Category Archives: Parenting Challenges and Cultural Norms

Homeschooling in Mexico

The other day I wrote about how my son finally finished his online preparatorio studies. The same day as his Zoom graduation, SEP announced that parents will need to sign a “carta de corresponsabilidad” before their children return to in-person classes. AMLO, the Mexican president, has made it clear that despite rising COVID infections and poor vaccination efforts, school will begin on August 30. This “carta” affirms that the parent has checked their child for symptoms of COVID or illness in general before dropping them off for school. Then AMLO changed his mind and said the carta responsiva will not be necessary. Who can keep up with these constant changes?

Although some schools will be able to maintain social distancing, allow for ample hand washing, and enforce mask wearing, other schools in Mexico do not have the facilities for these precautions. With these uncertainties, many more families are considering homeschooling options and are a bit befuddled about how this process actually works in Mexico (and with good reason).

Legality

First, is it even legal to homeschool in Mexico? Well, that’s a bit of a fuzzy business. 

The Constitution of 1857 states that education is a right of every citizen. In the 1917 Constitution, Article 3 clarifies that free, compulsory, secular education is an obligation and right. However, there is no law, regulation, or code that penalizes parents who do not send their children to school. There are some municipalities that fine parents for truancy in Mexico. Parents can contest the fine by demonstrating that their children are receiving an education through other means, since the law says that everyone is entitled to education, but not obligated to attend school.

So, in a nutshell, according to article 31 of the Constitution, homeschooling is not legal. However, since Mexico signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 26 states that parents have the right to choose the kind of education their children receive, and that does include homeschooling options.

Options

There are basically two options for accredited homeschooling in Mexico, The first involves taking an exam, or series of exams and receiving a Mexican equivalency diploma. MEVyT 10-14 is the set up for an elementary diploma. INEA offers both elementary and secondary (middle school) diplomas. CENEVAL is the preparatorio (high school) exam.

The second way is to receive a diploma from a foreign country and have it accredited by SEP. For it to be recognized, the country must be part of the Hague Convention (like the United States). If you are homeschooling, then the country must be one where homeschooling is legal, not Spain, for instance.

Homeschooling

Homeschooling doesn’t mean parents can choose their children’s curriculum willy-nilly and it will be considered valid by Mexico. The key to getting homeschool accreditation by Mexico is to be registered with an accredited homeschool platform or an umbrella school. Umbrella schools help parents meet state requirements by providing curriculum guidance and will provide legitimate transcripts and a diploma. If you have documents that prove your residency in the United States and are choosing a homeschool or umbrella school platform based in the U.S., be sure to check the homeschooling laws of that particular state to make sure you would be able to meet them from Mexico. Hslda.org/legal is a helpful place to start for information on homeschooling laws.

There are also international homeschool platforms that might work for you. Remember, though, to choose one based in a country where homeschooling is legal (not Germany for example) and that is part of the Hague Convention (not Canada for instance).

The Mexican accreditation process isn’t complicated, surprisingly enough. You’ll need the Mexican birth certificate of the student. If your child is eligible for dual citizenship, you’ll need to register them at the local registro civil (civil registry) which is a slightly more complicated but not impossible transaction. You’ll also need the school transcript or diploma with a translation, but not an apostille. You then should contact the appropriate SEP state representative (you can find a list here) to set up an appointment and find out how much the accreditation will cost. For accreditation of university degrees, there is an application form as well.

Examinations

If there is some reason that you won’t be able to manage to homeschool through an international school, then you can opt to try to test out of mandatory school attendance with the INEA, MEVyT 10-14, and CENEVAL exams, mentioned earlier.

The Instituto Nacional para la Educación de los Adultos (Instituto Nacional para la Educación de los Adultos) provides a way for those over the age of 15 to get their elementary and middle school diploma. The preparation courses for the exams are offered online now. You can register here. CENEVAL offers the same opportunity to get a Bachillerato general (high school) diploma by taking prep classes online and then taking the exam. El Modelo Educación para la Vida y el Trabajo (MEVyT) allows children 10-14 to get their elementary degree by taking a series of 12 exams online

Online Study Options

Another option to traditional classroom learning available in Mexico at the preparatorio (high school level) is to study online through SEP or another educational establishment. For instance, my son received his diploma through the University of Guanajuato (UVEG). Although this might seem like the ideal setup since the fees are a fraction of the cost of attending a traditional school, be advised that there is little educational or technical support offered and lots of issues with these online sites. It’s a frustrating experience at times and since the topics covered are only what are offered at the traditional school, your student may feel they haven’t learned enough to navigate the real world when they have finished. 

Other sites that offer bachillerato en línea include:

Mexican education facilities that offer graduate and postgraduate degrees online include:

Conclusion

To recap, homeschooling in Mexico isn’t technically legal, but there are a few ways to get around the flowery language of the Mexican Constitution. You need to do what will work best for your family and if homeschooling is the way to go for you, then go for it. 

2 Comments

Filed under Education, Parenting Challenges and Cultural Norms

Prepa Zoom Graduation

After many long months of agonizing online study, my son completed the courses needed (plus the community service component) to qualify for his preparatorio degree from UVEG. This would be the equivalent of a high school diploma.

Since I’m always looking for a reason to celebrate, I decided we needed a cookout and cake to honor this momentous event. We opted not to invite anyone other than his favorite aunt for a variety of reasons, including the fact that infections are higher in the last week than they have been any time since WHO declared a pandemic. 

My son was Mr. Poopy Face the entire day leading up to the Zoom ceremony. He did NOT want to sit in front of his computer for the 2 hours estimated this thing would take. He did NOT want to wear “formal” clothing as indicated on the procedure email. He did NOT want to fix his hair so that he resembled something other than a caveman. In his opinion, this whole thing was STUPID. Why couldn’t they just send him the diploma and be done with it?

I decided to carry on with my little celebration anyway. Early in the morning, we headed to the butcher and the baker (but not the candlestick maker) and bought scrumptious edibles to be enjoyed post-zoom call. I also spent the day cleaning because it was WAY overdue and if I was going to have someone over, I didn’t want her to wrinkle her nose at how lax I’d become with my regular chores. Vanity, I know. 

Getting setup for the Virtual Graduation Ceremony

My son signed onto the Zoom call as directed. The FB live link was given about 10 minutes into the process. I hurried and shared with friends and family and signed on myself. There was a lot of blah blah from people that we certainly didn’t know. One lady went on and on about how we are all boats and that as graduates we have reached the port. Eye-rolling stuff, let me tell you. I saw my son for two or three milliseconds when they cut to full screen mode. Those that were graduating with honors from UVEG had their own “We Are the Champions” photo montage. Then everyone raised their right hand and swore to use their education for good, not evil (or something along those lines). Finally, random photos of what seemed to be UVEG teachers started to roll with some rave music. At that point, I signed off, thinking it was over, which technically it was.

Ten minutes later, my son emerged from his room and said that I missed the guy who announced he had to poop, the women in the green dress that blended into the greenscreen and looked just like a floating head and hands, and the students who were gleefully showing their bottles of alcohol getting ready to celebrate. Oh well. 

My son received an emailed certification of attendance for his time and effort. Supposedly he’ll receive his official diploma by the end of the month. I’m not sure what that will entail, whether we will need to submit further documentation, print it out and take it to the local UVEG office for the official seal, or have his picture attached–but I’m sure it will be a whole day event.

2 Comments

Filed under Education, Parenting Challenges and Cultural Norms

Going to IFE–New Procedures

My son turned 18 in May and I had all sorts of plans of getting his IDs (both US and Mexican) but we were in the middle of a pandemic and well, that didn’t happen. In August, the IFE (Instituto Federal Electoral) opened back up by appointment only. I managed to get a slot for my son for October 1 using the online booking site.

In order for him to receive his first ever voter’s registration card through IFE, he needed to present his Mexican birth certificate, a proof of residence like a water or electric bill, and two people who could vouch for his identity. 

Although my son was born in the US, we were able to register him in Mexico as the child of a Mexican citizen. His Mexican birth certificate is mostly blank because it only listed what was on his US birth certificate (parents’ names) rather than including grandparents and witnesses. On the back, there’s a whole bunch of writing about the apostille and translation of his US birth certificate. Even though it looks a little odd, it’s a perfectly legal document. 

We always have an issue with proof of residence because we have no public utilities. There is no electricity, no sewer, no water lines and no road names in La Yacata. So he asked to borrow the most recent bill from his aunt, who was also one of the witnesses he brought (the other being my husband). 

Along with these items, he needed to mask up. Since no one would be allowed in without a mask, in the bag of documents, I included two more for his dad and aunt just in case they didn’t have one.

My son balked a bit at having to go with dear ol’ dad, but I don’t have an IFE and wouldn’t have been allowed to vouch for his identity even though I’d given birth to him. My federal identification is in the form of a permanent residence card which doesn’t allow me to vote. 

The gang all rolled out to the appointment in plenty of time. I elected to stay home since I wouldn’t be of any use. From the way my son told it, everything was fine. He explained how we didn’t have an address and were using his aunt’s. He verified his birthday and that he was born outside of the country. His two vouchsafe companions had to wait outside and just send in their IFE cards. He had his fingerprints taken. 

He did have to remove his mask and glasses for the picture and said that not one person in the building was wearing their masks correctly. Some had noses but not mouths covered, some had mouths but not noses covered, and some had chin warmers on. That seems about right. 

After the picture, he was given a phone number to call on the 12th to see if his card was ready for pickup. It wasn’t. But finally by the 15th, it was. He felt confident enough to schedule his own appointment online to pick it up. He even picked a Wednesday so that I could take him if need be since I don’t have classes on Wednesdays. Unfortunately, the earliest slot was November 11. 

I felt so pleased that we were able to successfully complete this transaction, that I made the attempt to schedule an appointment to pick up the new license plates Guanajuato was issuing. It didn’t go as smoothly. But that’s another story. 

So on the fateful day, my husband and son headed to IFE only to find that even after having called and confirmed that my son’s ID was ready before making the appointment, it wasn’t. So he’ll have to call again next week and make another appointment some weeks down the road. But seeing how we are fast approaching the Guadalupe-Reyes holiday season, it might be 2021 before this process is finished. 

2 Comments

Filed under Getting Legal, Parenting Challenges and Cultural Norms