What is Homeschooling?
The first homeschoolers in Canada faced many challenges. The general attitude from the public schools was quite antagonistic, as they were convinced that the government, not the parents, had the responsibility for educating children. As a result, most people were homeschooling “underground”: that is, without officially informing the school boards. As soon as school boards found out, parents were immediately under pressure to conform to the system, and even faced threats that their children would be removed from their homes because of “truancy.” However, the school boards were not the only source of parental pressure. In the early days, family or friends who found out about homeschooling would often ask: “Is that legal?”¹
Although homeschooling anywhere in Canada is completely legal, each province and territory has their own set of regulations and expectations surrounding homeschool. It is important that you familiarize yourself with what your province/territory requires. For a really great guide, head over to The Canadian Homeschooler at http://thecanadianhomeschooler.com and pick up a free copy of How to Homeschool in Canada by Lisa Marie Fletcher.
In 2015, Home Schooling in Canada by Fraser Institute, explained home schooling this way:
According to Statistics Canada, “home schooling is an alternative method of learning that takes place outside the public or private school environment. Parents choosing homeschooling have the primary responsibility of managing, delivering, and supervising their children’s courses and program of learning, which can vary from a very structured curriculum to free-form learning” (2013). Donnelly deﬁned home schooling as the elective practice whereby children are educated directly under the personal oversight of their parents, often, though not exclusively, by their parents and usually in a home setting. Advocates, practitioners, and researchers alike grapple with terminology of this new and innovative form of education. Depending on the philosophical [or pedagogical] orientation, country of origin, and other factors, homeschooling is also known as home-based education, home education, unschooling, home-centered learning, home instruction, deschooling, autonomous learning, and child-centred learning. (2012: 200)²
While home schooling has grown to about 3% or 4% of the US student population, it represents less than one-half percent of the Canadian student population. It is quite possible that this under-represents the actual extent of home schooling because researchers have found that some families do not register their home school with local authorities. Even so, although the overall official enrolments are modest (0.4% of the public-school student population), in the five-year period immediately following the last edition of this paper (2006/07–2011/12), official enrolment in home schools has grown by 29% in Canada. For the same period, enrolments in public schools, aggregated for Canada, declined by 2.5%. Average annual growth in home-school enrolment, again for all of Canada, is 5%.³
Whether you are interested in providing your children individualized instruction that builds on a child’s strengths and interests, have children with health issues or special needs, want to avoid school violence, desire to increase family time, or want your children to have an education based on Christian principles, home schooling is a valid, and increasingly popular, option.
When it comes to your child’s education, there’s no reason you can’t Do It Yourself. And with the number of home schooling families growing around the world, an enormous homeschooling community is standing by to help. SchoolhouseTeachers.com is one such resource of support: it’s the curriculum site of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, the trade magazine for homeschool families. Now is the time to bring your kids home, and we’re glad you’re here. Come explore homeschooling!
A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.– Luke 6:40 NASB
1. https://hslda.ca/about/, accessed 6/13/17
2. Home Schooling in Canada: The Current Picture, 2015 edition, by the Barbara Mitchell Centre for Improvement in Education, Fraser Institute
3. https://www.fraserinstitute.org/research/home-schooling-canada-current-picture%E2%80%942015, accessed 6/13/17
Yes, You Can Start Homeschooling Mid-Year
By Dara Ekanger
Julie had said she would never homeschool her children. It was too weird, and how could she make sure her kids got a good education? But then her fourth grade son started having seizures. After myriad tests couldn’t find a physical problem, the doctor took her aside and said, “Your son can’t handle the stress from school. Pull him out and teach him at home.”
A few weeks into the school year, her seventh grade daughter was coming home daily in tears because of continued harassment by another student. She was a bright girl, but was bored stiff in a classroom that didn’t allow her to go beyond the school’s agenda. “Please, can’t you homeschool me too?” she begged her mother.
So, in 1986, with textbooks purchased from the local private school and some borrowed library books, Julie found herself homeschooling her two children. “We’ll just try it for a week,” she reasoned.
That week became years. I was the seventh-grade daughter. I never went back to “regular” school … and my brother never had another seizure.
Where Do I Start?
- Find Out the Legal Requirements
- Check Out Available Resources
- Check Out Online Resources
There are many blogs and websites that focus on homeschooling families. One such site is TryHomeschooling.com, where you can download articles on organizing your homeschool, issuing report cards, creating high school transcripts, keeping a portfolio, dealing with special needs, and much more. The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine is considered the “trade magazine” for homeschool families, and is available for free online at www.TOSMagazine.com. It provides dozens of encouraging and valuable homeschool articles with each issue.
How Do I Teach?
Learn About Different Styles of Homeschooling
There are many different “styles” of homeschooling. You will likely find a style that fits your family’s needs, or you may decide on a blend of two or more styles. In some families (like mine), you may see that one style works great for one child, but another child responds better to a different style. Knowing your particular style is not required to homeschool, but it can help narrow your search for curriculum and provide structure as you are becoming more comfortable with homeschooling.
Just remember that if you start with one style, you are not bound to stay with it forever. The beauty of homeschooling is that you are free to adjust to the varying needs and interests of your children. You are not trapped into a rigid system of requirements and testing that takes all the joy and wonder out of learning. In fact, as the years go on, you may find yourself becoming quite eclectic!
Charlotte Mason: Based on a method introduced by nineteenth-century educator Charlotte Mason, this approach includes nature studies, journaling, narration, and living books.
Classical: Based on Dorothy Sayers’ The Lost Tools of Learning, in which child development is broken up into three “stages” of learning commonly called “the Trivium.”
Delight Directed: This puts the learning in the hands of the child based on his or her interests. Parents help facilitate this type of learning with appropriate instructional materials.
Eclectic: A mix of philosophies and curricula to accommodate each child’s abilities and interests. Parents choose from any method or style only those components that fit their specific needs.
The Principle Approach: An approach based on the principles of our Founding Fathers and an emphasis on God’s Word as the basis for every subject.
Traditional Textbook: Normally uses a full-range, packaged, textbook type curriculum that also may include a scope and sequence, testing, and recordkeeping.
Unit Studies: All or most important subjects are covered while studying any one topic or unit of study, using a variety of resources and supplemental activities.
Unschooling: A relaxed setting where learning is directed by the child. Parts of this philosophy are based on research by John Taylor Gatto and John Holt.
Choose Your Curriculum
Unlike the days when parents had to cobble together a curriculum from whatever resources they could find, today’s parents are blessed with many resources to choose from. Textbook companies now offer complete boxed curriculum by grade level (with optional DVDs) designed for homeschoolers, such as A Beka and Saxon. Companies such as Veritas Press, Memoria Press, and Classical Conversations offer products that follow the Classical style, with CC having weekly co-ops for students to meet together one day per week. Memoria Press and Veritas Press also offer select online courses in addition to their independent homeschool courses. Sonlight and Living Books Curriculum follow the Charlotte Mason method and provide books you can purchase individually or with detailed lesson plans based on grade level.
Another possibility is SchoolhouseTeachers.com. It’s an online one-stop resource that can be used for your entire family at one low monthly price. You don’t have to purchase additional books, just access online and print off what is needed for the lessons your child needs to do. Many families use this as their sole curriculum, but it can also be used to supplement other programs. Members have access to just over three-hundred courses (preschool through Grade 12), from core subjects like math, science, history, and language arts, to classes like computer programming, Shakespeare, foreign language, fitness, and even film-making.
Cathy Duffy’s http://cathyduffyreviews.com/ has hundreds of curriculum reviews and even an online tool to help you choose books that fit your style and meet your children’s needs.
Your public library is also an invaluable resource.
Talk with homeschool parents in person, or online, and find out what has worked, or not worked, for them. The biggest thing to remember is that if you find yourself or your child frustrated with a particular curriculum, you don’t have to stick with it! Don’t torture yourself or your kids with a book you don’t like. Sell it or pass it on to a friend. Someone else may like it just fine.
Take the Next Step
You don’t have to have a teaching degree to educate your children at home. You’ve been teaching them from the time they were born—how to walk, how to talk, how to tie their shoes, and to know their letters and numbers. Teaching them to read, do math, enjoy science, and love to learn are just the next logical steps in your parenting journey.
Though you will have difficult days (we ALL do!) and you may question your ability from time to time, there are resources and support for every obstacle you may encounter. The lasting rewards that come from teaching your children at home cannot be overstated.
And if you ever said, “I could never homeschool my kids!” don’t worry. You won’t be the first to find out that you can.
How to Homeschool in Canada
In order to homeschool, you need to be aware of your country and territory/province’s legal and academic requirements. While our site cannot give legal advice, we wanted to share the following sites that may be of help to you.
Pick up a free copy of How to Homeschool in Canada by
Lisa Marie Fletcher at The Canadian Homeschooler.
- Alberta Home Education Association
- Association d’Enfants Scolarisés à la Maison(AESM)/Association of Children Educated at Home (ACEH)
- Association of Christian Parent-Educators of Quebec (English)
- L’Association québécoise pour l’éducation à domicile (French)
- BC Home Learner’s Association
- Christian Home Educators of Newfoundland and Labrador
- Home Educators of New Brunswick (HENB)
- Manitoba Association for Schooling at Home
- Manitoba Association of Christian Homeschools
- Nova Scotia Home Educators Association
- Ontario Federation of Teaching Parents
- Provincial Association of Homeschoolers of British Columbia
- Saskatchewan Home Based Educators
Provincial and Territorial Laws
We’re glad you’re here. This page serves as an introduction to the main features of the site. We’ll show you around and help you feel at home. If you have any questions along the way, please don’t hesitate to call 1-888-718-HOME (4663) or email Customer Service at CustomerService@TheOldSchoolhouse.com. If you are a new member, jump over to our New Members Hub on the left which includes answers to FAQ as well as tips on how to get started.
Don’t miss these customer testimonials.
What is SchoolhouseTeachers.com?
It’s the curriculum site of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine. We currently offer more than 300 classes for preschool through high school as well as a few courses for parents. Courses vary in length and intensity, from a few weeks to a full year or more. Academic weighting for transcripts of many high school classes is included.
What will I find here?
Classes are not live, so you always have the option of starting any course at any point in time. You can simply visit an earlier lesson and begin at whatever point you are ready (see “Your site says I can start lessons at any time. How do I do that?” below for details). Classes are presented in a variety of formats. Almost all classes have a written component. Some classes, such as Filmmaking, Beginning Guitar, Beginning Violin, French, and Spanish also offer an audio or video component with their lessons.
How much does a membership cost?
Join monthly for $14.95 USD each month for a limited (K-Grade 8) membership or $19.95 USD per month for our ultimate (K-Grade 12) membership or save over 10% on a one-year membership for $139 USD or $179 USD. One fee serves your entire family. Anyone living in your home can use the site 24/7. There are no per-class or per-child fees and you can cancel anytime (contact us via email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us toll-free at 888-718-4663). Special pricing is available for small groups and co-cops.
Do I have to buy textbooks?
No, additional textbook purchases are not required, however many of our lessons refer to books that are generally readily available through the library.
Can I purchase a membership for a friend?
Yes! One of our staff members is able to help you do that. Contact Kristen Hamilton at khamilton@TheOldSchoolhouse.com for details.
Is there a way to earn a free membership?
Yes. Our lesson designers receive advertising (when applicable) and a free membership to the site. If you are interested in either of these things and would like to know more about how to write for our site, please contact director Bonnie Rose Hudson at bhudson@TheOldSchoolhouse.com.
We Are Looking for Canadian Lesson Designers
On SchoolhouseTeachers.com, we’ve worked with more than 180 teachers, authors, moms, grandparents, and volunteers from Canada, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. We are thrilled to have such a global team of people contributing to the educational content of our students. The vast majority of these lesson designers, however, are from the United States. We want to expand the Canadian community on SchoolhouseTeachers.com, but we need your help. If you are interested in helping us design lessons and class content with the needs of Canadian homeschoolers in mind, please contact Bonnie Rose Hudson, director of SchoolhouseTeachers.com, at email@example.com. We look forward to speaking with you!
We’re glad you’re here. This page serves as an introduction to the main features of the site. We’ll show you around and help you feel at home. If you have any questions along the way, please don’t hesitate to call 1-888-718-HOME (4663) or email Customer Service at CustomerService@TheOldSchoolhouse.com. You can also use the chat box in the lower right of your screen to reach a customer service representative.
SchoolhouseTeachers.com is made up of several key areas, all of which are conveniently found on the blue Menu bar:
- Start Here
- New Members Hub: you’re here!
- What is Homeschooling: provides a brief history of homeschooling
- But Am I Qualified: links to state homeschool laws and various homeschool approaches
- Considering Membership: questions and answers for first-time visitors
- Tutorials: short videos about our site
- Discount Options: lists all available membership discounts we offer to special groups
- Co- Ops and Groups: explains how to use our site with your local co-op
- Quick Links: This gives you quick and easy access to the home page of every course on the site. Once you know what classes your student is taking, these links are shortcuts that will take you directly to each class.
- Browse by Grade: This drop down menu allows you to choose the grade level you are interested in and view all of the courses offered for that particular grade. Click on the grade level and then select a subject area to explore.
- Browse by Subject: This drop down menu allows you to choose the subject you are interested in and view all of the courses for a selected grade band for that particular subject. Click the subject and then select the level you would like to view.
- Course Information: This valuable page give you tips on how to begin utilizing the courses on our site. It also provides an alphabetical list of all of the courses, their length, and recommended grade level for every course. You can also find information about when certain courses will no longer be available.
- Latest News: updates such as new courses, video series or e-books that have recently been added
- Schoolhouse Planners: downloadable and printable planners that are free for members
- Lesson Plans: We are in the process of writing suggested lesson plans for each of our courses. Find a diagram explaining how to use them here.
- Scope and Sequence: This resource will show you the academic goals traditionally held for each grade level and where to find that information on SchoolhouseTeachers.com as well as areas where you may wish to supplement.
- Custom Schedule Builder: Create and print a schedule for the week, completely customized to your student and your homeschooling needs.
- Recordkeeping: AppleCore is user friendly and produces a report card and/or transcript for your student records
- Course Checklist: printable list of our courses that allows you to keep track of what courses your family has taken
- Free Printable Calendars: blank, printable monthly calendar pages for the current school year
- Focused Learning Centers are the place to go when your child is struggling with a skill or you want to find new ways of presenting information
- High School Help: a complete list of which courses on SchoolhouseTeachers.com include suggested transcript weighting information plus tips and resources to help you create a high school transcript
- Special Needs: provides practical solutions and helpful tips for choosing curriculum and modifying and adapting instruction
- Literacy Center: Teach your child to read in 101 easy steps. Comprehension activities are also provided for older readers.
- Just for Parents: courses and unit studies to make it easier to balance homeschooling, managing your home, maintaining a healthy marriage, and much more
- Schoolhouse Expos: Think of this as bringing a homeschool conference to your living room! Enjoy videos of a wide variety of speakers covering many pertinent homeschooling topics.
- Monthly Menu
- TOS Magazine Resources
- Certificate Library: downloadable, printable certificates to reward students for hard work in a course
- Help Charts: printable charts to aid in homeschooling and managing your household
- Videos: library of hundreds of streaming videos free of charge to our members
- Media: a subscription to The World Book eBook Library free of charge to our members
Once you select a class, you’ll find information that includes (as applicable):
- How to Use This Course
- Course Details
- Course Introduction
- Course Outline
- Transcript Information
- Download a Preview
- For courses with videos- Watch a Preview Video
- Course Completion Certificates
- Links to lessons
- Links to lesson plans if available
What SchoolhouseTeachers.com Is and Is Not
SchoolhouseTeachers.com IS NOT
|Curriculum site with 300+ courses||An online school|
|Courses in a variety of styles and formats||Live teachers|
|Teaching materials for the homeschool parent||Replacement of the homeschool parent|
|Self-paced learning||Classes that lock you into a schedule|
|Streaming videos and eBooks||Boring, repetitive lessons|
|Monthly (30 days) or yearly (365 days) membership fee||Tuition based on number of students or number of classes taken|
|Grade level and scope and sequence suggestions||Prescribed order of classes|
|Material created by 100+ lesson designers||The work of a single author or textbook company|
|Independent resources created to support parents||Aligned with Common Core standards|
|Home of excellent customer support by phone, chat, or email to help you succeed||Inefficient customer service|
|Tools to assist with recordkeeping and organization||Disorganization|
|An excellent option to use as the core of your curriculum or to fill in gaps||A complete curriculum for every grade (see Scope & Sequence for more details)|