by Mike Richardson • April 19, 2019
Colombia, South America, is now and has always been a country of contrasts in nearly every way—from the long coastline to the high mountain peaks—from the large cities to the rural communities.
Before the arrival of the Spanish, the two largest indigenous groups were the Taironas and the Muisca. Even though the Taironas tribes had no written language they constructed impressive roads, bridges, platforms for large buildings, and mountainside terraces for agriculture. The Taironas also produced stone statuary, gold objects, and fine ceramics. Meanwhile, the Muisca, who lived in the intermountain basins of the Cordillera Oriental, were primarily farmers.
The Taironas and the Muisca shared an important factor—they had no schools. Therefore, their children were the first generation of homeschoolers in Colombia!
In fact, the majority of Colombians continued to be homeschooled until the 1960s. The school system during that time was failing most Colombians according to a 1966 Ministry of Education report. Not much has changed, because the latest statistics indicate only 42% of those aged 25–64 years old have attained at least upper secondary education. That tells us most Colombians still receive an overwhelming proportion of their education at home or through on-the-job training.
The number of modern homeschooling families continues to grow in Colombia. Just like the Taironas and the Muisca, they begin at a very early age teaching their children the importance of work well done.
In February, I had the opportunity to travel to Colombia for thirteen days—speaking twenty-six times in five different cities about the family, homeschooling, and my recent book, For the Love of God.
I was encouraged by the families who not only desired to learn more about God and His Word but also expressed an interest in intentionally homeschooling their children.
One couple, who attended every service in their area, wrote, “In three months we are expecting our first child. Homeschooling was something we had not heard of, but God put Pastor Mike in our path and we felt a call of obedience to believe in the Word of God and teach our child.”
Another family wrote, “We see how the Lord has given you wisdom and experience that, in turn, encouraged us to continue training our children for His glory. Thank you for reminding us that this is a marathon and we need to be faithful until the end!”
Before I returned home to Mexico, I had three churches and one homeschool group invite me to come back and hold additional conferences. I look forward to the possibility of future conferences supporting the ever-growing homeschool movement in Colombia!
Mike Richardson is a father, missionary, pastor, conference speaker, and author who publishes the Spanish homeschool magazine, El Hogar Educador; publishes books, CDs, and DVDs in Spanish for the family; and organizes four national homeschool conferences in Mexico. For more information about the homeschool movement in Latin America or the Richardsons, contact Vida Nueva Ministries, 1001 South 10th Street, Suite G-529, McAllen, TX 78501 USA, firstname.lastname@example.org, U.S. cell phone 770-713-9053.