Because of the crisis conditions in modern government schools, more Russian families are switching to home education. Homeschooling is legal in Russia, and interest in it is growing every year. . . .
Editor's note: Russia has the second highest population of homeschooling families in all of Europe. Homeschooling has been legal in Russia since 1992, and current estimates suggest that there are over 100,000 homeschoolers in Russia. These numbers are growing, as homeschooling continues to grow in popularity.
The following article, originally published on the official Russian Church site that deals with family issues, was translated by Fr. Joseph Gleason, an American Orthodox priest who lives in Russia with his wife and eight homeschooled children.
For many years now, a number of Russian cities have hosted regional homeschooling conferences. This article celebrates the first international homeschooling conference held in Russia, with representatives attending from all over the world. This rising interest in homeschooling is an example of Russia's return to traditional family values. Thanks to the hard work of Christians like Fr. Dimitry Smirnov and Irina Shamolina, homeschooling is finally becoming popular in Russia.
On May 18, 2018, Moscow hosted the International Conference of Family Education. Their motto is: “You can teach at home!” International experts, teachers, politicians, and scientists discussed what the future of education should be like, and how to have an effective alternative to government-based education.
The conference included a number of high profile Russians, including Fr. Dimitry Smirnov (a prominent Russian Orthodox priest who is the Chairman of the Patriarch's Commission for the Family), Irina Shamolina (a leading proponent of using the Classical Conversations homeschooling curriculum in Russia), and various members of the State Duma, Moscow State University, and the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).
Since Russian public schools have aped the Western public school system in many ways, the quality of public education has significantly deteriorated. Because of the crisis conditions in modern government schools, more Russian families are switching to home education. Homeschooling is legal in Russia, and interest in it is growing every year. Nevertheless, there are still few parents and children who are aware of its advantages and opportunities.
At this homeschooling conference, some of the best international experts talked about the latest achievements and developments in this field, and they discussed modern educational programs, online platforms and textbooks. The achievements, technologies, and secrets of family education from America, Europe, Asia, South Africa, and Australia were presented, and the story of its development in Russia was covered in detail.
Former students also spoke at the conference. These are students who passed the Unified State Examination (roughly the Russian equivalent of the SATs) and who are currently studying at universities or working. They have shown by personal example what a home-based education really is, and what prospects it offers.
There were also speeches from lawyers, human rights defenders, family education program developers, representatives of publishing houses which issue textbooks for homeschoolers, and homeschooling practitioners from all over the world. Also worth noting is the lecture "Family education on family textbooks in a family school" by the founder of interneturok.ru, one of the largest Russian homeschooling websites, which helps facilitate homeschooling for many Russian schoolchildren.
ISCO is the largest global platform for supporters of home education from all over the world. Previous conferences were held in Berlin (2012) and Rio de Janeiro (2016) and attracted representatives of 32 countries. The third ISCO was held in St. Petersburg on May 15th and 16th this year, and in Moscow on May 18th and 19th.
The organizers of the conference are the Global Home Education Council and the Center for the Support of Family Education, with support from the academic program of family education "Classical Conversations", the St. Basil the Great Fund, the program "Master Structure and Style of the Russian Language", the Russian literature program "Lost Writing Tools", publishing houses "Classical Education" and "Apology", associations of home education legal protection from the USA and Canada, the World Congress of Families, CitizenGO, and other organizations.