After a marked increase last year, the number of children being homeschooled is down this year. Some students, whose parents had become teachers due to the pandemic, have returned to the classroom.
Dominique Bernèche became the teacher of four of her six children in September 2020. The idea: to protect the grandparents and continue to see them in a closed bubble.
In my head, in January, the kids were going back to school and it was fixed. We didn’t think it would take this long.
As the cases of COVID-19 increased in the middle of winter, 5e year of Louis, 3e of Laurier, i 1stD de Simone and Marie’s garden is finished – completely! – of the house of Lanaudière.
“It was a great year, but I wouldn’t have had a second one. Homeschooling wasn’t a long-term vision for me or a solution because I wasn’t happy with what was happening at school,” explains Dominique Bernèche, entrepreneur and teacher by training. who revealed that “it takes a long time”.
According to the figures provided by the Ministry of Education for press, there are this year (as of September 13) just over 8,300 home-schooled children. Last year, there were about 12,000 children, double that of 2019-2020.
Some parents who “felt comfortable” with the health situation have chosen to return their children to the classroom, notes Marine Dumond-Després, president of the Quebec Association for Home Education (AQED).
“We need a homeschool network. Children need to make friends, parents need to talk to families who do the same. It really wasn’t easy last year”, explains M.ME Dumond-Després, who believes this isolation may have discouraged some from pursuing home schooling.
More children at home than before the pandemic
Although the choice to home school remains marginal (less than 1% of all students in the province), AQED believes that the “enthusiasm” observed with the pandemic is not waning.
“It’s interesting to see that the families that started last year continue [l’enseignement à la maison]. Many families tell us that individualized instruction is best for their child. We have most children with special needs. It’s a lesson for sure [en tête à tête] it makes it possible to follow the child’s pace”, notes Marine Dumond-Després.
At the Ministry of Education, we remind you that even though the deadline for declaring a child in home schooling is 1er July, “a parent may choose to withdraw his child from school in order to homeschool him at any time during the school year.”
As for Dominique Bernèche’s children, they returned to primary school a few weeks ago.
They were happy to go, but they are a little annoyed by that pace. My boys went fishing in the afternoon. They really liked the latitude it gave them.
And mother? She cites the example of her little Simone, whom she taught to read. “It was very rewarding,” she says. But while her husband, a CEGEP teacher, taught her remotely, she often did the rest.
“I was the one who had the mental load of the school, who said: “Today we are doing this”. Sometimes, if I had a date, my boyfriend took care of it,” explains Dominique Bernèche. Grandparents were also involved.
Now that her children have resumed their more “traditional” routine, Dominique Bernèche is devoting herself to her business Les Belles Combins, which provides educational tools for parents. And the family is preparing to welcome a baby in a few months, the seventh of the siblings.
Mandatory ministerial exams
According to a decree passed in 2019, home-schooled children will have to undergo mandatory ministerial tests from this year. AQED regrets that the families have been left in the dark and that “no concrete plan on how they will undergo the exams” is still known.
Number of children educated at home
- 4968 during the 2018-2019 school year
- 5964 during the 2019-2020 school year
- 11,947 during the 2020-2021 school year
- 8329 for the 2021-2022 school year
(as of September 13, 2021)
Source: Quebec Ministry of Education