.org/HSF/support.asp or send a check to The Home School Foundation, PO Box 1152, Purcellville, VA 20134.

Thank you for your support.

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