Richmond homeschooling parent Jeanette Dyck says children with special needs are often neglected by the distance learning system.
Photo courtesy Jeanette Dyck
Challenges of home education
Published 11:24 PDT, Wed October 28, 2020
Last Updated: 11:45 PDT, Wed October 28, 2020
Kristen Hogeterp is a 15-year-old homeschooled student. The following story concludes a five-part education series.
If you’ve ever spoken with home educators, they may have talked with you about beginning your own home learning journey.
But home learning is not always easy—there are many challenges faced by home educators. For example, children who learn at home spend more time than most with the same small group of people. While this allows for deeper connections with family, it can also spark conflicts very easily.
Aside from challenges in the home, home educators also have to deal with external difficulties, the most recent of which are the funding cuts for independent Distributed Learning (DL) schools. This past spring, the BC government announced its decision to reduce the funding allocated for independent DL schools in the province.
“The recent funding cut and lack of understanding of the provincial government on what it means to be a private independent DL [are a big challenge], says Debbie Jiang, a local home educator.
Before the funding cuts, private DL schools were receiving $3,843 per student per year. This is 63 per cent of the $6,100 per student funding that public DL schools were receiving.
With the funding cuts reducing that amount to 50 per cent of public DL schools, each independent online school is losing about $793 per student of their funding.
Effective July 1 of this year, Independent Distributed Learning schools no longer received that 20 per cent of their funding and were faced with the challenge of preparing for a new school year with less than six months notice since the cuts.
Distance learning families with a stay-at-home parent or who are low income were particularly hard hit as they hurried to plan their school year without a lot of the funding they were previously receiving.
“The perspective was ‘private schools are for the wealthy’—which is really not true. A lot of the special needs kids are being left in the cold because they are an afterthought,” says Jeanette Dyck, a parent and home educator of special needs children in Richmond. “Due to the limited funding, so many schools are being held together by glitter and glue, and they still manage to (be) a warm, joyful place for children.”
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