Keep Your Eye on the Prize

While home educating your children, there are many distractions that need to be dealt with or managed. We are bombarded by expectations, comments, and pressures from relatives, such as grandparents, from our Christian friends, and from ourselves.  These could derail our home educating journey if we are not careful.

Often relatives are quick to criticize when they see us doing things differently than what they expect or what they see from other forms of schooling (i.e., public/private). Our friends can exaggerate how their children are succeeding at their public/private schools and how they feel their own time is being used more effectively for Christian service and “the Lord’s work.” This can contribute to our already somewhat distorted thinking that “I’m not doing enough” with my children, that my children are missing out, or that “I’m not pleasing the Lord” because my service time is limited or lacking. To combat these pressures and distractions, I 

encourage you to remember to keep the first things the first things, to remember why you are doing what you are doing, and to remember the “big picture” and where you are hoping (and praying!) this effort will lead.


Home education provides the best environment for raising our children in the “training and admonishment of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). For Christian parents, our number one desire for our children is that they would not depart from “wisdom and understanding . . . sound judgment and discretion” (Proverbs 3:21).  Within home education, instruction with godly example is the best way for us to instill these truths upon our children. Do not take the discipling of your children lightly. It is the most important job the Lord has for you to do (Deuteronomy 6:7).

Also, why did you begin your home educating journey? Was it to provide your children individualized instruction and learning opportunities, strengthen family relationships, have a flexible schedule that met your family’s needs, less negative peer influences and/or to instill your Christian values and morals on your children?  Whatever the reasons, I believe that it is important to “remember” them and to spend time renewing your commitment to these reasons if you are feeling deflated or pressured.  More than likely, these reasons are as important now or even more so than when you started. Take time to resolve to continue to push forward with renewed vision and purpose.

Research has revealed that most home educated children turn out to have a deep and meaningful faith as an adult, have strong morals and values, and make valuable contributions to their families, churches, communities, and society. When we are tempted to say, “homeschooling is too hard” or “it doesn’t really matter,” we would do well to remember the outcomes of those that have gone before us, those who made the sacrifices necessary to home educate through high school and gained the rewards. It is important to continue to remember the big picture and how the Lord has brought you to this point and that He can continue to help you to completion (Philippians 1:6).

So, if you are feeling distracted or pressured by comments from others or your own negative thinking, consider remembering the tremendous benefits of home education.  Remembering these benefits will help you focus on what is most important, the reasons why you first chose this journey. Focusing on these things will inspire you to continue, and give you the hope for an outcome that will help you to know that it was all worth it. You sacrificed for your children and went against popular cultural norms, to give them the best opportunity to live their lives “worthy of the calling they have received” (Ephesians 4:1). I believe there is a great reward for you in heaven.

Ian Mogilevsky is married to Debbie, and is a home educating father of eight children, three of which have graduated. Vocationally, he is a psychologist with an expertise in working with children, teens, and adults with learning differences.  He is also the president of MACHS.

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Homeschool Short Film Challenge

Wondering what could get 30 homeschool teens and alumni waking at the crack of dawn to drive across the province?  Manitoba has a thriving community of filmmakers, and on Saturday, October 28th, a 13-hour film challenge was the draw.

This was the second film challenge hosted by Liberty Film, with the goal of bringing filmmakers together to learn how to work under pressure, and of course, have fun. Caleb Mogilvesky did an excellent job of planning and running the whole affair.   

The group of thirty was divided into 4 teams.  By the end of the day, each team was to have produced a short film over 45 seconds long.


The morning was dedicated to brainstorming, settling on an idea, outlining and scripting, as well as preparing any props and locations that would be needed.  The whiteboard was a key part of that process.


After lunch, the filming began. In a team leaders meeting during the noon break, we found that every team was planning to shoot most of their film outside in the blasting wind and freezing cold.


Wearing the headphones was a real privilege in the wind.





Some did enough filming inside to keep ears and toes warm.




The short time demanded operating a camera at the same time as coaching acting.  



As soon as each team completed shooting, editing could commence.

Sometimes editing is tedious for the young siblings of the host family.  It took about 3 hours to get all the clips together, the sound right, and the music slapped on top. 


The only time to socialize was over supper and lunch so we all made the most of it.




Once all the films had been edited everyone piled into the living room and watched all the films on the Tv. It’s a great reward after a long day of work.



If you would like to watch the films click here. 


Mercer Lawrenson lives with his family on their farm near Sanford Manitoba. He spends his days farming, making YouTube videos, and volunteering with MACHS.  His personal blog is



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Thoughts from a Homeschooled Teen

Hello. My name is Abby, and I am a homeschooled teen from Southern MB.

A few of my hobbies are art, photography, writing, filming, and playing sports.
I love country life, historical artifacts, trying new things, yellow, and living a full life for Christ!


Homeschooling is a lot more than just learning the basics of math, reading, and writing. More importantly, it’s about getting equipped for life, as a person and a Christian.

Homeschooling gives you the option to choose what you want your children to learn, at their own pace, and do the things they are most interested in doing.

Kids need to take action with their imaginations and ideas, and should be encouraged to do so! As a homeschooler, you can take the time to get involved with your kids/siblings and help them to grow their ideas and carry them out. If they have an interest in something specific, encourage going deeper!

I’ve listed some of the advantages that homeschooling offers to families who are concerned not only about academics, but also instilling good character in their children.

Some children learn certain subjects faster than others, and each one has their own strengths and weaknesses. You can have your own schedule and take time to teach your kids individually in the areas most needed, and the things they are most interested in.

Country Lifestyle: Not every homeschooler lives in the country, but for those who do, living on a farm or country yard gives a lot of opportunities for everyone to learn. Children love dirt and crawly creatures. Their curious minds like to experience things hands-on, to feel with their fingers, and observe things for themselves;  they’ll ask questions and want to learn.  Having animals and/or a garden to care for opens up a whole new world of teaching the kids about responsibility and productiveness, and all working together.

It is a thrill to a child to be allowed to buy their own animals to be responsible for. They will be excited about what they have accomplished, when they see little green plants peeking out of the dirt, growing to full maturity and producing fruit; and they will enjoy learning, as long as you, the parent or older sibling makes it an enjoyable thing.

Job 12:7-10  – Psalm 104:24-25 

In The Home…: Home is the place to receive the skills and knowledge that you will need later on. Being able to operate the microwave oven is not going to do it.  Mothers are able to spend time instructing their older girls in preparing meals, working alongside them until they can do it on their own.  They can then be given the responsibility of planning a meal and also preparing it and letting the younger ones participate.

Children are also taught how to clean up after themselves and each other and learning how to keep a home.

Of course, the kids need play time, the time they can let loose their imaginations, and have fun together, all ages. Big siblings will know how to play with little kids and have a great time, even in doing little kid things that might make us teens groan when little brother or sister wants to play with us.

Everyone is always together, big siblings helping out little siblings and spending time together, building character, building bonds that only siblings can have. In spending time together, kids learn how to talk to and relate to people of all ages, not just their own age group.


Working together: Children need to know how to interact with people who are not in their everyday lives and learn how to address new people and communicate confidently. There are so many ways to get out and do things! It depends on what your children are interested in. Making films, coordinating group events, bible studies, etc. are things the older teens can do themselves if they have the desire.

I also find volunteering in different places (e.i thrift store, soup kitchen, community events, conferences) to be a great way to get involved with other people, to learn communication skills and build new relationships with different kinds of people. It’s a wonderful experience.

 Shopping with the kids is also a good idea, though perhaps not an easy task! It is a trial of patience for sure on mom’s part, especially if you have several little ones, but the kids will be taught to look for good deals, do the math, and check out. Again, make it fun! Not a chore.

 Well behaved kids who are enjoying each others company and excited to work are a strange sight to most people these days!

Equipped for Life: Not every public schooled person is like this, but as I’ve observed, there are a lot of kids who go through school, graduate, and then don’t really know what to do from there. The teen years are often not talked about in a positive way.  Our culture has low expectations for teens and most teens live up to those expectations. We need to rise above low expectations and teach our children to do the same. We need to give them a vision for the future, teaching them that serving God brings purpose to our lives.

Most importantly, we need to be spiritually equipped to live a steadfast life for Christ on this earth and pass this on to our children. All the education in the world, all the schooling and knowledge are completely and utterly worthless in the end, if you do not know God, and do not follow Him.

The older I get, the more I see the world’s need for Jesus.  I understand the importance of passing on my faith to my children someday. We need to be spiritually prepared to be steadfast, unwavering in the fight. [John 15:19-25) The world is bound to hate you, possibly even kill you,  if you are proclaiming the truth and doing what is right in the eyes of God. The world will try to snatch away children and lead them astray. This is the world that our parents, and someday us teens, are/will be raising our children in, and we need to be able to raise them in truth, to stand for their faith and fight courageously for the Kingdom.

The ‘home’ part of home educating is what gives parents the opportunity to train up their children in the way they should go. It is hard for a parent to raise a child the way he ought to go when the child is scarcely with his parents for the twelve first crucial years of his life, and instead is being daily indoctrinated by the world!

Proverbs 22:6 “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Ephesians 6:1-4 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”  And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”

  My parents believe that homeschooling is the way that God wanted them to raise up their children for His glory, for His Kingdom; and I believe the same. I want my children to grow up to love the Lord their God with all their hearts, minds, and strength, more than anything else.

2 Timothy 3:16-17  “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

That verse tells us just what we need to be completely and thoroughly equipped for life;  so we may live an effective life here on earth as a follower of Christ.



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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.





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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.

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Intro to Homeschooling evening

MACHS will be hosting an informational evening
“Intro to Homeschooling”

Wednesday, August 23rd

6:15 pm to 9:30 pm at the Bethesda Church, 1350 Grant Ave. in Winnipeg

The evening will provide you with important information, such as how to notify to the Minister of Education of your intention to homeschool, types of homeschooling methods, curriculum choices, student evaluation;  in addition to:  how to complete your January and June reports to the government and activities of MACHS!    

A panel will share their approach and experiences, in addition to being available to answer every question that you might have. Interactive small group discussions will provide a relaxed and informal setting to put you at ease.

If you are a new homeschooler, thinking about homeschooling, someone who would like to help beginning homeschoolers or just want to brush-up on the basics, this evening is for you!  

Please let us know of your desire to attend by emailing [email protected] or calling 204-488-8361.

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Filling out your June reports? Here’s all you need to know.

*Updated for 2018*


It’s Summer! That means lot’s of outside fun, and a little (or a lot) less homeschooling!
It also means progress reports. They don’t take too long to fill out, so do it today and say hello to summer.

Here’s the easiest way to do it.
1. Open a blank report in your browser here.
2. Fill out the form.  Each text box can be filled out by clicking on it.
3. Click the print button in the top right.
4. In the section titled Destination, click the box that says Change.
5. In the section titled Local Destinations, find and choose Save as PDF.
6. Attach that pdf in an email to [email protected]



June is here, and that means most homeschoolers are waltzing into summer, but before you do, remember to hand in your June reports.

It’s not an ordeal, so don’t worry, and everything you need to know is right here.

Click here for the form to fill out.

Wondering what to include?  Click here to see sample notification forms. These are copies of reports from a few families. You can choose how much information you would like to include.

In summary, Manitoba law requires families to send in three forms:  notification by September 1 indicating course of study for each student, and then January and June reports each indicating satisfactory progress.  There is no requirement for elaboration on checking off “satisfactory progress” for each student’s work.

Send in your June report by June 31, and if you get a note back asking for more information, politely decline, and let MACHS know.

If you want to hear someone describe how it works, here is a short video from Homeschooling 101.

Here is a video from the conference explaining MACHS position on notification forms.

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MACHS Writing Contest


MACHS Writing Contest.
From Ages 12-17!

Hey homeschoolers! You like to write stories, right? You like to read them to your friends and siblings, right? How would you like to win a contest? Announcing the First MACHS Short Story Contest! Anyone from ages 12-17 can submit a story under one of these two categories, and the first place winner in each category will receive a prize that will be announced soon. The winning story and two runners-up will be announced on facebook and the stories will be posted on the MACHS website and in the fall newsletter. Age of participant will be taken into consideration in the judging process.

*True Experience Max 500 Words
*Fictional Story Max 3000 Words

Feel free to add pictures to a true experience, and drawings to a fictional story.
Send your story to [email protected] by Sept. 31st with the Subject line “Writing Contest”. Please Include:

Your full name
Your age (must be in homeschool to participate)
Your town
The category of your story
The name of your story
Your story in a normal, readable font

And a Declaration of Independence that states: “I (name of author) have written this story without help from my parents, (names of parents), and I hereby declare that every word in it is my own, with only occasional spelling help from my Mom and encouragement from my Dad. Signed, (name of author).”

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Homeschool Soccer


By Ezekiel Thiessen

Every spring, as if to prove that homeschoolers don’t spend every day all consigned to their dining room tables behind mounds of the latest and greatest homeschool curriculum, a good number of the homeschooled children and teens of Manitoba get out and play soccer!
Taking place every Monday afternoon (weather permitting), young children and teens (5-17) take to the soccer field and prove that while homeschooling isn’t always fun and games, it also isn’t characterized by a complete lack of fun and games! Though we extol the virtues of unified families, those of different ages are, nonetheless, divided up into groups to ensure the safety and well-being of participants.
I attend homeschool soccer as much as I am able, and I have for almost ten years. While I am not an exceptionally good player, or a very ‘sporty’ person, this event gives me the chance to exercise and work together with others. It also gives moms a chance to socialize (or, for those of you who hate that word, have fellowship) and take a break from the kids for a little while.


Are you up to something? Manitoba Homeschoolers want to see what other homeschoolers are doing.  If your family has done something cool let us know.  Email [email protected]

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Home Education Around the World – “Sharing the Joy”

We, Gerald Huebner and Diane Kroeker (father and daughter) had the privilege to recently take a trip to share the joy of home education with people in far away places. We were invited to speak to families in 4 countries (Italy, Hungary, Ukraine and Belarus). These are countries where home education is either very uncommon (Italy and Hungary) or virtually non existent (Ukraine and Belarus).


Our trip of 19 days, saw us participating and speaking at 5 different conferences in these 4 countries, and spending time meeting and interacting with many, many new friends. It was a truly wonderful trip with results beyond our hopes and expectations. But we should not be surprised as we know from Ephesians 3:20 that God does awesome things “now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us…”  We safely traveled over 25,000 miles and spoke to hundreds of people at the conferences. Diane as a homeschool graduate and homeschooling mom was able to speak to and connect with folks and share the joys and practicalities of home education.


In Rome, Italy we spoke at a European Education Freedom and Homeschool Conference where we met many parents from across Italy. Although home education is legal in Italy the legal requirements can be very onerous for parents and the conference was a great opportunity for them to start discussions on the start of a national home education organization. In Hungary we participated and manned a homeschool booth at the World Congress of Families Conference. This is a huge pro-family, pro-life event with over 1,000 participants. We were able to meet with those interested in home education from Hungary as well as many other countries including Serbia, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and France, to name a few.


Next we travelled to Ukraine where we, together with a Ukrainian veteran homeschool couple, delivered the first ever homeschool conference in Ukraine. We had a lot of interest with 26 people attending. It was great to meet and interact with the homeschoolers of Ukraine and those interested in starting to homeschool. Passing on Christian family values to their children through homeschooling really interested them. We have already been asked to come back to speak in several cities across Ukraine. We spent time learning about Christian Camping in Ukraine as we were hosted and stayed at the Christian Camping International Ukraine Office in Kiev. The Lord is doing exciting things in camps across Ukraine.


The last stop on our journey was a a marathon of conferences in two different cities in Belarus.(above picture are the attendees in Minsk area conference) Belarus is right beside Russia to the north of Ukraine and remains a communist dictatorship that is more soviet than Russia. In addition to being in Minsk we traveled to the south of the country and spoke in the city of Gomel which is close to Chernobyl in Ukraine. Then we headed back after the evening session to Minsk (over 4 hour hour drive) and did a full day session the next morning. We had a total of over 60 participants in Belarus with a lot of interest in home education. Although there are very few people currently home education in Belarus, we met one family who have home educated for several years already. We spoke about home education, but also about Christian parenting and discipling our children. It was a great time of fellowship and sharing. The folks in Belarus want to arrange a bigger conference for next spring, so we will likely have this in our plans.


It was an amazing trip and we were so honored to share our homeschool stories. So many families said the information we shared was completely new to them and they wanted to hear more. They had so many questions and God, through us, provided the answers about how to integrate education to all parts of life (Gerald turned a question about teaching children where meat comes when he talked about raising chickens into a lesson on teaching salvation). Please pray for the families considering homeschooling, and starting homeschooling, in Europe as they have a lot of opposition and it’s always hard to be “the first ones”.

Diane also has a blog for this mission, to access it see the following link

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