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Home schooling on the rise

Home schooling is increasingly becoming a popular educational choice.

Participation in the annual Home Education Convention, presented by the Alberta Home Education Association, has grown steadily over the years.

Elizabeth McArthur, convention director, said between 1,500 and 1,600 people from across the province were expected to participate in the two-day conference at the Westerner Park last weekend.

About 60 people attended the information session, So You’re Thinking About Home Education.

The session was added last year and drew some 60 people.

“Each of our children are so individual,” said McArthur. “People are realizing that there is just a multitude of ways to educate our child. People are considering what is the best way for their children.”

Home educator Bev Swalwell fielded typical first questions from families during the session.

When Swalwell first started teaching her children at home many years ago, Swalwell had similar concerns.

“At this level, they lack confidence,” said Swalwell.

“We live in a society that teaches the professionals know best.”

When a father questioned his qualifications to teach his children, Swalwell asked whether his children could talk, walk and dress themselves. The father answered yes to all the questions.

“You are already teaching,” she told him.

“Just keep going. Keep doing it. You know your child better than anyone else available and so you can teach your child to his strengths and you can help him overcome his weaknesses far better than a stranger who has 30 kids or 25 to have to help all at once.”

Swalwell heard families wanted to individualize learning and the joy of learning because they are seeing it stifled in a traditional classroom setting.

She heard about concerns socialization skills and questions about getting into colleges and universities.

Swalwell admitted there were doubts in the early days but she said the benefits, flexibility and ability to individualize learning is far worth any doubts or struggles.

Both McArthur and Swalwell advise parents to read, and research well before they take the leap into home education.

“The more information they can come with to start off, the better choices they will make in the beginning,” said McArthur.

Visit for more information on home education in Alberta.

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