10 Simple Steps to Begin Homeschooling
Attend a "Homeschooling 101" 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. You have your child's best interests in mind and deserve information that outlines all your options.
Alternatively, order The Happy Homeschooling Handbook
The Happy Homeschooling Handbook - Alberta Homeschooling Edition
Considering homeschooling your child? Yes, you can! This 120 page book contains everything you need to homeschool in Alberta.
Updated every couple months, it includes a package of either grade 1-9 sample home education plans and/or grade 10-12 course proposal/summary templates.
Credible information, regulations, responsibilities, how-to, tips and a whole lot of encouragement. You got this!
"An incredible, helpful resource! My husband loved it."- A Happy Reader
All net proceeds go to the Alberta Homeschooling Association to cover costs and keep our membership free!
"I would encourage it as "required reading" for all families new to homeschooling. It was so amazingly informative and answers 99% of the questions that pop up on this site. Very well written, the best money I've spent in a long time! Everyone even considering homeschooling should own a copy." - Homeschooling Parent
Print Book $23.95 plus $6.00 shipping
Homeschooling 101 Alberta August 2021
Basic Decisions in Education
Step 2 - Fall Entry Registration
Option #1 - Choose a Supervising Homeschooling Board for Support and Funding
You must notify with a school board by the last business day in September (usually Sept 29th now that Sept 30 is a national holiday), which is called Count day. The school/homeschool that has your children registered on this date is where the responsibility and funding is determined for the year.
Your children can stay with their current school board if they accept your Home Education Program. This would move your child from a school program (classroom or online) that the school provides, to a Home Education program which you provide. They likely have an office that can help you transition from school to Home Education.
Many school divisions/boards do not offer a Home Education Program. If your school does not supervise Home Education programs, (and they have 15 business days to let you know) you will need to choose a willing, non-resident school board from the list below to supervise your Home Education program.
The Homeschooling School Authority boards on this list all support Home Education and have been doing so for many years. They are encouraging, supportive and very helpful. Most have lots of space for Home Education as there are no seats to fill and they will hire more staff to accommodate additional families that wish to join. Don't worry! They accept 99.99999999% of all students who notify. 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 their regulations may not necessarily be Alberta Education regulations.
Your obligations on this option is to send in a 1-page Home Education Plan(See Step 5) and to undergo a 1-hour Fall visit and a 1-hour Spring visit from a teacher to evaluate if your child is "progressing." No need to worry - EVERY child progresses in their learning.
Yes, you can unschool and get support and funding from a homeschooling school board. All homeschool boards are supposed to be supportive no matter which methodology of home education you undertake, according to the Home Education Regulations, but in reality, many do not know what unschooling is.
In Alberta, the government provides the homeschooling boards with funding to provide each home educated child $850.00 per year in reimbursement-for-supplies-and-lessons funding to offset the cost of resources. A child needs to be signed up with a homeschooling board by Sept 29 to access the funding.
If you are switching from school to home education mid-year, please visit Step 2 Mid-year below.
"Schools of Choice" such as French Immersion, Traditional Learning Centre, Charter Schools, Sports Schools etc., which have limited seats do not have to accept your child back into the school, if you decide to pull your child out for one year. Check with your "School of Choice" to be sure, if you are planning to only home educate one year. Your child will however, be accepted the following year or even anytime this coming year, into your local resident public school.
Unlike public schools, every family who home educates must notify with a board every Fall. They can change homeschool boards or stay with the one they had the previous year, but they must notify again which conveys consent to accept responsibility for the child's education. As well, parents who choose the No-supervision Home Education route must notify with the government each year.
Watch the video on how to fill Out The Supervised Home Education Notification Form
List of homeschooling friendly boards willing to support and supervise home education programs.
Option #2 - Choose No-Supervision/No-Support/No-Funding Notification Only
As of September 1, 2020, parents have two choices in Home Education: Supervised/supported/funded by a school board, as described above, or non-supervised/non-supported/non-funded home education by notifying with the government.
Those who wish to notify that they are home educating and do not want a supervised/supported/funded program may simply fill out this notification form for each child, each year, and send it directly to the government:
Alberta Education, Field Services, 9th Floor, 44 Capital Boulevard 10044-108 Street NW Edmonton, Alberta, T5J 5E6 Telephone: 780-427-6272 (toll-free by first dialing 310-0000)
There is no contact with a school or board or division.
There is no requirement for submitting a Home Education Plan.
There is no funding.
There are no resources provided.
There is no support.
There is no opportunity to submit a portfolio for high school credit.
There is no opportunity to earn a Government diploma. However, since most Canadian Universities and Colleges do not require a diploma for acceptance, this is not a problem. Many children write the Grade 12 diploma exams and present those marks for course requirements. There is no need to take the pre-requisites when the child is age 19 and older.
There is no required certified teacher facilitator evaluation of the student's progress.
Those who miss the funding deadline of September 29th, can also choose this option instead of searching for a supervising school board that might have to charge fees to oversee the home education program after Sept 29th.
Step 2 - Mid-Year Entry into Home Education
Sometimes school is not working out and parents do not want to stick out the year. It's great that they have options! There are 3 options below to switch to Home Education mid-year.
Mid-Year Option #1 - Stay With Current School Division and Switch to Home Education
Your child can stay with your child's current school division, that technically owns your child's registration and funding until June 30th. You do NOT have to change school authorities unless you want to. You would simply change programs from a "teacher-taught school registration," to a "parent-led home education notification" that is "supervised" by the school authority. This includes moving from online, HUB learning, at-home learning, teacher-directed, print-based, Shared Responsibility, and classroom over to parent-led PASI code 600 Home Education.
It is your right to choose Home Education at any time of the year, but public school boards and independent schools do not have to provide a supervising Home Education program. The Alberta Government now expects parents who wish to home educate mid-year and whose school board will not supervise the program, to notify directly with the government for the remainder of the year. Then, the children may notify with a willing supervising homeschool board the following Fall.
The boards may refuse your home education plans and you will have to notify with the government, but they have your child's funding (about $7,000) because your child was registered with them on Sept 29, and must let you keep using any textbooks, and online/offline resources for the remainder of the school year.
However, the schools might refuse to keep loaning supplies. In that case, go here for free Alberta Education curriculum. (Scroll down)
If the school/board/division agrees to supervise the Home Education program, you may have to submit a one-page home education plan and will have a Spring facilitator visit. You do not have to show the school your lesson plans "for approval" or submit to "check-in" or any other requests not mandated by the regulations.
You can choose to teach your child or outsource the teaching by hiring tutors, childcare professionals, free-lance teachers, parent-procured non-government online courses or parent micro-schools, co-ops or learning pods. You can even unschool and follow a self-directed learning method of instruction.
Some school principals are unsure how home education regulations work in Alberta. They have never been contacted about home education and do not receive any instruction or professional development in how to access it. This is one of the areas of "Access to Choice in Education" that AHA is advocating for with the AB government. Feel free to refer them to us for help on getting your child switched from school to home education.
You also always have the option to go the No-Supervision/No-Support/No-Funding route with the Government at any time of the year. You don't have to wait for acceptance. Just send in the form and you are done and can do whatever you wish for the rest of the year - travel, unschool, or follow a more structured program. If you are new and want support, try accessing the supervised option first.
Some public school boards are openly hostile to parents requesting supervision of home education programs. Remind them of the Preamble in the Education Act that states "all parties must put children's best interests first", ahead of personal biases, education philosophies, funding considerations, and union jobs/beliefs.
You do not have to accept harrassment, threats, bullying, or cajoling to keep children registered in online, classroom or at-home school programs such as "teacher-directed." It is your right to choose home education and your right to have that decision respected by school staff and classroom professionals. If the school tells you that your child will not receive a diploma on home education, inform them that they are incorrect. If they threaten that your child will not be let back in next year, inform them that they are incorrect (unless they are a "School of Choice".) Please refer the school to us and we will strive to increase their home education regulation knowledge.
Mid-Year Option #2 - Notify with the Government for the No-Supervision/No-Support/No-Funding Home Education Program
This is a good option if you have resources from the school your child was in, and you want to be left alone for the rest of the year.
Just send in the No-Supervision/No-Support/No-Funding form into the government (address is on the form) and you are done!
It might help to let the school know that you have withdrawn your child, but you don't have to do it. Sending the form in changes the PASI code of registration and the school will be notified by the Government.
There is no fee to notify with the government. This notification form indicates that you are taking charge of your child's education for the rest of the school year and stops those pesky truancy phone calls and letters from the school.
You do not need to send in a Home Education plan, or have teacher visits, or keep any records of learning.
Mid-Year Option #3 - Notify with a Willing Non-Resident Supervising Homeschooling Board That Accepts "Rescue" Students
If the school division your child is register at, is snarky about you moving your child to Home Education, you also have the option to move to a Homeschooling Willing Non-resident School Authority that agrees to take on mid-year (rescue) unfunded students. Many of these homeschooling boards are not charging fees in the hopes that you will stay with them next year, although some will charge a fee to cover their administration work. There will not be funding for you as the funding already went to the previous school for them to teach your child.
Contact the homeschooling boards by phone or email. You can try any board anywhere in Alberta - it does not have to be where you live. If they accept your student, then send in the Supervised Notification Form to them. They will notify your child's school division that they are moving from, so you don't have to do it. They will also request your child's cumulative file, so you don't have to do that either. This is supervised and supported home education, so you will have to file a 1-page home education plan and undergo a 1 hour Zoom Spring visit, and will have to provide your own resources and teaching, since you are moving to a school division that didn't get your child's funding this year.
This is a good option for parents who are not confident of what they are doing and need encouragement and support.
Explore what is your teaching/learning educational 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, collaborative or more relaxed? Is your child a visual or hands-on learner? Is your child's temperament easy-going (and they will "listen" to your instructions, or are they more "spirited" and want to do things their way? How old is your child and how much attention span do they have? You know best what works for you and your family.
Alberta Education is "outcome" based. There is no real curriculum that you must follow. You can teach whatever you want. There are no attendance requirements. You have total freedom to choose outcomes, resources, delivery methods, assessment and time and place. You do not have to give marks.
You can even outsource the teaching. Your responsibility is to provide an education program and you can outsource to tutors, free-lance teachers, a-la-carte online courses, virtual schools in other countries, your child-care professional, parent co-ops and microschools and learning pods, and even outsource to your child in a self-directed learning program called Unschooling.
You can follow 1 of 2 targets:
1. Meet the 22 outcomes of the SOLO Home Education Schedule, by the time the child is age 20
2. Meet the 1400 outcomes of the grade by grade Alberta Programs of Study
You may even switch back and forth between them as you wish during the year.
We advise parents to choose the 22 outcomes for the most flexibility. You can still teach the 1400 APS outcomes per grade but are not accountable for them.
You do not have to follow the Alberta Program of Studies or use Alberta Education curriculum, but you can if you want to. Below are the 22 SOLO Home Education outcomes that you must cover by the time your child turns 20. If you change from the 22 SOLO to the 1400 APS mid-year, that is fine. If you change from the 1400 APS back to the 22 SOLO outcomes mid-year, that is okay too. It is your decision and no one will hold you to it!
If your child wants a diploma on a Home Education program, they will have to switch from the 22 SOLO outcomes in Grades 1-9 to the 1400 APS outcomes for Grade 10-12 courses for marks and credits. They do not have to do online courses. See the High School Tab on how to do courses that are self-designed and much more personal than standardized online courses.
Learn About the Rights, Responsibilities, and Differences Between School and Home Education
1. Home Education This is Parent-Directed (Parent-controlled) homeschooling and is also called "Traditional". This is coded 600 Home Education in PASI. This puts you as "General Contractor" of your child's education and you can outsource to tutors, childcare professionals, co-ops, other parents, free-lance teachers, online classes from other countries, or learner-directed education. You don't have to teach. Just procure.
2. Shared Responsibility This is a program that is divided into part Parent-controlled (PASI code 611) on some subjects and part School-controlled (PASI code 612) on other subjects. The percentage can be 20/80% with either the parent or the school teaching a minimum of 20 percent. On their part, the school has to directly teach the Alberta Programs of Study (APS) through online, paper-based or classroom instruction. It is illegal (against the Education Act) for the parent to teach a school program. Only certificated teachers hired by the school authority may teach. On the parent portion, the parent can choose what subjects they would like to control and which subjects they would like the school to teach.
3. Distance Education which is School-controlled. Online is coded 620 in PASI and Correspondance-Print/Teacher-Directed is coded 621, Distance education is not recommended for children under ages 10 by Alberta Education, and under ages 13 by child development experts. Children in grades 1-6 learn best by experiential learning activities and get tired and bored being tied to a screen all day. Many programs insist on studying 5 hours per day.
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. These programs tend to be heavy on the work and assignments because teachers only cue the child is learning is based on written output. It is like homework on steroids.
School-based-at-home is also called Virtual School, Teacher-directed, Paper-based, At-Home Learning, Distance Learning, BlendED, Distributed Learning, and Online Learning. There is no "aligned" program according to Alberta Education. 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 (asynchronous such as screen text, videos, textbook readings, or synchronous such as live collaborative video conferencing 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 1400 APS curriculum outcomes per grade or 100 outcomes per high school course. 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 instructional funding from Alberta Education to pay teachers to teach and mark your child's work.
This chart shows the differences between the 3 available programs
NEW! Online and distance education guidelines have been released as of January 2019.
*Traditional Home Education* *Shared Responsibility between Parent and School 20% and 80%* *Distance Education: (Online, Teacher-Directed, BlendED, Paper)*
Choose Your Program
If you have chosen the school's Distance Education program named "Teacher-directed", "online", "at-home" "aligned" or "paper-based resource", you would fill out a registration form for each child and possibly pay a fee or deposit for books and supplies. You would not choose curriculum or fill out an education plan, because the teacher will teach and the school will provide the education programming, delivery, marking and reporting.
If you have chosen to do a supervised Home Education program, you would fill out a Notification form (and possibly an additional registration form to imput the child into the SIS-Student Information System) for each child and send it to the supervising homeschooling board. There should be no fees. You will get reimbursement funding in the Fall and Spring.
If you have chosen the unsupervised Home Education program, just send in the notification form to Alberta Education and relax. You are done!
Fill out a 1-2 page Home Education Plan if you have chosen supervised Home Education with a school/board/division
Plan your goals for the next year. Your new school board will assign you a facilitator that is an Alberta certified teacher that will help you and support you for the entire year. You can phone her/him anytime with questions and ask for help and guidance if you need it. They will help you fill out the home education plan and also help you plan curriculum with your education philosophy in mind. Is there an area you wish to focus on? Be sure that anything you wish to buy with funding is mentioned in the plan under resources in the home education plan. Here is a sample below:
Purchase curriculum if you are going to use it.
Many home educators purchase those Costco Canadian Curriculum Grade 1-6 workbooks, and use them as the framework for concepts needed per grade and how to make the concepts more interesting for hands-on learning. Many unschoolers (children are self-directed learners) 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.
You will have $850.00 per child per year to spend on supplies, lessons, passes, tutoring, books, Lego, groceries (for food studies) gym equipment, swim and music lessons, etc.
After October 1st, you submit the receipts with a submission form to your school board and they will usually send out half the amount in the Fall and the other half in the Spring.
You do not have to purchase everything before Sept 30th! You can purchase holiday gifts and submit those if they are in your home education plan.
You can purchase toys, books, paper, markers, laminator, sports equipment, art supplies, computers, laptops, DVD players, printer ink, internet bills, lessons, tutors, physical education equipment, science equipment, microscope, sewing machine, board games, video games, curriculum, workbooks, class entry fees, Zoo passes, museum passes (including those from traveling), and much more.
You can submit any receipt that is dated for the current school year but check with your board. Many parents like to purchase at the Spring curriculum sales for the Fall plan so it is never to early to put a receipt in your "save" file. Here are the government rules on what can be claimed. Each school board has an additional list of their own rules which varies board to board. Some are more flexible than others.
Free Alberta Curriculum
Kindergarten is voluntary in Alberta and it is play-based in school with many play centres to explore. No worksheets are used. Here is a sample day of a Kindergarten curriculum in home education.
Sign up at the Calgary or Edmonton Public Library and get access to SOLARO - Online free Alberta Education courses for grades 3-12 through the Public Library System
There are no grades 1-3 in ADLC and Solaro resources because those grades are primarily focussed on children-learning-to-read, so that children can read-to-learn in grades 4 to 9. In the classroom, teachers have little choice but to teach kids through textbooks and workbooks because they have to deliver content to a large number of children. At home, you don't have to use workbooks and textbooks, because you are only teaching a small number of children. You can use hands-on activities, fun games and movies. If your child is in grades 1-3, you can spend the time at home cuddled up and reading with them. Let them learn through play activities. A variety of books is available at the local library. In addition to reading a varity of books, you can help your child with math concepts by baking, cooking, and discussing how counting works. Check out the "Curriculum Summaries" under the website tab of Resources to know what your child will cover in Math and English Language Arts in grades 1-3.
Here is Alberta Education's suggested reading list for grades 4 to 12. Many titles are available through Kindle, Kobo and other e-book distributors. In high schools, children read 1 novel a year. Homeschoolers read 10-50 novels a year because they have the time. Reading leads to enrichment of language skills and insight needed for English Language Arts and Social Studies.
The Key, and SNAP workbooks are excellent overviews of the concepts required in Alberta High School Courses.
For free math and science videos on every topic possible, visit Kahnacademy.org. Homeschoolers best-kept secret!
There are also many ways to learn math without a workbook through hands-on activities. Here are some suggestions
If you need more paper curriculum, there are several great workbooks available at Costco, Chapters and Scholars Choice.
Find your community support
Links are listed below. There are many facebook groups now. Just use the keywords "home schooling" and your "city or town" and you will find them.
Continue your homeschooling professional development!
Keep learning about this wonderful alternative to school.
At the very least, get to know your rights and responsibilities.
NEW! The Alberta Homeschooling/Unschooling Course
For parents and caregivers
Provided by Professional Parenting
4 Sessions Mondays, August 8, 15, 22, and 29th, 2022, 7 pm to 8:30 pm.
Instructor: Judy Arnall, BA, Certified Brain and Child Development Specialist, and Home Education Parent of 4 University graduates. Judy has worked in adult education for 25 years and has taught for Alberta Health Services and Continuing Education at The University of Calgary for 13 years each.
Location: Live Online Zoom. Class size limited to 10 participants to enable interaction and individual attention.
Target: New and experience homeschoolers and unschoolers of all ages and grades.
Investment is $265 per computer plus GST, which includes the 4 Week course and all materials. Course workbook and the following reference books; Parenting With Patience, The Happy Homeschooling Handbook Or Money Smart Mom (if outside Alberta), Unschooling to University, and Attachment Parenting Tips Raising Toddlers to Teens will be mailed out upon registration. Recordings of missed sessions will be provided.
All sessions are flexible to meet the customized needs of the class participants
Session One - How Home Education differs from School Education and how The Parent/Caregiver Role changes. Benefits of Home Education. Assessment, Red Flags in Choosing a School Board, High School.
Session Two - The Mechanics of Brain Development and How Children Learn at Different Ages and Stages.
Session Three - The Impact of Personality, Temperament, Learning Styles, Neurodiversity, and Multiple Intelligences on Learning. Direct Instruction or Self-Directed Learning.
Session Four - Setting Up for Success. The Learning Environment: curriculum or no-curriculum. Behaviour Guidance. Screen Time. Handling Multiple Grades. Home Education Plan and Assessment.
Come join our sessions and feel more confident and competent in educating your child. You got this!
Partner or family not completely on board? These articles are full of up-to-date research may convince them!
Lastly, enjoy the journey!
Just like having a new baby, the first year is always a learning year for both you and your children. Before you know it, you will be a pro at this! You will enjoy the many benefits to come: amazing learning, confidence, sibling closeness, relaxed family time and a lifelong love of learning.
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