The Fraser Institute

The Fraser Institute

June 16, 2015 05:30 ET

Fraser Institute News Release: More Canadian Parents Opting for Home-Schooling Their Children; 29 Per Cent Increase Between 2007 and 2012

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - June 16, 2015) - An increasing number of Canadian families are choosing to home-school their children, according to a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

The study, Home Schooling in Canada: The Current Picture-2015, notes that 21,662 Canadian children were registered as 'home-school students' (with likely more not officially registered) in 2012, an increase of 29 per cent over a five-year period.

"These figures point to a growing number of Canadians who, for a variety of reasons, feel that their child's interests are best served by an education program that occurs largely outside of a traditional institutional setting," said Deani Van Pelt, study author and director of the Fraser Institute's Barbara Mitchell Centre for Improvement in Education.

The study references the mounting academic literature about home schooling across North America and builds upon earlier Fraser Institute research from 2001 and 2007. It finds that while decisions to home-school in the past were ideologically or religiously driven, families are now choosing the option for more pragmatic reasons.

For example, parents are choosing education-at-home because it corresponds with their personal circumstances such as having children involved in time-consuming extra-curricular activities; a child with a health or learning disability; or because the family lives in a remote location or travels extensively.

And it appears that policymakers are paying attention to the jump in numbers.

Since 2007, at least five provinces have updated or expanded regulations with regard to homeschooling.

All provinces require home school parents to register or notify the authorities of their home schooling, while three provinces - Alberta, Saskatchewan and Quebec - require submission of a formal educational plan and evidence of student progress. Moreover, the three most western provinces now provide funding towards home schooling.

What about student outcomes and achievement?

Research in both Canada and the United States has consistently found that students educated at home score in the higher percentiles - compared to students who attend public schools - on standardized tests in reading, writing and mathematics. This is especially true for students involved in structured home-based programs where parents set out clear educational goals for their children with purchased curricula or self-made lesson plans.

"Parents are increasingly looking for more choice in how their children are educated and home schooling is proving to be a viable choice," Van Pelt said.

"Provincial education ministries are beginning to recognize the appeal of home schooling among parents seeking alternatives to the public education system."

Follow the Fraser Institute on Twitter and Facebook

The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of think-tanks in 87 countries. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for Canadians, their families and future generations by studying, measuring and broadly communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship and choice on their well-being. To protect the Institute's independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit www.fraserinstitute.org.

Contact Information