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Home Learning Options

Home Learning Options and Information

by Caelen Bright

When you are choosing not to send your child to school each year, you must let the Ministry know who will be in charge of their education. You can do this in one of two ways. You can register  your child, which means you are taking on the role of educating them, and you are not accountable to the Ministry to meet age or grade-based outcomes. You do not do any reports nor convey anyinformation about your child throughout the year. Some registry options offer a bit of money for the year, between $100-150 total, and others do not. Or you can enrol your child in a variety of distance learning (DL) programs, which are based on Ministry guidelines and require you to report on your childís learning. You are still facilitating your childís education even though they are enrolled through a DL, but you are accountable to a learning institution, and you must meet set outcomes based on your childís age/grade. Many DL programs offer funding for classes and resources, up to a maximum of $1122 per child per year.

Whatever you choose, you must register or enrol them by Dec 31st of the year they turn 6, and then every September thereafter. You can definitely change your mind at different times in your home learning journey, going from one choice or option to another. It may affect your funding depending on when you enrol or choose toregister, but you are never stuck in whatever choice you make.

Visit this Ministry site for a clear comparison between the two options: www.bced.gov.bc.ca/dist_learning/dl_vs_homeschool.htm

*Many programs offer both a registered or enrolled option, as youíll see below.

Resources for Registering

Self-Design Home Learnerís Network (HLN) http://hln.selfdesign.org/ (formerly Wondertree)

      Receive$125 a year, claimed through mailed-in receipts

Traditional Learning Academy School   www.schoolathome.ca

      Receive $150 a year, claimed through mailed-in receipts

Your local public school is also somewhere you can register. You will not receive any funding, but depending on the position of the school administrator/principle, your child can participate in certain activities (field trips or gym?) and use resources the school has to offer.

Some schools are receptive to   of part-time school, having your child attend a number of set days each week. Sundance and South Park schools (in Victoria) have both offered this option in the past.

Resources for Enrolling (these are all local to the island or BC)

Self-Design Learning Community (SDLC) http://selfdesign.org/  (formerly Wondertree) K-12

      Receive $1122.00/child of Ministry funding per year

      Report weekly plus 3 seasonal reviews throughout the year

      Monies done through a re-loadable VISA you use for purchases and classes 

Traditional Learning Academy School www.schoolathome.ca  K-12

      Report weekly plus send in work monthly

      Ministry funding provided (but I couldnít find out how much)

SIDES (South Island Distance EducationSchool) www.sides.ca/en

      Offers some funding for the elementary grades

      Offers some on-site classes (optional)

      Offers AP courses for 1st year University, a more economical option for first year Uni.

      Access to The Encounters Program www.encounters-rencontres.ca/en/our_youth_program/index

Oak and Orca Hands On Home LearningProgram www.oakandorca.ca/handson  K-7

      Receive $1000/child of Ministry funding per year

      Weekly reports plus portfolio updates twice a year

      Monies handled by the school. You tell them what you wish to buy/class to take, and they pay it for you. You do not have access to the money yourself.

      A local school (Cook St. And Hillside)

eBus www.ebus.ca

      Receive $1000/child of Ministry funding per year

      Report 3 times a year

      Monies dispersed either through VISA or theyíll send cheques to teachers if needed.

Home Learnerís Link/LINK  www.thelink.sd61.bc.ca

      An on-site option for home learning. From their site: we support the studentís achievement of learning outcomes through a combination of online and/or paper-based courses, or by participating in a small selection of optional classes offered on site.

      No funding offered

      Run out of SJ Willis School on Blanshard/Hillside

Regent Christian Online Academy www.regentonline.ca (A Christian Independent School)

      Flexible on requirements for secular home learners in Victoria

      Receive $1000/child paid to the vendor upon invoice

      Portfolio assessment done 3 times a year

      Offers online courses for older grades, with less funding. A local school.


Heritage Home School Academy  www.heritagehomeschool.com (A Christian Independent School)

      Flexible on requirements for secular home learners in Victoria

      Offers both an online school option and a traditional home school option

      Receive $1000/child paid

      Out of Kelowna

Styles of Home Learning and Resources for Them

Teaching your child at home is a wonderful thing because it gives you the freedom to decide how your child should learn. The various ways parents educate their children at home is best explained as a spectrum. At one end youíll find school-at-home families, where the children follow a routine or schedule, study subjects each day and create projects and worksheets based on their grade of study. At the other end youíll find Unschoolers, families who feel that learning happens best when it is initiated by the child, and their interests and skills will dictate the path they take. In between youíll find all the rest of the home learners, doing parts of curriculums, or going on road trips to learn history, setting up their home learning journey in the way that best suits their family. There is no one right or best way. And many families will do different things at different times in their journey, depending on their children, circumstances and lifestyle. The important thing is to do what works for your family, and be open to changing that if you feel itís no longer working.

Some Curriculums to order and follow (*these are just someof them. There are many many more!)

Charlotte Mason www.simplycharlottemason.com

The Well-Trained Mind www.welltrainedmind.com (an example of Classical Education)

Oak Meadows www.oakmeadow.com (an example of a Waldorf-y  Curriculum)

Sonlight Curriculum www.sonlight.com (an example of a religiousprogram)

Thomas Jefferson Education Program www.tjed.org (an example of Leadership Education) 

What about not using a curriculum?

For many families, when they decide not to send their kids to school, they think they must follow a curriculum because they are still thinking that that is how children learn. And this is a great path for many families. Some families choose to homeschool because they do not want to follow any guidelines, or alongthe way they discover that curriculums and guidelines are no longer working for them. Or they get great ideas from curriculums, and use bits and pieces of them, but they do not adhere to any set guidelines or rules imposed upon them. These families are doing what is called Unschooling, or being Child-Led, or Life-Learning. Not following a curriculum has as many names as families who are doing it, but the point is the same for all: choosing to follow your child, and craft your learning around what works for you, both practically and philosophically. Unschooling is not about trying not teach your kids, it is about letting their interests, and what you see in them as they grow, guide their learning. It is about giving them the tools to read when they are ready,and not putting other peopleís expectations on them to read at a set age. It is about seeing the benefit of hour upon hour of Lego, or all the learning inherent in growing your own tiny garden, and the value in taking on these activities because they want to. Does it mean you do not use a curriculum? No. Does it mean you get up each day and just let them watch tv and lie around, waiting to see if they decide to dosomething else? Not if that doesnít work for you. Itís about creating an environment rich in interesting things, outings, exposure to cool stuff and great people. Just as adults learn new things because they are interested in them and exposed to them, so do children learn. The parentís role is to facilitate these learning opportunities and trust in their childís innate abilities. You may pick out bits of a curriculum or book that might interest your child, or you might join a co-op, or you might support your childís desire to build robots all day and then correspond about them with other robotics enthusiasts online. It is what you make it (and what you decide to call it!). 

Whether you decide to use a curriculumor not, it does not necessarily affect your options to register or enrol. (Christian DL is the only consideration.)

Local resources for home learning

The Victoria Home Learners Network Association (VHLN) is a non-profit society created to support home learning families in the Greater Victoria area. www.vhln.org

The Victoria Christian Home Schoolers (VCHS) is a community of homeschool families who have chosen to educate their children at home. VCHS seeks to provide its members in the Greater VictoriaArea with practical support and encouragement with a Christian perspective. www.vchs.ca

Home Learning Victoria (VicHomeLearn) is an inclusive, free discussion group for all Victoria BC (Canada) area families who homeschool.  www.groups.yahoo.com/group/VicHomeLearn/


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