Posted in Homeschool Information

Standing Committee Meeting on Homeschooling Held April 3rd

NSOn April 3, 2013, the Standing Committe on Public Accounts met at the Nova Scotia Legislature to discuss the Auditor General’s Report on Homeschooling.

The CBC news covered it in a news clip on the 6 o’clock news. Go to http://www.cbc.ca/newsatsixns/ and click on the April 3rd newscast – coverage of the meeting begins at 4:25

As well, we have access to the entire meeting online. The Standing Committe on Public Accounts’ schedule is at: http://nslegislature.ca/index.php/committees/committee_hansard/C7/ You can click on the 2013-Apr-3 meeting on the Department of Education and either view the Video or Listen to the Audio.

Homeschoolers across Nova Scotia are being urged to visit their MLA’s. You can read more on that initiative at the Home School Legal Defense Association website.

Posted in Homeschool Information

The Homeschool Legal Defense Association of Canada’s Response to the AG’s Report

From HSLDA Canada:

“The Auditor General in Nova Scotia has released a strongly anti-home education report. The report makes 12 recommendations for change. Among those recommendations are the following:

The Department of Education should require periodic, independent assessment of home schooled children against learning objectives and outcomes.
The Department of Education should assess the programs proposed by parents to determine if they are designed to achieve appropriate learning objectives and outcomes for home schooled children.
The Department of Education should obtain information on learning outcomes of home schooled children to determine if they are making reasonable educational progress.
The Department of Education should track home school registration using its computerized database to determine which children are not registered for the current year and whether follow up is needed.
The Department of Education should track children leaving public school for home schooling to ensure they are properly registered for home schooling.
The Department of Education should explore the possibility of establishing an information sharing protocol with the Department of Health and Wellness to enable tracking of all school-aged children in the province to determine whether they are registered for school.

The full report as well as a summary of the report is available here (http://oag-ns.ca/) 

HSLDA condemns this report for its clear anti-home education bias and clear lack of understanding of home education. It is obvious that the Auditor General’s office has not consulted the research on home education, home educating families, or home education experts. Home education is successful because it is not standardized. Parents, who know their children better than anyone else, are able to tailor the curriculum, learning style, and evaluation methods to the unique needs of their children. If the recommendations in this report are put in place, parents will have so much control and oversight of their homeschooling that they will lose virtually all of this flexibility. This would harm education in Nova Scotia and reduce the quality of education for home educated students.
If the recommendations in this report are put into practice, Nova Scotia will become the most oppressive province in Canada in which to home educate. HSLDA will be working with local home education leaders to ensure that homeschooling freedoms are maintained in Nova Scotia.”

Various homeschooling organizations across the province such as HEMS and NSHEA are looking forward to working together with HSLDA Canada.
Love, Luck &
Laughter,
Kimberly
Posted in Homeschool Information

Nova Scotia Auditor General Report Perpetuates Homeschooling Myths

The Nova Scotia Auditor General’s Report was just released, with a section on homeschooling.  Unfortunately, the Auditor General’s recommendations perpetuate some homeschooling myths and misconceptions typically believed by the general population.

Myth #1: The Department of Education (DOE) Provides a Standard Curriculum and Materials to Homeschoolers
In fact, homeschoolers in Nova Scotia (and Canada-wide) are able to choose or create their own curriculum.  In recommendation 2.1 the Auditor General (AG) states:
“The Department of Education should establish clear and measurable learning objectives and outcomes for the home schooling program.”
Homeschoolers across Nova Scotia use a wide variety of curricula, using methods such as unschooling, classical, Montessori, or Waldorf.  Homeschoolers are not covering x objective at y time, they are tailoring their objectives and outcomes to their individual child, which is one of the many benefits of homeschooling.

Myth #2: The DOE Does (or Should) Test or Administer Standardized Testing to Homeschoolers
Homeschoolers in Nova Scotia are not tested in any way, nor are they administered standardized tests and this is the case in most provinces across Canada.  In Recommendation 2.2, the AG states:
“The Department of Education should require periodic, independent assessment of home schooled children against learning objectives and outcomes.”
Homeschoolers in Canada routinely gain admittance to colleges and universities with the records and/or grades provided by their parent teachers.  If homeschoolers’ reports are good enough for institutions of higher learning, they should be good enough for the DOE.

Myth #3: The More You Legislate (or Crack Down on) Homeschooling, the Better the Homeschool Education
This assumption is seen in recommendations 2.3, 2.4, and 2.6:

“The Department of Education should revise its home schooling material to provide clear information and guidance to parents on how to outline the program plan and the type of information to provide, including examples of the child’s work, in the yearly progress report.
“The Department of Education should assess the programs proposed by parents to determine if they are designed to achieve appropriate learning objectives and outcomes for home schooled children.
“The Department of Education should obtain information on learning outcomes of home schooled children to determine if they are making reasonable educational progress.”

In fact, the amount of legislation in a state or province does not lead to better homeschooling results, homeschoolers perform well regardless (State Regulation: No Impact on Homeschool Achievement).

The AG report gives the impression that there are many homeschoolers not getting a proper education. Studies show that not only do homeschoolers get a good education but they perform head and shoulders above both their public school and private schooled counterparts.  (Over 94% of home educated students scored above the Canadian norm).

If there are indeed any so-called “homeschoolers” truly not educating their children, this is more an issue of truancy than of homeschooling.  At this time there are 950 homeschoolers across Nova Scotia – how many children are we really talking about that could possibly “not be receiving a suitable education?”  Besides the public schooled children who are falling through the cracks,  what about the private schooled students who number over three times as many as the homeschool population?  None of the recommendations by the AG are required of private schools.  Each homeschooling family is, in effect, its own little private school, and has the freedom to determine its own outcomes and path of study just like private schools do.  Studies show that homeschoolers are doing just fine across North America – homeschooling parents are taking responsibility for their own children’s education (which is the number one predictor of school success) and seeing to it that their children are prepared for post-secondary education (home educated adults are more likely to have degrees) and the real world in which they live.

Love, Luck &
Laughter,