It’s tempting to give the 1 minute answer: the Ontario homeschooling community needs a provincial organization to network families together, to build and strengthen one another, to provide a credible voice to speak into legislation and to connect you to resources. In particular, we are here to maintain a Christian environment for those seeking like-minded families.
So what is OCHEC? – OCHEC is a Christian ministry that comes alongside parents to aid them in the role of homeschooling and raising a Godly next generation.
And what does OCHEC do? – OCHEC has very visible operations such as the amazing annual convention, the newsletter, and daily taking calls. There are, however, many behind-the-scenes activities to prevent the loss/restriction of freedoms in Ontario to homeschool. Read on to get a taste of what we do.
Networking – for Members & potential members
Discuss home schooling issues in a God honouring environment
Encourage relationship in support groups to strengthen families and maintain homeschooling
Connect new homeschool families
Provide a letter confirming home school status
Conventions – for all
Vision captured and renewed to continue homeschooling
Meet like-minded people
Learn differing methodologies of homeschooling
Connect with vendors
Communication – with You and with the Public
Website – Q & A, articles, research + additional info for members and support leaders
Facebook – for leaders & for homeschoolers
Newsletter – bimonthly (currently as often as volunteers can issue!)
Published Material – starting/ high school / learning challenges / HS 101 / convention sessions
Provide speakers for your events
Behind the Scenes Actions:
Political – to prevent loss of freedoms for this and future generations
Our connection with you prepares a conduit for political action to speak with 1 voice for many
Liaison with various government officials – to inform & encourage home education as a positive alternative
Some past successes
PPM 131 – a policy affirming law rather than overstepping law
Driver’s license not tied to high school registration
Cancel effort to require training and certification of homeschool parents
Some current actions
directing attention to the misrepresentation of the Letter of intent in PPM 131 by various school boards and organization to homeschool parents
recommending limited use of the Letter of Intent form and only when appropriate
discussing with similar organizations the role of learning pods within the homeschool or within the private school framework, and how this could impact homeschool freedoms
participating in nation-wide discussions on homeschooling
attending various events across Ontario to advocate/inform on behalf of homeschooling
Ontario is blessed with a very good home school law. While we do not currently anticipate changes to this legislation in the short term, we are always alert to potential changes as these can come quickly and quietly.
Some areas we consider:
funding bringing coercion
intrusive collection of data by some school boards (well beyond PPM 131)
equating policy with law by suggesting filing of PPM 131 ‘letter of intent’ is mandatory
altering the perception of homeschooling to school-at-home by learning pods
oppressive regulations for homeschoolers (Quebec currently, Alberta previously).
application of public-school policies to private schools and homeschools
health curriculum potentially applied to all students
human rights rulings applied to all education
WOKE philosophy applied to all education
Other Actions –
Conflict Resolution -mediations
Family support ranging parenting, teaching, taxation, to family support in difficult situations
Respond to media queries regarding home education
Support other provinces and countries with our resources
Support research to promote home education
Encourage new provincial initiatives (OCC choir, Library, worldview camp, sports events, debate, Bible quizzing)
How do Ontario homeschool freedoms compare to other provinces?
ALBERTA attempted to introduce an intrusive human rights law into home education
QUEBEC – mandatory secular humanism course (masquerading as a religion course)
QUEBEC – mandatory documentation of home education courses/curriculum/hours
BC – (enrolled) – mandatory documentation & oversight by government
PEI, Nfld., NS, NB – All are struggling to be connected, struggle with continuity in leadership
BC, YUKON – High regulation provinces
SASK – government declared it would only work with the one group – hence secular and Christian groups amalgamated for this purpose
MAN – active provincial organization
USA – vaccination to participate in public events/sports, variety of reporting state to state, unsupported claims of abuse, some post-secondary leaders pushing for homeschool regulation and oversight
So how then can we state the value of OCHEC to you?
Membership costs just $50, less than a tank of fuel. You get office staff and a convention team. but most importantly, OCHEC endeavours, with the help of God, to maintain the freedom to homeschool in Ontario. And homeschooling brings with it benefits that last much longer than a tank of gas. Research clearly shows the vibrancy and effectiveness of home education, providing many articles to support your decision to homeschool. OCHEC membership includes access to resources, a community of support, and commitment to freedom.
So much of what OCHEC does is done by volunteers. Volunteers are in short supply. The work is increasing as more families consider home education and as the political scene brings about more challenges and potential for regulation. OCHEC simply needs more hands-on-deck!
OCHEC’s “fixed costs”:
Website and newsletter communications
Minimal office costs
Supporting research here and here
Anticipated salaries for staff
Reserve if convention unable to meet costs
In-the-hand benefits of $50 OCHEC membership:
50% convention discount
$35 HSLDA discount
RCTO computer access – save $100’s
Free consultation – you call – we answer
40+ Mentors to assist you
Daily keeping this community connected
Your support has been invaluable to keep this work going. Thank-you!