Cherry Steele says she decided that she would be homeschooling her two boys, ages nine and 13, the moment she heard that the province would be reopening schools in January.
She says though Quebec Premier, François Legault, is willing to take the “calculated risk” by sending children back, she is not.
“I said to my kids, ‘that’s fine that the government says it’s a calculated risk; I am your parent and we try to eliminate as much risk as we can,'” said Steele.
Quebec’s education ministry says 686 students have registered for homeschooling since September, and 314 of them signed up over the period of January 6-14.
To date, 12,186 children are being homeschooled across the province — more than double the number that signed up last year.
“There’s parents that live with elderly and everything else, and I just can’t imagine to have to go over in my mind how anxiety-ridden you are that you’re sending your kids to school and you just don’t know what they could bring home,” said Steele.
Quebec’s homeschooling association says many parents who have recently decided to homeschool either have health concerns, feel like the measures are restricting their child’s learning environment or are just tired of the inconsistencies.
“If I have to have a babysitter on notice — a 48-hour notice — because we don’t know when the government will come up with a new policy, it’s a lot harder for parents to manage,” said Noemi Berlus, director of Quebec’s homeschooling association.