‘Unschooling’ is in


More and more families are pulling their kids out of conventional schools — and it’s not necessarily because of Bill 18

Home-schooled students Daniel McIntyre-Ridd and Maggie Gehman rehearse for the production of Shakespeare’s Cymbeline. The cast includes 24 home-schooled students from 10 families

Dagen Perrott doesn’t care for science and sees no need for it in his future, so he doesn’t study science.

“It’s not something I’m built for,” said 17-year-old Perrott. “All my interests are very arts-based. I keep up with math that I think will be practical in my life; if I want to learn something, I’m capable of it.”

Perrott represents the “unschooling” faction of a movement sweeping the province. This year, 2,815 students are being home-schooled — a 17 per cent increase over last year. In all, almost 21/2 times as many registered children are being schooled by their parents compared with only five years ago.

Why the stampede to take kids out of conventional schooling?

Education Minister James Allum says it’s simply evidence the province is offering a wide choice of diverse forms of education.

He does, however, acknowledge parents might be pulling their kids out of schools because of their objections to anti-bullying Bill 18.

“The biggest bump (in home-schooling) is in the southern part of the province,” Allum said. “Parents are making their choices based on family values. If parents are making those decisions based on Bill 18, we respect their choice.”

Bill 18 contains a provision that if a student in any school receiving public funding asks to set up a gay-straight alliance in the school, the school must support that student.

Hanover School Division superintendent Randy Dueck said from Steinbach his division has seen its third straight year of significant losses to home-schooling, but that trend started before Bill 18.



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