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March 22, 2016

Homeschool Leaders Forge Ties In Rio

Mike Donnelly MIKE DONNELLY HSLDA Director of Global Outreach

The five-day Global Home Education Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, brought together 214 homeschool leaders, researchers, parents, and interested policymakers from around the globe. A looming decision by the host country’s supreme court on the constitutionality of home education lent a sense of urgency to the participants.

“Home education is a global movement that has the ability to cut across many differences including language, culture, religions, philosophy and politics,” said Mike Donnelly, HSLDA Director of Global Outreach. “This was only the second global gathering, and we’re already looking forward to the third which will be held in 2018.”

The delegates from over 20 countries gathered to discuss the theme of home education as a human right. Two members of the Federal Brazilian Congress, Deputy Dorinha Seabra and Deputy Lincoln Portella, addressed the gathering, saying that they believed home education was an important part of the educational fabric of the South American nation.

Sponsors in particular expressed great satisfaction with the conference:

Mike Donnelly:

I feel like we were able to infuse a high level of energy, vision and enthusiasm into the young Brazilian homeschooling movement at a critical time as they face a crucial supreme court case. Other international leaders told me the conference inspired them with renewed hope, ideas and insight about how to move forward in their own countries. We attracted major academic figures in global education leadership and brought together nearly 20 academic researchers. The content created and the connections made at this conference will have a major positive impact for the growing global home education movement.

Gerald Huebner, Chairman of the Board, HSLDA Canada:

I’m thrilled with the ability to come together with people from 25 countries and realize how different we are, but how different we are not—the people we rub shoulders with, that have been homeschooling for a month, or a decade, or more.

Mary Alphs, Chief Marketing Officer, Classical Conversations:

I’m here to support these homeschoolers. I’m here to help them see that vision, see that end result, and then also [to] do whatever I can—first and foremost, pray to a God that will help them in their journey, and then to offer whatever resources that I can.

Chandra Montgomery Nicol, Executive Director, Clonlara School:

I believe that learning is a process that we all share. There’s a natural process, there’s a chemical process, there’s a psychological process to learning…that is fundamental to who we are as human beings. And I want to be part of sharing that with the world.

Ray Sheen, Board Member, South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools (SCAIHS):

I found that with many of these individuals that I met in Berlin four years ago, again we were right [away] connected.…And so you’re creating these bonds worldwide, and creating that support group for leaders—only now on a worldwide basis.

Beverly Huebner, veteran homeschooling leader and mother:

 I’ve really enjoyed spending time with some of these Brazilian homeschoolers that have just started or are very early in their stages [of homeschooling] and encouraging them just to keep going. They have different struggles in some ways, and they have the same struggles in some ways. And so I’ve felt like I’ve been able to give them some encouragement to keep going.

Content from the conference will be made available soon. Research papers can already be accessed at The conference also declared the Rio Principles on home education, defending the idea that home education is a fundamental right. Read the Rio Principles here: