“Mexican homeschoolers are hungry for support,” Dave Tucker said upon returning from a March homeschool conference he helped put on in Pachuca, Mexico, a half-hour north of Mexico City. “The doors there are open; they’re just waiting for us to walk through them,” he said.
The Pachuca conference had over 900 people attend—640 families—from five different countries, including Guatemala, Honduras, and Peru. This for a conference that was only advertized twice in a Latin American homeschool magazine.
“If it were not for the Home School Foundation this conference would not have happened,” Tucker said emphatically. The Mexican government actually gave them the building to use for the purpose of the conference, but they were still short on funds.
“We said we would do it if God provided the funds and the funds weren’t there so we were mentally backing off and moving on,” he said. “Then we contacted HSF and they said, ‘Yes, we will support you’ and stepped in with the funds necessary to make it happen and give us that final push.”
El Hogar Educador, the homeschool ministry that put on the conference and of which Tucker is a board member, has been doing homeschool conferences in northern Mexico for the past 14 years. This was their first in central Mexico and it has plans to expand its conferences to southern Mexico and other Latin American countries.
“Homeschooling in Mexico now is similar to what it was in the States 30 years ago,” Tucker said. “People feel very isolated. They believe this is what God wants them to do for their family, but they don’t have a lot of support. They are very hungry for knowledge and support.”
Tucker said that most homeschool families in Mexico try to keep their homeschools quiet so they may live down the street from another homeschool family and not even know it. The support groups that are commonplace in America are scarce or unheard of there.
“One group of about a dozen people from the city of Guadalajara came up to us and said, ‘You have to do a conference like this in Guadalajara!’” Tucker said. Others asked for advice on how to start local support groups.
One of the main needs for these families is still homeschool curriculum in their language. Many will teach themselves English and then teach their children from American books so they have more curriculum options available than those that have been translated into Spanish. “These people are serious!” Tucker said.
Tucker’s wife, Karin, has been encouraging parents to teach their children to become great writers so they can write their own Spanish books and curriculum for homeschoolers. Karin also does regular web videos of “homeschool tips” in Spanish to help families with some of their basic homeschool needs.
Dave Tucker was raised in Mexico in a missionary family and was homeschooled there. He and Karin then homeschooled their children in the U.S. for over 20 years and now he goes back to Mexico every four-to-six weeks to speak, mentor, and help with conferences.
“Mexican homeschool conferences are more about ‘what is a biblical way to raise your family,’ with homeschooling as a part of that, than about ‘this is how you teach math,’” Tucker said. “You can change the culture by starting with the children and helping parents to homeschool.”
Watch a short video of the Pachuca conference.
To find out more about HSF’s work with international homeschoolers and learn how to get involved, visit HSF’s International Homeschooling Fund page.