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More Saskatchewan parents consider homeschooling amid coronavirus pandemic

Saskatchewan says more parents are considering homeschooling their kids this fall due to safety concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
Saskatchewan says more parents are considering homeschooling their kids this fall due to safety concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. Max Mumby / Getty Images

With many Saskatchewan parents questioning the province’s Safe Schools Plan, some are seeing homeschooling as a viable option this fall.

The province provides all the tools parents need to teach from home and expect more kids to be homeschooled in September due to safety concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

“There has been an increase in interest for homeschool, but no idea of exact numbers yet,” said Kevin Gabel, the Ministry of Education program branch’s executive director.

Read more: Saskatchewan parents, teachers say learning supports lacking for students with intensive needs

Parents usually have 30 days to sign up for homeschool, meaning Aug. 1 would have been the deadline for the majority of school divisions in Saskatchewan.

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However, the province is extending its deadline.

“As long as they are registering the home-based program probably from the middle of August until the end of August, they’ll get the notification to register and everything will be good,” Gabel said.

Gabel said homeschooling may be a completely different experience, but focuses on the same type of education.

“The main part is they have to educate their children in four main subject areas. We require math, science, social studies and English, but parents do not have to follow the curriculum,” Gabel said.

Read more: Coronavirus: Parents don’t have to be teachers, but learning doesn’t have to stop

“The school divisions provide varying degrees of support such as textbooks or some financial resources.”

The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation (STF) told Global News they are concerned about the lack of resources pre-pandemic especially when it comes to students with intensive needs which could contribute to more people choosing to homeschool.

“Lots of students who have special needs, their needs weren’t being met before the pandemic and the pandemic is just going to make the situation amplified,” STF president Patrick Maze said in July.

“School divisions have been chronically underfunded for over the last decade. So we’ve seen enrolment creep up, and we’ve seen staff diminish, specialty staff diminish.”

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Gabel recommends parents considering homeschool to contact their school division for more information.

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Can your kids still learn when out of school?