In November of 2016, one of INCH’s leadership team, Israel Wayne, and Michigan’s HSLDA representative, Michael Donnelly, headed to the region of Nagano, Japan for a homeschooling conference. Both men shared the vision for home-based, parent-led home education, with Christ as the center of the home. The Nagano conference welcomed about 425 people, many of whom are just looking into the homeschooling option. There is no specific law allowing homeschooling in Japan, so homeschoolers are subject to the government’s compulsory attendance laws, which do not permit parents to teach their own children. However, many families in Japan have been successfully home educating, under the radar, for about 16 years.
In 2016, the Parliament of Japan introduced a bill that would make Japan one of the most restrictive nations in the world regarding home education. CHEA Japan, the advocacy organization for homeschooling there, was able to successfully ask for a delay of vote, as they feared the votes would go against homeschooling freedoms. So the future of legal freedoms for homeschooling are on hold there, and prayers are appreciated.
In late February of 2017, both men, along with other American speakers, journeyed to St. Petersburg, Russia for another homeschooling conference. Russia will be the home of the 2018 International Homeschooling Conference, which will welcome homeschooling leaders, human rights adovacates and researchers from around the globe. Homeschooling has been legal in Russia since 1992, but a new “anti-terrorism law,” signed by President Vladimir Putin in October 2016, has made it illegal to speak about your Christian faith anywhere but in a state-recognized religious building. It is yet to be seen how this may be applied to families who are teaching their children at home because of a religious conviction.
About 125 Russians attended and were encouraged to take responsibility for the education of their own children. Here in Michigan, we take for granted the fact that we can home educate. We have an over-abundance of curriculum in our language. We have some of the best homeschooling laws anywhere in the world. We have homeschool co-ops, sports teams, support groups, drama clubs, homeschool music bands, an annual state convention every third weekend in May at the Lansing Center, and much more.
We should continue to remain vigilant to maintain our legal freedoms, and pray for those in other places around the world who are just beginning to discover the many blessings we have in such abundance.