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April 22, 2016

Find out what happened in Rio.

What Happened in Rio?

Milestone Second Global Gathering for Home Education Leaves Lasting Impact


Access video, photos, and presentations from the GHEC 2016 >>

The GHEC 2016 organizers are pleased to make this content available to the home education community worldwide.

The city of Rio de Janeiro, host of the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympics, recently showed its warm hospitality to 214 homeschool leaders, researchers, parents, and interested policymakers from around the globe during the second Global Home Education Conference. The five-day event from March 8-12 “exceeded all expectations,” according to Gerald Huebner, chairman of the GHEC 2016 Organizing Committee and veteran home educator from Canada.

Mike Donnelly MIKE DONNELLY Director of Global Outreach

“The Rio conference generated a large body of unique content from expert speakers,” explained Michael Donnelly, HSLDA’s Global Outreach Director and secretary for the GHEC 2016 Organizing Committee. “New research, expert presentations, and first-hand experiences of international homeschoolers are now available—where else can you find resources like these?”

The GHEC 2016 built on the 2012 GHEC in Berlin, Germany, attended by 191 homeschool leaders and influencers. Read on for more highlights and outcomes from the second global conference on home education.

17 Researchers

A Research Track featured 17 unique research studies on home education by academics from Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Spain, and the United States. Research varied from national perspectives on home education, to policy papers, to empirical studies. Click here to read the papers.

25 Countries

Leaders in the home education movement, parents, members of the media, policymakers, and researchers from 25 countries met together, learned from one another, and strategized for the future. Countries represented included Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Philippines, Poland, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

48 Speakers

Keynote and workshop speakers originated from six continents and offered exceptional motivation, resources, and experience. Distinguished guests Dr. Sugata Mitra, the Duke of Bragança, and Dr. Jan De Groof were joined by the founders of homeschool programs and curriculums, home educated graduates, parents persecuted for home education, academic researchers, policymakers and government advisors, attorneys, and the leaders of support groups and other specialized groups. Their presence and contributions made the content offered in Rio unparalleled.

42 Sessions

Five plenary sessions built the daily foundation. “Home Education: It’s A Right” led to “Home Education: It’s A Success” and concluded with “Home Education: Moving Forward.” Twenty workshop sessions provided opportunities for leadership, policy, research, and general interest topics such as socialization, the special needs child, using social media, and the power of relationships and the heart of homeschooling, among others. Two days of preconference sessions offered practical assistance for leadership and organizational development and the opportunity for influencers in the Brazilian home education community to encourage Brazilian families.

1 Theme

The conference theme “Home Education: It’s A Right” provided an important framework for the event. This was true especially in light of an important case before the Brazilian Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of home education. Noteworthy speakers contributing to the legal perspective included UNESCO Chair in Right to Education Dr. Jan de Groof, Professor of Law Dr. Ingo Richter from the University of Tubingen and Paris—Nanterre, and HSLDA’s Michael Farris and Director for Global Outreach Michael Donnelly. Erwin Fabián GarcĂ­a López of Colombia, Franco Iacomella of Argentina, and others discussed the impact for Latin America. Dorinha Seabra and Lincoln Portela from the Brazilian Congress spoke about their support for the right to home educate in Brazil.

10 Principles

The organizers of the GHEC 2016 declared the Rio Principles during the conference. The Rio Principles build on the Berlin Declaration, issued at the GHEC 2012, and provide an easily accessible list of essential factors relating to the family’s role in education. Through this document, the authors “hope that all cultures, peoples, nations and states will have regard for these principles that have been developed over time and are recalled here. The application of these principles can help the world realize the promise of freedom and human flourishing.” Read the Rio Principles.

18 Sponsors and 48 Endorsing Associations

An entirely donation-based event, the GHEC 2016 was truly a global effort, drawing on the support of homeschool associations around the world and in particular homeschool providers and other like-minded educational freedom organizations based in the United States. Sponsors included Classical Conversations, Institute for Excellence in Writing, Home School Foundation, Canadian Centre for Home Education, HSLDA, Journal of School Choice,, OIDEL, TMA Homeschool, Apologia Mission, Homeschool Buyers Co-op, Clonlara School, Novae Terrae Foundation, HSLDA Online Academy, Home Life Academy, Demme Learning, Creative Electives, and Hip Homeschool Moms.


The next Global Home Education Conference! More information to follow. Access the materials above and subscribe to GHEC email updates to learn when the date and location are announced.

“We were proud to be part of the 2012 and 2016 global conferences,” said Michael Farris. “It is a privilege for HSLDA to continue to be involved supporting home educators around the world. Increasing attacks on the rights of homeschooling families show the need for all supporters of freedom to stand together now more than ever.”

What do GHEC Participants Say about the Conference’s Impact?

• It is beyond explanation. It was a unique opportunity to share and listen. Now, we’re absorbing everything and digesting all of the information very well so that we may bear fruit accordingly and make Brazil an aspiring nation regarding home education.

• I have no words to express how grateful I am for everything I’ve learnt at GHEC 2016. I left the conference with so many ideas and some of them I already started putting in practice. I am organising a home education group to meet up regularly in my city; I am also using my personal website to encourage people to set up their own blogs and promote homeschooling blogs and YouTube channels. The aim is to spread the Home education message and get people inspired by our experiences as homeschoolers.

• I think the event gave us a vision of what we can become in the future.

• Attending the GHEC has changed my life and also gave me hope and strength to deal with difficulties that may arise on the way [in my home education journey].

• I was greatly encouraged to keep up fighting this battle even if I can’t see quick results.

• My heart goes out to home educators in other countries. What a fantastic work GHEC is to give hope for one of the most basic fundamental of freedoms.

• We decided to gather all the home education researchers to strengthen the relationship between the academics and the movement.

• I am inspired to continue in our goal to have home education recognised in our law. To be proactive as a homeschool community to make homeschooling accessible to all peoples our country by dissemination of information and defining models of home education that are applicable to more than just the elite of society. It personally inspired me to follow my desire to write curriculum for our country and work with marginalised communities.

• GHEC 2016 is an inspiration because it showed that the success of GHEC 2012 is enduring. GHEC 2016 has built more connections for me, and allowed me to hear, firsthand, about home education and other education perspectives around the world.