ACPEQ Calls for Dialogue
For a Just Appreciation of the Knowledge and Skills Acquired by Our Children
Montréal, April 4, 2019 – Lately, Quebec’s new Government announced they would amend the homeschooling regulation. Our Education Minister wants to close down illegal schools and fill the gaps he perceives within homeschooling.
First, it’s important to underline that ACPEQ, along with other public homeschooling associations, has always followed the law. ACPEQ was instrumental as a partner in drafting the current law which passed under the previous government. This is a brand-new law. It’s not even a year old. We have not had the time to measure its impact, yet!
This is why ACPEQ wants to clarify a few points. Mainstream media reported over the past few days that parents were bound to teach only limited French and Math; this is patently false. Right from the start, the law demands homeschooling parents teach 6 compulsory subjects. Additionally, for children aged 9 and beyond, there are 7 compulsory subjects specified by law. Another requirement of the law is that homeschooling parents declare to the Minister their intention to homeschool their child by sending him and the school board a written notice. Then, children are registered with the Ministry of Education, and parents must submit a complete learning project for each child. They must work with the Ministry’s officials who may amend the learning project as required or as directed. Moreover, they must produce a midterm report, which must also receive official sanction. As if this was not enough, they also have to meet an official for follow-up purposes, produce an end-of-year assessment of each and every child and submit an end-of-year report. If, along the way, the learning experience offered to the child is deemed unsatisfactory, the Ministry’s officials can investigate and intervene as much as needed. This is a far cry from a careless anything-goes scenario!
When the law was revised, the point concerning Ministry tests was thoughtfully considered. ACPEQ, along with other associations and researchers have identified significant confines on such tests. They are adequate as a means of assessment developed for school structures but are inappropriate for homeschooling. The Ministry’s standard test isn’t meant to ascertain, from an objective point of view, a student’s degree of knowledge or capacity. This tool was developed with standardized teaching materials and methodologies in mind. In a homeschooling context, many teaching parents adapt their teaching material to the pedagogical needs of their child; approach and methodologies used often differ markedly from those used in group context. To bind teaching parents to an evaluation test developed for schools is also demanding them to use teaching material developed for school settings. One of homeschooling’s main advantages is the freedom to choose a flexible pedagogical approach, one that isn’t relevant for groups, but perfectly applicable to an individual. We are demanding a means of assessment that is adapted to homeschooling and that reflects a just appreciation of the knowledge and skills truly acquired by our children.
We understand perfectly that the Ministry of Education is concerned with the education and welfare of the children. We ask the Minister to take the time to establish a positive, constructive dialog with ACPEQ and all other associations. They represent fellow citizens, the teaching parents of Quebec, an active segment of Quebec’s population that is concerned full-time with the welfare of its children. ACPEQ (Association of Christian Parent Educators of Quebec) is an association of teaching parents in Quebec, supporting families that have chosen the path of homeschooling for more than 20 years. Our association’s membership counts more than 400 families and accounts for more than 1,200 homeschooled children.
Our sincere hope is that this dialog will help forward a path that allows for validating homeschoolers’ education without getting rid of the flexibility and adaptability that is so characteristic of homeschooling.
Patrice Boileau, Eng., MBA