Following the publication of the Quebec Ombudsman’s report, we were invited to meet with the overseer of homeschooling matters at the Ministry of Education (Ministère de l’Éducation, de l’Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche—MEESR–previously MELS). The goal of this meeting was to discuss the Ombudsman’s recommendations. The tone was friendly and our conversation proved to be of great interest to all parties.

Among other things, we agreed on the following points:

  • A respectful collaboration between parent-educators and the school boards must be established;
  • School authorities must be better informed about homeschooling;
  • Parents must not be obliged to follow the Quebec school curriculum, given the diversity of educational approaches and the resources available for homeschooling;
  • School boards must remain flexible in regards to the type of evaluations made, allowing for the aforementioned diversity.

We also discussed the following:

  • The loan of school materials: This is not something that our members seek. The materials are unhelpful to most homeschooling families as most material is not adapted to the home context. Furthermore, if families used school materials they may then be evaluated children as though they were “in school”;
  • Access to libraries: We made clear that municipal libraries serve homeschool families very well without families having to use the local schools’ libraries;
  • Classes on demand:This would become difficult to manage administratively if we consider that the families could want half-and-half options, for example;
  • Student cards: Provision of these cards is no longer necessary since birth certificates are now required and accepted for student bus passes, for example;
  • Distance education before the age of 16: This would be an asset to allow teens who are working towards a high school diploma to continue at home, without losing a year compared to their peers in school;
  • Youth protection (DPJ): The organization should not be involved in the case of administrative disputes between parents and school officials;
  • Extracurricular activities: Organization of these events outside of regular class time (such as soccer teams or music classes at the parents’ expense) could be an asset.

Those are the important points that were brought up during the meeting. We will keep in contact with the MEESR and, in the weeks to come, we intend to be a part of the process in the preparation of a new homeschool policy.

If you have any questions about this, don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below or by communicating directly with our office at 819 909-6928.

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