The number of homeschooling students increased from 235 in the school year 2019/2020 to 474 in this school year 2021/2022.
This number was even higher during the first year of the pandemic.
Since 2020, up to 556 children have been enrolled on the island in this home education program offered by the Ministry of Education.
However, this number is still very low among French-speaking students, says Brad Samson, director of administration and financial services at the island’s school board in French.
” The vast majority of students have returned to school, but there are always exceptions, they are people who are directly affected by COVID. »
Brad Samson explains that the families of the French-speaking network who have enrolled in the provincial home education program represent only less than 2% of the students enrolled in the program.
These families, who want to maintain their education at home, despite the abolition of almost all sanitary measures, are run directly by the provincial government.
These people, who decided not to come, had to choose between home education, a service program or coming to school in early February. For these families who choose not to go to school, the school board no longer supports it says the director.
Brad Samson also adds that families who must remain in isolation, or those whose members form COVID-19 vulnerable groups, still receive support from the school board to continue distance education.
When enrolling in a provincial program, families do not have to justify the province’s choice to educate their children at home.
Therefore, the Ministry of Education is unable to provide accurate data on their motivations.
Nevertheless, according to the island’s support group for families wishing to educate their children at home, the pandemic was a clear trigger.
Laura Peric, Secretary of Fr. PEI Christian Home Educatorsexplains that the sanitary measures introduced in schools, in particular the wearing of veils, have contributed to this trend.
Another example would be switching between classroom and home education due to the outbreak of COVID-19 cases.
It could be due to constant changes. The children had to return to the class in person and go home for two weeks and it was difficult for the children. The situation was also complicated by a screening routineexplains Laura Peric.
During the first four months of 2022, students in schools were required to take a rapid drug test at least three times a week.
After trying out school at home due to health regulations, some of these families managed to adapt their routine well, and several parents also had to switch to teleworking, says Laura Peric.
Maybe it opened the eyes of parents who had never considered a home education. Yes, there are challenges in home education, but there are also challenges in schoolexplains.
Laura Peric points out that her organization has seen an increase in the number of families who have chosen this type of education.
It’s really interesting to see people coming, whether they came to register for a pandemic or just came to an island from other provincesexplains.
The Ministry of Education replied in an email that its views on home education had not changed. Depending on the province, the family
they have the right to choose the type of education that suits them and their children.
With information from CBC