A woman who home-schools her children in Cape Breton says she's not happy with Nova Scotia's auditor general, who issued a report saying the province is not doing a good job of tracking whether home-schooled children are being educated properly.
Kimberly Charron, who home-schools her two children in Marion Bridge, is also the secretary of the Nova Scotia Home Education Association.
She said she doesn't believe the province should impose goals on children being home-schooled.
"As far as outcomes and telling us what we have to do when, that's problematic especially because there are many home-schoolers whose children have been failed by the system," said Charron.
"They have children with learning disabilities and autism and all sorts of things like that. That would mean little Johnny reading by five probably isn't going to happen because he's got all these other things going on."
Auditor General Jacques Lapointe released a report last week that concluded lack of oversight by the provincial Department of Education means the government has no way of making sure basic requirements are being met.
Of those 120 files that were reviewed for proper assessment, 102 didn’t specify what the child was expected to learn and five didn't include any information. The audit also reviewed 91 progress reports and found that all but one contained just the parent's opinion of the child's progress.
Apply some basics, says auditor general
Lapointe told Cape Breton's Information Morning that more needs to be done to make sure all children have a good education.
"A couple of provinces like Alberta, who are very strong on the independence of parents and the rights of them, still have a highly developed system to provide oversight to make sure that certain learning outcomes are achieved by children," he said.
"Nobody would argue with some of this: they have to learn to read and write and they have to learn basic mathematics and they have to learn to do these things by a certain age. I wouldn't want someone to go too off track with this but just apply some of the basics that we all agree on that children should learn by the time they finish high school."
Charron isn't convinced.
"Sometimes home-schooled children don't read until later than most people think they should read and then they go on to read novels, write novels and go to university. It's problematic to tell us when our kids have to do things," she said.
"We know our children best, we're sitting there with them day after day, we know what they're capable of and where to meet them, where they're at, because we're their parents."
She said there's a false assumption that some people who home-school their children are lazy and said it's harder work than sending children out the door to school every day.