Education is a parental responsibility. When parents send their children to a public or private school, they delegate that responsibility to a third-party, who then act “in the place of the parent” to educate children. The province has a compelling interest in the education of children, therefore legislates and regulates publicly-delivered, privately-delivered, and family-delivered education.
When a family decides to home educate their children, the province requires certain reports to be provided to ensure their compelling interest is met. The province delegates the registration of home-based education programs to the school division in which the children reside. The Saskatchewan Home-based Policy Manual 2016-2017 (The “Policy Manual”) includes guidelines for school divisions and parents in registration of home-based education programs.
To register a home-based education program, a parent must file paperwork with their school division. The role of the school division is not to ensure your child receives an education or to judge the merit of the education program, but simply to assess and confirm your compliance with the regulations. The school division is tasked to ensure that the compelling interest of the provide is being met. It is the parents’ duty to educate their children. The following guide will explain the paperwork required and how to use the SHBE resources to have your child registered for home based education. For information about getting started with home-based education, please refer see Getting Started.
(Reporting Required to have Your Home-Based Education Program Registered)
Parents must file a Notification of a Home-based Education Program (aka “Notice of Intent”), with a Written Education Plan attached in order to have their home-based education program registered with the province, and must file an Annual Progress Report toward the end of each year (For more detail, see “How to Report“). The Notice of Intent accompanied by Written Education Plan is to be filed by August 15. The Annual Progress Report must be filed toward the end of the educational year, or by June 15. Parents may commence a home based education program 30 days after filing the provincial paperwork, even if previously registered to attend institutional school for that year.
- Notice of Intent form (https://publications.saskatchewan.ca/api/v1/products/77089/formats/86402/download).
- Along with the Notice of Intent, a Written Education Plan (Templates: MS Word, PDF) must also be provided, which must include (Policy Manual, page 35:):
- the reason for and the philosophical approach of the proposed home-based education program;
- a minimum of three broad annual goals in each of the four areas of study for each homebased learner – language arts, science, social studies and mathematics;
- the means of assessing and recording the educational progress of the home-based learner in the program (see p. 43, Annual Student Progress Report); and
- the services that the home-based educator intends to access from the services provided to home-based learners by the board of education/conseil scolaire according to the regulations and policies.
- Toward the end of the academic year, an Annual Progress Report (MS Word, PDF) must be provided, which may be comprised of either intrepreted standardized test results or a portfolio of work. When assessing progress by means of a portfolio of work, the following must be included (Policy Manual 2016-2017, page 40):
- periodic log; and,
- one of the following for each of the broad annual goals:
- a detailed summative record;
- sufficient samples of work; or,
- a summative record and samples of work.
How to Report
SHBE has prepared the following guide to reporting based on the SHBE/HSLDA Templates. This guide works step-by-step through the Notice of Intent, Written Education Plan, and Annual Progress Report to ensure that all regulatory requirements are met. Along the way, it provides examples of Broad Annual Goals and Summative Records. The Written Education Plan Templates are available in MS Word and PDF formats, as are the Annual Progress Report Templates (MS Word, PDF). It may be helpful to have the applicable template open as you follow along with this guide.
For a printable version of this guide, please download the Guide to Registration.
Notice of Intent
The Notification of a Home-based Education Program is a provincially-defined form that lists the basic information about the student and parents. It is commonly called the “Notice of Intent”.
If this is the first time you have filed in a given school division or are withdrawing from an institutional school, choose a date of commencement that is 30 days after you file the notification. The “Name of Student”, “Gender”, “D.O.B.” (Date of Birth) must be provided for each child on the home-based education program. The “Last school student attended”, “Year” and “Grade” are only applicable for children who have previously attended an institutional school.
In the next sections of the notification form, supply the parent information for one or both parents.
That’s it, you’re done. That was easy part, though. Before sending this form to your school division office, you have to complete the Written Education Plan.
Written Education Plan
The Written Education Plan must be attached to the Notification of Intent. The Written Education Plan consists of:
- the reason or philosophical approach;
- three broad annual goals for each of Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, and Mathematics;
- the means of assessing and recording progress; and
- the services that the home-based educator intends to access from the school division.
The SHBE Template for the written education plan includes room to enter the name of one child, family contact information, and a set of declarations. The declarations make it clear you are personally directing the home based education program, that the written education plan is not inconsistent with the Goals of Education for Saskatchewan, not inappropriate for the age and ability of the home based learner, and is specific to the individual listed as home-based learner.
The philosophical approach provides the foundation for the program that will influence all other aspects of the program. The home-based educator’s educational practice should reflect a genuine commitment to the philosophical approach of their home-based education program. It is more appropriate to understand this section as an explanation of style, type or approach – such as unschooling, classical education, or eclectic. For example, an unschooling approach may result in broad annual goals for language arts, at least for a young child, that include lots of read-aloud and creative storytelling, whereas more structured approaches would likely emphasize early reading skills. If you state the approach, then the outcomes can be assessed using methods consistent with the philosophical approach.
Broad Annual Goals
Broad Annual Goals are “statements of learning or outcomes in each area of study that a home-based educator intends a home-based learner to achieve during the school year in a home-based education program.” The policy manual requires that goals be “broad” (i.e. general), with “sufficient detail” to determine they are not inconsistent with the goals of education for Saskatchewan and not inappropriate for the age and ability of the child.
“Broad” Annual “Goals” with “Sufficient” detail:
- Broad – “Having a wide range of meanings or applications; loosely defined” (Oxford)
- Goals – “The objects of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result” (Oxford)
- Sufficient – Enough; Adequate (Oxford)
Two Parts of a Puzzle: Flexibility and Freedom
- If it is easier to use a concrete outcome from your resources or curriculum, feel free to cut and paste as needed.
- If writing your own goals, find a balance between generality (“broad”) and specificity (“sufficient detail”).
For an idea of what is “sufficient detail”, here are some examples based on the Saskatchewan Curriculum for Grade 6:
- Mathematics: Demonstrate understanding of the order of operations on whole numbers (excluding exponents) with and without technology.
- Science: Examine how humans organize understanding of the diversity of living things.
- Social Studies: Analyze ways in which the land affects human settlement patterns and social organization, and ways in which human habitation affects land.
- Language Arts: Appraise own and others’ work for clarity.
An example that is given by one school division, that is more consistent with self-directed learning is “To continue to learn the mathematics needed for everyday life in our society.”
Only provide broad annual goals for the required areas of learning: language arts, science, social studies and mathematics – even though you may plan to include health, music, art, physical education, religious studies, or other areas of study. If you include additional areas of learning, you may also be required to report on each of the goals when filing your annual progress report. From a homeschooler’s perspective, the purpose of reporting is merely to meet regulatory requirements, not to get approval or validation from school division administrators.
Means of Assessing and Recording Progress
The means of assessment and recording may be:
- Portfolio of work;
- Standardized achievement test results administered by the school division, at school division expense; or
- Standardized achievement test results administered by the home-based educator or other qualified person, at the expense of the home-based educator.
Do not confuse “Portfolio of Work” with “Samples of Work”. When we discuss the Annual Progress Report, it will be clear that a “Portfolio of Work” may or may not include samples.
Indicate the services you request from the school division. School divisions are required to provide driver training and learning assessments if requested by the home-based educator. Other services may be provided, including access to classes at a school, access to resource centers, distance learning courses, school textbooks, and participation in extra-curricular activities such as sports, music, or science fairs. Since each school division is different, you will have to review the administrative procedures from your school division, ask another homeschool family, or speak with the home based education administrative contact for your school division to find out what services are available from your school division.
Annual Progress Report
The Annual Progress Report must be filed toward the end of the educational program or by June 15. It will consist of either:
- the portfolio of work; or
- standardized achievement test interpreted results.
Although a portfolio of work must be compiled and maintained for two years, it does not need to be submitted if the selected means of assessment was standardized testing. File either the portfolio of work or the standardized test interpreted results, but not both.
Portfolio of Work
Regardless of the option chosen as the means of assessment, a portfolio of work must be compiled for each home-based learner. The portfolio of work must be maintained for two years following the completion of the educational program. The Portfolio of Work consists of:
- A periodic log and;
- One of the following for each of the broad annual goals:
The SHBE Template for the Annual Progress Report is designed to comply with the Saskatchewan Regulations and the Saskatchewan Home-based Education Policy Manual.
Note that a “portfolio of work” may or may not include any “samples of work” (“portfolio” does not mean “samples”). SHBE uses the terminology provided by the Ministry of Education. It is an unfortunate choice of wording that has led some school divisions to demand samples of work beyond what home based educators are required to provide. If this happens to you, please feel free to point school division administrators to this page, or directly to page 40 of the policy manual.
The periodic log is a highlight of activity that is recorded periodically. The periodic log is “a record of the educational activities completed by the homebased learner in relation to the written education plan.” The SHBE templates have room to record one highlight per month, such as books read, notable learning experiences, a field trip attended, community events, family milestones, sporting events, special projects, cultural activities, or other records related to learning (this is not an exhaustive list).
For each Broad Annual Goal
For each goal, you may choose to assess progress using a detailed summative record, sufficient samples of work, or both a summative record and sample of work. A summative record is a statement of academic progress at the end of a unit, project, course, program or school year. A sample of work may be a written work, worksheet, project, or creative material.
Detailed Summative Record
Unit studies completed, progress in a specific curriculum, books read, field trips taken, or other criteria that indicates progress toward the broad annual goal may be listed. Alternately, outcomes-based assessments may be written for each broad annual goal.
For example, if you used the Mathematics example from the Saskatchewan Curriculum for Grade 6, or a concrete outcome from your curriculum, it would be reasonable to indicate that the applicable section had been completed. Similarly, for the broad annual goals quoted earlier as consistent with self-directed learning, a reasonable summative record could be “Participated in family activities and real life experience – hands on experience in using math in everyday situations (cooking, baking, shopping, travelling, using a bank account, etc.)”
If you prefer, it is reasonable to use outcomes-based reporting, like the outcome-based assessments used by school divisions to report progress to parents. School divisions use a variety of language, generally similar to:
- “Mastery – Demonstrates a deep knowledge and understanding”, “Meeting – Demonstrates complete knowledge
and understanding”, “Approaching – Demonstrates a basic knowledge and understanding” “Beginning –
Demonstrates a parietal knowledge and understanding”, “Missing evidence – Missing evidence of knowledge and
understanding” (Prairie Spirit)
- “progressing as expected”, “meeting objectives”, “achieved mastery”, or “proficiency not demonstrated” (Regina
- “partial understanding”, “basic understanding”, “well-developed understanding” and “insightful understanding”
- “has difficulty demonstrating an understanding of the concept”, “developing an understanding of the concept”,
“consistently demonstrates an understanding of the concept” and “independently demonstrates an in-depth
understanding of the concept, and consistently applies this knowledge to new situations” (Good Spirit)
Remember that these examples are only a few of many reasonable options – don’t feel “boxed-in” by these suggestions.
Samples of Work
If you prefer to provide sufficient samples of work to indicate progress toward a broad annual goal, the sample must be clearly labelled to indicate the broad annual goals to which each sample is relevant. For example, if a broad annual goals was to learn rounding of decimal numbers, a relevant sample of work may be a worksheet or project that includes rounding of numbers. Complete the template by referencing the label for the sample of work in the index associated with the correct broad annual goal. The sample or samples of work should be sufficient to demonstrate progress toward the broad annual goal.
Summative Record and Samples of Work
If you choose to provide a combination of summative record and sample of work, the samples of work should be clearly labelled to indicate the broad annual goal to which they are relevant. A reasonable summative record may be something like, “Demonstrated a knowledge of the solar system by constructing the model shown in the photo labeled ‘Science #1’ or ‘Solar System’”. Any photographs or samples provided may not be returned.
No Additional Documents Required
Home Based Educators are not required to provide birth certificates, health card numbers, additional registration forms or any further information or documentation as a prerequisite to registration, even though such documentation may be required for children attending institutional school. While school divisions may not compel home based educators to provide additional documentation, such requests may be made in good faith, for financial compliance prior to reimbursements or grants, or for purely administrative reasons. The home-based educator may choose to graciously supply the documentation or kindly decline to offer additional information. If you have difficulty, SHBE can speak on your behalf to the school division or the ministry of education.
Saskatchewan Home Based Educators (SHBE)
Saskatchewan Home Based Educators, Inc (SHBE) is the official voice of home-based educators in Saskatchewan. Working with relevant organizations, SHBE assists in creating a positive social and political environment for home-based education in Saskatchewan. SHBE organizes and develops social, supportive and instructional events for its members. In addition to templates, guides, and various other resources and events, SHBE holds an annual convention in February, publishes the SHBE Journal and develops guides, templates and various other resources. SHBE Membership costs just $35 per family per year.