In British Columbia, families have two different options for how to teach their children at home: homeschooling (registering) and online learning (sometimes referred to as enrolling). Each offers something unique to the learning experience. In this post, we’re going to talk about how to start homeschooling in BC and what these options mean.
When you register as a homeschooler, the government sees your child as an official homeschooler with you as his/her teacher. Once a parent has registered with a school board, this option gives full freedom to choose your child’s course of education – which curriculum to use, what you want to teach when, and whichever homeschooling method you would like.
Registration must be completed by September 30th if you know you are going to homeschool for the upcoming school year. However, you are free to pull your child from school at any point throughout the year and register at that time. You can register with a public school or independent school of your choice. BC’s Homeschool Association (BCHEA) has a handy list of options for where to register for homeschooling in BC.
The other option is online learning. This might also be referred to as enrolling or distributed learning (DL), but since 2021, the terminology changed, likely because of the pandemic and how educated was presented to the province overall.
With this option, the government sees you as a student learning outside the classroom. You are still part of the school system and have to complete learning just like peers in your child’s grade level. You are assigned a teacher, who is responsible for the planning, delivery, and evaluation of your child’s education – much like if they were in a classroom setting. Students work to achieve the provincial learning outcomes each year.
Technically, online learning (or enrolling) is not considered homeschooling by the government. It’s still school and is considered such.
Homeschooling children do not receive a government issued Dogwood diploma, however there is the option of overlapping both learning methods for the high school years – where registered homeschoolers in grades 10-12 can enroll in online classes to earn official credits towards their diploma, if they would like to.
Here is the government’s website about how to get started with online learning in BC.
Whether registered or enrolled, most homeschoolers enjoy the support and community found in a local support group. A list of local support groups for different areas in BC can be found at https://bchea.ca/getting-started/support-groups/bc-support-group-list/ (Please note that most of these are Facebook support groups so you will need an account to connect with them.) Local support groups vary as much as the members of each group. Often they will plan field trips together and co-ops for different school subjects or whatever group members are interested in doing.
SOME HELPFUL RESOURCES:
- BCHEA (British Columbia Home Educators’ Association)’s Website: https://bchea.ca/
- BC Ministry of Education: Homeschooling Procedures and Guidelines Manual (2021)
- BC Ministry of Education Classroom Alternatives Information Website: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/k-12/support/classroom-alternatives