As part of our continued effort to assist our members with preparing portfolios and  reports to conform to Bill 144 while ensuring the freedom that makes homeschooling so effective, HSLDA and ACPEQ met with the DEM (Direction de l’enseignement à la maison) on Wednesday, February 6, 2019. We were warmly met by the DEM staff.

The main topics of the meeting were two documents which the DEM has begun circulating to help answer the many questions parents have been asking them. These documents concern the mid-term and written status reports and the contents of the portfolio submitted to the minister, for those who choose that end-of-year evaluation option.

HSLDA and ACPEQ expressed concern on some points and our feedback for the most part was well received. We emphasized the need to allow parents to take a very wide interpretation of the term, “time allocated” (to the learning activities) because it can vary widely from one family to another and even from one child to another within the same family. We also suggested that the document about portfolios give suggestions and examples, and not impose specific methods or items. This freedom in presentation and content would allow the portfolio of each child to reflect his actual educational experience.

We had an open discussion about the particularities of special needs children and how families with children who learn differently and at a different pace feel vulnerable in the face of government scrutiny. There are several of the ministry-appointed “overseers” (chargés de suivi) who have worked with special needs children or who have themselves children with special needs. We were introduced to the “chargés de suivi” and able to chat with them. Each family is assigned one for all their children, and the plan is to follow the same family for several years, unless a change is requested.

The DEM would like to see a greater awareness of homeschooling among the public, schools and administrators, post-secondary institutions, and health professionals. They would like to see easier access for homeschoolers to postsecondary institutions. We encourage families with high school age children to attend open houses and make inquiries about homeschool student admission policies. Let us know if you encounter obstacles, because we have at present an attentive ear.

It was a productive and positive meeting! Thank you to our members who shared their experiences and correspondence that they have had with both the DEM and school boards. It helps us to better understand the wider picture and to continue interceding on your behalf.

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