Tag Archives: home school

What’s the role of a school board for “unschoolers”?

As most of you probably know, I view Home Schooling as not only an absolutely legal alternative, but one that deserves support from the school board itself.  Our mandate given to us in the Education Act is very clear:

207.1. The mission of a school board is to organize, for the benefit of the persons who come under its jurisdiction, the educational services provided for by this Act and by the basic school regulations made by the Government.

The mission of a school board is also to promote and enhance the status of public education within its territory, to see to the quality of educational services and the success of students so that the population may attain a higher level of formal education and qualification, and to contribute, to the extent provided for by law, to the social, cultural and economic development of its region.

2008, c. 29, s. 23.

So – given that the very same education act specifically exempts students being home schooled from attending our schools, our role is simple: support the efforts of the home schooler such that those students too will attain qualifications and contribute to the social, cultural and economic development of our region.

Now, are we doing all we can do for this group? We’ve made progress, but…  we can do an awful lot more.

But what about unschoolers?  Read this recent article in The Gazette to learn more about unschoolers:

http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Unschooling+Quebec+classes+schedule+tests/10122656/story.html

Certainly the chosen title for the group “unschoolers” may send the wrong message. I don’t think any of these parents are interested in keeping their child ignorant in any way whatsoever. Their approach to education is quite different, and it may not be something you or I understand. But, if at the end of the day these people are developing happy, successful, interested and productive people? Maybe what we need to do is look again at what our role can be here.

How about working together, as a community, and ensuring every child has the tools they need to be successful. And how about allowing for a variety of definitions of the word “successful”.  Most home schoolers do an amazing job – just look at their results.  Unschoolers?  Let’s work together with them to define what success looks like to them.  And let’s focus on the big picture – let’s help our community learn, and each contribute in their own way to the social, cultural and economic development of our region. That’s our role.

Truly,

Steve

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EMSB steps in it – again.

Home-schoolers have rights. And they deserve respect.

CBC reports yesterday:

A Montreal mother said her son’s former school principal threatened to call youth protection services after she pulled her son out of his high school and began home-schooling him.

This student has Asperger syndrome, and clearly was not thriving in his school environment. The family chose to seek an alternative route, and THEY HAVE THAT RIGHT.

In our school board, we seem to be developing a more enlightened and inclusive approach to home schoolers. It started with people around our Educational Services committee table voicing their respect for the choices these families make. And instead of looking for ways of controlling them, we are looking for ways to support them.

But a spokesperson for the English Montreal School Board, Michael Cohen, said the Quebec Education Act is clear on that point.

“He is perfectly entitled to call youth protection services,” Cohen said. “You just can’t pull your child out of school and unilaterally decide to have our own home-schooling program.”

But actually, you CAN do just that.  And perhaps  that is why the case has already been dropped by youth protection.

The issue for school boards, for teachers, for principals to understand is that home schoolers don’t make these decisions lightly. They have a huge familial impact. A huge financial impact. And it’s not a choice they make that says they have no respect for schools, teachers etc. It’s a choice they make because they feel it is  the right choice for them.

I daresay that most home schoolers have *more* respect for teachers than many regular school parents do.

Home schoolers are not trying to recreate a classroom in their home. They are not trying to replace a teacher. They are choosing an alternative educational path. A rich path; a different path. But a path to develop an educated, very well socialized, highly contributing member of society.

I am glad our school board is open and respectful and trying.  We’re not all that I hope we can be just yet in our offerings for home schoolers, but we’re on the way there.

This action from the EMSB shows just how dysfunctional that board continues to be.

Truly,

Steve

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Filed under Blogging, Commentaries, Education