In our last post, we introduced how homeschooling in Alberta works, and how to get set up for teacher-directed homeschooling. In this post, we’ll talk about the process for parent-directed homeschooling.
Step 1: Understanding Funding Available to Support Home Education
The Home Education Regulation states that parents who Home Educate their children should have access to cost reimbursements up to an amount not less than half of the Home Education Program funding given by Alberta Education. To access this funding, parents need to provide receipts and demonstrate the funding was to support their child’s education plan. For more specific guidelines, it is important to research and discuss funding with your supervising school authority. (See below for more information about choosing a school authority)
Step 2: Determine your Styles and Goals
Every homeschool style is unique and often the goals for each student are unique as well. Early on in your homeschool planning, it is important to determine what your goals are for each student as well as the style of homeschooling you will develop to obtain those goals. In the modern homeschool movement, a few major styles have emerged and having an understanding of them will help you to develop your own. My blog’s page on Homeschooling Styles is a place to get started in understanding common styles.
Step 3: Select Resources
Building a plan means knowing your options and choosing the ones that will work best for you and your child(ren). Before building your plan, spend some time learning about the educational resources available to you.
Homeschool parents choosing parent-directed home education can select text resources, human resources, community resources, and digital resources to educate their child(ren). The list of possible resources is large so Homeschool in Alberta has assembled some tips and a list of recommended resources as a starting point.
Step 4: Select School Board or Private School
In Alberta, you must notify a school authority (school board or private school) of your intention to Home Educate your child. Each school authority handles homeschool students differently so it’s important to carefully assess your options. Here is a listing of some school authorities accepting Home Education Notifications in Alberta. Also consult with your local school board or private school for more information.
Once you have completed your Home Education Notification Form and an Education Plan, you’ll submit them to a willing school authority of your choosing. (Read below for more about the Notification Form and building your Education Plan.)
Step 5: Develop a Home Education Plan
Determine which goals to achieve on a course by course basis. The two options are:
- Achieve the learning outcomes prescribed by the Alberta Programs of Study: This is the curriculum taught in Alberta schools and is an extensive set of outcomes.
Note: teacher-directed education must follow these outcomes and parent-directed education may optionally follow these outcomes.
Tip: If you are choosing to follow the Alberta Programs of Study it is often easiest to do this using resources designed specifically to meet these outcomes. For Example, ADLC has courses and resources written to achieve these learning outcomes. Schools may not require a program plan when choosing ADLC courses.
- Achieve the learning outcomes listed in the Schedule of the Home Education Regulation. This is a more flexible route. Parents are required to create and submit a Home Education Plan that includes:
- A list of activities that will accomplish the learning outcomes listed in the Schedule along with an explanation of how they meet these outcomes
- The instructional methods and resources to be used
- The means of conducting evaluations of the student’s progress
Feel free to download this template to assist in developing a Home Education Plan. We recognize that there are many ways of creating a Home Education Plan and this is just one suggestion that may be revised, or an entirely different format may be chosen.
The Home Education Plan must be approved by the school authority you have chosen to notify.
Step 6: Fill in Your Notification of Home Education
You have done your research, found your school board, made a plan and now it’s time to let Alberta Education know what you are doing. There’s a form for that. It’s called the Home Education Notification Form. Note: if you choose to follow the Alberta Programs of Study for all courses, select the first option in part B of this form.
Step 7: Prepare for Facilitator Visitations
Your chosen school board will assign a Home Education Facilitator. The Facilitator will be responsible for ensuring your Notification Form and Education Plan are appropriate and being followed. Some school authorities may have specific requirements you need to meet. Make sure you understand what your school board is expecting and meet with your Facilitator as necessary to prepare and allow for evaluations.
In addition to reviewing the goals, resources, and evaluation procedures in your education plan, the Facilitator is required by regulation to provide two evaluations per school year. The evaluations are to ensure your child(ren) are progressing with their learning objectives. During these evaluations, you should expect to provide samples of student learning, as well as allowing access to your child(ren) for direct evaluation.