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Homeschooling in Mexico as American Expats with Four Kids

Homeschooling in Mexico as American Expats with Four Kids
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UPDATED 1/16/20 – In this article, let’s answer some frequently asked questions, “How are you homeschooling in Mexico?” and “Can you homeschool in Mexico?” Below you will find the answers to both questions along with some very helpful links for homeschooling families living abroad in Mexico or various other countries, as well as homeschoolers living in their home countries. Let’s get started!

Homeschooling in Mexico as American Expats with Four Kids
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Is Homeschooling in Mexico Legal?

In short, yes. In long, read this article, ¿Qué tan legal es la educación en casa (homeschooling)? If you can’t read Spanish, don’t worry. Use Google to translate the text into English. Although the translation may not be completely accurate it will be good enough for you to find your answer about the legality of homeschooling in Mexico.

As far as our own experience, we have not had any problems with homeschooling our children in our community of Uruapan, Michoacan, Mexico. We have lived in Uruapan for four years and most people know “la familia de los gringos con cuatro hijos”. We are commonly asked if our children attend school in Mexico and when we reply, “Tenemos escuela en la casa”, no one ever gives us the stink eye.

Accredited Homeschooling or Homeschooling On Your Own?

We DO NOT use accredited schools for elementary or middle school education. Personally, we find that paying for an expensive accredited elementary or middle school programs is unnecessary for our family. That doesn’t mean it won’t be important to you, so do your research and make the best choice for your tribe.

I keep track of our kid’s progress and record it every year. It’s easy. If you Google “homeschool progress report templates” you will pull up a ton of pdf forms that you can purchase or use free of charge to keep accurate records of your kid’s education. I keep a paper trail because if we are ever asked for proof of education by the government or for entry to college, etc… we will have it.

Homeschooling in Mexico On Your Own – How?

Our kid’s educational needs change as they grow. As our kids change we change our homeschooling methods. I wrote an article several years ago, (Read it HERE), and after reading it you can see how much difference a few years can make in one’s homeschooling methods.

Brad and I highly prefer online programs but at times we have to supplement them with one-on-one teaching. Especially with the boys who are still learning all the basics. This is what our kids use today:

Alexis, age 16, is a fast learner, self-disciplined, and loves to read. After graduating from Penn Foster, an accredited high school program, she began working towards her Teach English As A Foreign Language certification via TEFL Fullcircle. They are offering a Groupon for a 160-hour course that only costs $39. I am not sure how long this Groupon will last so if you are interested better check it out now by clicking HERE.

Taylor, age 14, is very creative, easy-going, and loves videos. She is enrolled in Penn Foster, (Click Here for Info), the same program her sister earned her diploma. Penn Foster requires a lot of reading and she would have preferred video classes but for us, that wasn’t an option. We had no problems enrolling her despite her NOT attending an accredited elementary or middle school. She will graduate with a certified US diploma. We pay $69 a month but there are other payment plans available as well.

Sawyer, age 9, has ADHD and dyslexia. We had the hardest time teaching him to read, although he excels in math. After trying so many programs and failing to find something suitable for him… we finally stumbled upon Reading Kingdom, (Click Here for Info). It is fantastic and I highly recommend it! The program is designed to help kids with learning disabilities. Sawyer also uses Adapted Mind which teaches him math skills in a fun and unique way. We pay $9.95 a month for Adapted Mind and we pay $20 a month for Reading Kingdom.

Tristan, age 6, likes learning but tends to get bored easily. Right now, he is using a program called Reading Eggs. He just started it so we will see how he progresses. The $9.95 monthly payment includes access to Math Seeds and soon I will introduce math to Tristan’s homeschooling. Reading Eggs is very cute and colorful and Tristan seems to really enjoy it. After he is done with his school he plays on PBS Kids. The nice thing about that free site is it can be educational as well.

Homeschooling in Mexico, or anywhere for that matter, requires keeping a close eye on your child’s progress. Even if you use online programs like we do you still have to make sure they are doing their work and passing their classes. Basically, make sure your kid is learning. They are all different so we try not to compare but they should be learning one way or another.

What Type of Homeschoolers are You?

I like to say we are eclectic homeschoolers. We value reading, writing, and arithmetic with a heavy emphasis on lifelong learning and worldschooling. We are very easy-going homeschoolers and our most important pursuit as parents of four is to raise happy, kind, responsible, and spiritually-satisfied adults.

Our kids ALL help with household chores; we are immersed in the Spanish language and culture; we travel as often as possible; we study the Bible together as a family and endeavor to apply it in our lives; we love and care for a dog, four cats, and a turtle; we have close friends from Canada, the US, Mexico, and Japan; we are electronic nuts and the kids enjoy playing Minecraft online, and we make A LOT of mistakes but we keep trying and we love each other. For us, all of this is part of our homeschooling method.

In Conclusion, Here are a Few More Helpful Links…

  • ABCMouse – Both our boys used this program as toddlers. They both enjoyed the educational games and videos.
  • Book Adventure – Assign your kids a book and then have them take a quiz to make sure they actually read it ;-)
  • Duolingo – Great for learning a variety of languages including Spanish.
  • HSLDA – Got legal homeschooling questions? Go here first.
  • Miss Humblebee’s – Super cute and fun preschooling program. Tristan completed this before starting Kindergarten.
  • MobyMax – Worked for a while until the common-core curriculum became overbearing.

Some online programs are free and others have a fee. After much experience, we find when you pay for a program you tend to get better records of your child’s progress within the program. For three children, (Alexis’ TEFL certification was paid for upfront), taking online classes and tutoring it totals $110 a month. The prices I quoted in this article are in US Dollars.

If you have any more questions about homeschooling in Mexico please leave them in the comment section below. I will answer them as best as I can and if necessary I will incorporate them into this article. My goal is to keep this article updated with our latest homeschooling in Mexico adventures so that I can help all you families out there that are considering a move or a plunge into homeschooling :-) Signing off, Tina

Originally published February 4, 2019

29 thoughts on “Homeschooling in Mexico as American Expats with Four Kids

  1. Shar-ann Simpson says:

    Great article! Mexico is lax in the education of their children. When I was interpreting most of my patients from Mexico had only completed third grade. Most would tell me their parents took them out of school to work. On a rare occasion I would meet someone who had finished 8 years in school and they told me highschool had to be paid for so because of poverty most did not go. It is a sad situation. Thank you so much for sharing what you are doing there is always a new tidbit I get from you that can help our family.

  2. Mortiz says:

    How long have you lived in Mexico? Do you feel your children have adjusted well and made friendships there? How well do you think they will adjust to American colleges after high school?

    I ask because my husband would love to move to Mexico but I am somewhat against the idea. We have a 15 year old and 4 year old.

    • Tina Marie Ernspiker says:

      We have been in Mexico for 5.5 years. I think the kids are doing great. Our oldest seems to have had a harder time than the others, but this year she is really expanding her horizon and doing much better. She will be 16 in October. The kids made friends that speak both English and Spanish. The Spanish friendships force them to use their Spanish so that’s a plus, I think.

      As far as college, we don’t plan on sending our kids to college unless it is something online. I know this is not “normal” but we don’t feel it is necessary for a successful life personally, spiritually, or financially. Our continual goal to raise our children to be happy, kind, spiritual, and responsible adults :-)

      • Eli says:

        Relocating to Tijuana with my 5 school aged children. Their father took over a family business years ago, which I feel our kids are old enough to join him. Income will be limited so im looking for free homeschooling programs on-line for my children. My research in homeschooling will fit best as 3 of my children have learning disabilities, and 1 son has behavioral issues and I choose not subject my children to crossing the border all hours of the day/night. I’m familiar due to family members and friends. My question is, could you gear me to free and fee based homeschooling on-line programs. And techniques that may work for my 3 challenged learner’s (kindergarten, 3rd & 5th graders) and my 6th grader? I’m desperate here. This is going to be a stretch but we are a very committed family. Appreciate your help.

        • Tina Marie Ernspiker says:

          Hi Eli! The best programs I have found are pretty much listed here in this post. There is one more called Time4Learning that we also used for a period of time. I don´t know of any really good free programs. Most of the good ones have a fee. At least that is what I have learned in our case. Thanks for the comment and I wish you the best on homeschooling in Mexico. Tina

  3. Robin says:

    Hi Tina,
    I lived in Cabo San Lucas for a few years and then came back to the states because my 11 year old was struggling at the international school there (he had major issues learning the language). We have been back in the states less than a year and my husband and I are going crazy… Cabo is our home! My biggest fear is that if we homeschool my son he will have no interaction with other kids (he is an only child). I have searched all over for a homeschool group in Cabo but have had no luck. My question is, do you know of a site where homeschoolers can meetup for play dates (and yes, I already looked into “Meetup.com”, lol. If there is none, what are your suggestions? Thanks in advance for your help. -Robin

    • Tina Marie Ernspiker says:

      Hey Robin! The first group that comes to my mind is Families in Mexico on Facebook.
      As for our family, these things help our kids with interaction:
      1 There are four of them so they play and fight among themselves ;-)
      2 Traveling whenever possible
      3 Their grandparents and aunt and uncle live here as well
      4 Keeping up with friends from the States via Internet
      5 Spending lots of time in our Bible ministry
      6 Letting them play with the neighbor kids on occasion and forcing them to use their Spanish
      7 Encouraging them to make friends with the Spanish kids in the Spanish Bible congregations (ours is English) and again forcing them to speak Spanish ;-)
      I hope this gives you some ideas… if not I think that Facebook group will help. Have a great week!

  4. Keri Turner says:

    We are thinking of travelling to Oaxaca or Merida around Christmas. We would love to meet up with some other homeschoolers! Any idea how/where to find others interested? Thanks for your help! Enjoyed your blog. ;)

  5. Eserna says:

    i have tried emailing you regarding some homeschooling questions that I have but I recevived am email saying it was invalid. Please email me I have some questions that i would love to be answered. Thanks !

  6. Sarah Magana says:

    Hi we just moved to Mexico from the u.s and I’m totally lost on how to start homeschooling my kids theyre 9 and 11 ..please write me back !

  7. Melanie says:

    Hi, thanks for this article it was really helpful, I’m a sophomore and am currently in a school in the United States a public school not home school, but my family is moving to Mexico. And i know there are schools in Mexico but I want to finish high school with a U.S Diploma. So I’m looking into online homeschools in English I can do in Mexico. My question is when it comes for state testing and end of the year test to see if you pass do you have to fly back to the states or Is there a designated place you go test IN Mexico?!

    • Tina Marie Ernspiker says:

      Hi Melanie! I got your message on Instagram and I sent you a response :-) As far as testing, I will answer that here too for anyone else who asks… If you live in Mexico and you get your diploma through a high school like Penn Foster, you won’t have to do any state testing to my knowledge. We used our Texas address when we signed up for Penn Foster and it has been a breeze. My girls have not had to do any state testing and the oldest is almost ready to graduate :-)

  8. Chas says:

    Hola Hermana, I too am an American living in Mexico. My husband is from here, so homeschooling is new to him. Thank you for this awesome article. Any more suggestions on homeschooling?

  9. Chastity says:

    I am a sister. I live in Merida, Yucatan. My daughter will be 3, that is when school starts here. I wanted to get a jumpstart on homeschooling her.

  10. Angie says:

    Hello, I am a single mom of 3 my oldest daughter is 9, I have an adhd 8 year with a learning disability as well and a 3 year old in Early Head start right now in the US. I am working very hard to be able to move to mexico once I am able to purchase a home I am hoping soon. I def want my kids to be able to receive their education while we live in mexico through the US. I am very close to finishing my bachelors as well and will like to re-validate it in mexico. I have lots of questions I would like to home school my children in mexico and also be able to make a living without having to work 12 hour days for 10-15 dollars a day. I will have 25 thousand pesos coming in from a rental in the us but would like to make additional income to live comfortably. I really just want to move because I have gone through a lot I would like to be able to teach my children a different lifestyle and would like to relax and not have to live on the go go everyday. Also I would like to have more time to get involved in a ministry. Can you please email me.

  11. Mayra Torres says:

    Hello I would like to which home school you recommend for an 8th grader? My daughter will be in 8th grade next yr and I’m a little lost as to where I can find a middle school. My son will most likely join Penn Foster but I am not sure what I can do with my daughter. We will be moving to Mexico in the summer from the States so I am trying to see what options I have. Can you please give me a recommendation?

    • Tina Marie Ernspiker says:

      It may not be necessary for her to complete 8th grade, but that is your decision as a parent. They now allow you to start Penn Foster as young as age 13. My kids never really had grades in our homeschool. We just enrolled them in high school, Penn Foster, when we determined they were ready. Hope this helps you!

      • Mayra Torres says:

        I was actually looking into Penn Foster for my son but I wasn’t sure if my daughter was too young. I did read on there that she would need to finish the 8th grade at least, is that not true? If so I would rather enroll them both in Penn Foster.

        • Tina Marie Ernspiker says:

          Well both my girls are enrolled and we informally homeschooled them from 2nd and 3rd grade on… By informally I mean we never used grades and never really used the US public school curriculum. They pretty much learned “junior high” on their own. Unless Penn Foster has changed their enrollment process in the last year, you won’t even need documentation stating they attended “8th grade”. But I am only speaking from my experience. Please use my link in this post, (I get a little discount on tuition), and let me know how it goes!

  12. LAURA says:

    Hello,

    My Name is Laura after 25 years living in texas. we have decided to move back to mexico specifically Monterrey. The plan was to move this June get the kids enrolled in international school this coming fall. but due to the covid-19. My passports have been delayed. and I am not sure if the school is the best choice for us now. my children are 12 and 13. My 13 year old does want to go back to college in Texas. My first question would be if looking at online school do some of this are accredited by state or are they nationally accepted ? Thank you for all the info Even though This change will be a more positive change since most of my family lives in Monterrey I am worry some about the children ‘s education since it really scare me that I will put them behind. Thank you for all your info. God bless you and your family.

    • Tina Marie Ernspiker says:

      Honestly, with the coronavirus, I would not recommend putting either one of them back in a school with other children right now. I don’t know what to recommend online with your 12-year-old… but for your 13-year-old you can go ahead and enroll him or her at Penn Foster High School. It is an accredited US high school and your child will receive a US diploma. As far as I remember, Penn Foster does not require proof that your child attended middle school. As a parent, I was confident that my girls could succeed in Penn Foster without attending an accredited online middle school. Both of our girls are doing just fine with Penn Foster. Actually the oldest graduated at 16 and now has 160 hours of Teaching English as a Foreign Language or TEFL, under her belt. She will be looking for an online job soon. Hope this helps! Here’s our Penn Foster link: http://pfedu.me/m8Orq Have a great week!

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