Homeschooling in BC, How to Get Started

| August 31, 2008 | 7 Comments

Homeschooling Valley mama Rosina Huber is here today to talk shop about how to go about getting your kiddo hooked up as a homeschooler this year.

If you’re considering or continuing homeschooling your tiny people, Rosina is the mom in the know.

Her article was originally published on the BC Homeschool Network.

Here she is:

It’s that time of year again, school is nearly in session and it’s time to decide if you haven’t already whether or not to register or enroll your homeschooled children.

Maybe this is your very first year homeschooling and you’re not sure of what all of your options are. If that is the case then this entry should help you out :)

BC has some of the most relaxed education laws in Canada when it comes to what is required of a homeschooling family.

All children ages 6 – 16 (Part 2, division 1, Section 3) must be registered with an educational institution, private or public by September 30th of the coming school year and under Part 2, Division 4, Sections 12-14 of the school act all that is required of a homeschooling family in BC is to provide their child(ren) with an ‘educational program’.

There are no stipulations as to what the ‘educational program’ must be and can be whatever you feel is appropriate that would give your child a well rounded education that “is designed to enable learners to become literate, to develop their individual potential and to acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to contribute to a healthy, democratic and pluralistic society and a prosperous and sustainable economy”; BC School Act, Part 1, Section 1, “Educational Program” part (c).

This gives you complete freedom to choose whatever materials (religious or secular) you want and to design your own program that meets your child’s needs and the possibilities are endless.

If you are new to homeschooling the task of picking what educational materials to use can seem daunting but don’t let it scare you!

A great place to start is by visiting one of the local homeschool support groups near you. They are a wealth of information to both new and veteran homeschooler’s alike and will be happy to have you join them.

Another way to connect with homeschooler’s throughout BC would be to join an email group by visiting Yahoo Groups and doing a search of any of the following keywords: your hometown or one near you, BC, Canada, homeschooling, support groups, education or whatever you can think of. I did a quick search using BC Homeschool Groups and I found 9 e-groups, but I know there are more than that :)

Some schools also list suggested resources to use with your children and there are often some really great books but this does not mean that you have to use them!

For example Heritage Christian School suggests some great books covering all areas of learning and there are quite a few on the list that we have used. They also have a HUGE list of homeschool vendors from both Canada & the US.

Scroll down the linked page to see them. With our dollar just about par with the US dollar right now it is a great time to shop across the border for some of those books not available in Canada. And just in case you don’t already know there is NO DUTY on educational materials coming across the border!! Educating your child at home doesn’t have to be expensive either. There are some great places to buy used curriculum:

BCHLA’s Used Book Forum
Homeschooler Haven
Canadian Homeschooler’s Board
Books Transplanted
Vegsource.com Canadian Book Exchange
Ebay

These are just ones I could think of off the top of my head but there may be more that I’m not aware of :) Make good use of your local library too. Lots of books that you see online or in homeschool catalogues can be found right at your own library or through the interlibrary loan program. This is a completely free way to get most of the books you want to use.

The internet is another wealth of information from online books through Google Books, to worksheets, unit studies, craft projects and more!

And don’t forget those support groups. Lots of moms are willing to lend out books so that you can check them out or use them for the entire school year. Some groups even have lending libraries set up with tons of great resources available all the time.

Okay, so now you have a good idea of where to connect with other BC & Canadian homeschoolers, plus lots of great links to both new and used curriculum, but how exactly do you go about registering your child as a homeschooler? And what is the difference between registering and enrolling??

First lets tackle the differences between registering and enrolling

Registering means that you are a traditional ‘homeschooler’ and all that is required of you is to provide your child(ren) with an ‘educational program’ which you are free to choose and implement on your own.

The Ministry of Education does not require you to be accountable to them in any form, no supervision by a certified BC teacher, you don’t have to participate in the Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA) testing done in grades 4 & 7, and you do not have to cover the Provincial Learning Outcomes (PLO’s). You are completely independent from the Ministry of Education.

You just need to inform a school of your choice (see list below) that you’re homeschooling your child(ren) by registering with a public school district or an independent school anywhere in BC. This generally requires giving your name and your child’s name, your address and a copy of your child’s birth certificate. Some schools provide a reimbursement between $125 – $250 that is available in the Fall by submitting receipts for school materials you purchased or through a purchase order number provided by the school you register with for use at vendors they have accounts set up with.

Enrolling means that the Ministry of Education considers your child(ren) a full time student of a Distributed Learning (DL) program or a BC Distance Education (DE) program with the school you choose to enroll with and you are accountable to them.

What this means is that you will work with a certified BC teacher to meet all of the Provincial Learning Outcomes (PLO’s). You will work hand in hand with the teaching supervisor to come up with an appropriate curriculum that will meet both your child’s needs and PLO’s, maintain weekly contact via email, collect a rich variety of samples from your child’s work that needs to be submitted 3 times a year for evaluation either by mail or home visit, and you will be asked to participate in the Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA) testing in grades 4 & 7.

This may sound really rigid but most teaching supervisors are very flexible and fantastic at pulling PLO’s out of all sorts of activities! There’s one big catch to enrolling though….. if you want to use religious-based materials you have to enroll with an independent school!!

District schools will not allow you to use any religious materials and will not reimburse the costs of any you purchase.

Enrollment requires the same information as registering: names, addresses & birth certificate. BC distance schools (see list below) provide all of the online and paper materials needed for your school year and generally ask for a deposit to cover any lost textbooks, computer loans etc. Some also have regular student interaction days as well. Distributed Learning programs (see list below) offer reimbursements to their students, between $300 – $500 for kindergarten and up to $1000 for students in grades 1-9 in the form of a purchase order number that is assigned to each child and for use with vendors that the school has accounts set up with.

Upon successful completion of a DL or Distance School program your child will receive a Dogwood Diploma.

As a ‘registered’ homeschooler it may not be possible for your child to obtain a Dogwood as there are certain required courses, credits and provincial exams that must be met.

My oldest is only in grade 4 so I haven’t come to this yet and I’m not really sure of all the rules :)

What I have heard though is that there are ways to get around not having a Dogwood Diploma by challenging the General Education Development or High School Equivalency Diploma. I’m going to do some more research on this and will update you on this in the near future!

Below is a partial list of schools that are available in BC for either registering or enrolling with. If you know of others please let me know and I will add them to the list :)

Key:
DL ~ Distributed Learning Program
DE ~ Distance Education School

Aldergrove Christian Academy (register)
www.rosbc.com
Aldergrove, BC

Anchor Academy (DL or register)
www.anchoracademy.ca
Salmon Arm, BC

CHEK Across BC (DL)
www.chekabc.com
Nelson, BC

CIDES (DE)
www.cides.sd57.bc.ca
Prince George, BC

Collaborative Educational Alternative Program (DL)
www.ceap.ca
Parksville (for central vancouver island students)

Cornerstone Christian School (register)
www.cornerstoneschool.ca
Abbotsford, BC

DESK (DE)
www.desk.bc.ca
Nelson, BC

Ebus Academy (DL)
www.ebus.ca
Vanderhoof, BC

FVDES (DE)
www.fvdes.com
Chilliwack, BC

GVDES (DE)
www.gvdes.com
Vancouver, BC

Heritage Christian School (DL or Register)
www.onlineschool.ca
Kelowna, BC

Kamloops Christian School (register)
www.kamcs.org
Kamloops, BC

Kelowna Waldorf School (register)
www.kelonawaldorfschool.com
Kelowna, BC

NBCDES (DE)
www.des.prn.bc.ca
Fort St. John, BC

NCDES (DE)
www.ncdes.ca
Terrace, BC

Nelson Waldorf School (register)
www.nelsonwaldorf.org
Nelson, BC

NIDES (DE)
www.nides.bc.ca
Courtenay, BC

Oak and Orca School (DL)
link
Victoria, BC

Pacific Spirit School (register)
www.pacificspiritschool.org
Vancouver, BC

Partners In Education Program (PIE) DL
link
Powell River, BC

Regent Christian Online Academy (Register or DL)
www.Regentonline.ca

SCIDES (DE)
www.scides.com
Merritt, BC

SIDES (DE)
www.sides.ca
Victoria, BC

Traditional Learning Academy (register or DL)
www.schoolathome.ca
Surrey, BC

Valley Christian School (register)
www.valleychristianschool.ca
Mission, BC

Wondertree (register and DL)
www.wondertree.org
Vancouver, BC

Hopefully you have found some of this information helpful and have a great school year!!!

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Category: ARTS & LITERACY, Homeschooling

About the Author ()

Rosina and her husband Len have been homeschooling their three children ages 9, 5 and 2 for the past five years. Their goal is to instill a life-long love of learning in each of them through living books, exploration and imagination. Rosina is an enthusiastic home educator that enjoys sharing her love of homeschooling on her blog, creative ways to foster learning, projects, ideas and more.

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  1. A Discussion about Kindergarten Options in the Comox Valley | Our Big Earth | February 7, 2010
  1. Jennifer Dodd says:

    thank you for posting this, it will come in very handy in the future!

  2. Please note the Kelowna Waldorf School is no longer a place to register for homeschooling. This starts as of September 2009. Thank you.

  3. kerol chan says:

    Very useful and helpful information!
    Thank you

  4. Mary Dove says:

    Just a quick little note: Anchor Academy in Salmon Arm, BC web site is http://www.ark.net The site you have listed for that school is in Connecticut in the USA.

    What a lot of work that went into this list. Thanks a lot. It’s very useful.

  5. Christine Adkins says:

    Hi – thanks so much for all of that information, at last I’ve found a clear breakdown of the system! I have just recently enrolled my son at Valley Christian School as a DL student – so they are offering that now – it’s a recent thing I think! He gets to do 2 full days at school and a BC teacher – so far, it’s working well.

    Thank you again for the info

    Chris

  6. MargRet Dyka says:

    I know a 12 year old girl that hasn,t been in school for the last 3 years. Her parents have a visitor visa in canada and still working on temporary residency . I was wondering if there is a way that this girl can enter a school or could she be homeschooled
    by other family?

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