Can't see the images? Click here for our online version.
Want to see the images?
Click here for instructions.

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.


E-News Issue #8 October 2008
 Promoting and Protecting the Freedoms of HomeschoolersGreetings!

I have a passion for homeschooling and, like many of you, enjoy talking about it whenever I'm asked.  I firmly believe there is no one better to teach our children than ourselves - because we know them best and love them the most. 
BCHLA has had a unique position for the past 20 years with the BC Ministry of Education.  With the hard work of many past boards, as well as the current one, BCHLA is the solely recognized organization in British Columbia to represent the Sec. 12/13 homeschooler's.  One of BCHLA's roles is to ensure the Ministry is aware of what homeschooler's in our province want and need.  With that said, BCHLA also has a responsibility to make certain that our members, as well as the home education community at large, understand the perspective the Ministry has with regards to those who educate their children at home.
Although some may see this as redundant, we feel it necessary to clarify the policies once again as we continue to receive phone calls and emails from parents who are unsure of the differences. BC Ministry of Education has stated that homeschooler's are those that have chosen to register their children under Sec 12/13 of the BC School Act with the parent as the teacher.  Home learner's are those that have enrolled with either a public or independent school within the province and fall under the BC School Act or BC Independent School Act  respectively. Home learner's are not, statistically acknowledged as homeschoolers in spite of the fact that you, the parent handle the majority of the teaching.  For some, these differences may not matter.  For others the differences are imperative in light of their educational and family philosphy.
Statistics over the past several years have shown a steady drop in the homeschooling arena.  Where we used to see annual increases of up to 9% in homeschooling, there has now been roughly a 43% decrease since the DL (Distributed Learning) programs were introduced in 1997.  Just in the last 5 years, since the DL programs caps were removed, there has been an approximate 15% decrease in homeschooling in BC due to the 15% increase in DL programs over the same time frame.  This means, in the eyes of the Ministry homeschooling is on the way out.  Will the Ministry see it as necessary over the next few years to include homeschooling in the School Act or will all students be required to enroll?  Will we continue to have the right to keep our children at home, educated them the way we choose?  That's exactly the questions BCHLA deals with and will continue to deal with on behalf of all homeschool families in BC.  
Although the Ministry of Education uses terminology and definitions that began to divide the homeschool community a few years ago, for the most part we have witnessed a new community of home educators, a community of unity with diversity.  Our desire is to see parents well informed, enabling them to make intelligent decisions regarding the education of their children.
What's important is that our children are at home being taught primarily by us, their parents, the ones that know them and love them the most!  Let's continue to work together to keep it that way.


President's PenPlanet Earth
British Columbia is still the best province to be home educating your children, although many parents still remain unsure of what the options are.  Please take the time to read our website to gain a fuller understanding of the difference between registration and enrolment to ensure you are making the best choice for your family.
The deadline for making your decision and finding a school to register with was September 30, 2008.  You might also want to forward the link to our website to any parents who are interested in homeschool to ensure they have accurate information as well.
Foundational Skills Assessment - We are continuing our work with the Ministry of Education with regards to making this document more "homeschool friendly". Our desire is to see the requirement for those participating in the FSA to be in line with the Ministry of Education's homeschool policies. Currently, the document reads that registered homeschool students "should" participate.  We have requested that it be edited to read, registered homeschool students "should be invited" to participate.  We hope to report the completion of these changes by November..
Constitution & Bylaws - After 20 years of no adjustments, we are pleased to announce that BC Home Learners' Association has made some significant changes to our Constitution & Bylaws.  These are posted on our website for your information.
These changes were brought about at our Annual General Meeting in July 2008 and reflect the amendments proposed and passed at that meeting.  The membership as well as the Board of Directors, believes these changes will allow us greater strength and purpose as an organization as well as clearer focus.
Board of Directors - As you read through the introductions of our board members, in this issue, please take the time to consider the part that you might play in the BC Home Learners' Association.
Are you willing to promote BCHLA in your local homeschool group?  Call us and we'll be happy to mail you brochures to hand out. 
Are you interested in serving on a committee?
Let us know and we'll contact you when the need arises. Committee work can mean either long or short term involvement.
Would you be willing to write an article for an upcoming newsletter?
We'd love to include articles on "The Day in the Life of - an unschooler, a homeschooler, a homeschool mom/dad" or let us know what topic you'd like to write about. We'll do what we can to include it in the newsletter.
Are you interested in helping with the Newsletter or Website?
We are currently in need of a Newsletter Editor/Webmaster. These are template based publications, so there is not a steep learning curve.
HomeSchool Legal Defence - HSLDA will be conducting a province-wide tour in BC sometime this fall.  We will post the dates and locations for this tour on our website.  If you would like HSLDA to conduct a workshop in your area, please contact them to set up a time and place.
Workshops & Seminars - BCHLA would like to include notices in our newsletter of workshops/seminars being held in British Columbia. There are so many informative workshops that are of benefit to many of the home educating families in our province, but sometimes it's difficult to find a way to pass the information on.  We would be happy to include the information in our newsletters.  Please contact us when you have one scheduled so we can include it in the next newsletter at

 (We will only include the info free of charge if it comes from a local support group, not from the presenters.  Presenters may contact us at or go to our website for advertising specifics  Click here for advertising specifics ).
Phone Calls & Emails - Our office continues to be busy with many calls and emails asking about home education options as well as recommendations for curriculum, support groups, etc. 
Samples from this month
        A mom wanting to home educate her grade 10 daughter due to bullying at school.
        A family wanting to homeschool but not fully understanding the options. 
        A mom wanting to know how she should approach her local school principal so she can register her child for homeschooling at his school. 
        A family moving to BC from another province wanting to understand the changes they may face.
        A mom wondering if there is a support group of a specific faith in her area.
In closing,  I received this email recently; 
"Thank you so much for your time and energy in replying, it is most appreciated!   I love what you are doing.  I wish more people were following their own hearts and instructing children independently."
I whole-heartedly agree with this writer.  That's why I'm serving with BCHLA. 
Have a wonderful home school year!
Sherri Piechnik

Vancouver Island LEGENDS is "making it reel" and possibly making symphonic history.  On November 3 the VI Symphony is presenting an original production that is sure to thrill audiences of all ages.  Although geared to grades 4-7 for the history lesson, this production will captivate everyone with the dynamics where actors, lighting and video technicians, the conductor and a live orchestra collaborate for a musical theatre production like no other.  The music is all original composition by Jason Nett the VIS composer in residence, so it is new to the musicians and never heard before by the public.  You can be a part of history while learning about the history of Central Vancouver Island through a unique and memorable experience at the Port Theatre in Nanaimo.
In February 2009 the VIS presents the second education concert Haydn's 200th Anniversary Surprise Party that will be performed in the Port Theatre in Nanaimo and the Tidemark Theatre in Campbell River.  Groups of 30 or more can apply to have a VIS musician come and visit them prior to attending the concert. Students will learn about the symphony, the music and what inspired the musician to become a member of the symphony.  For full details and to order tickets check out:

Vancouver Island Symphony


  Animal Science
Character cannot be developed in ease and
quiet. Only through experience of trial and
suffering can the soul be strengthened,
ambition inspired, and success achieved.

~ Helen Keller
Vintage PeopleMeet the BCHLA Board or Directors:
Sherri Piechnik - President/Secretary
Gayleen Davis - Vice President/Secretary
Sabrina Fast - Treasurer & Membership
Frank Piechnik - Marketing Liason
Shayne Davis - Community Liason
Homeschool magazine ad
Frank & SherriFrank & Sherri Piechnik
Frank & Sherri have been homeschooling their 5 children for over 23 years, using a combination of unschooling, Charlotte Mason and classical.   Active in the homeschool community for all those years, Sherri has also taught workshops at community colleges and she and Frank have taught a family seminar, Building Families of Character throughout BC.  Frank also works in medical sales for Alcon Canada, an ophthalmic company.  They have enjoyed the challenges of promoting the freedoms of homeschooling and look forward to continuing the work of speaking out on behalf of the registered homeschool families of BC.
Sabrina Fast
My name is Sabrina Fast.  I live in Ladner (Greater Vancouver) with my husband and our three children aged 10, 12 and 14.  We have been homeschooling from the beginning with the exception of our eldest attending grades 1 and 2 when we lived in Southern Germany.  We had always wanted to homeschool and were glad to have the freedom to do so when we moved back home to B.C. in 2002.

I am very grateful for those heroic pioneer homeschooling families a couple of generations ago (when it was considered illegal to homeschool in B.C.) who paved the way for the educational freedom we now enjoy.  I think it's important not to take this freedom for granted nor expect that we will always be as free as we are today.  With the increasing popularity of DL enrollment programs, I fear the Ministry of Education may forget that there are still many homeschoolers who cherish the right to educate their children their own way. 

To do my part to continue promoting and preserving traditional homeschooling for our generation and those to come, I am happy to accept this position on the Board of BCHLA.  I look forward to recognizing many of your names on the membership list!  
Shayne & Gayleen DavisShayne & Gayleen
We are Shayne and Gayleen Davis.  We currently reside in Prince George, BC with our son, Munro, age 11 and daughter, Elexa, almost 10.  We chose to homeschool our children from the very start using an eclectic homeschool style - mixing unschooling, textbooks, unit studies and of course those teachable moments.
Shayne's occupation is as a Forest Industry Advisor to Secondary Manufacturers all over the province of BC, which means he travels about 150 days out of each year.  Homeschooling has been a definite asset to our family in this regard because the kids and I are able to join Shayne for about 120 of those days.  We are thrilled to be able to be together as much as we are.  Shayne is also involved as the Head Coach for both Munro and Elexa's Hockey teams.
Gayleen, along with being the primary educator, is also my right arm as Team Manager for both kid's hockey teams and also as the PG Minor Hockey Associations Divisional Manager for Pee Wee House 1.  Gayleen is also actively involved in her local homeschool support group. 
We have come to the BCHLA Board to continue the fight to educate all our children at home.  We are happy to serve along side the other Board Members in this task and look forward to possibly meeting many of you, the members, along the way.
In This Issue
President's Pen
Meet the BCHLA Board of Directors
Frank & Sherri Piechnik
Sabrina Fast
Shayne & Gayleen Davis
Take out a Membership!
Contact Information
If you are a current member of BCHLA then the delivery of this newsletter will not change.  If you are NOT a member, please consider taking out a membership immediately.  This newsletter will become a Members Only newsletter after this distribution.  We will continue to inform you of homeschool happenings in BC, such as the status of the Foundational Skills Assessment and any other changes in the homeschool community.  If you would like to continue receiving this email, please take out a membership online or via snail mail.

Click here for Online Membership
Mail completed form along with $25 cheque to:
P. Box 88733 RPO Newton
Surrey, BC  V3W 0X1
*Please note PDF form is currently being updated - membership fee is $25. 
Quick Links

Newsletter Archive
Take out a Membership!

Click the button above to open or renew a membership with BCHLA right online using our PayPal option! Safe, secure, and convenient. Help us to continue the work of promoting and protecting the freedoms of home educators in BC.
 Membership Info

Membership runs from: 

June 1 to
May 31

Annual dues  $25

Make cheques payable to:

PO Box 88733 RPO Newton
Surrey, BC
V3W 0X1

Or renew your membership online using Paypal!

Follow the membership links on our website.

Board of Directors

The gift of praise is the best gift you can give a child, any time of the year.

Web Favourites
This Month:
Free Educational Games/Programs

Looking for more programs?  Google 'free educational programs'.

If you have favourite links please send them to us so we can share them with other homeschoolers.
Animal Science
What could be more important than helping to shape and mold others' lives?
Guy Rice Doud 
Used Books Forumming Events

Don't forget to check out to buy and sell your used curriculum!

E-Mail Policy
You are receiving this email from BC Home Learners' Association because you
     1. Paid for a BCHLA membership
     2. Subscribed to the newsletter through our website
     3. This newsletter was sent to you from a friend
To ensure these emails are not marked as spam, please add to your address book today. If you haven't done so already, click to
confirm your interest in receiving email campaigns from us. To no longer receive our emails, click to unsubscribe.

Contact Information
PO Box 88733 RPO Newton, Surrey, BC  V3W 0X1
Call Toll Free: 1-866-444-2299
or in Vancouver area 604-543-5025
For regular inquiries, mail to:
For questions regarding your e-newsletter, mail to: