There are many ways for your child to learn at home. It’s important for parents to decide if their homeschooling style is a good fit with their parenting style as both have to align in philosophy, methods and goals.
Homeschooling is a popular alternative in education and is growing at a rate of 2.5 per cent every year. Many parents consider homeschooling their children, but the image of mom at the blackboard in the kitchen and the children not listening around the kitchen table fills them with dread. Rightly so! Homeschooling is not like that at all. In fact, even the word, homeschooling, is a bit of a misdemeanor – it’s not anything like school and it’s usually not at home either. Perhaps it should be called ‘community education’ because most homeschoolers are out in the community living, working, volunteering and learning every day, more so than being ‘stuck at home.’ Online education is not included here because it’s technically not homeschooling. Online education is governed under the School Act, not the Home Education Act.
Does your parenting style fit your homeschooling style?
Authoritarian parenting style – A blended or classical style of homeschooling would suit you best. You may wish to have workbooks, textbooks, a classroom, uniforms and a set schedule every day. Basically, you are doing ‘school-at-home.’ There are defined subjects, class times and assignments every day. Most of the core subjects: language arts, math, science and social studies, are taught using textbook and workbook curriculum. The parent is the teacher and the child is the student and the home environment is set up as a school. This homeschooling style would work best within a blended or aligned program which must follow the Alberta Program of Studies Outcomes under the School Act.
Authoritative parenting style – A homeschooling style using eclectic methods, or unit studies, of homeschooling might be more for you. This style has some structure but with a lot of give and flexibility, hence the eclectic term that describes the fact that not one way works all the time. One or more of the core subjects might be on paper-based curriculum (usually math and language arts) and the rest are learned through field trips, unit studies, experiments, travel, etc. The parent is the teacher but the child has a lot of input into what is taught and how it’s taught.
Democratic parenting style – An un-schooling, Waldorf, inquiry-based or Montessori approach might be better for you. These styles embrace that the child leads the way in how, when and what they learn. The parent’s job is to provide a rich, nurturing environment that stimulates all the child’s senses and leads to a love of learning and inquiry. Resources are infinite and usually not based on workbook or textbook curriculum, but rather a hands-on, experiential approach. These homeschooling styles would work best under a Traditional Home Education program where the outcomes do not have to follow the Alberta Program of Studies Outcomes.
The important thing to remember is always to change what isn’t working. You are homeschooling for the flexibility to accommodate your family and whatever your family needs, there is a school board, facilitator and program plan that will apply to you and your unique child.
There are two types of home education offered by Alberta Education: A Home education program or a Blended school/home education program.
1. Home education/traditional – Parents may choose to educate their children at home, entirely or in part, provided they meet the requirements of the School Act and the Home Education Regulation.
The provincial government gives boards and accredited private schools a per student grant for supervising home education students. Parents receive at least 50 per cent of this grant for the purchase of programs of study and instructional materials. Parents do not have to use the Alberta Programs of Study. A Home Education program will meet the Schedule of Learning Outcomes for Students Receiving Home Education Programs That Do Not Follow the Alberta Program of Study. They must ensure their children are receiving an education that meets provincial standards, but can choose curriculum, resources and teaching methods consistent with their beliefs.
Alberta Education Home Education Handbook:
2. Blended programs/aligned/part-time school – Parents may teach their children for part of their education program and have a school teach them for the rest of their instruction. With blended programs, parents may decide to teach the subjects they feel most capable of handling while school teaches the rest. The school must teach the student at least 50 per cent of the blended program in Grades 1 to 9.
The school portion must follow The Alberta Program of Studies and the Home Education portion will follow the Schedule of Learning Outcomes for Students Receiving Home Education Programs That Do Not Follow the Alberta Program of Study.
Reference: Alberta Education:
Helping Hands Home Education Support Group: Open to all parents and caregivers considering or home educating their children in the Calgary area. This is a monthly facilitated group that offers peer support and speaker topics for each session – attachmentparenting.ca/HomeEducation.html .
Calgary Home Schooling Resources: The Calgary Home Schooling Resources website lists homeschooling resources in the Alberta area including stores, home school groups, Internet groups, music lessons, websites and various other homeschooling activities and sources – calgaryhomeschool.com
Cochrane Home Educators Support Group: cochranehomeeducators.com
AHEA - Alberta Home Education Association: aheaonline.com
School Boards (in alphabetical order) that register Calgary and area home education students:
Argyll Centre: http://argyll.epsb.ca/
Centre for Learning at Home, Okotoks: centreforlearning.ca
Families Learning Together: familieslearningtogether.com
Phoenix Foundation: phoenixfoundation.ca
Rockyview/Airdrie Learning Connection: http://rvlc.rockyview.ab.ca/
School of Hope, Vermillion (East Central Alberta Catholic Separate Schools): schoolofhope.org
St. Anne Academic Centre – Calgary Catholic School Board: 403-262-2525
The Home Education Exchange: thee.ca
Wisdom Homeschooling: wisdomhomeschooling.com
Yahoo email groups:
For homeschooling high school:
General support group for all
homeschoolers in Alberta:
For buying used supplies:
For homeschooling preschoolers:
For homeschooling special needs children:
The general homeschooling group:
Alberta Distance Learning Centre: adlc.ca
St. Paul’s Academy – Summer School: http://stpaulsschool.cmiregistration.com/
The Homeschooler’s Guide:
Life Learning magazine:
Judy is a parenting speaker, home education coach, mom of five homeschoolers and author of the Canadian bestseller, Discipline Without Distress: 135 tools for raising caring, responsible children without time-out, spanking, punishment or bribery. For more information, visit www.professionalparenting.ca or www.attachmentparenting.ca.
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