2014 Special Message

To all BCHLA members and the wider homelearning community.

Recent discussions on many homelearning forums regarding alterations to Distributed Learning (DL) funding allotments have highlighted the fact that there is still confusion over the difference between registration as a home schooler under section 12/13 and enrolment as a student in a Distributed Learning program.

The BCHLA encourages parents to familiarize themselves with the School Act and Regulations because the Ministry of Education makes a clear distinction between registering under section 12/13 and enrolling in a DL. The distinction has very real ramifications: DL users are subject to the provisions of the School Act for everything from curriculum to dispute resolution, whereas those registered under section 12/13 have opted out of the system altogether.

We understand that the changes in DL funding will potentially affect a great number of families and is not something to be ignored. In fact DL families should be engaging in conversation with their school administrators to find creative ways to use the funding now at your school’s disposal in a way that will enhance your children’s education.

However, when dealing with the Ministry or when contacting Public Officials, knowing what language they use and what language will have the desired effect is crucial. Whether the Ministry considers you to be inside or outside of the school system, it pays to be armed with knowledge about your family’s options; most officials will likely not be aware of the parameters of either section 12/13 or DL programs.

One of the recurring issues in the homelearning community is the use of terminology to describe our educational choices, whether it be “homeschooling”, “home education”, “homelearning” or something else altogether. We are not suggesting that you should change your own term for your home learning, but when interacting with DLs, the Ministry of Education, the media or Public officials, things are clearer if you stick to the jargon used within the Ministry.

The Ministry specifically uses the term “home education” to refer to registration under section 12/13 of the School Act. The Ministry sees a child enrolled as a student in a Distributed Learning program as belonging to the school system and does not view DL enrollment as “home education” or “home schooling”.

In the context of approaching the Ministry of Education regarding DL funding structures, we believe it is important to maintain clarity by using the Ministry’s own terminology.

For more information, please visit the BCHLA website for links to relevant legislation, summaries of the history of homelearning in BC and for information about how to connect to other homelearners.

The Board of Dirctors, BCHLA