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 &