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August 13, 2008

El Hogar Educador Helping Mexico's Homeschoolers

Mike Richardson is an American missionary who lives in Baritillo, Mexico, (near Monterey). Fifteen years ago, Mike Richardson established El Hogar Educador as a ministry to help Mexican families raise strong Christian children through homeschooling. He has been holding an annual conference for the last several years in Saltillo. In 1999, HSLDA's Chris Klicka spoke at the conference to over 600 Mexicans in attendance. Some families came as far as 30 hours. Nearly all the Mexican states were represented as well as Costa Rica and Guatemala.

Richardson offers the conference free of charge and provides scholarships for particularly needy families to help in purchasing curriculum.

In 2002, the Saltillo conference had grown to 1,030 people--their largest ever. El Hogar Educador also provides a newsletter free of charge to over 1,000 Mexican families and many other Spanish-speaking families from other countries. Richardson will tape each speaker and have the speeches transcribed, translated, and re-taped. These tapes are sent free of charge to families throughout Mexico who request them. He is also involved in providing translations of several books on home education.

HSLDA has supported the El Hogar Educador by providing them a printing press to meet their needs in the area of publishing a Spanish newsletter and Spanish books.

At this time, Richardson does not know of any current legal problems in Mexico. "I feel that God has blessed us with tremendous liberty so far," he said. "I believe that the homeschoolers in Mexico currently face less problems from the government than those in the USA. I pray that it stays that way."

The main concern of Mexico's homeschoolers is who will grant credit for studies done at home and how the homeschool child will get into an institution of higher learning. Fortunately, the Instituto Nacional Educacion Para El Adulto (INEA) has programs that will accept students from 10 years of age and allow them to take exams to gain credits for elementary and junior high without attending class. This is similar to the GED in the USA.

Mike Richardson's El Hogar Educador is fulfilling his two-fold goal for the ministry: serving as a conduit for the gospel, and supporting homeschool families. Homeschooling is providing an answer to the poor education in Mexico and is enabling families to work together.