In light of recent clarification in provincial legislation and communications regarding distance education/electronic programs for home-based students, the BCHLA Board of Directors has felt the need to specifically define the organization’s focus and to explain our position regarding home learning in BC. This defined focus is as follows:
- BCHLA was formed as a volunteer, grass-roots, provincial voice for those who wished to educate their children apart from and with no interference by the provincial school system or government expectations. It has always been and will continue to be our first calling to defend, justify, and maintain the legislation which awards parents this legal right (i.e., Part 2, Div. 4, Sec.’s 12 and 13 of the BC School Act, hereinafter called simply Sec. 12 for brevity) and to act as a liaison between the government and Sec. 12 homeschoolers.
- We affirm that parents who have home-based students enrolled in a distance ed/electronic program provided and funded by the Ministry of Education through the public and independent school systems have made a large and lifestyle-affecting decision to keep their children within the home atmosphere for their studies. Much of the day-to-day activities and operations in these homes will be no different from those that occur in the homes of children registered under Sec. 12. However, we must acknowledge that current legislation in BC makes clear and fundamental distinctions between these two situations.
- Because of these clear distinctions, and because home-based students are covered under the regular sections of the BC School Act, and independent home-based students are covered under the Independent School Act, BCHLA would be in a legally conflicting situation to participate in advocacy on behalf of distance ed/electronic program home-based students. If the parents of publicly- or independently-enrolled home-based students experience conflict within their chosen program, we advise that they deal directly with their program officials or Ministry of Ed/Distance Ed officials (or Independent School officials) to find solutions.
- Support for publicly- and independently-enrolled home-based students and their parents will continue to come from BCHLA in the form of clear and objective information on current legislation, practical help for learning at home in our newsletter articles, and links and/or contacts to Distance Ed personnel and policies via our website. We also support the current atmosphere of educational choice in BC.
- We feel that BCHLA Directors and Regional Representatives must be Sec. 12 homeschoolers in order to adequately represent our mandate. Regular membership is not defined – in fact, you don’t even have to homeschool to support BCHLA by membership. If your family enrolls in a distance education/electronic program and would like to support the liaison work BCHLA does in maintaining Sec. 12 as a viable educational option as well as receiving the helpful newsletter, we welcome your membership. We do ask that you please understand our limitations as far as advocacy is concerned in that situation.
We, the Directors, have made these decisions based upon BCHLA’s purpose of inception, which was the creation of Sections 12 and 13 of the School Act. In the years that have followed, the choices available to those who desire to educate their children at home have become greatly varied. In order for BCHLA to maintain its focus in providing the Section 12 homeschooler with a provincial voice, it has become necessary for us to keep our focus directed to the grass-roots ideals which were formed during the Association’s beginnings. We respect the individual education decisions that each family makes, and ask that each of our members, therein, extend the same to our Positional Statement as it stands.
BCHLA Board of Directors, March 19, 2004