More than 70 individuals from 20 countries gathered in Paris last month to encourage one another and discuss how to advance homeschool freedom in Europe.
Home education is under regulatory pressure in Europe like never before. In the past three years, new restrictions have been proposed or imposed in England, France, Portugal, Hungary, and other countries.
HSLDA is committed to fighting for homeschooling rights in Europe and around the world because we believe every family should be able to enjoy the opportunity to homeschool without unreasonable government interference. Today, HSLDA’s support of national organizations through advocacy and practical support is making a difference.
Hundreds of families around the world are discovering that homeschooling gives their children the opportunity to thrive and progress while engaged in real-world learning. They are often delighted to find that their children’s social skills increase as they learn from and connect with their communities.
My friend Jean-Baptiste Maillard, secretary-general of the French homeschool advocacy group Liberté Education, was one of the participants at the summit.
“It was amazing to gather in Paris and share experiences, ideas, and strategies,” he told me.
During the conference I was able to encourage all the gathered leaders by sharing the history of our fight for homeschool freedom in the United States. Those who hear this story are often amazed at the number of homeschooled children in the US today. Hearing how homeschooling pioneers never gave up but got organized strengthens these leaders’ resolve.
Carla Konta, a home education advocate from Croatia, told me, “I don’t have enough words to thank all of you for this extraordinary opportunity and gift, for the chance to meet you all and have wonderful, insightful conversations, lectures, brainstorming. I brought home an amazing deal of ideas, strategies, and inspirations for the future of homeschooling in Croatia.”
Learning from Each Other
I heard dozens of similar expressions of gratitude and appreciation at the conference. The homeschool movement is still emerging in Europe. Just like the early homeschooling parents in the United States, these parents and advocates receive invaluable energy and confidence by gathering together, remembering that they are not alone, and feeling one another’s support.
HSLDA founder Michael Farris once told me, “If we don’t defend freedom everywhere, there won’t be freedom anywhere.” Today, it is England, France, Hungary, and Portugal where homeschoolers face growing oppression. But tomorrow, it could be Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, or California. As Ronald Reagan said, “We don’t pass freedom on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for and defended and then handed on to them to do the same.”
It’s a privilege to help international leaders champion homeschool freedom. HSLDA members and supporters like you make this possible. Thank you for supporting our work and for keeping our fellow homeschooling families around the world in your prayers as they work hard to advance homeschool freedom!