HSLDA Canada Provincial Update
The final step in the legislative process is complete; we now have the entirety of Quebec’s new law around homeschooling. Here is a summary of the Regulation’s highlights and deadlines.
What do we need to do to comply with the new law and regulation for the coming 2018-2019 school year?
- September 1st, 2018: Notify the Minister and your school board that you are homeschooling (the deadline is September 1st only for the year 2018; in all subsequent years, you must notify by July 1st of each year) or within 10 days of a student ceasing to attend school to begin homeschooling (S. 3, S. 25). The Ministry will be providing a form for this purpose (S. 2), and we’ll be posting it on the HSLDA member portal once it is released.
- September 30th, 2018: Submit details of your learning plan (S. 4). You’ll be sending your student’s learning plan directly to the Ministry of Education (not to the school board). We continue to be in touch with the Ministry and will be providing further instructions in the near future on exactly where to send the learning plan. We will also be working with our members in the coming weeks to prepare these plans. Stay tuned for more details!
- Between the 3rd and 5th month of the school year: Prepare and send to the Minister a midterm report on each of your children’s progress. The midterm report should describe the learning activities completed by subject, the approximate time allocated to them and any changes you have made to the learning plan. You should also indicate how you are assessing your child’s progress through the learning plan (tests, quizzes, book reports, etc.) (S. 11, S. 16).
- Not later than June 15th, 2019: Prepare and send to the Minister a completion report on each of your students’ progress. This report must show the student’s learning progress and indicate what method you have chosen for the annual evaluation. If you choose a portfolio as the “evaluation method,” the portfolio must be sent with the completion report (S. 16).
The law and Regulation requires one evaluation for each homeschooled student; what are my options for these evaluations?
You can choose one of the following five options for evaluation (S. 15):
- An evaluation by the school board that has jurisdiction, including an examination it imposes under the second paragraph of section 231 of the Act, conducted according to the procedure it determines;
- An evaluation by a private educational institution governed by the Act respecting private education (chapter E-9.1), conducted according to the procedure it determines;
- An evaluation by a holder of a teaching licence;
- An examination imposed by the Minister under the first paragraph of section 463 of the Act and administered by the school board that has jurisdiction; or,
- A portfolio submitted to the Minister.
The inclusion of evaluations by a private school, by a teacher, or by the Minister through review of the student’s portfolio along with evaluations or exams by the school board offers a good range of choice for homeschooling families. HSLDA Canada is compiling a list of teachers and private schools who will offer evaluations for families who are interested in these options. Stay tuned for more details!
What has to be in my student’s learning plan?
The learning plan must fall under one of two categories:
- MELS: The homeschooled student is following the MELS program and planning to take Ministry exams, and the learning plan includes “what would be included in the educational services received by the student if the student were attending school;”
- Alternate curriculum: The homeschooled student is pursuing a body of knowledge and skills. Each year, the student’s learning plan must include the French language, another language and mathematics as well as at least one subject belonging to each of the following areas of learning subjects:
- Mathematics, science and technology;
- Human development;
- Where the student is 9 years old or older as of the date that the student’s learning plan is implemented (September 30th of each year at the latest), social sciences.
In addition to describing the student’s academic program of study, the learning plan must include the following information:
- a description of the chosen educational approach;
- a brief description of the activities chosen to support the learning of the French language, another language and mathematics;
- the other subjects that will be taught and a brief description of the activities chosen for that purpose;
- the other knowledge and skills to be acquired and a brief description of the activities chosen for that purpose (this section can be as simple as learning about finances, home ec skills, working with tools, volunteering, etc.);
- the educational resources that will be used;
- an approximate plan of the time to be allocated to the learning activities;
- the names and contact information of every organization that will be contributing to the student’s learning and a description of the extent of the contribution;
- how the student’s progress is to be evaluated; and
- the last level of educational services received by the student from an educational institution.
In the draft Regulation, paragraph 7 above required disclosure of the names and contact information of “every person or organization” that would be contributing to a homeschooled student’s learning. We advocated for editing or removing this section as we viewed it as a disproportionate invasion of privacy. In the final Regulation, the requirement to list the name of any person contributing to your student’s education has been removed, leaving only organizations. The final Regulation also requires an “approximate plan of the time to be allocated” to learning activities, rather than a “breakdown” of the time. While it still requires some information about the time spent on learning activities, the new wording allows for a little more flexibility.We will be providing further guidance on preparing your learning plans in the coming weeks; please get in touch with us if you have specific questions about the plan.
What services and materials do school boards have to provide to homeschooled students?
At the request of the parents and on the conditions the school board determines, school boards must provide homeschooling parents with:
- Access to the textbooks and instructional materials approved by school board principals required for teaching a program that is part of the student’s learning plan or a subject within the plan. The student can use the textbooks. Parents making this request must provide the school board with their learning plan.
- Subject to availability and the student’s need, access to student support services for the use of the documentary resources of the school library, academic and career counselling and information, psychological services, psychoeducational services, special education services, remedial education services and speech therapy services;
- In at least one of its schools, subject to availability and on the conditions the school board determines, the school board must provide the following to homeschooling students, for free:
- The library;
- the science lab and the material/equipment;
- the computer lab and the material/equipment;
- the auditorium and art rooms and materials/equipment; and,
- the sports and recreational facilities and materials/equipment.
Anything else I should know about the Regulation?
- The Regulation retains wording emphasizing that “the Minister is to monitor the homeschooling and … the school board that has jurisdiction is to support the student” which makes it clear that the Minister retains primary responsibility for monitoring homeschooling, not school boards (S. 1).
- The Regulation clarifies that for homeschooled children being evaluated by the school board, by a private school, or by a licensed teacher, the regulation should not be construed as restricting the evaluation to evaluations done in school, such as a test taken by the student. This section confirms that legislators contemplated the possibility that a school board, private school or teacher would interpret this section as requiring exams such as those taken by students in school, and explicitly clarified that such exams are not required with these three evaluation options (S. 15).
- The Regulation specifies certain areas and subjects that a homeschooled students’ learning plan must cover. However, the Minister can, at the request of a parent or homeschooled student, excuse the student from some of these requirements, such as where the student is handicapped, has “social maladjustments,” or learning disabilities. HSLDA specifically advocated for a specific provision to allow for flexibility in the learning plan for special needs, as there was no provision like this in the draft Regulation. This provision is helpful in addressing this issue (S. 8).
- Parents attend a monitoring meeting while implementing their children’s learning plans (S. 12), and also attend a meeting if a problem arises in implementing their children’s learning plan (S. 13). The wording of both provisions indicates that parents are the required attendees. There is no mention of children being required to attend. Parents can be accompanied by a person of their choice. There are no restrictions on who this person can be.
HSLDA is working to prepare templates for the learning plan and resources to assist you in preparing it, and preparing resources to assist you in the new evaluation process. Once we have the notification form from the Ministry, it will be posted on our website. Please stay in touch as we prepare for the 2018-2019 school year!