As the government intensifies its persecution of homeschoolers in Sweden, the president of the Swedish Association for Home Education (ROHUS) has finally been forced into exile with his family in neighboring Finland. The battle for human rights and homeschooling in the Scandinavian kingdom, however, is far from over.
The Swedish Parliament passed a draconian law in 2010 purporting to ban homeschooling, all school curriculums except the Swedish government’s, and all alternative education nationwide. Despite a global outcry, the prohibition went into effect last year. Dozens of families were left wondering what fate might await them. But so far, the official persecution campaign has backfired in a stunning way.
After fighting a valiant years-long battle for the right to homeschool in his native land, ROHUS chief Jonas Himmelstrand (photo) — probably the most prominent advocate for homeschooling in Scandinavia — decided it was time to join more than a dozen families that have already fled. The persecution was only getting worse, and there was not much cause for optimism about the immediate future.
Until recently, Himmelstrand still held on to some hope. He had decided to stay and keep fighting — at least until the situation deteriorated further. Late last year, however, that time came. It had finally become intolerable.
Local school officials reported the Himmelstrand family to the social services in November when their 7-year-old son did not show up for mandatory schooling. Jonas Himmelstrand — like many other homeschoolers in Sweden — was forced to meet with local “social” officials to explain himself.
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