Frequently Asked Questions
- What qualifications do you need to homeschool your child?
- Are homeschooled students accepted into higher education institutions?
- Is homeschooling expensive? Do I need any specialized equipment?
- Do I have to follow the provincial curriculum?
- What is the difference between “registered” and “enrolled”?
- At what age must I register my child(ren)?
- Do I have to pay to register my child as homeschooled?
- Where do I register?
- Do I need to report any academic progress to anyone?
- If I register under Sec. 12/13, where do I get books or courses?
- Can I start to homeschool my child in the middle of the year?
You know your child better than anyone else, and have the greatest level of love, concern and commitment to their success. Dr. Brian Ray, president of the National Home Education Research Institute, states, “The tutorial method has always been the superior method for educating children. Home schooling epitomizes this method, providing the essentials for success – a close relationship between the student and teacher, motivation, flexibility, and individualization.” You need time, patience, and the commitment to the responsibility.
Many colleges and universities actively pursue homeschooled students because of their self-motivation, maturity, creativity, and independent thinking skills. There are also many ways to enter universities or colleges.
Homeschooling can be done effectively with very little expense, utilizing the public library, the Internet, family resources, etc. On the other hand, there is no limit to what you could spend if finances allow. In general, there is no need for much specialized equipment until possibly in the later grade levels, i.e., for science, arts, etc.
As a registered homeschooler, the law states that you must provide ‘an educational program’ – the design and administration of which falls to the parents. You do not have to follow the BC curriculum or outcomes if you do not wish to do so. (If you wish to use the BC IRP’s as a framework for your child(ren)’s educational program, you can find them here.) Enrollment with a school district DL program or Distance Ed. course requires that the student follow the provincial learning outcomes using Ministry-approved curriculum, however. For more info, see Educational Options in BC.
Under Part 2, Div. 4, Sec.’s 12 and 13 of the BC School Act, you may register your child as home schooled and provide whatever educational program for that child that you think would be best suited to them. ‘Enrollment’ means the child becomes a ‘student’ and takes part in a Distance Ed, DL, or in-class public school program and as such fall under the remainder of the School Act.
As an enrolled student, your child(ren) may be taking courses at home and you may facilitate those courses, but the family does not have authority over the educational program. See BCHEA’s Educational Options in BC.
According to the BC School Act, a parent is not required to register their child(ren) until the age of 6, although you may register them at the age of 5. Homeschooled children must be registered up to age 16. Registration for ages 17 to 19 is optional. To remove a child from the school system (even a child who is not yet 6), you are required to register that child.
There is provision in the School Act for Independent Schools to “set a fee for the registration of a homeschooled child” (see Min of Education site here, under ‘Responsibility of Independent Schools’); some Independent Schools do, some don’t. (Note: BCHEA does not keep records of which schools set fees and which do not.)
You can register with a public school in your local school district, a regional correspondence (i.e., Distance Ed) school, or an independent school anywhere in BC. We have a list of independent schools who register homeschoolers on our site. Also see the BC School Act for legislation on registration – Part 2, Div. 4, Sec. 12-14.
If your child is registered as a homeschooler under Section 12, you do not need to send report to anyone. If they are enrolled in a DL or distance ed. program, the supervising teacher evaluates educational progress and writes reports. See Educational Options in BC.
There are many, many homeschool and educational book and supply stores all across our province and indeed, across Canada. A quick search at www.google.ca with the keywords canadian homeschool bookstore (or a variation of that) will turn up some good sources. A support group in your area would also be a great source of information and leads for homeschool business catalogues and stores, as well as a great resource for information on various programs (what a specific curriculum is like, what people have used that works or didn’t work for them and why, that kind of thing).
Each registered family is responsible for the purchasing of and payment for their homeschool curricula. Any government funding that is given the registering school is meant for administration costs. It is up to each school to decide how they must spend that funding. As of this writing (2003/2004), some schools choose, at their discretion, to use some of that money as a small reimbursement to the registering families. BCHEA does not keep track of which schools make that offer.
You can decide to homeschool at any time of the year. If you feel you need to take your child(ren) out of school during the school year, BCHEA recommends writing a letter to your school principal stating your intention to begin homeschooling your child(ren) as per Section 12 of the BC School Act. Your school will then be able to change the child(ren)’s enrollment status to ‘registered’ and they will be aware that the child will not simply be truant.
If the school is unwilling to change the child’s enrollment status, you may wish to consider transferring the registration to an independent school in BC or to a regional Distance Education school.