Susanne Lee has been home schooling her children since they became of school age and she said there are huge benefits to it.
Lee’s children are enrolled through Regent Christian Online Academy and she follows the distributed learning home school model. She has a background in child and youth care and follows the Ministry of Education curriculum and there are many ways to approach it, she said.
“My perspective on it is, we hit all the [prescribed learning outcomes] that we need to for the ministry, and then everything else is gravy because there’s so much life learning out there,” said Lee.
She said there are perks to the distributed model, as a certain amount of curriculum is provided, if it is needed, and there is government funding to pay for things like art classes and swimming lessons, which are taken with similar students in the community.
In terms of marking, there is a home support teacher that her children give their work to. Lee will send weekly reports explaining what was taught and field trips that were taken.
“She [teacher Donna Dick] pulls it all together and she writes the report cards and she’ll come to the house and see the work, talk to the kids and hear them read,” said Lee.
There are things parents should know if they are considering home schooling. According to the Ministry of Education, parents that go the traditional route assume responsibility for teaching their children and the program does not have to adhere to provincial standards. Traditional home school students will not receive provincial graduation certification.
Distributed learning students, like Lee’s children, must take part in provincial and graduation examinations and students in Grade 4 and 7 are subject to the controversial Foundation Skills Assessment test.
Parents wishing to enrol their children in home schooling must do so through a public, independent or distributed learning school by Sept. 30.
The online academy Lee’s children are enrolled with is independent and not affected by current teacher job action, however, Donna Reimer, spokeswoman for the Nanaimo school district, said the school district’s distributed learning program, Learn at Home K-7, is affected.
Lee said the Nanaimo Community Home Learners, which provides home school support, is a good place for parents to get started. The group meets monthly at Oliver Woods Community Centre.