Inaugural Edition February 2007
 Promoting and Protecting the Freedoms of HomeschoolersGreetings!

Welcome to BCHLA's new look!  A new design!  A new e-newsletter!  We're excited about the changes and believe they will enable us to better meet the needs of home school families across our province.
Click on the article titles in the sidebar to jump quickly to each or scroll through at your leisure.  Some articles are longer than the space we have here, so we have included a "Read More" link which will open your browser and take you to the full version of the newsletter on the BCHLA website.
President's Pen President's Pen

BCHLA welcomed in the New Year with an unprecedented number of calls and emails from parents desiring to withdraw their teenage children from school. Questions such as: Is it legal? Do I have to let someone in the Ministry of Education know what I'm doing? Is there a particular curriculum I have to use? Can I do this on my own or does the school have to be involved. My child is 12 . . . My child is 14 . . . My child is 15 . . . and we want to pull him/her out of school this weekend . . . I was honoured to be able to take the time, on several occasions up to an hour or more, to answer their many questions over the phone. For some, the freedoms of home schooling were what they were searching for. Others wanted the accountability of a Distributed Learning program. In either case, our goal is to try to hear the 'heart' of the parent and direct them in a way that will best meet the needs of their children.

I was also able to direct parents to our website for answers to many of their questions. BCHLA is in the process of having our website redesigned to create a smoother interface to home school information by those who are unfamiliar with the concepts of home schooling. We also hope to offer more usable tools for those familiar with home schooling such as a more user-friendly Curriculum Swap. Look for our new website some time this spring!

You may have noticed that we have removed the password requirement to access our newsletters. BCHLA believes that home school information should be available to both members and non-members and all who are wanting information that will help them make an educated decision on home schooling. We decided that password protection did not help serve the home school community and therefore it was removed.

Grab a coffee or tea and sit back and enjoy this newsletter. We have tried to include information that will assist you both financially and educationally in your home school endeavours.

Sherri Piechnik

Click on the ads to visit the vendor's site

Click here to go to Joy Center's websiteClick the graphic to link to our website for all the great details!
Help Needed

British Columbia Home Learners' Association has always operated as a volunteer organization.  We have been standing for the freedoms of home schooling for many years.  Often, when our freedoms are not challenged and life moves along smoothly, we forget the needs of the organization that lobbies for the freedoms we enjoy.

BCHLA is currently in need of directors. With many hands the work is light. We are looking for home schooling couples to join the board of BCHLA and help carry on the important task of lobbying for and representing the families of our province who value the home school freedoms we now enjoy.

Qualification for board members are:

  • A member of BCHLA for a minimum of one year.
  • A commitment to home schooling your children in the "traditional" sense.  This means that all school-aged children are registered under Section 12 of The
    School Act with a school in BC.
  • A willingness to support all forms of home schooling: secular and faith-based, textbook and unschooling, Charlotte Mason and classical, etc.
  • A willingness to take on an area of responsibility with the board
  • Membership
  • Secretary
  • Newsletter
  • Website
  • Advertising
  • etc.
  • The ability to communicate via email.
If you have any questions regarding becoming a director or are interested in joining our team, please contact me at president@bchla.bc.ca

Sherri Piechnik - President BCHLA
Graduation Cap Image Grad and Post-Secondary Options
As traditional (meaning "registered") home school parents, we want to be pro-active in discovering creative ways of helping our children gain access to colleges and universities. Thankfully, there are those who have gone before us and the road to post- secondary education has gone from being a "bumpy logging road with pot-holes" to a "meandering country drive". There are still some hoops to jump but you definitely do not have to obtain your Dogwood to enter post-secondary education.

The Ontario Federation of Teaching Parents has done an incredible job of compiling information on post- secondary options. Their website, http://www.ontariohomeschool.org/universityC anada.shtml has lists of colleges and universities across the country and what they expect of home school students. If you are interested in helping with this project, check out http://groups.yahoo.com/group/oftpuniversity project/.

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Click here to visit our website for more details! 

Working hard pays off! Tax Credit for Children's Activities
As registered, independent home school families we have few opportunities for financial assistance to help with our children's education.  Here is your opportunity to have an impact on the upcoming changes.  Please take a moment to read this article and write your MP and the Minister of Finance to let them know what sports you would like to see listed as eligible for the $500 sports credit and why this change is a good idea.

Give tax credit for activities that 'make kids sweat': panel
Last Updated: Friday, October 27, 2006 | 10:59 AM ET
Reprinted with permission from:
CBC News

Activities that boost children's "cardio-respiratory fitness" should be the focus of a federal tax credit, an expert panel urged Thursday as it outlined the types of activities and costs that should qualify.
The panel was appointed to advise Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservatives on their proposed tax credit for parents with children in organized sports, proposed in May 2006 to fight obesity and encourage fitness among young Canadians.

National News: Negotiation Agitation in Quebec
Reprinted with permission from HSLDA's Court Report
By Carole Cardinal

In some areas of Québec, negotiating with school boards is not easy. This year, even where an acceptable agreement between parents and school officials has been reached previously, efforts are being made to bring home-educated children back under the direct supervision of school boards. The following story is typical of the homeschooling scene in Québec at the present time.

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Click through to Wondertee's Website 
Internet 101 can help Web-Proofing our Kids

Our children are spending more and more time surfing the internet unsupervised. Internet101 is a site that could help educate both you and your children in an effort to create a safe surfing environment. Here's a description:

Here at Internet 101, our motto is "police and partners . . . working together to web-proof our communities". Just as we teach our kids to safely navigate the streets of our cities, we need to do the same for the digital highway we call the Internet. A committee of police forces, led by the RCMP, created and maintains this website, a collection of safety tips, helpful presentations and links to further police- approved resources to help kids and parents surf safely (plus cool games!). Be sure to visit our website often as the content is updated and refreshed on a regular basis. Enjoy your visit!

Internet101 is conducting workshops across Canada. Although they do have free kits available to teachers, educators, etc. it was recommended that you simply use the website. It contains all the content that is in the kit, plus it will be updated from time to time and offers a few 'extras'. Go to www.internet101. ca or call 1-800-618-5732 to find out if this tool will be effective for your family.
In This Issue
President's Pen
Article Headline
Post-Secondary Options
Tax Credits
National News
Web-Proofing Kids
Upcoming Events
E-Mail Policy
Important Note on
E-mail News Format

Some e-mail software may interpret the newsletter links to online pages as suspect. This is because our newsletter program tracks usage stats so we can serve you better. BCHLA confirms each link before sending out a newsletter to ensure they are valid.

Quick Links
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Visit our Sponsors

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Upcoming Events
BCHLA Directors will be in attendance at the following conventions this year:

BC CHEC Convention, April 20-21, 2007, Kelowna, BC     Website

BC Homeschool Convention, June 1-2, 2007, Surrey, BC     Website

Please come by the booth and introduce yourself! We love meeting members and getting a chance to talk "face to face"!

E-Mail Policy
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Contact Information
c/o 6132 Killarney Drive, Surry, BC V3S 5W9
For regular inquiries, mail to: info@bchla.bc.ca
For questions regarding your e-newsletter, mail to: newsletter@bchla.bc.ca