We know that home schoolers are often looking for a more open, flexible and supportive environment than what is found in public-school systems. Finding this may be difficult when you have to contend with regulations imposed by one or more school boards, let alone having resources for your local state curriculum requirements available at the public library or private bookstore. With New Brunswick – a province in Canada, you can get all of the above and more. You can leave your school district altogether to enjoy many of the benefits of homeschooling without having to worry about the bureaucracy that attends such a decision.
Why choose New Brunswick? Why not Ontario or Nova Scotia? We can’t be sure, but it’s our impression that those provinces are more likely to provide more freedom for homeschoolers. In the words of one author who interviewed several families about their reasons for choosing New Brunswick, “I’m not sure that any extra freedom is worth this level of commitment. I can’t say enough about the freedom and flexibility enjoyed by New Brunswickers.” Our reason is different: If you are going to homeschool in New Brunswick, it makes sense to be close to family members who can assist with your studies.
What follows are some of the major benefits of homeschooling in NB:
Government regulation is significantly less restrictive than many other provinces; Less red tape means fewer regulations and restrictions, more freedom Space is available for your own personal needs at a very reasonable cost. NB is one of the few provinces that offers tax credits for those who purchase textbooks, paints, computers and supplies.
NB has a socially (preferably) progressive history that has been an influence on our values; as well as offering liberal parenting philosophies and laws Family support can be close with relatives who share similar values and understand what you expect from them. NB has many Christian homeschooling groups like the New Brunswick Christian Home School Association – http://www.nbhcsa.com/ . NB is also one of the few provinces in Canada where you can obtain a Newfoundland Parental Order granting permission to homeschool your children. http://www.govt-order.com/newfoundland.htm
New Brunswick is a bilingual province – French and English; this puts our province in a good position to become even more open to alternate forms of education. NB’s past and present offer the opportunity to explore different approaches – based on our own cultural backgrounds In New Brunswick, home schoolers have enjoyed key leadership roles in organizations such as the Public Education Advisory Council (PEAC) http://www.education.nb.ca/pei/home.html and the provincial Education Reform Working Group – http://www.educationreformnb.ca/ . The same experience in NB provides important knowledge and experience for someone seeking to become involved in other aspects of educational reform.
Steps for How to Start Homeschooling in New Brunswick
1 Talk to Your Relatives – Find out who knows homeschooling. Does your in-law know? Yes! Get on the phone with your relatives in New Brunswick and ask them about their experiences. Remember to ask about their kids, how they were homeschooled and if they had any problems. Ask someone you know who has kids how their kids did in school this year. University of New Brunswick is an excellent place for homeschool graduates to go after they complete high school; see details: http://www2.unb.ca/education/grad/home_schooling_programs/
2 Research Societies – Visit the following sources for further information: The Canadian Homeschool Association (http://www.chahc.org/), the Fred and Esther Korthof Society (www.korthof.com) ,You will want to visit some of these sites to see what is available for you in terms of governmental help with homeschooling and resources.
3 Get a Parental Order – We don’t know who has done this, but if your relative is already doing it, they should be able to help you with this step. To order the Parental Order, speak with your provincial health department or school board (Choose either the Department of Health or Education). You can contact them by email at:
– Department of Health: firstname.lastname@example.org
– Department of Education: email@example.com
4 Contact a Homeschooling Organization in New Brunswick – You could contact the PEAC (see http://www.education.nb.ca/pei/home.html) or the New Brunswick Christian Home School Association (see http://www2.unb.ca/education/grad/home_schooling_programs/) for more information on how to homeschool in NB. If you are looking for some ideas and general direction, check out www.homeschooling.ca for ideas on how to get started.
5 Plan Your Curriculum – It is important to think about what you want to teach your children and where you will be able to find enough resources for this. Children in New Brunswick go to school from a little before the age of five until they finish secondary school (Boys up until grade 12 and Girls Grade 11). An important part of planning your curriculum involves choosing a program that will be well-suited for your child’s age and personality. For example, if your child is young and an individualist, they may do better with a Montessori education. If you live close to the U.S., you might want to consider homeschooling with a curriculum from there. If you live close to Quebec, you might want to consider one of the French-immersion programs. Catholic families are also welcome in this province, and there are several Catholic homeschooling groups that have appeared in recent years.
6 Get Your Legal Documentation Together – You will need specific legal documentation in order to be considered a legitimate home educator in New Brunswick; that is, your child must be registered with Education and Early Childhood Development (EED) and have an Educational Program Plan (EPP). The EPP is the official document you will need for the purpose of getting parental leave. The Education Act also mandates that you adhere to curriculum provided by the Department of Education, and these programs must be approved by the province. The Department of Education also has a list of approved materials available on its website: http://www2.unb.ca/education/grad/home_schooling_programs/resources.html
7 Learn About NB Homeschooling Laws and Policy – The New Brunswick government recognizes homeschooling as legal in this province; however, some homeschoolers have reported problems with the police (who might take your children into custody if they suspected illegal activity). There is no law against homeschooling in this province, but there are still some misunderstandings about it. The best way to avoid a problem with the authorities is to ensure that you have the right documentation and do not abuse the privilege of homeschooling. After you have finished writing your curriculum, be sure to submit it for approval before proceeding with your plans. Call 1-888-763-2888 for guidelines on how to submit your curriculum proposal or visit http://www2.unb.ca/education/grad/home_schooling_programs/.