Given that this is a new law you may notice other interpretations of the new act and regulation. This is normal, given that a court has not provided a judicial interpretation as of yet.
Although it does not have the force of law, this guide is the fruit of important reflection. To compile it, AQED based itself on its interpretation of the law and regulation on homeschooling, influenced by the provincial roundtable discussions on homeschooling (in which AQED took part). We also consulted with the other associations and community centres that support homeschooling families in Quebec, as well as homeschooling experts. We looked at what is generally done in other jurisdictions. Our members and volunteers have also helped put this guide together.
2018-2019 will be a year of transition. Given that the government will not be publishing its official guide until July 2019, AQED is offering in this document suggestions on how to meet the law’s requirements. We do not know whether all these suggestions will be accepted by the Minister's representatives. However, if all homeschooling families in Quebec follow the principles suggested here, we will increase the chances that this interpretation will be accepted by the Minister’s representatives.
Furthermore, the regulation, as with any other legal document, will evolve over time based on how it is experienced and interpreted by the population. It is therefore important to accurately represent the large diversity of homeschooling families’ educational approaches, to influence the evolution of best practices in the most beneficial direction for them.
AQED encourages homeschooling families to supply the minimum documentation required by the law. An absence of documentation does not equal an absence of education. Numerous studies show that more government control does not equal more success. In addition, the time that parents dedicate to administrative tasks takes away from time they should be spending learning with their children. It is in the child’s best interest that parents not lose their precious time writing documents intended only to show the absence of educational neglect. For this reason, AQED suggests that parents supply only the minimum required by the act and regulation.
We understand the desire of some parents to show that homeschooling is a marvellous choice for their children by writing long and complex documents. However, we wish to remind you that the documents required by law will only be viewed by a small number of ministerial employees. There are other more effective methods to educate the government and the public at large on the benefits of homeschooling :
To help the cause of homeschooling in Quebec:
- - Be proud, and talk to others about your homeschooling experience to help raise awareness
- - Show solidarity and follow AQED’s strategy. Together we are strong
- - Fill out AQED surveys, and let us know if you have any problems so that we can have complete information when we participate at the consultation roundtable and so that we can quickly identify issues with the implementation of the law and act to resolve them
- - Participate in or launch social media initiatives such as the #30joursAEF and #30joursUnschooling challenges or Homeschooling Awareness Month
- - Meet your MP and make them aware of the reality of homeschooling. Bring your kids, and that's another competency checked off!
- - AQED is 100% run by volunteers. If you like the work we've done:
Stand with all homeschooling families. Think of large families, families with special needs, and families with educational approaches that are harder to document. Do not be overzealous in your documentation, especially in the early years of the implementation of the law.
AQED also wishes to encourage a positive attitude in our relations with the Minister and his representatives. It is beneficial for everyone that relations between the Minister and parents be respectful, aligned towards the common goal of our children’s well-being.
We hope that this guide and the documents that will be inspired by it will serve as models and standards in future discussions with the Minister, and that they will constitute a base for writing the best practices guide that will be created by the Minister and distributed on July 1st, 2019 according to article 459.5.1 of the Education Act.
It is important to contact us if you base your documents on AQED examples and the Minister asks you for more information. We will help you make the corrections in the simplest way possible. If many families receive the same comments, we will adjust our guide accordingly.
Photo credit: Marie-Claude Boisvert