My name is Nicole and I live in Calgary, Alberta and have homeschooled my two boys, ages 14 and 10, for 2 years now. Homeschooling was our oldest child’s idea due to bullying and other peer issues at his elementary school. They were in the public system before that and it was a huge nightmare for us. Homeschooling has been a huge blessing and stress relief for our entire family.
Why We Chose To Homeschool and the process
Our oldest was dealing with major bullying issues in elementary school and it actually landed him in hospital for a week. During this time he had talked about homeschooling but didn’t think we would be able to do it because my husband and I worked full-time We explained to him that if he thought it would help him and relieve some stresses, we would look into it. It must have been meant to be because of the way things lined up. He had mentioned this on a Thursday. The following Wednesday we went to an Open House for the Centre for learning at Home. The next day we went to an Open House at CHER where we can buy all of our supplies and extra curriculum. It was supposed to end at 9 pm but we got a tap on the shoulders at 10:30 pm saying we should let the ladies go home. That is how engrossed we were in this resource store. We actually had our now facilitator sitting with us on the floor going through everything. The next day we sent in our application and within a week we received a letter stating “See you next year!”
We then explained to both of our boys, who both have ADHD that we were going to start homeschooling the following year as this all happened with about a month left in their current year. My kids were very excited and the stress was gone off their shoulders right away. Our youngest wasn’t sure he liked the idea at the time, but since we started he enjoys it a lot. We just had to get them through the last month and we could then work on enjoying a fun summer together. Needless to say, I quit my fulltime job to do this and haven’t looked back.
I can say it hasn’t been all roses as there is some stresses being the one overlooking the work they do and keeping them on task. It has been all worth it to see them so relieved and happy that they have no distractions and get their work completed in a more efficient way than they did when they were in public school. Not only that, but their marks have jumped between 30 and 40% since we started homeschooling. Their marks were low before as they were constantly being picked on and the schools wouldn’t do anything but “talk about it” which did nothing. Even the schools police liaison officer was involved in some of the problems and it still did nothing.
Typical Day in Homeschooling
Our typical day starts on our own schedule, sometimes starting as late as 10am. We are usually done around 2:30 to 3pm and take a break when we feel we need it. We do what is called blended online schooling. What this means is that we have our core courses such as Math, LA, Science and Socials, online with a teacher in a virtual classroom that is called E-Live. We also have a main program called First Class where all daily communication is as well as lessons posted by the teachers. The other subjects such as Physical Education, Health and any options (i.e. art, mechanics, etc.) we do on our own. We are given a weekly schedule by the teacher outlining what it is that needs to be done and what work needs to be handed in. There is also work that we grade ourselves at home. As a result of schooling this way, the boys still get a report card and still receive the credits they need towards graduating.
Our facilitator comes to our house every couple of months to check on progress, answer any questions I may have or questions the boys have. She will also give suggestions on how to approach things that are being of difficulty for the boys. The boys love that they have more of an interaction to be included in how their day is spent and what activities we work on instead of going by a timetable at regular school. If the boys have any questions about the work that is being done they can get in touch with their online teacher throughout the day via phone, email or even instant messaging through the main program that is used.
It took us a while to get used to the computer programs that are used and after a month or two it got a bit easier. The boys got the hang of it faster than I did. If at any time we have a problem with a program, we have the Centre’s tech department available at all times via phone or email.
There are tons of field trips that are available to us and we can choose to go or not go as they are not mandatory requirements. This is how the kids gain the social aspect of homeschooling so we try to go to as many as possible. If we choose to put our children in any type of activity such as art classes, swimming lessons, music lessons, etc., we can do so.
As we are the ones that are “schooling” the kids, we get funding based on the percentage of the learning outcomes we follow for the grade year. The reason being is that we are the school so we get the funding. If the child was in public school, the public school receives the funding to buy what is needed. We just need to keep our receipts and submit them. These receipts can include computers, printers, lessons, sports, etc. We are then paid once a month for our expenses submitted.
Homeschooling has been a huge eye-opener for all of us as we weren’t sure what exactly it entailed, how long the days would be, how holidays worked, etc. It has all worked itself out since we started and we have come to realize that this is something we should have done a long time ago both for our boys sake as well as ours.
Homeschooling on One Income
Financially we weren’t sure if we would be able to handle doing this with one income, but you learn to change and adapt your spending habits to make it work in order to have your children succeed. It may mean eating out less or not going to that movie this week, but to see the grades improve and the stress relief on everyone’s faces has been well worth it.
Depending on the province you live it can determine how homeschooling is done. We were fortunate that we found the Centre as they have been extremely helpful and a very positive influence for our family. We did have the chance to go through our local school board but we did notice that there weren’t as many options with it as we do now.
If you are thinking of looking into homeschooling your children, don’t hesitate as we believe that it has been a very positive outcome for our boys as well as us. We didn’t realize just how much we remembered from school so we can help the boys. Make homeschooling fun for your kids and it will be a fun experience for everyone.
Guest Post: Nicole is a stay at home mom to two boys ages 14, Brandon, and 10, Ryan.We live in Calgary, Alberta and have for the last 12 years. We have been homeschooling for 2 years now after being in the public system.
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