In Saskatchewan, parents intending to homeschool must register and send their education plan to the board of education, or conseil scolaire in the division in which they reside. School boards are tasked with developing policies and procedures for registering, supporting and monitoring home-based education programs in accordance with Saskatchewan policies.
While there are no requirements for maintaining specific hours or days of instruction, home educators are required to keep a periodic log as well as maintaining a portfolio of student work. Home educators will report annually to the school which has accepted their registration for home-based education.
Home-based learners may participate in distance learning programs, access tutors hired by their parents, or take some courses through the school board or conseil scolaire who has accepted their registration for home-education.
Division 1.4 of the Home-Based Education Program Regulations details the notification requirements needed to begin a home-based education program.
Written notice of intent to homeschool must be sent to either the board of education of the school division in which the child resides, or to the conseil scolaire. This entity is the “registering authority” Parents complete one Notification Form regardless of the number of children included in the home education plan. Each student will be registered individually by the registering authority.
Included with the notification form, the parent must submit a written Home Education Plan. This plan must follow the Goals of Education for Saskatchewan, be age-appropriate, and account for the ability level of the student. The program should outline the philosophical approach and reasons for choosing home education.
Notice should be given by August 15th of each year, or at least 30 days prior to the start of a home-based education program.
Within 30 days of receiving the Notification Form, the registering authority will review the notification. If the notification is compliant with regulations, the registering authority will notify the parent of successful registration of the home-based education program.
If the notification is noncompliant with the Education Act, the registering authority will provide a detailed response explaining which aspects why the Notice of Intent is non-compliant with regulations.
After receiving the notification of noncompliance, the parent is given 15 days to supply additional information or arrange a meeting to discuss the issue further.
If the parent fails to respond within 15 days, or if the notification is still determined to be noncompliant, the registering authority will provide notice detailing the reasons why the home education program will not be registered. Information will be given about mediation processes available to resolve the issues.
Home Educators must renew their registrations annually providing an updated education plan.
Part II Division 1.3 of the The Home-Based Education Program Regulation states that The Home-Based Education Plan must be consistent with the policies set by the minister of education.
For each of the 4 required subject areas (language arts, science, social studies and mathematics) the education plan must outline 3 “broad annual goals” which should be appropriate for the student’s age and ability.
The Education Plan must also outline: educational activities, methods of instruction, learning resources which will be utilized in the upcoming school year, assessment methods, and means of recording educational progress for each student.
Division 2. 16 of Home-Based Education Program Regulation requires home-based educators to keep a portfolio of student work and submit annual progress reports, for each student, to the registering authority.
A portfolio of work must be kept for two calendar years following the year during which the work was compiled. A portfolio must be kept regardless of whether the portfolio will be submitted as part of the annual progress report.
The portfolio should demonstrate the home-based learner’s progress. For each of the broad annual goals outlined in the education plan, portfolios should include either a detailed summary, samples of student work, or a combination of samples and summary. Portfolios must also include a periodic log – a record of educational activities completed by the student.
In accordance with Division 2.11 of the Home-based Education Program Regulation, the registering authority will maintain permanent records for each home-based learner they have registered.
These records include: all notices of intent, education plans & amendments to these plans, renewal of registrations, correspondence with home-based learner, annual progress reports, and any paperwork relating to conflict or dispute resolution.
Access to this information will be given to home-based educators, home-based students, and those involved in monitoring educational progress. This record will transfer with the student in the event that the student during moves to a new province, country, or during a change of registering authority.
If requested by the home-based educator, each registering authority is required to provide one standardized test per year for each home-based student.
If the parent meets requirements for administering and interpreting assessments such as standardized tests, the registering authority will accept assessments conducted by home-based educators. Assessments administered by a qualified individual hired by the home-based educator will also be accepted. The home-based educator must provide evidence to the registering authority showing that the test administrator meets the qualifications for administering and interpreting the specific assessment tool.
The registering authority may initiate a home-based learner assessment, which may include standardized tests to determine the grade level of a home-based student entering public school, to assess a home-based student with intensive needs, or as part of a plan to improve the home-based education program.
Assessments are not to be administered by the registering authority as a requirement for registering a home-based learning program.
Assessing the Home Education Program
The Home-Based Education Program Regulation Division 11.12 requires registering authorities to monitor all registered home education programs to ensure that the education program is complicit with the requirements of the education act. The registering authority is required to evaluate the progress of the home education program based on the written education plan developed by the home educator, as well as the age and ability level of the student. Registering authorities are instructed to “assume that the home-based learners are making satisfactory educational progress unless there is evidence to the contrary,” (Home-based Education Policy and Procedures Manual. Pg 20)
Home-based educators are required to submit an Annual Progress Report is to the registering authority. The Home-based Education Policy and Procedures Manual (Pg 42) outlines what may be submitted to satisfy Annual Progress Report requirements. Annual Progress Report to be sent to registering authority may consist of one of the following:
If the home-based educator fails to provide a sufficient annual student progress report, the registering authority will give written notice to the home-based educator outlining the non-compliance. The home-based educator will be given 15 days to rectify the issue.
If the home-based educator fails to rectify the issue after 15 days, the registering authority will notify the home-educator of their intentions to cancel the home education program, outline the reasons for canceling the program, and inform the home-based educator of dispute resolution options.
Section 148 of The Education Act, 1995 states that if conflict arises between the school and the student, “the parent or guardian, on behalf of that pupil, is entitled to immediate access to procedures established by the board of education or the conseil scolaire for the purposes of investigation and mediation of any differences or conflicts.”
In case of alleged failure of home-based educators to provide adequate education, the burden of proof lies with the registering authority. The board of education must have access to information about the progress of the home-based learner. Focus will be placed on the progress of the home-based learner rather than on the educational methods.
In accordance with The Home-based Education Program Regulations, Section 12(2) if the registering authority determines the home-based educator is not in compliance with the Education Act, they will contact the home-based educator to discuss steps to ensure compliance.
If the registering authority determines that a home-based learner is not making satisfactory educational progress based on the written education plan, they must provide evidence of unsatisfactory progress to the home-based educator. The must also work with the home-based educator to establish an improvement plan.
If the home-based educator doesn’t believe the improvement plan to be necessary, or if the registering authority and home-based educator are unable to agree on an improvement plan, the case will be referred to a resolution process. If an agreement can not be reached, the registering authority will, in writing, notify the educator of intent to cancel the home-based education program. The written intent must state the reasons for cancellation, and inform the parent of the dispute resolution process. The home-based educator may refer the matter to the dispute resolution process within 15 days of receiving notice.
Regulation 21(2) of the The Home-based Education Program Regulations, 2015 gives home-based educators the option of applying to the minister of education for review the decision of the board of education or conseil scolaire in matters regarding:
The application for ministerial review must be received by the mister within 30 days of the home educator receiving written notice from the registering authority regarding the conflict. The minister may appoint someone to review the conflict and provide conflict resolution recommendations to the registering authority.
If the registering authority fails to comply with the recommendations of the minister, the home-based educator may give written notice of their intent to register the home-based education program through the minister of education. A written education program must also be submitted at that time.
If the written education plan is consistent with requirements the minister of education will register the home-based education program. If the plan does not comply with the education act, the minister will not register the program and must provide a written explanation explaining the decision to deny registration.
Division 1.6 of the Home-Based Education Program Regulation requires registering authorities to offer motor vehicle training to all home-based learners, provide home-based learner assessments, and requires each board of education and conseil scolaire develop policies regarding access to outdoor recreation, athletics, and extracurricular activities which will be made available to home-based learners.
Motor Vehicles education
Motor vehicle training will be made available for all eligible pupils. Records of the training will be kept by the registering authority and a record for each pupil in the driver education program will be sent annually to the Minister of Education. Driver Education Curriculum Guidelines
Learning resource materials
Registering Authorities, at the request of the home-based educator may provide courses, textbooks, and other resource materials.
Earning secondary credit
Home-based learners do not receive credit for their home-based course work however the registering authority may offer support for students seeking to earn secondary level credits. Homes-based students may challenge the grade 12 departmental exam to earn credits. Home-Based Education: How Can Students Earn Secondary Level Credits?
Distance Learning Programs
Provincial distance learning opportunities may be used to supplement a home-based education program. If a registering authority provides distance learning to enrolled students, they must provide the same access to distance education for home-based learners they have registered. Home-based educators may register students for distance education through their registering authority.
Students with Intensive Needs
The assessment of pupils with intensive needs remains the responsibility of public authorities, regardless of if the student is educated at home or in a public school.
A home-based educator who demonstrates a need for a student to undergo intensive needs assessment, the registering authority is obliged to arrange for the assessment.
A registering authority may initiate an intensive needs assessment as part of an improvement plan, or if they believe the home educator is not providing an education plan which is appropriate to the age/ability of the student. Or if they believe a student’s learning capacity is impacted by “a cognitive, social-emotional, behavioural or physical condition. 2016-17 Home-based Education: Policy and Procedures Manual (Pg 17-18)
Assessment of students with intensive needs will be conducted by the registering authority with the purpose of identifying strengths and learning methods which may help the home-educator make adjustments to make the home-based education program more effective and appropriate for the student’s abilities.
Home-based learners with intensive needs are eligible for Supports for Learning funding. However, without a qualified intensive needs assessment, the pupils will not be included in the board’s Supports for Learning funds.
Each registering authority must determine policies regarding what services and resources they will make available to home-based students with intensive needs as well as what support they may be able to offer to the home-based educator.
The home-based educator is responsible for ensuring the education program is appropriately adjusted to accommodate the student’s intensive needs. Failure to make appropriate adjustments may result in the home education program not being renewed, or being cancelled by the registering authority.