Note: This is my draft response for feedback regarding the proposed new BC Homeschooling Handbook.
To Whom It May Concern,
As a recent immigrant to BC, I really appreciate the breadth of educational choices for children in BC. Because there are so many choices, there is a lot of information to absorb. Especially for people new to the system. For that reason a single document such as this would be very helpful.
There are a lot of great clarifications and explanations already in the document. I have some suggestions/notes to improve the readability:
1. Document length
The length of the document is off-putting. It was painful to review the document because of the length and repetition. It would be easier to digest if it was more concise and focused on the information that is relevant for each user group.
A lot of the information is repeated, greatly adding to the length. I don’t find section 2 useful at all. I would completely replace it with the appendix summary by key groups which lets me filter the information that’s most relevant.
2. Better Practice Guidelines
It would be useful to have one table or section listing the legal requirements/entitlements only for each user group. This is the most essential information, and should be highlighted alone – not as part of a big table. Move the Better Practices sections out of the tables. Clearly separate what must legally be done from what is a completely optional suggestion.
On that note – rename Better Practices to something more accurate. Tips, Suggestions or Things to Consider / Notes would be more appropriate for the actual content. While the document states that the ‘better practices’ are optional, the better practices title is one that I typically expect to mean that you should be following the listed steps in order to comply with the legal requirements. That’s not the case here.
Many of the items listed as better practice guidelines cover different types of information. Group the extra information under appropriate headings where applicable. The pop-up boxes can be moved into here as further info or clarifications. This format would greatly reduce the length of the document and make the information so much easier to digest.
3. Considerations when Exploring Homeschooling
I find the tone of this section gives the impression that registered homeschooling requires a lot more effort from a parent than it actually does based on the laws. It seems to encourage parents to look at alternative options before considering registered homeschooling. This section could be made unbiased by renaming to ‘Considering your schooling options’ or similar, and making sure that the wording of the content is more carefully chosen. My opinion is that all the considerations listed there apply to any educational choices. Which option is best for each individual child will vary greatly based on their needs and the local educational options they can access.
4. The Homeschooling & Graduation section.
This section is very confusing to me as a newcomer. As a parent I need to understand what is an enrolled student or a registered homeschooler. This is covered well in the document.
When it comes to graduating, the next most crucial question I have to help me and my child choose the best option for them is:
“How can a registered homeschooler obtain a BC Certificate of Graduation Diploma via online learning credits earned in grade 10-12”.
A short simple example of a student who is still a registered homeschooler, but is earning credits to graduate with a diploma (with links to more detailed information) would be really helpful for making the right decision for a grade 10-12 student.
5. Registered Homeschoolers User Group
I can’t see my children reading this document or finding it useful. A separate document or appendix to this document that only covers the perspective and options for a child would be more accessible for them. Links to any supports that are specifically for children could be included in this, while noting that the supports are general ones for any child regardless of their educational path.
Thanks for your time