Alberta Homeschooling Association is getting ready for another wave of parents turning to homeschooling now that COVID-19 variants have arrived.
Judy Arnall, president of the Alberta Homeschooling Association, said many expect the pandemic to get worse and parents still have the option of homeschooling their children this year.
She said homeschooling enrolment for 2020-21 has already tripled to 38,634 students.
“Every time Dr. Denna Hinshaw made an announcement, or the minister made an announcement, we were swamped with inquiries. We spent all summer, all fall, helping parents understand what is involved in home education and how to get started,” Arnall said.
She said according to Alberta Education, 24,234 students were part of the supervised homeschooling program, 244 were in the new unsupervised program. Another 14,156 kindergarten students were not enrolled in school so they could also be counted as homeschool students.
She said the province approved the unsupervised program this year. Parents don’t receive funding for school supplies, or support, but they do not have to submit an education plan to a school board nor meet with a facilitator.
“The parents that accessed that program have been home educating for years and just don’t want to go through all the hoops of having somebody question their program. They are free as a bird.”
She didn’t expect the unsupervised program to grow quickly. Most parents new to home education wanted support this year, but not all of them are happy with online learning.
“Right now we’re hearing a lot from parents who have their kids signed up for virtual school and it’s just too much for them and they want to switch to home education.”
Arnall said homeschooling takes about about one tenth the amount of time as online schooling. Homeschooling is hands-on learning and students don’t spend hours on Zoom.
Homeschooling also typically wraps up in May because parents set the schedule.
“It’s so much more relaxing.”
She said a regional breakdown of homeschool students was not available because parents can register with any school board in the province no matter where they live.