SHBE strives to maintain a good working relationship with Saskatchewan school divisions and the Ministry of Education. Occasionally, challenges arise due to miscommunication from the industry’s use of educational jargon. Such wording may seem authoritarian and on some occasions has been so. When that happens, SHBE will reach out to the liaison, inquire about the meaning behind the language in question, and share how it is being perceived by home educating families. This often results in a thoughtful rewording of the communication.

A recent letter prompted SHBE to contact a school division after we received numerous complaints about aggressive language.

The letter in question was drafted in January, and was not intended to imply that children need to be, or ought to be, in a brick-and-mortar school. With the rapid increase in home based educators, not all of whom are familiar with the policies, school divisions have been busy answering questions about what can be requested, what is required, what parents are responsible for, and how to comply with regulations. In this particular case, an attempt to proactively answer parents’ questions, using educational jargon, unfortunately resulted in the information getting lost in the delivery of the message.

SHBE encourages all educators (parents, teachers, liaisons, superintendents, and other officials) to act with charity for each other – to understand that we come from different environments with different vocabularies. School divisions have the government-appointed responsibility of being a registering authority. The home based educator however, retains authority over the content, methods, assessment, and particulars of the home based education program.

Ultimately, every child has a right to an education, determined by the people who love them the most and have their best interest at heart - SHBE stands firm that that is the child’s parents. “Parents [also] have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.” (Article 26, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948). Therefore, children’s rights and parental rights are consistent with each other; with the ultimate goal of parents educating their children in a way that fosters positive growth and development.