As the COVID-19 cases continue to grow – the concern among many are that schools are not ready and they fear sending their children to school to be exposed to the virus. Well, if you are one of those parents who want to keep your child at home – you may be able to do so once you sign up for homeschooling and meet all the requirements. The Ministry of Education says that parents can apply to home-school their children but the parent or guardian applying must be a Belizean and must have the minimum of an Associate Degree. A key part of qualifying also includes an educational plan that parents must submit to show what kind of work the child will be doing. If the parent will not conduct the classes, they must find someone who meets the requirements but those lessons must be conducted from the child’s home and not at a tutoring group session. Here’s more from the Ministry of Education.
Cecilia Ramirez Smith, Deputy Chief Education Officer
“A parent or a legal guardian may apply, who is a Belizean who resides in Belize, may apply for homeschooling for his or her child or legal ward. We have had occasions where persons who have been trying to set up tutoring at their own place have expressed an interest in doing homeschooling for some children in their community but that is not homeschooling. That is not homeschooling. That is not their prerogative. The first thing to pay attention to is that it is the parent or the legal guardian is eligible to apply for homeschooling for his or her child.
For reason that homeschooling provides an alternative means of schooling – what will be a normal means of schooling, a structured academic environment where there are teachers who are certified and if not completely certified they have the guidance of a certified school leader who is able to provide the type of assistance that they need. So, the alternative to that is to have that type of competence that would be in charge of the instruction at home. By our current standard, that competence level is at an associate degree level. We feel, based on our own requirements for our teachers in our schools, those persons who would have completed academic instruction to the associate level would be able to present to students in a meaningful level, in way that they can understand instruction at home.”
Dr. Carol Babb, Chief Education Officer
“After I sign the contract can I take back my child to school after two or three weeks?”
Cecilia Ramirez Smith
“No. Not after two or three weeks. Actually, the homeschooling agreement would be for a minimum of one school term. At the primary level, a term is more or less the equivalent of twelve to thirteen weeks. So, it would have to be the minimum of a term or then we go to a maximum of one year. After one year, the parent can reapply for homeschooling for a subsequent year or can take back the child to the classroom, right.”
For those parents who want to apply for homeschooling, you are asked to call 615-7597 or 615-7402. The ministry says you can also find application forms on all its online sites. For all those who wish to apply, you will have to provide supporting documents with your application and once approved you will sign an agreement with the Ministry. Thereafter, the Ministry will monitor the child’s progress and will do an assessment at the end of the terms.