Dear SHBE Members,
We’d like to respond to information provided by Southeast Cornerstone that seems to imply that home based educators needs to track and report on all worksheets, activities, projects, and assignments completed, as well as provide samples of those worksheets, activities, projects, and assignments. The Saskatchewan Home Based Education Policy manual does not require the periodic log to include specific detail. Further, the email from Southeast Cornerstone indicated that individual homeschoolers could be audited by the Ministry of Education. While such information could be very intimidating, it is not consistent with the Saskatchewan Home-based Policy Manual (available here). SHBE has reached out directly to Southeast Cornerstone.
SHBE has worked with HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) to make templates and instructions available to home schoolers in Saskatchewan. These documents seek to inform parents of the requirements for reporting. The best approach with School Division officials is to be respectful but firm. Parents are qualified to provide instruction and to assess progress. We have included the SHBE templates and instructions with this email, to provide some basic guidance. (available here).
One possible approach with Southeast Cornerstone would be to request the specific regulations or policy manual references with which your reporting does not comply. If the school division indicates that your annual progress report does not meet the requirements, it is appropriate to put the onus on the school division to demonstrate specific non-compliance. SHBE has spent a lot of time and effort to ensure our templates are reasonable and meet all regulatory requirements.
Beyond the SHBE templates and feedback above, at the bottom of this email are some selected quotes from Saskatchewan Home-based Policy Manual that you may find useful.
Please feel free to share this email along with an encouragement for others to join with SHBE. Every membership adds credibility in our discussions with the ministry of education, the provincial government, and school divisions. https://shbe.ca/membership
Rod, Anne, Krista
Saskatchewan Home Based Educators
help | Contact SHBE
Just to be clear, the portions that are italicized are my comments (Rod Amberson). My comments are, however, based on years of experience between SHBE, HSLDA and the Ministry of Education. Also, please consider this as guidance for your own confidence. The school division should be expected to demonstrate their position from the policy manual, rather than you (or SHBE) building a defense against their allegation. Respectfully ask the school division to show you where in the policy manual they are getting their information.
Periodic Log (Page 37):
“Home-based educators are not expected to complete a daily attendance register or to provide instruction in their home-based education program for the same hours each day that public schools operate. However, they shall maintain a periodic log (see p. 42)”
There is no further mention of the format or content of the periodic log. It seems clear that the intent is for parents to indicate that instruction has been regular, periodic within the general school year. There is no mention within the policy manual for the Ministry of Education to directly audit individual homeschoolers. If homeschoolers follow the policy manual, there is no need to comply with extra requests or demands from school divisions.
Annual Progress Report (Page 40):
- Home-based educators shall maintain a portfolio of work for each home-based learner on his/her program, regardless which of the options they choose for their annual student progress report (see p. 44).
- A portfolio of work indicates the home-based learner’s progress and consists of:
- a 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.
- Home-based educators are not required to provide the portfolio of work to their registering official unless they have chosen this option for their annual progress report.
There is no further discussion of “detailed summative record”, or “sufficient samples of work”. There is a somewhat ambiguous statement “sufficient detail for the registering authority to assess the educational progress of the home-based learner”.
According to the regulations and policy manual, it is not sufficient for parents to say, “everything went fine this year” as a broad program-wide statement. However, it is consistent with the regulations and policy manual for parents to provide written assessments per broad annual goal/learning outcome: “Johnny demonstrated a mastery of …” or to say, “Competency demonstrated with Sample labeled ‘Language Arts Sample #1’” for Language Arts Broad Annual Goal #1. Just giving some ideas. (see also, “Guide to using the SHBE Templates”)
Annual Progress Report (Page 42):
- Home-based educators shall send an annual progress report for each home-based learner on their home-based education program to the registering official. The annual progress report shall be sent once near the end of the school year, at a time determined by the home-based educator and acceptable to the registering official.
- Home-based educators shall choose one of the following options for the format of each annual progress report:
- the portfolio of work and with sufficient detail for the registering authority to assess the educational progress of the home-based learner;
- test results of the home-based learner who has taken a nationally normed standardized achievement test; or,
- test results of the home-based learner who has taken a nationally normed standardized achievement test administered by the home-based educator, or another person at the expense of the home-based educator provided that:
- the home-based educator, or the other person, meets the qualifications required by the specific test;
- the home-based educator provides the registering authority evidence of the qualifications of the person administering and interpreting the test; and,
- the person administering the test provides the registering official with the results of the test and an interpretation of the results.
This is the somewhat ambiguous statement “sufficient detail for the registering authority to assess the educational progress of the home-based learner”. The policy manual says that parents are qualified to instruct and to choose and use assessment methods, so SHBE therefore asserts that the parents’ assessment of progress for each broad annual is sufficient detail.
Parents are Qualified to provide instruction, and assessment is part of the instruction process (Page 9):
- Home-based education programs are philosophically and structurally diverse. Some support regular testing of a home-based learner’s educational progress and others do not. Home-based learner assessments, including standardized testing, should be regarded primarily as a service boards of education/conseil scolarie provide home-based educators, at the request of home-based educators.
- Home-based educators are qualified to provide instruction to their children. Since assessment is part of the instructional process, home-based educators are also qualified to choose and use assessment methods, including standardized tests. There are a variety of standardized tests, some specify strict qualification requirements and conditions for the administration of the standardized test and others do not. By ensuring that home-based educators meet the qualifications (according to the test instructions) to administer, determine and interpret the results of the test, the integrity of the individual standardized tests will be protected.
The school division is not required to provide Home-based learner assessments for all students – only upon request by the home-based educator. Parents are qualified to instruct. Assessment is part of instruction, therefore parents are qualified to assess educational progress.