Friday, March 27, 2009

Inoculating our youth

As I have mentioned before, the family I work for home schools.  If you were living in the U.S. or likely any other part of the European Union, this wouldn't be considered a big deal.  However in Germany, this is something that is completely unheard of.  Parents are handed fines, thrown in jail, and have their children taken away if they refuse to put their children in public school and instead educate them at home.  The number of home schoolers in Germany is in the mere hundreds.

Home schooling in Germany was outlawed by Hitler in 1938.  One would think that because of this act being associated with Hitler, Germany would immediately make it legal once again.  This is not how they have chosen to go about it.  The powers that be have made the decision to continue with this law, saying that it is because they want to create a plural society and in order to do so they must keep all children in the public school system (or a private school, which is also heavily influenced by the government) in order to "properly" educate them about the rest of the world they live in.  This is also to create "acceptable" citizens, those who are aware and tolerant of the different societies in the country which they live in. states cultural pluralism as: a condition in which many cultures coexist within a society and maintain their cultural differences.  So the question is begged to be asked.  Isn't tolerance of home schooling and other "cultures" a part of pluralism?

An article on home schooling in Germany featured in the Jan/Feb 2009 HSLDA magazine is quoted saying, "Those who would shape society know that in order to do so, they must control education, because the children of today are the culture of tomorrow."  The German government (along with the rest of the world) knows that children are extremely vulnerable at such a young age and can be taught and molded into exactly how the they would see fit.  Hitler said it himself, "The youth of today is ever the people of tomorrow.  For this reason we have set before ourselves the task of inoculating our youth with the spirit of this community of the people at a very early age, at an age when human beings are still unperverted and therefore unspoiled." 

It seems apparent that there is a heavy amount of socialism placed upon the government system in Germany.  However, I would challenge those living in other areas of the world to take a deep look into the education system put into place by their government system.  While it may not be as outright of an attack on individualized education as in Germany, they are there.  We see a heavy amount of government control placed upon the education systems in America.  The NCLB Act created a way for the government to place not only a foot, by an entire leg into the doorway of the United States education system.  Curriculum is not allowed unless it is passed by a series of government officials and there is a heavy amount of pressure put upon scholastic testing.  Because the government grants so much funding to schools, if the testing is not up to par, under the NCLB Act the government has the right to go into a school and do whatever is deemed necessary to get things back to where they need to be.  This allows little to no room with individuality for teachers, or students.  Not only this, but California state is attempting to put a ban on home schooling right now. 

Pay attention to what is going on around you. 

Our future could look terribly bleak otherwise.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

3 1/2 Weeks Spent Back in the World of Responsibility

It's unbelievable to me that I've been living in Germany for nearly a month now.  The routine has been established in my life and now things are just moving along as they would be if I were living anywhere else.  So much has happened throughout the last 2 months that it's difficult for me to comprehend at times.  I just traveled all over Europe, flying 6 different times, taking 3 trains and only God knows exactly how many bus/metro/DLR/taxi rides.  Not to mention the many hours I spent being driven by Jason through Italy.  I wish I had a pedometer so I knew how many miles I walked.  It's only now beginning to sink in exactly what I experienced, what I accomplished.

When I first arrived in Germany, I wasn't quite sure what I was getting myself into.  I had spoken with Yvonne on the phone and sent several e-mails back and forth, but that wasn't a guarantee that she was legitimately a genuine person.  I look back on it and realize how absolutely crazy I was to just get on a plane in Dublin to Munich to meet a family that will hopefully be waiting for me.  But, as we all know, I am safe and nothing terrible happened :).

The week spent at the ski resort was wonderful, but I greatly desired to be back at the house in Eschenbach, trying to get some order back into my life.  After traveling so much, I so terribly wanted to be done.  It's a curious thing to realize that you have had too much vacationing and it's time for real life again.  I attempted to learn how to ski while I was there.  I never want to do it again.  I have never fallen so many times in my entire life.  That evening while laying in bed, I still had the feeling of flying down the mountain... and it terrified me!  I am hoping that perhaps snowboarding may work better for me.  However I have never been athletically incline, so it may be the case that I can't master either one and I'll just snow shoe.

As for the job, I am enjoying it very much.  I mainly watch over the two youngest children, Israel and Isaiah.  They bring such joy to me!  While they are obviously young children (and boys to top it off) and can get whiny and exhausting, I still enjoy looking after them.  Because Israel is nearing pre-school time, I do a little bit to help him with colors, letters, and writing.  I don't think I could ever want to be a pre-school teacher, but with one child it's not that bad.  I can see how I relate to children differently now than I did when I was 14 or 15 and looking after all my siblings or babysitting.  It's nice to be able to recognize personal growth, even in something as simple as how one relates with children.

Many have asked how the language works in the home.  Because Ray is in Iraq right now, Yvonne speaks to the children in more English than she would if he was here.  But, there are many times when she will speak German with them.  They are all fluent in both languages, and Yvonne speaks superb English.  Her accent isn't nearly as heavy as I've heard and she has a great vocabulary built up.  As for the children, you would never guess they were half German as their English is very American.  But they also speak excellent German and I've had to have the older children to help me speak with people on a few occasions.  I dislike answering the home phone here because I'm never sure if I'm going to be stuck on the line with someone who doesn't speak English.  I'm slowly but surely learning some German... but very very slowly.  I'm getting into a class as soon as there are enough students to get one started.  Unfortunately, one had just started a few weeks ago and it was just a little too late to put me in.  Oh well, I will just have to wait.

It's difficult to find ways to meet people at the moment.  We had to get all this paperwork done so that I could be on base, get my visa, etc. and I still don't have an installation pass to get on Post by myself!  It would be helpful even to go to the gym and be around people other than young children, and better yet they speak English so I could actually talk with them.  Eschenbach is a very small town so it offers few opportunities to get to know people.  But it's only been a few weeks so I still have plenty of time.  And I have taken this time of not having much to do to read and write as much as possible.  It also offers extra time to get to talk with family and friends.  Some have even said (and I would sadly have to agree) that I didn't communicate with them this much when I was living in the U.S.  Apparently it's a time to build relationships back up, as well as go through more personal growth.  

Who knows what else may happen?