Under the B.C. School Act a parent of a child who is required to enrol in an educational program may educate the child at home or elsewhere and must provide that child with an educational program.
Every parent must make his or her own decision about schooling, but Victoria homeschooling pioneer Marty Layne wants to ensure parents have the information they need.
The Saanich resident plans to present the lessons she learned to potential home schooling parents at the Oak Bay branch of the library next week.
“I start with the legalities of homeschooling in B.C.,” Layne said. She’ll also outline the differences between homeschooling and distance education. “For a long time people got confused because that was also called homeschooling.”
Layne speaks from a place of experience, starting the homeschool path when her four children were small.
“When we moved to Victoria in 1982 there weren’t many people homeschooling in Victoria,” Layne said. “I just wanted to be with my children. I just loved being with them and learning with them. We had a good time and they’re all now grown up and functioning adults.”
Perhaps even thriving. Two of her three sons are professional musicians, one is a professional artist and her daughter “is a mother,” she says with maternal pride herself.
Home education can be an ideal situation for kids who may not see success in traditional classrooms, such as a six-year-old who adores drawing but just isn’t ready yet to read.
“B.C. is a great place to homeschool because parents do have that ability to do what meets the child’s interests and needs and the family’s interests and needs,” Layne said. “I talk about different ways you can do things. It’s a challenge because you’re with children 24-7 but it was fun. And I got to read lots and lots of books.”
Lessons can be in the form of child-directed learning or a curriculum or anything in between.
“There are as many different ways to homeschool as there are people homeschooling,” said Layne, who in 1998 wrote the book Learning at Home – A Mother’s Guide to Homeschooling to answer some of those questions parents had.
“I just wanted to share and reassure people it would be OK. Every parent wants to do the best for their child. I don’t see it as something everyone should or shouldn’t do. It’s a decision every parent should make,” she said.
Layne hopes parents will come away from the Aug. 28 session in Oak Bay with a better understanding of what’s involved and learn ways to support their children’s learning.
“I want to make it seem less scary. Parents tend to be afraid because here you are responsible for this being. So you want to make the best decisions. The thing is you can always change,” Layne said.
The session starts at 7 p.m. on Aug. 28 at the GVPL Oak Bay branch, 1442 Monterey Ave.
“There are a lot more people choosing to be at home so it’s not as hard,” Layne said.
“Most people in school don’t have more that two or three friends. Really school isn’t about talking to people.”
Visit martylayne.com to learn more about her book. Register at gvpl.ca or call the library for more information.