For the Love of Learning – Home Education in Europe – Epi#15

For the Love of Learning Episode #15

Show Title:

Home Education in Europe

Monday May 11, 2015  8:00 pm – 10:00 pm EST
Tuesday May 12, 2015 1:00 am – 3:00 am BST

Special Guests:

Stefanie Mohsennia
Alan Thomas
Leslie Barson

Show Description:

Why is it important to take on the topic of home education in Europe? Is not home education, home education in any country? Are there special circumstances that need to be considered?

Throughout Europe many choose to each their children at home. But in some countries, there are other considerations outside children learning at home. Some countries have highly regulated home education programs as an extension of the compulsory school system; others, such as Germany, have outlawed it entirely. In other countries, while not restricted by law, homeschooling is not socially acceptable or considered undesirable and is virtually non-existent.

Today we are going to speak with a panel who are all advocates for the home education movement in Europe.


Bios of Tonight’s Guests:

Stefanie Mohsennia










  • has been involved with home education since about 2002
  • is the author of “Schulfrei: Lernen ohne Grenzen”
  • gives talks about natural learning
  • has taken part in home ed meetings in 11 different countries over the years
  • has been organizing the local home ed meetings in Northrhine-Westfalia, Germany for several years
  • has been a member of the BVNL for many years and is a founding member of the Freilerner-Solidargemeinschaft
  • is very far from done with learning herself, right now training to be a teacher of the Alexander Technique
  • has maintained the website from 2004 to 2015
  • and has now developed the “schulfrei community” together with her son.


Current projects:

  • Developer and webmaster for the schulfrei-community, a networking site for home educators.
    In the schulfrei-community, you will find a home ed map, a search function, a list of home ed events throughout Europe, a home ed forum, a chat function and a treasure chest with books and research about home education. Come and join us!
  • Co-editor of a new book called “Wir sind so frei”.
    This will be a compilation of more than 30 accounts written by home educating families from Germany, Austria and Switzerland about their experience, their way into home education and their daily life as autonomous learners.
  • Co-organizer of the conference at the Schulfrei-Festival.
    This 4-day festival for home educators, organized chiefly by members of the home ed youth group “Septembertreffen”, is in its third year now. There will be conference talks, crafty workshops, live music in the evening and lots of socializing going on. Home educators from all over the world are very welcome to attend!
  • Speaker at podium discussions following the film “Being and Becoming”.
    “Being and Becoming” explores, for the first time on the big screen, the concept and ultimately the choice of not schooling children, but of trusting and letting them learn freely what they are truly passionate about. Stefanie Mohsennia and her son have  been invited to cinemas all over Germany to speak about their home ed experience following screenings of this film.


Further information about home education in Germany and Europe:

    Lernen ist Leben – Bundesverband Natuerlich Lernen! e.V. (BVNL) = Federal Association for Natural Learning, biggest and most active home ed association in Germany
    Freilerner-Solidargemeinschaft e.V. = Home Educators’ Solidarity Fund, fund to support families who home educate in Germany in spite of the compulsory schooling laws and are in conflict with the authorities
    The European Network of Home Education (TENHE) is a network of home educators across Europe. On this site you will find links to home education website from more than 20 European countries and the videos from previous TENHE conferences.


Leslie Barson

LeslieLeslie Safran Barson is the mother of two children aged 26 and 31 who  have never been to school. She is very active in the home education  community in the UK. She helped found, in 1993, and continues to  be involved with The Otherwise Club, a community centre for  home educators, in central London. She has also spoken about and  published widely on the topic of home education. She received her PhD  in 2008 which centres on how the experience of home education affects  long term home educating parents.


Book: Learner-managed learning and home education: a European perspective, Leslie Safran Barson, Educational Heretics Press, 2006


Alan Thomas

alanHow Children Learn at Home by Alan Thomas and Harriet Pattison, London, Continuum

Alan Thomas and Harriet Pattison  (2013)  “Informal home education: philosophical aspirations put into practice”. Studies in Philosophy and Education. Vol. 32:pp. 141–154.

Harriet Pattison and Alan Thomas Rethinking Learning to Read : The challenge from children educated at home  (in preparation)

Alan is a developmental psychologist with a longstanding interest in how children learn. He began researching home education at Charles Darwin University, Australia. He is now at the UCL Institute of Education, London. My research focuses on “unschooling” or autonomous and informal learning. He has written a number of books, the most recent one being “How Children Learn at Home” written with his colleague Dr Harriet Pattison. Their new research deals with home educated children learning to read without being taught. As far as he knows theirs is the only research which explores how children learn in a way which confronts nearly everything that professional educators believe to be essential for learning to take place.





Lainie Liberti

As always, you can find out more about your host, Lainie Liberti at her website and the alternative education & world schooling project she runs with her teenage son at: You can also connect with her on twitter @ilainie & facebook.

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