Home School Feature
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by Genessa Ardron
While Alberta has two main options one can choose for educating a child in the home, there are many potential approaches within these two options that parents can take, making Alberta a comparatively flexible province to home educate in.
The first choice Albertans have is to home educate according to the Home Education Regulation. This option is known by Alberta Education as a ‘parent-directed’ program. One might also occasionally hear it referred to by its lovingly dubbed misnomer, ‘traditional homeschooling’. A parent-directed program is one which, as the name implies, the parent designs and directs for the child.
Parents have the right to choose how to approach all aspects of their child’s education. What subjects/topics to focus on and to what depth; what materials to use; how to use them; and what the yearly, monthly, weekly and daily school schedule will look like, are just some of the details parents take charge of. There is no formula that one must be bound by, and parents who choose this route appreciate the freedom and independence a parent-directed program will afford them. As parents decide how to approach home educating, they will often do research beforehand, consulting home educating families they know, the home education experts at various boards, and other resources designed to help parents customize their home education around both the family’s lifestyle and the children’s needs.
When choosing a parent-directed route, parents will first fill out a proscribed form notifying the Alberta government of their intent to home educate their children. They will then submit it to an associate school board or associate private school that willingly serves home educators. Some veteran home educators choose a board/private school that has a home education division within it, while some would recommend a family look for a home education provider. Home education providers are organizations that are directly employed or contracted by schools. They specialize in and are dedicated to advocating specifically for home education.
A parent-directed program has the least legal requirements of the two. Parents are required to (a) submit a year’s program plan for each child, covering some of the outcomes in the Home Education Regulation, to their assigned home education facilitator by September 30 and to (b) participate in two yearly home education visits with the facilitator, at which the facilitator and parent will discuss each child’s progress and complete an evaluation. Home education facilitators are certified teachers which a board assigns to a family. A good facilitator should be committed to educational/parental choice, support the parent in the choices they make, and be a knowledgeable source of advice should a parent solicit it.
The second choice Albertan parents have is to educate their children via a school program under the Education Act. There is not much to explain in this case, because it looks exactly like a student in a school, with the exception that the program is completed at home. This option is called a ‘teacher responsibility’ or a ‘fully aligned’ program, because it completely aligns with the Alberta Education outcomes in the Alberta Program of Studies. Parents have little to no choice in how a fully aligned program is executed. The associate board, and consequently, a certified teacher is responsible for the carrying out and evaluation of the student program. A teacher usually chooses the curriculum and resources that a student will use and is also responsible for designing the program, assigning work, and evaluating assignments. In order to enroll in such a program, one would simply apply to a school that offers this kind of program as an option.
Shared responsibility – a hybrid
Interestingly, there is an option to choose a program that is a hybrid of these two choices. If one wishes, and if the associate board is willing, one can work with a teacher to blend some parent-directed courses with some teacher responsibility courses. This method is called ‘shared responsibility’. If one chooses this route, a student must align a minimum of 50 percent of the course load. A 50 percent course load is determined by using an Alberta Education chart which compares the student’s grade and the particular course weighting.
Finally, certain programs will receive a certain amount of funding. With a parent-directed program, each student can be reimbursed up to $850 per year for resources purchased for use within the program. Shared responsibility program funding will often vary from school to school. Students doing a fully aligned program do not receive any funding, since the teacher has charge of the resources used.
Although these two main choices for home education are currently the only ones, Albertan home educators continue to advocate for more freedoms, such as an unfunded, notification-only option similar to some of the Eastern provinces. Albertans appreciate and desire variety and options, and while they are thankful to be able to enjoy a surprising amount of room for customization within the available choices, many continue to hope that the Alberta government will continue to uphold and increase choice in education.
Genessa Ardon is the Principal at Large at Roots Homeschooling
Hope Christian School is a grade 1 through Grade 12 Christian school. The school is committed to meeting both the academic and spiritual needs of its students. Our school office is located in Champion, Alberta, and we offer a full Alberta Education Accredited, but Christian education online through our Hope Online, as well as a traditional home education program through Hope at Home. We charge no tuition for Alberta residents under the age of 20 but we do also welcome mature students.
Hope Christian School is an alternative program operated under Prairie Land School Division and it is nondenominational in operation. We believe that when the church, the school, and the family are teaching the same life principles, our children are secure and free to do their best academically. Please see our Mission, Vision and Beliefs Statements (available online) to get a more in depth understanding of what our educational philosophy is. While we welcome students with other belief systems, it must be understood that the Biblical perspective is followed in all of our materials and classes. Through these, students will be encouraged to establish a relationship with Jesus Christ, which to us, is the only hope of experiencing a life of peace in this world and the next. Our teachers all have an evangelical Christian background and this Biblical perspective will thus be reinforced through teaching of course materials and class discussions. In agreeing to register with us you understand, acknowledge and accept that your children or yourself will be taught from this perspective.
Roots – Supporting & Assisting Christian Home Educators for 25 years
Started in 1994 by Christian home educators for traditional Christian home educators, Roots strives to enable and support parents who have the responsibility of educating their children for God’s glory and according to their children’s unique strengths and needs. In a reassuring environment, children have the flexibility to pursue many opportunities while being equipped to be the leaders of tomorrow.
Home education incorporates character development , time management, skill development, relationships, and academics. Recognizing this broader scope liberates parents to set meaningful goals that meet their child’s specific needs. Education is important, but true education comes within a broader context.
All Roots facilitators have home educated their own children or were home educated themselves, giving them the ability to relate to everyday home education realities. Parents are in control of their child’s education and Roots staff will provide you support.
Within the Roots community you will also be surrounded by other Roots home education parents. Parental expertise is invaluable. Accepting Christian families from the Edmonton, Calgary and surrounding areas into the Roots society enables the Roots program to maintain its mandate to support and encourage Christian parents as they home educate their children “in the way [they] should go”. For more information contact us at 403-616-1381.
PO Box 68098, Calgary, AB T3G 0N8 Phone: 403-616-1381
|The Centre for Learning at Home/St. Paul’s Academy||(403) email@example.com|
|Bearspaw Christian School – BCS@Home||(403) firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Canadian Home Education Resourcesemail@example.com|
|Hope Christian Schoolfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Lighthouse Christian Academy||(403) 887-2166||www.lighthousechristianacademy.ca/index.php|
|Roots Homeschooling||(403) email@example.com|
|School of Hope||(780) 853-2188||www.schoolofhope.org|
|Alberta Homeschooling Associationfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Calgary – (403) 714-6766||http://albertahomeschooling.ca|
Central Alberta – Home School Activities
|Homeschoolers Cold Lake AB||https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/HomeschoolColdlake/info|
Canadian Home Based Learning – Alberta
Alberta Home Education Association (AHEA)
Calgary Homeschool Activities
Home School Christian Fellowship