Hello, and welcome to my first post, it’s going to be a long one! I am a work from home mom of 2 girls, Chloe 5 and Kaiana 2. I had Chloe enrolled in Public School for French Immersion Kindergarten last year, but after having her home over Christmas break and looking into the home shool options in our area, I decided this spring that I would try my hand at homeschooling her for Grade 1. It’s something that I had always considered but never thought I would have the opportunity to do. I began working from home while on maternity leave with Kai, and with that working out well and finding a great support group of home school parents in Edmonton, it started becoming a reality.
|Breakfast while camping at Wasa Lake BC
First off, I was amazed to find out how many home school families there actually were around me. Lots of local home school groups on social media for support and organizing activities and field trips. Then came the awesome moment when I discovered there was funding for it! What? I was going to get paid to teach my children? Well not paid really, but most expenses related to home schooling would be reimbursed. Funding ranges from $820-$1500 or so in Alberta, depending on which method you choose. This is the money the government designates per child if they were enrolled in a brick and mortar school. When you home school, the funding is delivered to your board and paid out after you submit your receipts. Some boards also do purchase orders with stores like Staples and home school curriculum stores. I chose traditional (leaning a bit into the unschooling category, but I’ll have another post about that in the future), with me being her teacher and choosing what she learns, so I’m on the lower end of the funding. But that’s ok! Still plenty of supplies and field trip admissions I can get with that! If you choose blended or teacher directed, you receive more funding (to cover the cost of textbooks, curriculum, online classes, etc.). We are very lucky in Alberta to have this funding and home school regulations vary from province to province and state to state, so if you are looking into it, make sure you check with your Provincial or State Board of Education to see what their regulations are.
|homemade bird feeders- paper towel roll, peanut butter and birdseed
There’s also plenty of choice when it comes to which home school board you register with. When many people hear the words home schooling, they think of Christian families that home school their children and teach the bible daily. Well, that is still a common occurrence, especially in Alberta and parts of the US, but it is more than that. Some choose to home school because their children are being bullied, or due to learning disabilities that require more one on one time. I chose to home school because I didn’t like the way the Alberta curriculum is going (don’t even get me started on “new” math”) as well as Chloe’s curiosity and love of learning. We are not a religious family but I chose to go with a faith based board due to the programs offered and their flexible nature. There are plenty of faith based home school boards that do not push their religion on you, they just want parents to have the freedom to teach their children how they see fit. There are also secular boards to choose from as well. Lots of options out there! Once you choose a board, you complete their registration process, submit a program plan and wait to hear back. It usually only takes a few weeks and then you’re approved and ready to go!
|Enjoying a snack when we visited Beaumaris Lake
I spent the summer making notes of things I wanted to teach and methods of doing so, field trips that we could take and crafts that we can make. Chloe seemed pretty excited from the start about staying home and learning lots. She wondered about friends, but I assured her there were lots of chances to meet up with other home school kids and take part in activities and park days. Also, since the spring she has a new found independence and has been playing daily with the neighborhood kids.
|First day of home schooling Grade 1!
The new school year started this week and with most moms getting their kids used to waking up early and packing lunches, our first day of home school began around 10:30am when Chloe woke up. She had the chance to sleep in after a busy long weekend of camping in the mountains. I won’t be stressed out this school year trying to sign forms on the way to the bus, I won’t be waiting for the bus in -20 C with a bundled up toddler, I won’t have to fund raise and bug my friends and family several times throughout the year. The school year will be at our pace, if we want to sleep in or take a day off, we can! We will meet twice with a facilitator from our board who will review samples of Chloe’s work, but over all it’s pretty laid back if you want it to be.
|Checking out a new playground
So thank you for taking the time to read about how I came to choose homeschooling! I think it will a fun year and a positive change for our family! Join me each week as I write about how we spent the week learning and living. I’ll try to post links to fun activities, crafts and recipes and share our field trip experiences.