To be more specific, the current legislation requires that a parent or guardian notify the minister of education of the establishment of a home school for any children ages 7 to 17 (inclusive). This means you do not have to begin notifying the government until the September of the year your child turns 7 and you should continue notifying until September of the year they turn 17 .
This notification is to happen on or before September 1 or within 30 days of establishing a home school. If you withdraw your children from a school setting, you have one month to notify the government. Currently notification is done using the forms at the following location: Notification Package
In addition the parent or guardian must provide the ministry with periodic progress reports. These reports are to be submitted in January and June using the official forms also located at the web address above.
That is all we are required to do in Manitoba.
Parents and guardians do NOT have to notify any school division or school. but it is often recommended that you do so if you are removing a child from a formal educational institution. Let the administration at your child’s school know you are going to homeschool and that you have filed the necessary paperwork with the homeschooling offices.
There is no cost involved in notification, but there is also no funding available. If a child is being homeschooled due to for medical reasons, distance learning courses are available free of charge. Other students may use these resources but there is a cost to the parents. All other fees involved in homeschooling are the responsibility of parents or guardians.
Many times a local school is willing to accommodate homeschool students for part-time courses or extra curricular activities (Phys Ed, Music, French, etc) but this is at the discretion of individual schools. Parents need to contact the school directly and try to work out a plan with the staff. It is helpful to let school officials know that funding is available to the school for accepting part-time homeschooling students. In order for a school to claim a grant for any school year, the student must be enrolled by September 30 of that school year, so plan early. Most schools in Manitoba seem amenable to this arrangement.
Parents may use any curriculum or educational approach they deem beneficial for their child. Once enrolled as a homeschool with the ministry of education, parents have access to the Manitoba Resources Library http://www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/iru/ (English and French units) which contains a number of useful educational materials, curricula, and other such resources.
Home schooling students are not required to take provincial exams, but may make arrangements to do so with a local school if they so desire.
Progress reports may be as detailed or as succinct as a parent desires. Many parents use the progress reports as an opportunity to record all that their student accomplishes in the year. Other parents merely indicate that satisfactory progress is being made on the necessary subjects.
Occasionally a government liaison officer may feel the need to visit with a homeschooling family. This happens because the liaison officers are trying to personally get to know homeschool families, or because the office has received a complaint. If you feel uncomfortable having a visit in your home, you are encouraged to meet at a neutral location or to visit the liaison officer at their own office. Take your children, if you desire, and take along a bit of their work. Liaison officers are concerned with the progress of a student. If you can show that progress is being made (last year they read this book, and this year they read this one; last year they wrote like this, and this year, they write like this) you will be fulfilling your duties.
Post-secondary institutions in Manitoba accept homeschooling students on individual basis and are very accommodating.
There are a few homeschooling support groups in the province:
Manitoba Association for Schooling at Home (MASH) is a secular organization with an active francophone contingent. They offer support, information and several activities to their members. http://www.theworldismyschool.com
Event Horizon Planning, run entirely by volunteers, offers field trips and lessons arranged specifically for homeschoolers. There is also a monthly parental get together at a local coffee shop. http://www.eventhorizonplanning.com/
Manitoba Association of Christian Home Schools Inc. (MACHS) offers a vast range of information and networking for Christian families, in addition to an annual well-attended provincial conference. http://www.machs.mb.ca
The Winnipeg Homeschool Yahoo Group is an active email group of local homeschoolers. It is a wealth of information and support. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Winnipeg-hs/
Compiled by: Jennifer Gehman
Jennifer Gehman has been homeschooling since she first thought of having children. She now has five of them ranging in ages from 16 to 7. They are eclectic, relaxed homeschoolers seeking friendship where they can find it and striving to help other parents do this wild and crazy thing. She and her husband are currently active on the board of the Manitoba Association for Schooling at Home (MASH) and you’ll find her lurking at the Winnipeg Homeschool yahoo group as “ColourfulThreads”. You can visit her family’s much-neglected webpage at http://wonderfulpages.com