Home schooling

Extra households are embracing homeschooling in Prince Edward Island

The number of home-schooled students has increased from 235 for the 2019-2020 school year to 474 for this 2021-2022 school year.

This figure was even higher during the first year of the pandemic.

As of 2020, the island had up to 556 children enrolled in this home schooling program provided by the Ministry of Education.

Brad Samson sits at his desk.  He looks at the building plans.

Brad Samson is CSLF’s director of administration and finance (archives).

Photo: Julien Lecacheur

However, that number is still very low among French-speaking students, according to Brad Samson, director of administration and financial services at the island’s French-language school board.

The vast majority of students have returned to school, but there are always exceptions, these are people who are directly affected by COVID. »

A quote from Brad Samson, Director of Administration at CSLF

Brad Samson explains that the French-speaking network families who signed up for the provincial home schooling program represent only less than 2% of the students enrolled in the program.

These families who wish to maintain education at home, despite the removal of almost all sanitary measures, are directed directly by the provincial government.

These people who choose not to come, these people had to choose, in early February, between home schooling, the ministry program, or coming to school. There is no more support from the school board for these families who choose not to come to school says the director.

Brad Samson also adds that families who must remain in isolation or those whose members make up groups vulnerable to COVID-19 still receive support from the school board to continue distance education.

Two school buses arrive at a school.

School buses returned to schools on January 31, 2022, when students were able to return to school benches. They spent several weeks doing distance education due to the increased number of COVID-19 cases on the island (archive).

Photo: Radio-Canada / Julien Lecacheur

Motivations

When enrolled in the provincial program, families do not need to provide reasons to the province to justify their choice to educate their children at home.

Therefore, the Ministry of Education is unable to provide accurate data on their motivations.

Laura Peric poses for the photo in a park.

Laura Peric, secretary of PEI Christian Home Educators, says her organization has seen an increase in the number of families choosing to homeschool.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Steve Bruce

However, according to an island support group for families wishing to educate their children at home, the pandemic was clearly the trigger.

Laura Peric, secretary of PEI Christian Home Educatorsexplains that the sanitary measures implemented in schools, especially the wearing of masks, have contributed to this trend.

Another example would be the back and forth between classroom and home education due to outbreaks of COVID-19 cases.

It may have been due to constant changes. The kids had to go back to the classroom in person and two weeks later they were going home, and it was hard for the kids. The screening routine made the situation even more complicatedexplains Laura Peric.

During the first four months of 2022, students in schools were required to take a rapid drug test at least three times a week.

A rapid test kit for COVID-19 on a counter.

Rapid screening tests to detect SARS-CoV-2 have been distributed to schools on the island (archive).

Photo: Radio-Canada / Boualem Hadjouti

After trying homeschooling due to health regulations, some of these families were able to adjust their routines well, while some parents also had to migrate to telecommuting, says Laura Peric.

Perhaps it opened the eyes of parents who had never considered homeschooling. Yes, there are challenges in homeschooling, but there are also challenges in schoolshe explains.

Laura Peric says that her organization has noticed an increase in the number of families who have chosen this way of education.

It’s really interesting to see people arriving, whether they come to register with us because of the pandemic or have just arrived on the island from other provincesshe explains.

In an email, the Ministry of Education responded that its views on home schooling have not changed. Depending on the province, families have the right to choose the type of education that suits them and their children.

With information from CBC

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