Krista and her family live in Alberta, Canada. In their province, there are now two options for homeschooling in Alberta. If a child is six years old by September first, they must be registered and begin schooling.
The first option is to be supervised by a school authority where funding is provided up to $850 per year per child. With this option, a family would register under a homeschool board, provide a program plan for their child’s education, and participate in two evaluations with an assigned homeschool facilitator each year.
In the second option, parents notify the minister of education of their intent to homeschool. There are no further requirements to submit anything and it does not provide any funding.
Krista said, “When we had first started homeschooling, the first option was the only one available. So we started by choosing a Homeschool Board and going from there. The options for choosing a board are vast, and choices can reflect your needs, based on what type of homeschooling you will be doing: Aligned with public education, parent-led, or a blended model of parent and teacher-led. Along with that, there are secular and non-secular school boards.
We were blessed with a wonderful school board, and a phenomenal facilitator who has been so encouraging and helpful with any questions we have had along the way. We have chosen parent-led homeschooling.” This makes Krista and her husband responsible for planning their children’s education each year which includes picking the resources, what material they will be studying and learning, evaluating their children’s progress, and adjusting their plans as needed.
Find out more requirements for homeschooling in Alberta here: www.alberta.ca.
When asked why Krista decided to homeschool, she shared, “I remember, looking into the eyes of my newborn daughter 8 years ago, and thinking to myself, “How am I supposed to send off this precious child, in just 5 short years, to spend the majority of her childhood in a public school, away from her family, and being raised by complete strangers?”
Both Krista and her husband were educated in the public school system, however, when it came to their own child, nothing about the public school system seemed right. Krista said, “I knew I still had time before she was supposed to be sent off, but I worried about this decision day and night. I had never heard of homeschooling and public school was the only option I was familiar with.”
Continuing, Krista shared, “Little did I know that God was beginning a work in my life. My husband was a new born-again believer at this time of our lives, however, I was still blinded to God’s truth. Four short years later, I was saved by God’s grace and nothing of my own works. My eyes had been opened to His goodness and His truth! I had started reading my Bible, spent time in prayer, and when my daughter was four, I had begun researching different schooling methods. I stumbled upon homeschooling, and I knew instantly that God was calling me to this.
After trying to navigate working, raising children, and homeschooling, I decided to give up my nursing career to be a full-time stay-at-home Mom. I am now homeschooling my two daughters who are aged eight and six. My husband is a strong supporter, financial provider, and a great homeschooling Dad. We wouldn’t have it any other way! ”
Why do other families in Canada choose to homeschool? There are a variety of reasons that Krista shared included:
- Religious reasons
- Academic reasons for advanced children
- Parents who are unhappy with their current public school options.
- Children have struggled with bullying and peer pressure in schools.
- Parents of special needs children can provide better alternatives at home.
- Parents who feel it is their duty to raise their own children and not that of the government.
- For some families, it is a better fit for those who work shift work.
- Parents wish to spend their days together with their children.
- And most recently, to avoid current covid restrictions placed on children in schools.
What support networks are available?
In Krista’s small town, there is a very active and supportive homeschooling group, who meets and plans events regularly. The homeschooling group uses Facebook to assist and as it is a parent-led group, parents can bring forth ideas and plan it to become a group event. Krista said, “We have enjoyed many different functions with our local homeschooling community.”
They are also members of AHEA (Alberta Home Education Association). This is “a wonderful organization who has a focus on preserving the rights and freedoms of homeschooling parents in Alberta,” Krista shared. Find out more on the AHEA website: https://www.aheaonline.com.
A third organization that Krista recommends is HSLDA (Homeschool Legal Defence Association). “They passionately advocate for the freedom to homeschool and offer support for every stage of your homeschool journey. They are also a wonderful resource for Homeschoolers across Canada,” shared Krista. Their website can be found at https://hslda.ca
Homeschooling during the seasons in Alberta
Being in Alberta, Canada, Krista said they are privileged to have four beautiful seasons to explore. Each season comes with its own learning opportunities. During Spring and Summer, they spend most of their time outdoors in the warm weather, exploring the nature around them, playing at parks, having outdoor picnics, visiting different cities, museums, beaches, lakes, rivers, camping, and fishing, as well as doing nature studies of the different wildflowers, trees, and plants native to the area. During the Fall, Krista and her family enjoy the cooler weather, by watching the leaves change color, harvesting apples and gardens, taking nature walks, and jumping in piles of leaves that have fallen to the ground. She said, “Fall is a lovely time to meet up with homeschool groups, as the weather is still quite nice, yet cool enough to also spend indoors baking new recipes!” If your family enjoys winter, be prepared because “winter can be cold, however, everything is so beautiful and white!” They love tobogganing, skating outdoors, building snowmen, drinking Hot Cocoa, and on those extra cold days, they snuggle up indoors to read a book or play a board game.
“Homeschooling in Alberta is absolutely wonderful! It’s beautiful, scenic, and there is so much freedom for homeschooling families. How one family homeschools in Alberta, can look different from how another family may homeschool. Some families use a laid out curriculum, others use an assortment of resources, while others may unschool. The one thing we all have in common as homeschooling mommas, is that we love our children very much. It’s what connects us to a homeschooling community,” shared Krista.
In closing, Krista shared with us that, ”Homeschooling allows me to constantly point my kids to Jesus. It gives me the opportunity to disciple them on a daily basis, where they can also see my walk with Christ. We are blessed to be able to travel this road, where He is with us, and that is enough.”