Increase in number of Quebec parents turning to homeschooling: Ministry of Education

In just a few weeks, Manraj Mahal will be starting his first year of high school, but instead of joining his fellow classmates in the classroom, he and his family decided that he’ll be learning at home.

“We took my son’s feelings into consideration and we decided that home schooling’s going to be our best option,” said his mother, Pam Sidhu-Mahal.

Sidhu-Mahal says several reasons fuelled their decision.

READ MORE: Swift reaction from Quebec parents, students to province’s back-to-school plan

She is diabetic and considered trying to get a medical note, which could enable her son to participate in distance learning

But she says the online learning curriculum offered in the spring left a sour taste. So the family agreed that homeschooling would be a better option.

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“There was a lot of uncertainty last year,” she said.

“I want him to have a year where he knows where he’s going and what he’s doing.”

She’s not alone.

READ MORE: Quebec students Grade 5 and up will have to wear masks in school hallways but not classrooms

Both the Lester B. Pearson and English Montreal school boards say they’ve recently received a surge of requests from parents inquiring about the homeschooling process.

“The last couple of weeks, we’ve received literally hundreds of calls from people inquiring about homeschool,” said EMSB school board spokesperson.

“Our homeschooling office has been inundated.”

In fact, Quebec’s Education Ministry told Global News that 1,400 more families have registered for home schooling compared to the last school year.

READ MORE: ‘Tsunami’ of parents interested in homeschooling amid COVID-19 pandemic

Quebec’s homeschooling association says its membership has also increased in recent weeks

The group says many parents are either worried about the government’s back-to-school plan or have a vulnerable person in their family, and aren’t sure if they’re eligible for a medical note.

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READ MORE: Lawsuit to challenge Quebec back to school plan requiring in person attendance

Aside from the safety concerns, parents seem to like the idea of tailoring a learning plan to fit their child.

“Instead of doing science in the textbook, you do science at the kitchen sink, instead of learning history in the textbook — you learn it by going to the national history museum, or you watch a documentary,” said Noemie Berlus, Quebec Homeschooling Association director.

“Because you’re one-on-one, there are a ton of things that you have an opportunity to do to enrich your child’s learning experience that isn’t realistic to do in a school with one to 20 kids.”

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