Have you received a letter from a homeschool liaison?

Most families have been sent longer and longer responses to their submitted forms and reports in the past year.  These are form letters, usually asking parents to add more detail to their forms and reports, and mentioning “required” pieces of an educational program.  The reality is that parents have the right to choose the method and timing of their child’s education.  And only the parents decide the satisfactory outcome.

Any detailed documentation of your child’s progress might be nice for your own sense of accomplishment, but is not useful to present to the government for any future applications.  If some families decide to report in a very detailed way, the government employees may see that as the benchmark for all families and start to request it from everyone.  Since we have heard from the Minister of Education that government interference in homeschools is not part of the intention of his office or necessary for the requirements of the law, MACHS is confident that your reports do not need to include detailed records.  Satisfactory progress should be indicated, and any more specific records or grading can be kept in your own filing if you desire.

The letters that are being addressed to parents of high school students are particularly misguided.  Wording such as “Homeschool students do not graduate” and “credits can only be earned under the supervision of a certified teacher” are being used to scare home educating families into thinking that an alternative method of education outside of a government mandated program are somehow inadequate and will not be accepted by employers or post-secondary institutions.  This is simply false.  These letters are not new information;  they are the repackaging of what has always been true to make it sound as if a Manitoba government program is necessary for a high school education.

Homeschool graduates have always been accepted in all kinds of post-secondary options, with differing requirements of documentation.  The incorrect assumption of the homeschool office is that home educating families want to present a Manitoba diploma at the end of their high school journey.  Homeschool parents are the ones who provide the diploma and graduate their high school students.  The reason we are homeschooling is because we don’t want the government to be the ones who “provide” for our students.  To suggest that unless we enroll in some government high school program, we will be ineligible for future opportunities is ludicrous and basic fear-mongering.

MACHS is working toward a comprehensive catalogue of the requirements of post-secondary opportunities for homeschoolers.  We will be bringing this information to parents as it is collected.  But it should be stated that any well-educated high school graduate can expect to be admitted into these institutions without the intervention of the homeschooling office.  Yes, we agree, the government cannot provide a diploma for you or proof of what you studied;  this is what you signed up for.  You are responsible to prove your student’s accomplishments.  Further information on how to present these proofs will be outlined in a separate article.

Suffice it to say, do not be concerned about the lengthy statement from any liaison regarding your high school students.  It is a simple attempt to frighten parents into accepting a government education.

The response to the requests for additional information should follow the same principle as the requests for home visits.  None of us have anything to hide, but that does not mean that we need to comply with every request for scrutiny.  If some families politely agree to a request for a home visit or for additional reporting information, then the families who choose to decline appear as if they do have something to hide, rather than simply preferring less government involvement in their family’s educational choices.  For this reason,  please consider including minimal information on your government forms.