'You don't feel like you have to prove yourself': Home schooling change on the Island takes effect

Home educators will notice a difference on their notice of intention forms this year.

New form for home educators now shorter, more consise

Emily Ross is going into her sixth year of home schooling her children. (Stephanie Brown/CBC)

Home educators will notice a difference when they file their paperwork this year, with updated, more concise notice of intention forms.

Families send the forms in to the Department of Education every year to let them know they are home educating.

Home educating parents no longer need to include programming details on their notice of intention. (Stephanie Brown/CBC)

More concise

Last year the form omitted the need for a certified teacher advisor, which was previously required — a change prompted by arrival the Amish community on the Island.

The form for the 2016-2017 school year is even more concise. Changes made in the spring of last year have resulted in an updated, and shorter form.

Home educators no longer need to provide the government with a description of their home-schooling programming.

"In anticipation of the Education Act and the regulations, the Notice of Intention to Home School form was updated to be clearer, easier to read and to align with the regulations that will be official this weekend," said a spokesperson with the Department of Education.

'Read alouds' are an activity that Emily Ross and her three children often do during home schooling. (Stephanie Brown/CBC)

'I think it's excellent'

Emily Ross has home schooled her three children in New Haven for five years.

You don't feel like you have to prove yourself.- Emily Ross

"I think it's excellent, I think that it allows home educators to just be able to inform the Department of Education that they are home schooling without the bother of having to program and share all of that," Ross said.

"You don't feel like you have to prove yourself or be really detailed about everything."

Ross said programming often changes throughout the year, and depending on your philosophy, it may be hard to put that concisely on paper.

Doesn't eliminate need for planning

Before, Ross said she would fill out a form per child and had to include all of her programming plans like subjects, books, curriculum and all of the objectives.

Emily Ross said reading to her children not only helps them learn, it is a bonding experience as well. (Stephanie Brown/CBC)

Ross said this change doesn't eliminate the need for a plan, but can take away some stress in the process.

"Not that you shouldn't have a plan in place, I think every home-educating parent has a plan in place, but it doesn't always come so succinctly that it can go on a piece of paper."

Ross said the detailed form could also be difficult for parents who are new to home schooling.

"It can be very overwhelming when you're starting out to find what works for your family or what you would want to go with," she said.

Simple but effective change

Ross said she is grateful that the province is trusting parents to make decisions about their children's education.

"I think the reasoning behind it initially was for accountability, but I think that you can entrust that parents are going to very responsible in making sure that their children are educated and educated well."