Homeschooling in Sask. needs better checks and balances: auditor

There are around 2,500 kids in Saskatchewan being homeschooled in the province.

Around 2,500 kids are being homeschooled in the province

Provincial Auditor Judy Ferguson says school divisions need to have more of a regulatory presence in homeschooling. (Kendall Latimer/CBC)

Saskatchewan's provincial auditor Judy Ferguson said school boards need to be better at checking in with parents who are homeschooling their kids. 

Around 2,500 kids are being homeschooled in the province. That's the third highest proportion of homeschooled kids in Canada, and the number is growing. 

For the report, Ferguson and her team looked at Prairie Valley School Division. School divisions, by law, are required to "regulate the delivery of homeschooling," according to Ferguson.

"What we found in this one is that they needed to do a lot of improvements here. Frankly, they weren't really doing a good job of monitoring home-based learners," she said. 

"What we found is that they didn't fully understand their authority in terms of that regulatory role and was rather just accepting information that was being provided."

Parents are supposed to provide a written education plan to the school board at the beginning of the year and they should be filing an annual progress report at the end of the year. 

Rod Amberson, board chair of the Saskatchewan Home Educators Association, said he doesn't think the school division acted that way in bad faith. 

"I think everything was done in good faith, I don't, we don't know the details of the families, whether they had attempted to file an annual progress report and it was misplaced somewhere," he said. 

"But I think it's important to note the Prairie Valley School Division and the parents, there's no finding of anything other than good faith.

We had some turnover in that school division and it's quite possible it was an anomaly for that year only."

Amberson said the Association and the school division have regular meetings. 

With files from CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning


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