After a significant increase last year, the number of children being homeschooled is down this year. Some students whose parents have become teachers because of the pandemic have returned to class.
Posted on October 18, 2021
Dominique Bernesh became a teacher to four of her six children in September 2020. The idea: to protect the grandparents and continue to see them in a sealed bubble.
In my head in January the kids were going back to school and it was decided. We didn’t think it would last this long.
As cases of COVID-19 spiked in mid-winter, 5e the year of Lewis, 3e of Laurier, 1e de Simon and Marie’s Kindergarten is complete – completely! – from Lanodier’s home.
“It was a great year, but I wouldn’t have a second one. Homeschooling wasn’t a long-term vision for me or a solution because I wasn’t happy with what was happening at school,” explains Dominique Bernesh, entrepreneur and education teacher. who found it “time consuming”.
According to data from the Ministry of Education The press, this year (as of September 13) there are just over 8,300 homeschooled children. Last year, the children were nearly 12,000, double the number in 2019-2020.
Some parents who “felt comfortable” with the health situation chose to return their children to class, notes Marine Dumont-Depre, president of the Quebec Home Education Association (AQED).
“A homeschool network is needed. Kids need to make friends, parents need to talk to families who are doing the same. Last year was really not easy,” explains M.I Dumont-Depre, who believes this isolation may have discouraged some from pursuing homeschooling.
More children at home than before the pandemic
Although the choice to home school remains insignificant (less than 1% of all students in the province), AQED believes that the “enthusiasm” seen with the pandemic is not waning.
“It’s interesting to see that the families that started last year are continuing [l’enseignement à la maison]. Many families tell us that one-on-one tutoring is better for their child. We have a large proportion of children with special needs. A lesson for sure [en tête à tête] makes it possible to follow the child’s rhythm,” notes Marine Dumont-Depres.
The Ministry of Education reminds that although the deadline for announcing a child for home education is 1er July, “a parent may choose to withdraw their child from school to homeschool him or her at any time during the school year.”
As for Dominique Bernesh’s children, they returned to their primary school a few weeks ago.
They were happy to go, but they are a little bored with this rhythm. My boys went fishing in the afternoon. They really liked the freedom it gave them.
And the mother? She sets an example with her little Simone, who learned to read. “It was very rewarding,” she says. But while her husband, a CEGEP teacher, taught his lessons remotely, she often did the rest.
“I was the one who had the mental load of the school, who said, ‘We’re doing this today.’ Sometimes, if I had a date, my friend would take care of it,” explains Dominique Bernesh. The grandparents got involved too.
Now that her children have resumed their more “traditional” routine, Dominique Bernesh is devoting herself to her business Les Belles combines, which offers educational tools for parents. And the family is preparing to welcome a baby in a few months, the seventh of the siblings.
Mandatory ministerial examinations
According to a decree passed in 2019, from this year home-schooled children will have to take mandatory ministerial exams. AQED regrets that families have been left in the dark and that “a concrete plan on how to take the exams” is not yet known.
Number of home-schooled children
- 4968 in the academic year 2018-2019
- 5964 in the academic year 2019-2020
- 11,947 in the academic year 2020-2021
- 8329 for the academic year 2021-2022
(as of September 13, 2021)
Source: Quebec Ministry of Education