How To Homeschool
Global TV "How to Homeschool" 2015
Homeschooling 101 Alberta May 2020
Ages Birth to 5 Years
Children of the baby, toddler and preschool age love to play. Best practices dictate that learning comes through free-play-based activities that are child-led. Follow your child's lead and play with them! Read to them, talk to them and sing to them to develop their language skills. In order to enhance language development, screens should be limited to zero use under age 2, and 1 hour per day of mutual watching for ages 3-5 years. Toddlers and preschoolers need 3 hours of active play per day.
Grades 1-3 (Ages 6-8)
These are the grades that the main focus is learning-to-read. Cuddle up on the sofa and read to your children from an assortment of picture books, comics, graphic novels, and storybooks. If your child is reading, let them read to you. Ask them to write grocery lists, memos, letters to relatives and other informal items of writing.
Literacy and numeracy is most important in these grades. Science, history and social studies is nice to have, but not needs to have. In school children have to spend 6 hours a day for caregiver employment support, so their day is filled with science and social studies topics to fill their time with activity, but at home, children can learn through their interests. They are much more engaged in learning if they are interested in the topics.
Math at these levels is very elementary and most caregivers can teach addition, subtraction, and some multiplication. Children learn math best through experiential learning activities such as baking, board games, puzzles, and internet games.
Science is best learned through gardening, outdoor activities such as walks, and pet care. The Science Centre and Zoo are great places of immersion into science.
Social studies is best learned through field trips to museums, plays, travel, and through film watching and discussions.
If your grade 1 to grade 6 child is at home and spends most of the day playing, don't worry! They are still learning but with new resources. Most children under age 13 will not remember what they studied in their grades 1 to 6 years. The real learning that sticks begins in puberty. Young children who attend elementary school still have their neurons connect with each other (by sending neurotransmitters over the gap between them) when they learn about different topics. However, the same can be accomplished by playing video games too. Anything that stimulates a child’s interest is educational and promotes neuron connection. Anything. That is why there is no difference between "educational" resources and "entertainment" resources. Children learn about whatever they are interested in and one can’t stop a child from learning and one can’t force a child to learn. Learning is like breathing. We do it without even being aware of it. When teens study, chances are they will be using that information more in life and future studies and some of it will remain with them as adult. As well, when children study what they are interested in, they will retain the information because they are more likely to use it frequently.
Online Classes - Alberta Education does not recommend online learning for under grade 5. You can use many resources from home to teach your children during this time, without spending any money - picture books, comics, graphic novels, novels, board games, movies, puzzles, computer games, youtube, outdoor activities and good old-fashioned play!
Grades 4-6 (Ages 9-12) Young Children
These are the grades that focus on reading-to-learn, where the earlier grades were "learning-to-read". A teacher that must deliver content to 30 children in a classroom relys mainly on worksheets, textbooks and paper-based curriculum, but because you are in a flexible home environment, you can use more hands-on, experiential activities to teach about subject matter topics. For example, to learn about boats and boyency, you can fill the bathtub and have your child test what items are floaters and sinkers. Most of the grade 1-6 curriculum involved topics that most children love to explore without any adult prodding such as rocks and minerals, small crawling animals, color, our community, Peru, etc. Many kids learn most of science through watching The Magic School Bus videos!
Literacy and numeracy is still most important at this age, because most kids will forget content that they don't use on a daily basis by adolescence.
Continue to read to your child but build in space for family reading time during the day so children can enjoy reading on their own.
Continue to use all the activities (games, baking, etc) from the previous section.
Add more conversations at this age. Ask your children their opinions and really listen.
Encourage individual interests and help children look up the answers to their questions if they need your help.
Grades 7-9 (Ages 12-14) Tweens
Children are getting their abstract thinking skills and the curriculum involves more theories, critical thinking and topics that kids can't see and touch such as religion, algebra and what happens to bodies after death.
Use this time to focus on communication skills. Ask questions and debate topics with your children. Press them for evidence of the statements they make. It's a great time for discussions around the dinner table.
Have your children read novels and whatever else they like to read. Don't press writing if they resist. They still have the high school years to learn how to write the 5 paragraph essay.
If you wish to use Alberta Curriculum, you can download these handy core topics and grades modules from Alberta Distance Learning Centre.
Grades 10-11 (Ages 15-17) Teens
These are foundational grades and subject matter that will build good knowledge and skills for success in Grade 12 - the all-important year, and adult life.
Continue the conversations, debates and discussions with your children on current events.
To ensure they cover all their course material, download the SOLARO course material from the library so they don't miss any content.
You can access free course content through ADLC but must be registered through your homeschool board.
Homeschooling High School with a Self-Designed Program for a Diploma-April 2020
Grade 12 (Ages 17-20) Graduates
The grade 12 year is the most important year and will sort where your child will go for post-secondary school, work or entrepreneurialship.
Be sure your child knows all the concepts for the grade 12 core courses by accessing The Key from the libraries for each subject and grade, or the SOLARO courses which are The Key in digital form. These important resources cover everything they need to know for success on the diploma exams.