Watch above: some parents turn to homeschooling to teach their children
SASKATOON – It was a flurry of activity for many households Tuesday morning as students went back to class in Saskatoon. For other families it was just another day of learning because their school never stops.
“Anybody can homeschool if you feel like you’re up for the challenge of having your kids at home every day,” said Jessica Benson, who homeschools three of her four school-aged children.
Organizing this year’s ‘Not Back To School Picnic’ so local homeschoolers could connect with each other, Benson and her husband agree it’s the flexibility of homeschooling that works better for their lifestyle.
“There’s not a bell that rings at the beginning of the day or at the end, there’s not an end of the school in June and or start of school early in September, learning just happens year-round,” said Greg Benson.
“We take opportunities, yes we have curriculum, yes we have books that we open but how that happens and plays out really is up to us and how we want to see that happen in our kids lives.”
According to the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education, 2,095 students registered as home-based students last year in the province, approximately one per cent of the total provincial enrollment.
Among those enrolled for homeschooling in Saskatchewan are the Peaks. This busy family of five where all three boys ages 4, 10 and 14 are learning from home.
“It just works for our lifestyle and the way that we want our kids to learn,” said Jennifer Peak, mother and homeschool teacher.
According to the Peak family, the biggest benefit of homeschooling is their classroom is anywhere and everywhere.
“I guess just the flexibility of being able to travel with my parents and learn at my own pace and not be forced to learn this thing at that time,” said Carrick Peak, who is in Grade 6 this year.
Not wanting to be tied to a school schedule, the family decided to homeschool when their oldest child was about to attend kindergarten.
“I didn’t want my five-year-old to be away from me for eight hours a day and then once we started it was really easy to continue,” said Jennifer Peak.
Home-based educators must provide their local school division an education plan for the year and it must be approved.
Each home-based education plan is evaluated at the end of the school year to ensure that the student has met all of the intended outcomes. According to the province’s Ministry of Education this is handled through the registering school division and in consultation with the parent.
“I never really wished I was going to a classroom for eight hours a day, it’s just not very much fun to sit around in a classroom and when I’m at home I still learn,” explained 10-year-old Carrick.
Raised by two teachers in United States, Peak says homeschooling is just a different way of thinking about education that isn’t confined to a classroom and says she doesn’t worry that her children are missing out on school-related experiences like dances or graduation.
“My kids have friends, they’ve always valued being able to keep their own schedule over organized social events,” said Peak.
“They don’t ask me if they can go to school.”