A growing number of Canadian parents are taking on another role in their kids’ lives: teacher.
A new Fraser Institute study finds 21,662 kids were registered as home schooled in 2012, an increase of 29 per cent from just five years before.
Deani Van Pelt, Director of the Barbara Mitchell Centre for Improvement Education, says the justification might have been religious or ideological in the past, but now moms and dad have been a lot more pragmatic.
“A lot more telecommuting, more travel, more globetrotting, more working from home – it’s just a practical solution to the way we live our lives,” she said. “Homeschoolers are organizing themselves in increasingly sophisticated ways. The parents that are choosing to homeschool are often professionals, very well educated.
Some of the reasons parents are choosing the alternative form of education: they have kids with special needs, kids involved in time consuming extra-curricular activities, or the family travels a lot or lives in a remote location.
Van Pelt says there’s a tangible benefit to educating your kids at home.
“Repeatedly, the studies show that the performance of home schooled students outshines, on average that of their public school peers. So, if parents are looking for a form of education that can lead to some excellent educational outcomes, homeschooling should be right up there,” she said.
Since 2007, at least five provinces have updated or expanded regulations, with Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Quebec requiring parents to submit a formal education plan, and evidence of student progress.
The western provinces also provide funding for those who wish to homeschool.