MACHS Conference Planning Team Changes

Chuck and I have been privileged to be involved in planning the MACHS Conference since 2013.  There have been a lot of challenges and changes in that time, but the whole experience has been encouraging and has taught us a lot.  2018 was the last conference we are going to plan and we are pleased to be able to introduce to you the new conference chairs for 2019.


Kelly and Cheryl Ronald are homeschool parents who graduated their youngest several years ago.  They are grain farmers near Portage la Prairie and have also been MACHS board members since the spring of 2018.  They have a passion for serving Christ and for encouraging the homeschool community. We will spend this planning year working together with them as they learn the ropes.

Other new team members on the conference committee are:  Dana and Heather Teichrib planning the workshops, Ashley Teichrib heading up teen track, Jarrod and Jaime Giesbrecht caring for exhibitors, and Elizabeth McKee designing graphics and publications.  


As usual, Anita McKee will be wrangling volunteers, Maureen Toews is organizing registration, Mercer Lawrenson is in charge of communications, Celeste Lawrenson will be planning special events, Kyla McKee is arranging grad recognition, and Isaac and Caleb Mogilevsky are managing sound and tech.


Tyson and Diane Kroeker have worked alongside us since 2013, and they are moving on as well this year.  Many thanks to them for the piles of hard work they have put in with the website, graphic design and recordings.


With a great mix of new team members and experienced personnel, we are thrilled to be handing off a conference that has a great future of blessing and challenging Manitoba homeschool families.

The “right” way to fill in your forms

Time for the Government Forms…

Some of you are wondering, “How do I fill out my forms the right way?”  Great question!  I’m excited to tell you, there is no “right” way.  These forms were developed for us as parents to let the government know what we are planning to do to educate our kids.  It doesn’t matter what you are planning to do, just write that down, and it will be the “right” thing to say.

For example, in Language Arts, if you have a curriculum for writing, but are planning to teach reading by just reading books together, write down “Writing Program X, group read alouds”.  Nothing more specific is needed, no matter the age of your child.

Since different children of different ages can learn in a group setting with the same material, there is nothing wrong with describing your Gr. 2 and Gr. 11 studies in the same way. Take a look at the example I’ve uploaded here.   This our Grade 11 form from 2016, only the personal info is erased.  I used exactly the same words on my Gr. 2 form and for everyone in between. 

When you describe your planned outline, use simple but explanatory language that takes an educational mindset into account.  For example, under science, instead of “we go outside everyday”, you could say “plant and animal studies, including anatomy”.  Or for math, you could say “personal money management using charts” instead of “he gets an allowance”.  These differences are stylistic rather than adding more detail.

Why would we give more detail, even when more is politely requested?  Because we believe in the fundamental choice of parents to direct the education of their own children.  When all home educating families band together to prove that we are not asking for approval, but simply informing the government of our choice and methods within the law of Manitoba, we can maintain freedom from intrusion into all our homes and parenting choices.

And more detail will be politely requested.  Most homeschool families have been receiving requests for additional reporting information.  These look like personal letters, but are actually being sent with similar wording to everyone.  There is no need to respond to these requests.  More on these letters requesting additional reporting appear in a separate article.

A great description of the forms, the reasons to keep it simple and the boundaries that can be maintained around the homeschooling office at the Department of Education can be found in this video (below) of a presentation at the Intro to Homeschooling night in August 2017.





Have you received a letter from a homeschool liaison?

Most families have been sent longer and longer responses to their submitted forms and reports in the past year.  These are form letters, usually asking parents to add more detail to their forms and reports, and mentioning “required” pieces of an educational program.  The reality is that parents have the right to choose the method and timing of their child’s education.  And only the parents decide the satisfactory outcome.

Any detailed documentation of your child’s progress might be nice for your own sense of accomplishment, but is not useful to present to the government for any future applications.  If some families decide to report in a very detailed way, the government employees may see that as the benchmark for all families and start to request it from everyone.  Since we have heard from the Minister of Education that government interference in homeschools is not part of the intention of his office or necessary for the requirements of the law, MACHS is confident that your reports do not need to include detailed records.  Satisfactory progress should be indicated, and any more specific records or grading can be kept in your own filing if you desire.

The letters that are being addressed to parents of high school students are particularly misguided.  Wording such as “Homeschool students do not graduate” and “credits can only be earned under the supervision of a certified teacher” are being used to scare home educating families into thinking that an alternative method of education outside of a government mandated program are somehow inadequate and will not be accepted by employers or post-secondary institutions.  This is simply false.  These letters are not new information;  they are the repackaging of what has always been true to make it sound as if a Manitoba government program is necessary for a high school education.

Homeschool graduates have always been accepted in all kinds of post-secondary options, with differing requirements of documentation.  The incorrect assumption of the homeschool office is that home educating families want to present a Manitoba diploma at the end of their high school journey.  Homeschool parents are the ones who provide the diploma and graduate their high school students.  The reason we are homeschooling is because we don’t want the government to be the ones who “provide” for our students.  To suggest that unless we enroll in some government high school program, we will be ineligible for future opportunities is ludicrous and basic fear-mongering.

MACHS is working toward a comprehensive catalogue of the requirements of post-secondary opportunities for homeschoolers.  We will be bringing this information to parents as it is collected.  But it should be stated that any well-educated high school graduate can expect to be admitted into these institutions without the intervention of the homeschooling office.  Yes, we agree, the government cannot provide a diploma for you or proof of what you studied;  this is what you signed up for.  You are responsible to prove your student’s accomplishments.  Further information on how to present these proofs will be outlined in a separate article.

Suffice it to say, do not be concerned about the lengthy statement from any liaison regarding your high school students.  It is a simple attempt to frighten parents into accepting a government education.

The response to the requests for additional information should follow the same principle as the requests for home visits.  None of us have anything to hide, but that does not mean that we need to comply with every request for scrutiny.  If some families politely agree to a request for a home visit or for additional reporting information, then the families who choose to decline appear as if they do have something to hide, rather than simply preferring less government involvement in their family’s educational choices.  For this reason,  please consider including minimal information on your government forms.

2017 MACHS Homeschool Conference in Pictures

Briefing the volunteers Friday morning.01-2017

Browsing the Exhibit Hall.08-2017




Eating lunch in the hallway…07-2017…and in Room 5…30-2017…and in Room 130.26-2017

Teen Track with Daniel Craig.06-2017Can you spot yourself?03-2017



Engaging Workshops.21-2017



Friday Evening Keynote with Heidi St. John.18-201732-2017


Alumni photo on Saturday – Graduates, come to next year’s!25-2017

Hiedi St. John was great!









Thanking Gerald and Bev Huebner for 30 years of service to MACHS.20-2017

The Conference Committee.23-2017

Biggest Grad Recognition ever!24-2017





Conference Committee debrief over supper.16-2017

Thanks everyone for a great conference!

Looking forward to 2018 with Steve Demme at Victoria Inn!