Types of Homeschool Approaches in Alberta

mom homeschooling son

In Alberta, there are a few ways that families can homeschool. Understanding the basics of each approach will help you decide which one (if any) will be the best fit for you and your family.

Distance Learning

Distance Learning is also known as Online, Teacher-Directed, Aligned, Virtual, is essentially doing school at home. (Think back to the pandemic.) Students at home follow the same curriculum as students in school, they are directed by a teacher who gives tests, assignments, projects, etc. Students at home do the same work as the students in the classroom, except they do it all from home. Parents provide assistance with homework (if required), just as they would if their child was in a school classroom. 

This is a good option for families who:

  • want their child to follow the provincial curriculum
  • find the idea of creating and implementing an educational plan intimidating
  • want a certified teacher to be involved with their child’s learning
  • want their child to continue taking tests and being graded

It is important to note:

  • This option doesn’t allow families the freedom to customize their learning.
  • Students may feel the same academic pressures that their peers in the classroom can feel.

Home Education

Home Education is what many people think of when they hear the word ‘homeschooling’. It is sometimes referred to as Traditional Homeschooling. This is when the parent or caregiver plans and directs what their child learns, along with when and how they learn it. Parents have the freedom to choose their own curriculum and resources, make their own schedule, plan their own field trips, etc.

They may decide to use the provincial curriculum as a guideline, or for ideas on interesting topics, but they aren’t required to follow it.

This is a good option for families who:

  • value the freedom and flexibility that this approach offers
  • have a child or children with special needs or special considerations that make it difficult for them to be in a school setting
  • want to customize their program based on their child’s interests, abilities and learning styles
  • would like to incorporate travelling into their lives

It is important to note:

  • This approach can sometimes be very overwhelming. Especially in the beginning, parents often feel pressure to copy the school approach, feeling that they need to keep the same schedule and cover the same amount. It can take time to settle in, find their own rhythm and understand that quality is more important than quantity.

If parents decide to Home Educate, there are two approaches available to them:

  1. register with a homeschool board and receive supervision, support and funding
  2. notify the provincial government of the intent to home educate, but don’t receive any supervision, support or funding.

Click here to read more about each of the Home Educate options in this section.

Shared Responsibility

Shared Responsibility program (formerly referred to as a Blended Program) is a combination of teacher-directed school at home and parent-directed home education. The majority of this approach tends to be teacher-directed, with the remainder being parent-directed. The parent chooses which parts of the program will be assigned to each category. 

This is a good option for families who:

  • want to try their hand at a parent-directed approach without committing to it entirely

It is important to note:

  • It may be difficult to shift the balance of who does what in the middle of the year, so it’s best to discuss this possibility with any perspective homeschool boards
Reminder: The views and opinions expressed here are those of a veteran homeschool mom and are not to be considered expert advice. If what you read here resonates with you, great! We hope you can use it going forward. If you have different opinions, or you disagree with what is written here, we hope you can still use these words as a starting point, to help you establish your own perspectives.