Update : The Learning Project

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Hello,

AQED’s Board and support volunteers would like to provide an update following the Learning Project (LP) phase which is (hopefully) soon to be completed and which has caused a lot of frustration. There have been a lot of issues this year. The requirements, while they have not changed (no new legislation or regulation), appear to be applied more strictly and differently by the resource people (RP). In fact, some families who duplicated their LPs from last year have been asked to make adjustments.

Here are the main requests that have made it to the support team, along with our comments on the subject.

The use of the DEM templates

Some RP requested/suggested/advised that parents use the DEM templates. Whatever the reason, it is not a legal obligation, you can choose your template. The legal requirements dictate the following information to be present: educational approach chosen, curriculum targeted, description of activities, educational resources chosen, time allocated to learning activities, mode of evaluation, organizations that contribute to learning, and the latest level of educational services received.

Some RP want to see the target competencies for each subject area spelled out. If you choose to use AQED’s templates, these are included as an appendix. If necessary, you can copy and paste them wherever you wish in the document.

A summary description of the activities illustrating the targeted curriculum

Many of the requests for modifications relate to the description of educational activities. Naming a resource, manual or activity does not seem to be sufficient. For example, instead of “go to the library every week,” it should be written “go to the library every week to borrow different books (comic books, manga, scrapbooks, novels, non-fiction books, etc.) and discuss with my child the differences of each type” for the skill “appreciate varied texts.”

We pointed out that, first, asking for this type of description was time-consuming for families and suggested a lack of understanding of the homeschool philosophy. Second, that the RP should link the different sections of the LP, particularly the description of the educational approach with the resources chosen, in order to better understand the family’s way of doing things rather than appreciating each section individually. However, this request is still relevant. A telephone discussion with your resource person may allow this request to be resolved quickly.

The division by competency

Educational resources and activities appear to be valued by RP competency by competency, not subject by subject. Each competency should be illustrated by, at a minimum, one activity. However, a resource or activity may cover several competencies; for example, the completion of a particular project may cover reading, writing, etc.

Details requested on planned activities and resources

These previous requests lead the parents to have to decide precisely what will be done. Once again, we stressed that this is not in keeping with a homeschool education context, especially when the educational approach mentions that the educational experience develops according to the child’s interests. The DEM official response is to mention that the LP can be modified at any time. Therefore, it is a matter of not creating anxiety if certain parts of the LP have not been carried out as planned; adjustments can be described in the status report. However, if a major change should occur, it must be reported to your PR within 15 days.

Precision requested regarding the content

Some RP still use Progression of Learning (PL) to assess a LP. The PL is not prescribed in a homeschooling context since it divides year by year the knowledge that teachers must convey to their students, whereas a parent-educator can teach by cycle and not by year.

The issue of content remains a point of disagreement between the legal interpretations of the DEM and of AQED. AQED lawyers consider that program objectives, and therefore skills, are prescribed and that content, chosen by the parent, must be taught to achieve these objectives. The DEM considers that this content must be the “essential knowledge” during the elementary level and the “training content” during the high school level in the Québec Education Program (QEP).

A child attending school for the entire school year cannot be taught 100% of the essential knowledge and training content, so flexibility must be allowed. Furthermore, there is an obligation of means (the parent must teach…) and not an obligation of result (the child must learn…). These last two elements can help you in your discussions with your RP if these issues are raised.

Threat of losing the right to homeschool/confusion over deadlines for adjusting documents 

This threat was reported to us by several families. Although the DEM assures us that miscommunication is involved, we feel it is important to recall that this point has already been addressed (consult this summary of meeting with the DEM). If necessary, a complaint can be made by the parent at [email protected] and/or to AQED’s support team at [email protected].

We continue to represent families individually before the DEM in order to resolve conflict situations and to defend the rights of parents in terms of freedom of education. We do not agree with many of the current practices and demands due to the legislative change of 2019, and have had several discussions with the DEM on this subject to put forward our arguments and the reality of home education. In our view, the current regulation represents a significant setback to educational freedom, and this in times of pandemic, which places stress on many families.

In addition, the fact that some RP have different requirements contributes to a lack of equity among families. If this is your case, please do not hesitate to contact us with your experience so that we can suggest to the DEM evolution in the professional practices of certain RP.

The next steps (midterm review, status report, annual meeting) may bring their share of challenges. Don’t hesitate to consult our website, especially the Frequently Asked Questions that we update regularly. Ask for your RP’s help, his/her role it is to assist you in the development of your documents and to answer your questions precisely, without letting you guess what the requirements are.

If you do not have a RP yet, you can call the general number of the DEM or write to [email protected] and you should receive a response within 48 hours.

You can contact AQED’s support team ([email protected]) to get a second opinion on your situation, to help you decide how you can meet the requirements.

Take advantage of the richness of homeschooling and have a great fall!

AQED’s team