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Home School Supports

Home School Supports

Published: 02/25/2015 by Alberta Distance Learning Centre

» Current Affairs

Jake Warkentin is not new to homeschooling. Not only is he the Special Programs Coordinator with Alberta Distance Learning Centre (ADLC), but Warkentin and his wife have educated their six children from home since 1996. 


This experience has taught him that while there is no perfect homeschooling method, there are many benefits to various approaches. 
Warkentin has also seen first-hand that some homeschooling families could get more out of their experience 
if only they had more information and support. 


“Throughout the year I get many questions from families and educators about how homeschooling works in Alberta, and it is great to be able to provide more complete information and assistance,” says Warkentin, who is responsible for getting this information out to parents. 


New Supports Program 
The goal of ADLC’s Home School Supports program is to help parents get started with homeschooling, and to work with them to find the best resources. What works well for one child and one family, may not work as well in another situation. 


In Alberta, the province funds homeschooling. Parents are required to notify a school board, or private school, of their intent to educate their children from home. 


While ADLC does not serve as a receiving school board for these notifications, it is able to provide assistance in finding one, and in setting up a homeschool program. 


To do this, ADLC provides online information to address common questions, including how to get started, methodologies, and where to find resources. Warkentin and his team also provide phone consultations to address family needs more directly. 


Ready-To-Go Resources 
The Home School Supports program is not restricted to those who plan on registering with ADLC (home schools do not even need to follow Alberta curriculum), but it is available to anyone considering homeschooling. 


Though ADLC does not pressure registrations, students are able to take one or more courses from ADLC, through many school boards or private schools. Parents are able to select from a variety of courses that offer teacher-support, while still being able to go at their own pace. 


ADLC has recently acquired a number of specialty Grade 1 – 9 science, social studies, and health courses. Originally developed for Hutterite schools, these resources are becoming increasingly popular with homeschool students. 


This is a natural fit. Homeschooling usually involves teaching more than one grade at a time, and may even involve managing very young children. 


Just as in a Colony School, parents are not able to devote full time to teaching any particular grade and may benefit from grouping the students and having lessons that are easily implemented. Homes also do not usually have extensive science labs or other common school resources and are more like a two room Colony School. 


Just as in a school, home schools are typically busy places. Different from a single-graded classroom, parents in a home environment need to deal with the many interruptions and needs of their family, from an appliance repair call to the needs of a grandparent. Life is happening, and there are no substitute teachers to call on, nor any aid to assist. 


The Colony resource courses are user-friendly, interesting, relevant, come with easy-to-follow lesson plans, and include activities, worksheets, and complete solutions. Addressing all outcomes from the Alberta 


Program of Studies, the ADLC lesson plans use diverse activities to keep learning interesting for students, while recognizing the limited resources available in these situations. The basic format is consistent throughout: a short, parent- or teacher-led introduction, followed by independent work for students. 


“One of the biggest advantages of these courses, is that they help keep parent planning and preparation time reasonable,” says Warkentin. With advances in technology and a global move toward a more student-centered educational experience, the future of homeschooling has never looked brighter. As more families choose this option, they will need information and support. 


“Homeschooling is rewarding for both students and parents,” says Warkentin. “Studies show that not only are more families’ homeschooling but, more importantly, it also gets good results. ADLC is here to help and I would like to talk to anyone who wants to know how to get the most out of their homeschooling experience.” 


For more information on ADLC’s Home School Supports program, please visit adlc.ca. 


RESOURCES 
Homeschooling Studies 
www.csse-scee.ca 
www.imfcanada.org 
www.hslda.ca 
www.fraserinstitute.org