While recently attending a community based homeschool meeting, I was once again faced with the opportunity to witness someone in perpetual confusion about the difference between registering or enrolling. Our home learning environment can provide us with many options and varied choices when it comes to making this decision – and ultimately much confusion. While pondering this very issue this morning, I thought I’d share an article I wrote a while ago for our own community based website: www.vchs.ca.
The decision to register or enroll your child can be a confusing one. However if you wish to home educate legally in British Columbia, Canada, you will need to pick one.
Simply put, if you would like the most freedom to educate your child with out having to follow the Provincial Learning Outcomes, or do not wish to be burdened with handing in portfolios or weekly learning reports, then registering your child is probably the right choice for you. The BC Homeschool Association says this about registering:
The traditional approach to homeschooling under sections 12 and 13 of the School Act is in effect. Under this approach, students are registered and there are no accountability issues for parents. Parents provide their children with ‘a program’, but do so with no interference or supervision by a teacher and/or the Ministry of Education. The grant to the independent school for a homeschooled student amounts to $175.00 per student and $250.00 funded to a public school.
In addition, sometimes it is easier to register during your first couple of years of homeschooling, in order to get your feet wet. For instance, if your children are very young and you are very new to homeschooling, parent and child may find that registering allows them a little more freedom to explore home educating without any added pressure or deadlines. Parents of children with learning difficulties or parents of gifted children sometimes appreciate the ability to be able to choose how, what and when their child will learn certain skills or subjects based on their child’s abilities, readiness and interests.
The other option for home learners is to enroll. Enrolling your child is a good idea if you’re really not sure about the whole homeschooling thing and you think you may end up putting your child back in school. This would ensure that they will still be learning the same things as their public schooled peers. Of course enrolling is also a safeguard if you’re really not sure you can do this thing and the thought of having a home educating facilitator there to help you sounds appealing. The BC Homeschool Association says this about enrolling:
Enrolled Home Learner
For those parents who do not mind the accountability and prefer being under the supervision of a teacher, and whose home program will meet the prescribed learning outcomes in the required courses, students can be enrolled with a DL (Distributed Learning) program. The parent loses some freedoms in this program, but in exchange for the accountability there are increased resources, amounting to several hundred dollars. Additionally, the student receives regular report cards each year, up to and including a Dogwood Graduation Certificate. A public school program receives the base grant for students in BC. Group 1 independent schools, receive only 50% of the base grant. Religious materials are not permissible in any public education program in BC but may be used by students enrolled in an independant DL program, as well as by traditional homeschoolers.
Whatever you decide you can be pretty sure that parent and child, together, will ultimately figure out what works best for them. Many home educating parents have tried both options over the years. Homeschooling is a personal journey that ebbs and flows as the family grows and learns together. You may find that one approach that worked well for you for a few years may now seem lacking, and you may wish to change it -kind of like a favorite sweater, once full of familiarity, but now needs to be exchanged with something different.