First Steps

College Graduation

10 Simple Steps to Begin Homeschooling

Step 1 Attend a "Homeschooling 101" class or webinar. Be sure it is not sponsored by a school board, or school so that you will enjoy an unbiased overview of the Alberta education system and your rights and responsibilities.

Or, order The Happy Homeschooling Handbook

The Happy Homeschooling Handbook - Alberta Edition 2019-2020 Year

Alberta Happy Homeschooling Handbook

Considering homeschooling your child? Yes, you can! This 100+ page book contains everything you need to homeschool in Alberta.

NEW! Includes a package of either grade 1-9 sample learning plans or grade 10-12 course proposal/summary templates

Credible information, regulations, responsibilities, how-to, tips and a whole lot of encouragement. You got this!

All net proceeds go to the Alberta Homeschooling Association to cover costs and keep our membership free!

See the Table of Contents

Print Book $19.95 plus $6.00 shipping

AHA! Homeschooling 101

Step 2 (A) If you are considering home education for the Fall - Find a school or board to register with if you are beginning home education. A listing of possible boards/schools is below. Go to their open houses and information sessions held from March to June and see what are their unique rules, requirements and responsibilities are. They vary with each organization and may not necessarily be Alberta Education requirements.

Home Education Notification Form

School Board Contact List 2019-2020

General Guidelines in Choosing a School Authority

What questions should you ask a Supervising School Board?

Alberta Home School Board Features Comparison Chart 2019-2020

Step 2 (B) If Your Child is Already Registered in School - You may change school authorities if you wish, but you may also stay with your child's current school, that technically owns your child's registration and funding until June 30th. You would simply change programs from a school registration taught by a teacher, to a home education program taught by you, and "supervised" by the school authority. You do not require permission as the form to send in is a Notification Form and not an Application Form that requires permission. You will also need to send in a Home Education Learning Plan (See Step 5) and may request that you can continue to use your child's textbooks and resources from the school until the end of the year.

The school may request a Spring visit with you and your child according to the home education regulations, and they must be supportive of your program. You may change school authorities if you wish for the following Fall but be sure to change by September 30th to access funding.

Sample Letter to School for Change of Program from School to Home Education

Home Education Notification Form

Home Education Learning Plan Template

Sample Home Education Learning Plan Example for Grade 3

Step 3 Explore what is your teaching/learning philosophy. Do you believe in rote learning, discovery learning or experiential learning? Do you think children learn on their own, or need direct teaching? Do you embrace the Waldorf, Montessori, Classical, or Child-led philosophy of education? Is your parenting style authoritarian or more relaxed? Is your child a visual or hands-on learner? You know best what works for you and your family.

You do not have to follow the Alberta Program of Studies or use Alberta Education curriculum. Below are the outcomes that you must cover by the time your child turns 20:

Schedule of Learning Outcomes for Home Educators Not Following the Alberta Program of Studies

Step 4 Decide on the program you wish to register for. There are only 3 choices:

1. Home Education This is Parent-Directed (Parent-controlled)homeschooling and is also called "Traditional."

2. Shared Responsibility This is a program that is divided into 1/2 Parent-controlled on some subjects and 1/2 School-controlled on other subjects. The percentage can be 20/80 in high school with either the parent or the school teaching a minimum of 20 percent. In grades 1-9 the parent controls half the program with home education (teaching whatever they want) and delegates half the program to the school to directly teach the Alberta Programs of Study (APS) through online, paper-based or classroom instruction. The parent can choose what subjects they would like to teach and which subjects they would like the school to teach.

3. Distance Education which is School-controlled. There is no "aligned" program according to Alberta Education. When the school boards use the term "aligned" or "print-based" or "online" or "teacher-directed" or "BlendED" they mean it is school provided education based in the home but controlled, taught, supervised and delivered by certified teachers from the school. It is not home education.

School-based-at-home is also called Virtual School, Teacher-directed, Paper-based, Distance Learning, BlendED, Distributed Learning, and Online Learning. The Alberta Programs of Study encompasses approximately 1400 outcomes per grade over 7 subjects of English, Math, Science, Social Studies, Health, Art, and Physical Education. How the school teaches those outcomes depends on which methods (screen text, videos, textbook readings, live collaborative classes, phone instruction) and materials the schools choose. The parents have no input into choice of materials as they must be Alberta Education approved.

If you choose distance education, your child will have a teacher that marks their work, (not you) and they will have to follow the APS curriculum outcomes per course or grade. As a parent, you have the same rights and responsibilities as a parent of a child in a physical school. You do not control the classroom or resources-the teacher does!

You also do not get funding as you are not providing a home education program. If the school gives you a "Supplemental Resource allowance" they are mandated by Alberta Education to request and assist with returning those items back to the school at the end of the year. The school is getting per-pupil base instructional funding to hire teachers to teach and mark your child's work.

This chart shows the differences between the 3 available programs

Comparison of 3 Program Types

Comparison of 3 Program Types - Printer Friendly

NEW! Online and distance education guidelines have been released as of January 2019.

Online Guide for Families and School Authorities

Parent Controlled 1/2 Parent and 1/2 School Controlled School Controlled

*Traditional Home Education* *Shared Responsibility (Blended) 1/2 and 1/2* *Distance Education: (Online, Teacher-Directed, Paper)*

Step 5 Register with a School or Board and submit a Learning/Education Plan to your school or board. Plan your goals for the next year. Is there an area you wish to focus on? Be sure that anything you wish to buy with funding is mentioned in the plan. Here is a sample below:

Home Education Plan Template

Step 6 Purchase curriculum if you are going to use it. Many unschoolers do not use prescribed curriculum. A library card and internet access is all you really need to start the homeschooling year until you discover how your child learns best (through workbooks, or hands-on kits, videos, field trips, etc.) Many children, especially in the younger grades dislike workbooks and textbooks, but if you need to purchase them, be sure to check with your school board first because they can order them for you with a discount applied.

Scholars Choice

Kids Source


Step 7 Find your community support. Links are below. There are many facebook groups now. Just use the keywords "home schooling" and your "city" and you will find them.

List of Support Groups

Step 8 Continue your homeschooling professional development! Keep learning about this wonderful alternative to school.

At the very least, get to know your rights and responsibilities.

Suggestion and Ideas for Getting More Co-operation and Less Power Struggles in Child Resisting Homeschooling Work

Step 9 Educate others. Partner or family not completely on board? These articles are full of up-to-date research may convince them!

Fraser Institute Report Released on Canadian Homeschooling 2015

Fraser Institute Report Executive Summary 2015

Research - "The Fraser Institute Report on Homeschooling: From the Extreme to the Mainstream" 2007

Step 10 Lastly, enjoy the journey! The first year is always a learning year for both you and your children. You will enjoy the many benefits to come: amazing learning, confidence, sibling closeness, relaxed family time and a lifelong love of learning.

First Steps to Homeschooling

The Universal Declaration on Human Rights #3: Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children, Section 50 (2) Alberta Education, School Act