While I applaud many of Sweden’s policies,

especially its  environmental activism(it was labeled the European Commission’s “Greenest Capital”), I’m a little appalled at their totalitarian approach to children’s education.  It is extremely difficult to get permission to homeschool a child in Sweden because the government believes that children need to be socialized and exposed to the same government-approved curriculum as everyone else.

Mind control much?

This year, my 18-year-old sister has been attending a local high school for her final year of schooling.  It has been her first year at school, after having homeschooled k-11th grade.  Her friends are always surprised to hear that she grew up homeschooled, and one of them even remarked that until he met her he used to think homeschooling was bad and didn’t provide enough socialization.

People complaining about the socialization of homeschoolers always amuses me.  Certainly there are a lot of weirdo, asocial homeschooled kids.  There are also a lot of weirdo, asocial public school kids.  The truth is, generally speaking, parents are homeschooling because they are willing and able to invest more into their children’s education than other parents.  This means that they’ll also put in the effort to providing their children with enough social opportunities.

But I don’t think I need to sit here and write a long defense of homeschooling, or list off incredibly successful homeschooled students.  The same debate happens in the States all the time.  My bigger concern is that, from what I’ve read, Swedish parents aren’t being given the choice to choose a side of the debate.  They are simply told “no.”  (Yes, it’s legal, but it’s extremely difficult to get permission).  I think that’s a step too far.  It’s another case of “tolerance” being intolerant (think Muslim headscarves in France).

And, as a topper, the Swedish high school curriculum has some pretty dramatic perspectives.  There have been criticisms of overtly explicit sex-education videos shown in classes (sex-ed here technically starts at age 6 with sperm/egg information), and the latest complaint over an 8th grade essay assignment asking students to describe “with passion” their first sexual encounter, or what they imagine it will be like.

**

Meanwhile, in S. Korea, they’ve grown some dogs with fluorescent genes that can be activated and cause the dog to glow in UV light.  This somehow translates to medicinal uses in humans, though I think it’d be cool just to use it to create glowing humans.

http://www.reuters.com/news/pictures/slideshow?articleId=USRTR2PDHC#a=5

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2 thoughts on “While I applaud many of Sweden’s policies,

Add yours

  1. I’m having fun with fast internet, catching up on blogs. Of course, this is a good one. Being the mother of three unsocialized homeschooled kids, I completely agree with all you wrote. Sweden is pretty untolerant in its homeschooling view, for all its tolerance in ALL OTHER THINGS.
    Miss you!

    Like

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