I can’t believe I am in Berlin, Germany, with Edric attending the Global Home Education Conference! It’s amazing to be here and be part of this historic event. This is also why you have not heard a peep from me in the last few days. Edric and I have been in transit.
The transit part has not been easy. We arrived in Paris and then took a train to Berlin. Our total travel time was like 36 hours. I was carrying my honking suitcase up and down stairways at train stations. Not pleasant! And for a tropical girl like me, 2 degrees Celsius weather is unbearably cold. I wanted to put on all the clothes I brought when I stepped out of the Berlin train station last night. My bones froze. I spent a loooong time under burning hot water to unfreeze myself. Early in the morning, I woke up disoriented and mistakenly woke Edric up at 4:30 am thinking it was 9 am.
Minus all of the above, the trip has been worth it so far. I am excited to be here with Edric. It is like another honeymoon. And we are meeting amazing people. God has watched over us and granted us favor many times. For example, we had an airplane row all to ourselves on both our flight to Hong Kong and to Paris. At the airport, we were always ushered to entrances or counters without any lines. People were incredibly helpful when we had train issues and language barriers. I am so thankful to the Lord that his presence goes with us no matter where we are.
The reason why Edric and I are here is to support the first ever global conference that aims to protect and promote the freedom of parents to homeschool. Unlike the Philippines, it is illegal to homeschool in many parts of the world. Governments mandate that children attend schools and many families suffer for their choice to homeschool. They must go into hiding, social services takes their children away, they live in exile, or they are imprisoned.
It certainly makes me grateful to experience the liberties we do in Manila as a homeschooling family. I don’t know if it will always be this way but at present, the government is open to homeschooling because the law states that parents have the right to educate their children. It’s in our constitution. Furthermore, the Department of Education recognizes that homeschooling affords a solution to the issue of not enough classrooms and teachers.
We are connecting with people from all over the world and hearing many different perspectives, liberal and conservative, about home education. I just listened to Andre Stern, who authored two books in German about his unschooling experience. He is brilliant and he never set foot in a classroom. While I may not agree with all that is being shared and discussed in the sessions, I do share the same conviction that all these attendees and speakers do — the belief that parents should have the freedom to decide how their children will learn, what they will learn, and when they will learn it.
But right now, it’s the end of the day…well, it is almost 5 pm, and I can’t think of anything more pleasant than to take a short nap before dinner. So I am going to do that…
Insights from the conference will follow soon!