A new study released this week by the Fraser Institute says nearly 22,000 Canadian children were registered as home-school students in 2012.
The right wing think tank cites that as a 29 per cent increase over a five-year period, suggesting there are several reasons, including the extensive travels of some families, the health and learning disabilities of some children, and the remote residential location of some families.
To bring the story home we went to School District 60 Superintendent Dave Sloan.
“We’ve always had a degree of home schooling and certainly the remote area component does fit,” he said.
“We have families out toward the Goodlow, Clayhurst area, families in the Pink Mountain area, where they don’t necessarily fit well with a community school and so those families connect with us though distance ed, or they go the home schooling route.
“A lot of it depends on the philosophy of the individual families,” Sloan continued.
“We’ve seen rising trends across the board. Twenty-nine per cent sounds a little dramatic, but, we have seen increases in the number of home schoolers.”
Asked about any direct curriculum connection, Mr. Sloan said there’s a difference between those who choose home schooling over distance education.
“In distance ed, the families are accessing our professional staff and our services through Northern B.C. Distance Ed, whereas in a home schooling situation, parents are providing that instruction leadership,” said Sloan.
Meantime the Fraser study suggests policymakers are paying attention to the jump in numbers, with at least five provinces having updated or expanded home schooling regulations since 2007.