The face of home schooled children has changed since the days when parents chose the option due to isolated farms and distant schools.
“Today, parents are choosing to educate their children at home primarily for religious or philosophical reasons,” according to a Saskatchewan Learning department document.
“You’ve been home schooling your children since they were born,” Bryan Watson said at the Saskatchewan Home-Based Educators meeting in Saskatoon Feb. 22.
“As parents, you have the best interest in your child,” said the SHBE board president.
Another reason is that “my kids are each other’s best friends.”
Saskatchewan parents and home schoolers agreed.
Jessica Benson said one teacher alone cannot cater to all the children’s personalities in a classroom.
Her family likes the freedom to get away with her husband when he travels for work. She likes the flexibility to take her children on field trips and go outside when the weather is good.
“I believe play is a child’s work, it’s creative,” she said.
Benson recommended three books that helped her home school: So You’re Thinking About Home Schooling by Lisa Whelchel, 100 Top Picks by Cathy Duffy and Help for the Harried Home Schooler by Christine Field.
Melissa and Dennis Ong started home schooling their nine children after watching friends tackle it and observing the bond between the father and children.
Melissa said her kids would wait at the door for their dad to come home and they’d jump up and down shouting “pop quiz, pop quiz.” Dennis would indulge them with a math question such as “what is 12 divided by 4?”
The Ong children say they developed love and respect for each other.
Home schooling is legal but regulations can differ from province to province.
In Saskatchewan, parents who want to home school must file a notice of intent with the school division when each child turns six. This form must include the family’s address, list who is teaching the child and the education plan for the four required subjects of mathematics, language arts, science and social studies.