4 June 2024
Home schooling as a diagnosis?
Marta Straume,
university lecturer and high school teacher
• • •
Marta Straume holds the degree of cand.scient. with a major in pedagogy, and has for many years functioned as a municipal supervisor for parents who home school their children. Home schooling is permitted in Norway, subject to rules to ensure children's education and monitored by personnel engaged by the municipalities.

This article appeared in Norwegian as a comment to an article by Sigrunn Braatlund:
"Er barnet mitt samfunnets eiendom?" (Is my child society's property?), as originally published in the newspaper Tønsbergs Blad on 9 April 2024.
Both the Norwegian and the English version of Marta Straume's comment are published here with the the author's kind consent.
• • •
I have been a supervisory teacher for home schooled children for about 30 years. More than 50 municipalities have hired me in that capacity.
Many parents have asked me whether they can be reported to 'Barnevernet' (the Norwegian child protection authority (CPS), official English name The Norwegian Child Welfare Services) if they teach their children themselves. The answer is: Unfortunately that is not unlikely.
Knowledge of the law is variable in the Norwegian population regarding the fact that children must be given an education but not necessarily receive it at a school. But when mastery of the law does not exist among Barnevernet's personnel, the result is disastrous for families who carry out completely lawful home schooling with approved inspection from the municipal authorities. Several families I know have lost the care for their children and many have have been subject to great, irreparable traumas.
The 'newspeak' at present is that Barnevernet 'considers that' home schooling represents a danger of 'imbalanced development' in the child. This 'assessment' tends to turn up when Barnevernet has been informed that home schooling is not defined as care failure. Further claims on the part of Barnevernet often amount to sheer character assassination of the parents. Barnevernet holds 'the truth'. The Child Welfare Tribunal, which is the first legal decision-making instance (although not a court) in such matters, does not re-examine the facts presented by Barnevernet. Nor do the courts.
I have also met many Barnevern workers with scant education and even less proficiency. They nevertheless hold the power to define and to interpret.
Where does that leave safety under the rule of law for children and parents?
See also
Marta Straume:
Child protection on Norway's main street
MHS's home page, 27 November 2016
Kristine Bolstad:
The CPS took everything I had – and smashed it
MHS's home page, 26 July 2021
Olav Terje Bergo:
How is it possible?
MHS's home page, 21 May 2024
 – :  What can elected politicians in Norway do about our child protection system Barnevernet?
MHS's home page, 13 October 2022

Nils Morten Udgaard:

Norway and 'civil society'
MHS's home page, 13 November 2016
Bente Ohnstad:
Strict conditions for sending notices of concern to the CPS Barnevernet
MHS's home page, 2 May 2019
Marius Reikerås:
A brief report in the wake of the two ECtHR judgments against Norway on 10 March 2020
MHS's home page, 24 March 2020
Marianne Haslev Skånland:
Were cultural differences the cause of the India-Stavanger child protection case, in the same way as the Bollywood film relates the story?
MHS's home page, 20 April 2023
 – :  Dr Mengele & Co in action in Norwegian homes?
MHS's home page, August 2011
 – :  Educating the young – better through cooperation with the child protection agancy (CPS)?
MHS's home page, 21 December 2014

 – : 
 Judgment in Poland: a nine-year-old-girl NOT to be extradited to Norway
MHS's home page, 11 December 2014

familien-er-samlet (the-family-is-together):
Flight, exile and taking chances
MHS's home page, 11 November 2020

 – :  
County boards with quality at an all-time low
MHS's home page, 25 November 2017