Frequently Asked Questions
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Parents and Homeschoolers
How do I start homeschooling? What steps do I need to take in order to homeschool my child?
The very first thing you need is to decide the style of homeschooling you would like, and if you would like to outsource some, or all of your child’s instruction.
Although the process differs from Province to Province, in Alberta, if you decide to home educate the government will provide you with annual funding per child, if you declare your intention by a certain date. This funding is accessed through a home education board. You can also declare to home educate without a board, and this option is not fully funded.
In Alberta there are over 40 Homeschooling Boards to choose from depending on your beliefs, desires on how you’d like to educate for your children and their specific learning needs. Most boards have robust websites and very friendly staff that welcome calls from prospective parents to learn more about the services and programs that they offer.
www.albertahomeschooling.ca is a rich resource hub for any parent wanting to learn more about home education.
What if I don’t want to do all the homeschooling my child needs all myself?
Through this portal you can find qualified and experienced teachers and educators that may not have a teaching degree but have experience teaching in a subject area you would like your child to have instruction in. Just ‘search’ our database of posts or make a post stating what you are looking for.
Also, some homeschooling boards offer a shared responsibility between parents and educators, and a variety of online courses as well. See the post ‘How do I start homeschooling my child’ for more information about this.
How do I transition out of public school?
Once you have made the decision to home educate and apply to/been accepted by a home education board, they will provide a “declaration to home educate” notification to be given to your child’s public school. Home education boards will act as the intermediary for you in this situation which can take a lot of pressure off of parents who may not feel comfortable calling to “pull their kids out of school” and likely prevent any conversations from school administration wanting to keep your child, and their funding, in their school budget. What about if they are homeschooling right from kindergarten?
How do I find a Home Education Board? What do they do?
The best resource for finding a home education board is to do a search for ‘homeschooling board’ or ‘homeschooling program’ or ‘distance learning’ and your province or territory name.
The Alberta home schooling board website is www.albertahomeschooling.ca. The website has a list of the available home education boards in Alberta. Most boards will accept families from all over the province, so you are not restricted to selecting a board within your geographic area.
A home education board essentially acts as the intermediary between you and the government. They file the legal documents on your behalf, such as your declaration and learning plans, which are required to access your funding. They also have a dedicated finance team to support you with your expense reimbursement or to issue purchase orders, for example. Each board has their own unique service offerings, some may offer courses, discounted membership and even curriculum materials.
Your board will also assign a facilitator to each family if you do not declare shared responsibility.
What does a home school facilitator do?
A home school facilitator is your family’s information and experience resource. A facilitator will provide two home visits per year and assist with any questions or concerns that arise during your learning experiences. Many boards exclusively hire facilitators who are home educating or who have home educated their own children so they offer a wide range of knowledge and support.
How can I find grade based curriculum?
Many first time home schoolers are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of options available to choose from!
However, it can be difficult to discern what is ‘essential’ to teach your child in each grade level.
The Alberta government website lists all K-12 curriculum topics which is an excellent starting point to decide if your family will follow it, depart from it, or use it as an a la carte menu!
Search our portal for courses and classes categorized by grade level. The posts by teachers will reflect the grade level materials they have taught in public or private schools, so you can use that as a yardstick.
Or check our ‘links’ for links to resources that other homeschoolers, parents and educators recommend, many of which include grade level specific materials.
What type of funding is available, and how much is available for educating my child?
Again, every Province is different so it is best to do your own research. For instance, in Ontario there is no funding nor tax credits available if you choose to homeschool.
However, in BC, parents have the option to either register as homeschoolers or enroll as distributed learners (DL). Registering as a homeschooler gives you little to no financial governmental support but does allow you complete freedom. You may choose to teach whatever curriculum you like. If you register through to Grade 12, your child will not receive a BC dogwood (or high school diploma). See the link below to see the possible ramifications with that. You can enroll as a DL through numerous online and distributed learning schools throughout the province, both public and independent (see below). You then have a DL teacher who oversees your child’s education, providing advice and support (if needed) and making sure your child is meeting BC educational standards. You will also receive some funding per student per year from the government, to use for curriculum, school supplies, and extracurricular activities. You can do this through numerous online and distributed learning schools throughout the province, both public and independent (see below). You then have a DL teacher who oversees your child’s education, providing advice and support (if needed) and making sure your child is meeting BC educational standards. You will also receive some funding per student per year from the government, to use for curriculum, school supplies, and extracurricular activities.
The process is similar in Alberta, with the province allocating $850 per child for enrolled home education. This money is available ONLY IF home education is declared and you are accepted by a home education board PRIOT TO SEPTEMBER 30th of that scholastic year. Any family declaring home education after this point will not have access to this funding, but the materials their school has already purchased on their behalf, pro-rated for the remainder of the school year. Additionally, if you choose to declare home education mid-year and depart from public education, you will be entitled to a pro-rated portion of the materials purchased by the school for your child.
How do I connect with other homeschooling families
We intend that this portal will act as a hub for parents looking for ways to find and learn from other homeschooling families and organizations that support learning outside the public school system. Check out our ‘links’ page for recommended websites, Facebook pages, social media channels, video and You Tube channels related to homeschooling your child and helping meet their body, mind, spiritual and emotional needs.
If you would like to find other families to team up with to co-create your own educational pod, or an online learning cohort of like minded families and kids at the same level or with the same interests as your child, simply search our database for posts made by other families seeking the same, or make your own post to advertise what you are looking for. Then you can work together to make a post for a teacher or group of teachers who will be willing to meet your collective needs.
Some home education boards offer social gatherings to bring their community together as well.
If I decide to homeschool can I ever send my kids back to public school?
When you decide to home educate, know that you have a massive safety net. The public school system is required to accept you back at any time. However, always call your local school FIRST to ensure there are no capacity issues.
Some home schooling families choose to enrol their kids back into the public school system for high school, however, there are some boards in Alberta that have the capacity to administer high school credits. If you have a child in the upper grades, and would like to continue home schooling them during this time, this is an important area of inquiry when seeking a home education board.
Alternately, check the university you wish your child to enrol in for their entrance requirements and ways to challenge or complete tests and assessments to meet the application requirements.
What do I say to others (friends/family/school personnel) who don’t agree with my decision to homeschool?
Many first-time home schoolers are met with resistance from family, friends or members of their public school community.
First and foremost, no one knows your child better than you do so you will always make the right decision for your child. Trust yourself!
Secondly, resistance often comes from fearing the unknown.
The proof that homeschooling works is evident in your child. Children are ALWAYS learning, and learning looks different for each child. Home schooling allows you, as the parent, to curate the experiences that they need to be happy, curious, confident and engaged. This flexibility can not be found in a traditional education model. Sometimes, those who don’t agree with your decision to homeschool have been so entrenched in traditional learning systems that they can’t imagine an alternative path for school.
If your family is not supported by your immediate community, we encourage you to reach out to others using this portal and seek support through your local homeschooling community.
We fully support parents’ decisions to homeschool and seek alternative educational paths for their children. We believe that the current education system is in dire need of re-vamping and re-creating.
Sign up for our ‘news and announcements’ newsletter for news of opportunities to join our symposiums, discussion forums, and round table meetings that the Life Force Education Committee plans to host in the near future, to help us all re-imagine and co-create the future society we want to see. Once we know where exactly we want our society to be, we can then backtrack to uncover the key learning competencies our youth- and all of us- will need to develop to bring this ideal into reality.
We have included ways to search our portal for posts relevant to a grade.
What do I do if my child excels past the grade level they ‘should’ be at?
We are very interested in supporting education that uses a ‘mastery’ model of learning (e.g. a levels based system where a certain percentage is necessary in order to advance) which has been proven to suit both gifted students who work quickly through course materials and grades and those who are struggling in certain subject areas.
What do I do if my child graduates at age 14 or 15?
We encourage parents to consider supplemental and ‘out of the box’ thinking in terms of what it means to ‘graduate’ and take a holistic approach that extends beyond basic academic accomplishments to include non-traditional learning opportunities to apply what has been learned within innovative learning settings to round out the skills development of youth.
While some parents may wish to take the fast track to getting their children into university, others may find the time after early graduation as an opportune time in a young person’s life to learn life skills that will help to round out their emotional and personal development, fully explore their career options with internships or community building project, or learn financial skills, start a business, design and/or participate in community building programs and restoration projects, travel, or engage in community support programs such as housebuilding, wilderness skills. We encourage youth and their parents to discuss the kinds of learning and living opportunities their teen children would enjoy and most benefit from, and use this portal create posts for these kinds of opportunities to become reality.
What are the benefits and advantages of homeschooling over standard schools?
There are many YouTube videos where you will find parents who have engaged in both standard schooling and homeschooling and their experiences and opinions. In addition, you are welcome to try to connect with people using this portal who have experience with both, to help you make an informed decision and prepare for what lies ahead, regardless of which decision you make.
Will my child learn more than the typical school system or a comparable amount?
Many parents worry that their child will ‘fall behind’ if they homeschool, while others relish the opportunity to homeschool to provide a richer, more advanced and deeper learning experience for their children through homeschooling. Parents have many choices in terms of the educational paths they wish their children to take.
If you are concerned, you could make a post or search our database to find an experienced teacher to coach you, or review your homeschooling plan, or otherwise advise you about the amount of content and level of content, or even to co-create tests or assessment with you, and / or mark them. Or you could also contact a homeschooling board for professional guidance (see posts on this topic).
You can also look for advice from homeschoolers who have years of experience homeschooling and have taught your child’s grade level.
Each province sets out its own educational materials and levels, which are available to you through provincial websites.
How do I look after the social and emotional aspects of education for my child if they are not in a classroom setting?
One of the most common concerns voiced by parents who are considering homeschooling – or voiced by the family of those who choose to homeschool- is that the children will not be adequately socialized if schooled at home.
There are a variety of extracurricular activities available to homeschoolers and in fact, some families choose homeschooling because it allows them more time to pursue their extracurricular interests, including sports and music. Many homeschool programs offer classes during school hours which many people prefer as it keeps evenings free for family time. There are many homeschool support groups available to you. Search our posts to find groups that organize local activities and field trips.
Is there funding available from the government to pay for home schooling?
Of course, this varies across the nation. In Alberta, if you choose to work within the school system, you can apply for $860 per child per year. If you exit the system completely, you cannot apply for any funding. Please check our Resource page to find the government education websites for province and territory
Teachers and Educators
Are there any medical requirements for teaching classes through this portal?
There are no requirements by the portal administrators to post personal medical status, age or marital status in order to access and use and post to this portal. We respect everyone’s basic privacy and our basic human and universal rights.
Many people using this portal are leaving the public school system due to restrictions and health mandates, and we offer this portal as a free and open alternative for those who do not agree with the public school mandates and restrictions, as well as others all seeking alternative education routes for any reason.
It is up to the parents and educators to have discussions independently from this portal and to discuss any health concerns that may impact teaching a class or course in-person or online.
How much should I charge?
The price for classes or courses is a private matter to be negotiated and mutually agreed upon by the teacher or educator providing the class or course and parents and homeschoolers who wish to enrol.
We suggest that the price of the course reflects the years of experience instructing and depth of knowledge in a subject area, as well as any special training taken in order to teach the course, in conjunction with market realities.
Most parents are in a difficult position, not having expected to be seeking alternative education options for their children, and may not have much money available.
Some economies of scale can be realized if teachers and educators are open to teaching small groups of students (either organized by the parents or gathered by the teacher privately, or in response to their post in our portal).
How do I collect payment?
All payment arrangements are made directly between the teacher/educator/ specialist and the parents. A wide range of payment platforms exist outside of this portal to facilitate payments.
We strongly encourage all teachers to prepare a teaching agreement that includes payment arrangements, cancellation and refund policies in advance of accepting any form of payment. It must be mutually agreed to. Digital signature services exist for online agreements.
If a parent doesn’t pay as promised will you help me get the money?
No, this portal is not in any way responsible for the financial arrangements between the teacher and the parents.
We strongly encourage a solid teaching agreement that includes payment (either in part or in full) ahead of time to avoid misunderstandings and missed payment situations.
What if I want to cancel my course offering half way through the originally scheduled course for some reason?
Your teaching services agreement should cover this possibility, and have a clear path of action, to either refund the remaining portion of the classes or a prorated refund.
What if I don’t get enough students signed up to make it worthwhile to run the course?
the situation and see if they are willing to pay a higher course fee to cover the low enrollment. There are many ways to arrange for a class to continue or for the teacher to offer more value and extra perks in return for a higher fee (e.g. field trip or special event at the end).
Other instructors may simply choose to wait until enough students are interested and have paid a deposit to start running the course, and not stick to standard ‘semesters’.
What legal things do I need to know?
We strongly urge all teachers and educators to explore personal insurance and consult with a lawyer if they are concerned about personal liability or risk.
Those offering educational pods need to consult their provincial governing bodies to find out the legal definitions of what constitutes a school, how many students are allowed to be taught in a classroom or one physical location, and explore if they want to open a learning centre or offer ‘camps’ as an alternative to the red tape of starting up a brick and mortar, typical school.
Where do I find a good example of a service agreement for offering my teaching services?
We will be posting service agreements used by teachers already offering their teaching services privately, or as tutors in the near future.
Tutoring agreements can form the basis for a teaching agreement for small class instruction.
A typical teaching agreement includes a description of the course, the full names of the teacher, the date of the agreement (signed by both parties, either in person or by digital signature), the start and end date of the course, payment requirements and dates for payments and what happens if payment is not received, cancellation policy, refund conditions and dates, what happens if a student does not attend a pre-agreed number of classes (e.g. will there be a refund if a student drops out? How many sick days are allowed?). It should include a brief outline of the classes, deliverables, and assessments to be used. The agreement should also include class materials and whether the parent or teacher is purchasing them and by what date, any textbooks or printing required for workbooks, and any equipment and software programs required to complete the coursework and participate fully in class.
Below is a general guideline for typical teaching agreements posted on the megadox.com site (https://www.megadox.com/tutoring-contract-between-agency-and-client):
Tutoring agencies provide teachers to students who want extra help in their studies. This Tutoring Contract is between the agency and a student or the parent of a student.
- The tutoring agency will provide a tutor who knows the material to be covered.
- Fees are charged on a per-student basis. The contract contains alternate provisions for fees to be charged either by the hour or at a fixed rate.
- Study materials must be purchased by the client.
- Tutoring sessions will not be extended for students who arrive late. Rescheduling or cancellation of tutoring sessions must be arranged with the agency in advance.
- If the student misses a maximum number of consecutive tutoring sessions, the contract will be terminated.
- The agency makes no guarantees regarding the student’s scholastic performance or achievements. The client indemnifies and holds the agency harmless for any unsatisfactory academic results.
The Tutoring Contract Between Agency and Client template is a generic legal agreement which can be used anywhere.
What are some of the pitfalls and things to watch for in terms of terms of what??
Some common pitfalls are that students are not able to do the work assigned and may blame it on the teacher. This can be avoided by a conversation about the course, teaching methods to be used, examples of the types of assignments, and scheduled check-ins between the teacher and parents so that the student’s performance is well documented along the way.
How can I protect myself legally?
We strongly suggest that for online classes the teacher record every class and have it made available to parents by email or posted to a shared folder or private area of a website.
Insurance is a good idea for teachers teaching in person.
Some parents may request a police check.
Parents are required to take full responsibility and supervise their children during class, either in-person or online.
Do I need liability insurance?
This will depend on the type of course being offered, the degree of risk of an accident or mishap (e.g. in an in-person class about car mechanics).
Education Material Providers
How do I get paid?
This portal allows educational material creators to offer teaching materials and instruction support at rates of their own choosing. We do not process any financial transactions through this portal platform.
All financial arrangements must be made directly between the purchasers and the vendors, using the payment gateway on a website (e.g. paypal, stripe, square) or another method (e.g. interac payments) that is mutually agreeable, and clearly stated on the website or purchase agreement.
We want to support independent education material creators and publishers, and also to encourage a community of goodwill.
We invite people to be generous and offer some high quality content for free as well as for purchase.
How much does it cost to advertise on your site?
Making posts that describe an educational product and how to use it effectively are free. There are no paid ads allowed.
We allow post about educational materials that include an educational component to add value to our portal. We do not allow traditional ads. Vendors are encouraged to include links to your own website or YouTube Channel or Facebook page or any site hosted outside this portal) to handle financial transactions and provide more information about the product, testimonials and other information that is not clearly educational.
While making posts for educational materials available for purchase is allowed (e.g. course packs, ppt lessons in a subject area, printable worksheets on a topic), we strongly encourage a generous spirit of goodwill, and the posting of free materials that do not have copyright restrictions, that exist in the public domain or creative commons.
Individuals and organizations that wish to support the operation of this portal are welcome to donate or sign up as a sponsor for our site. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details, or click the ‘donate’ button on the main page.