Homeschooling is legal in Barbados according to Article 42 of the Education Act Cap. 41 (1997). If families wish to homeschool, all they have to do is apply for an exemption through the Ministry of Education.

But as one mother has discovered, applying for an exemption to homeschool and actually obtaining one are two very different things. Shendor Menvaryzz contacted Home School Legal Defense Association after her request to home educate her children had been denied multiple times.

She first applied in 2018. Each time, the island nation’s chief education officer either said her application failed to meet existing requirements (“inadequate documentation”) or invented some new hurdle, such as insisting the mother obtain a tutor for her children.

Nevertheless, Shendor has refused to enroll her children in school, as her own credentials make her more than qualified to teach her children. But her decision has resulted in confrontations with the authorities on multiple occasions.

They send the police to me and they send the Child Care Board to me,” Shendor told a local newspaper. “A lot of children are being homeschooled in Canada and America, and they are thriving, and they are ahead. I don’t know what it is with this government.”

You can read the full story on Barbados Today.

HSLDA sent a letter to the chief education officer of Barbados on behalf of Shendor.

Officials failed to respond to the letter, but did contact Shendor with a rather ominous message.

The letter from the Ministry of Education informed Shendor that because she was not “a recipient of a license to home school, you are in direct contravention to the laws of Barbados. . . . You are therefore required to ensure your children are registered and attending a public or private school. . . . Failing this you may be liable to prosecution under part IV Section 41 (a) of the Education Act CAP 41 for failing to ensure your children’s regular attendance of school. You are therefore warned.”

Shendor was not trying to practice an illegal activity; initially she was going about the process legally until they refused to accommodate her request. Unable to find a lawyer to represent her, Shendor has decided to leave Barbados with her children.