The Glengarry News
Home and school
Bright-eyed and brimming with energy, Rachel Campbell starts her day like many children her age.
After waking at 7 a.m., she gets dressed and has a healthy breakfast of oatmeal and fruit. But while others grab their backpacks and leave for school, Rachel heads to the kitchen with her books, boots up her laptop and gets to work during another day of homeschooling.
“I like it a lot; I have more time to do the things that I like to do,” said the 14-year-old Alexandria resident, one of several Glengarry students who learns at home.
She favours math, social studies and English. She finishes her school day at about 2:30 p.m. and has time for voice, violin and
piano practice later.
When pressed, she said the only thing she possibly doesn’t enjoy about homeschooling is not being able to have the same experiences as others who attend a conventional regular school.
So she will be taking some classes at Glengarry District High School in the Fall to feed her “curiosity.”
The Fraser Institute has reported that homeschooling in Canada experienced a 29 per cent increase in enrolment between 2006 and 2012, while enrolment in public schools decreased by 2.5 per cent. In Ontario and Québec, the number of homeschoolers has increased by 7.4 per cent.
Since Gabrielle Campbell and her husband, Scott, work from home they are able to monitor Rachel’s work and offer assistance during the day. They spend about $300 a year on textbooks and try to use a barter method for tutoring when needed.
“We are able to do it fairly easily in our circumstances,” Mrs. Campbell said. “We are blessed we are able to be in the environment where we can actually be involved in that way.”
Their son, Noël, who was also partly homeschooled, graduates from Glengarry District High School and will attend McGill University in the Fall. Mary Cumming, who lives near Williamstown, partly homeschooled her children, Bryce, Lynn and Pamela, while Evelyn, who is just finishing Grade 5, is also being taught at home.
Mrs. Cumming believes the method allows children to “learn to think on their own”and not be the product of a “cookie cutter” type of education system. She appreciates how it can protect a child from “bad societal influences,” while nurturing a child’s individual talents.
Mrs. Cumming added there is a strong homeschooling community in the area where children can also take part in activities such as swimming with other homeschoolers.
Bainsville resident Leah Lindeman was homeschooled from grades 7 to 12 when she was growing up in St-Lazare. Her two brothers followed the same approach. One had been the victim of bullying while her other brother wasn’t reaching his potential, so their mother decided to homeschool them instead.
“I would definitely recommend it,” said Mrs. Lindeman, a published author, adding there are many different options available to parents, who can “be there” for their children.
“It really enhances family life; it makes it stronger,” said Mrs. Lindeman. “I would say it’s a very good reason to do homeschooling. A lot of the times in school there is negative peer pressure and that is not there at home. I believe it’s a very safe environment for a child.”