Our New, Crazy Adventure: Homeschooling In Alberta!

After the uncertainty of going into the school year, our main goal for our kids was consistency. We saw the effects of how online school and delayed starts affected our kids. For the first time ever I was indecisive and unsure about their education, and the weighing decision to keep them home was difficult because they adore their school and community. So after Christmas break, I dove into the new opportunities and communities of homeschooling in Alberta!

Thinking about homeschooling in Alberta? Check out Hannah's recommendations for your first year of home education and all the free resources you need for taking control of your kid's education.
Thinking about homeschooling in Alberta? Check out Hannah's recommendations for your first year of home education and all the free resources you need for taking control of your kid's education.
Thinking about homeschooling in Alberta? Check out Hannah's recommendations for your first year of home education and all the free resources you need for taking control of your kid's education.
Thinking about homeschooling in Alberta? Check out Hannah's recommendations for your first year of home education and all the free resources you need for taking control of your kid's education.

Homeschooling has had huge benefits, but is still a trial and error basis in finding the best way of learning combined with the curriculum that I agree with. We simply notified our school after the Christmas break that our kids would not be attending from that point until June. We continue to check in on our teacher’s Google Classrooms for each child, but overall we have been taking our day-to-day homeschooling into our own hands.

We are still deciding if we continue the homeschool route or send them back to school. After all, it’s only one year and if we feel like it’s not the right fit we can always enroll back into school.

What I learned is that at the start of considering homeschooling you (as the parent) need to figure out what your goals are for your child, and then what is their best way of learning.

We are Christians so I wanted something faith-based with critical thinking. Essentially, I wanted a secular curriculum with a faith-based worldview.

One of our children does great with learning through reading and hands-on crafts – she excels with textbooks, non-fiction stories, and projects. While the other child likes visuals – picture books, videos, and hands-on crafts. So we have a bit of overlap on the crafts, yay! But otherwise, they have very different optimal intakes of information.

Then through lots of research, I found the subjects of social studies, science, and history/geography can be taught together for both children while math and language arts should be individually specific to each child.

So, what are we using for homeschooling grade 1 and grade 3 in Alberta?

For math, we are using The Good And The Beautiful math programs – the Good and The Beautiful math and are free to download up until grade 5. I had them printed at the UPS store for $75 each. I like the visuals, storytelling and mini-games incorporated in The Good and The Beautiful curriculum. I have heard Math-U-See and Saxon Math are also great programs.

We used TGTB program because we were half way into the school year and I didn’t want to spend a bunch of money when we didn’t know what our decision would be for next year. Plus, we were not signed up with a homeschool advisory board where you can submit your receipts so like I said we chose the free program and printed it.

On top of that, we use the iPad math apps: Boddle, Khan Academy Kids (up to grade 2), Khan Academy, Splash Learn, and FunUnexpected.

For language arts, we are using IEW (Institute for Excellence in Writing). We paid for it because it was highly recommended for the lessons/writing tips. It is intense but impressive how much the children have learned and gained confidence in their writing. They have gone from feeling anxious to write a paragraph to write a paragraph with ease with lots of tips and tricks from the program. For grades 3 and up the curriculum can be done through videos or you can teach it in person at home. For grades 2 and under, the curriculum is only in-person with different topics and themes to choose from. For grade 1 we decided to learn about People and Our Community.

Also to encourage creative writing we are trying the Night Zookeeper online program, and the kids like it a lot. You draw hybrid animals, write creative stories about your new creations, play spelling games, collect treasures for your animals, and so much more. Their subscription is up to 3 kids, and the activities are age-specific and curated.

In the next few weeks, Prodigy (the online program mainly used for math) is releasing a Language Arts option, which I imagine is similar to Night Zookeeper.

The iPad apps we use for spelling, reading, and writing are Epic, Khan Academy Kids, Khan Academy, and Duo ABC.

For science, we bought a Telus World of Science membership. For an annual family pass, 2 adults and up to 4 children (under 3 is free), it is approx $200. This is part of our field trips and we participate in the TWOS nature program. The new renovations to the TWOS have revived the facility with a huge STEM area for all ages, and I am glad we signed up for our membership this year.

We planned a family trip to Calgary because you can also use your TWOS membership at the Canadian Association of Science Centres list across Canada, and the Calgary Spark Science Centre is on that list. Which is an exciting bonus of having a membership!

We recently added the Kiwi Co subscription box too and chose the science of cooking option. This month the girls made tomato soup from scratch, parmesan crisps, mini pizzas, and cheese quesadillas – to explore how heat affects the proteins, fat, and water in cheese. There was a fun craft, cartoon factbook, and cooking accessories for this month’s recipe in the Kiwi Co box. I am excited about next month’s box to arrive after the delicious food the kids learned to make!

We also make sure to write down all “why” questions and research those pressing questions! Today’s important questions that arose during reading The Ugly Duckling were “do ducks migrate?” and “do ducks have ears?”. Then when we were reading the Ox-Cart Man book questions like “how did they make sap into brown sugar arose?”. We dive into evaporation and water phases science videos to answer! It’s making the time and finding the answer through videos and articles.

For history/geography, we are using the Mystery of History Volume 1 program. It is a faith-based interactive curriculum that the kids thoroughly enjoy. I like that we will be able to use this program over and over again because it contains age-appropriate review activities for elementary, middle school, and high school-aged kids. I highly recommend this program!

For logic development, we started reading The Fallacy Detective and once we are done we will read its partnering book: The Thinking Toolbox. Both are recommended for 12 years old and up – the grade 1er listens but doesn’t quite grasp the concept

Plus all the reading and board games we play at home!

P.S. After two weeks since I initially wrote this and was going through the challenges of getting back into a routine with the kids after a two-week break from homeschooling for moving/Spring Break, I am going to try one more year in the fall of homeschooling. The first year is always the hardest and after a lot of praying, research, and thinking I am going to register the kids for homeschool in the fall!

Hannah is a Canadian Mom Blogger from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada who shares her life around motherhood to 4 kids, on-the-go beauty for moms, healthy and delicious recipes, bohemian home decor, family travel, and local Edmonton businesses.

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