According to a 2017 report by the Fraser Institute, there has been a continuous rise in the number of students who choose alternative schooling in Ontario in the past decade or so. Alternative Education can take different forms; the more prominent ones are homeschooling and attending independent and/or private schools.
When it comes to homeschooling in the traditional sense of teaching outside the brick and mortar classroom, parents play a key role. With traditional homeschooling, the responsibility of deciding which curriculum to study, how to design and deliver the content of the chosen curriculum, how to do record keeping and monitor the child's progress ultimately falls on parents.
In this blog, we share a few tips for Ontario parents who have decided to home-school their child in the traditional sense.
- Consult the Ontario Curriculum
The curriculum of study for elementary and secondary courses are available on the Ontario Ministry of Education website. The curriculum is the benchmark of what is being taught in Ontario in public as well as the majority of private schools. While there are many benefits to home-schooling, it is important that the knowledge and skills a home-school child learns and develops are more or less on par with that of a student who is attending a publicly funded or a private school for the same grade level.
- Choose Resources that Support the Ontario Curriculum
As much as possible, choose resources that support the Ontario Curriculum. You can find the second-hand version of many of the elementary and secondary textbooks online (Amazon or Kijiji) or in some bookstores across the province. The textbook can be a great resource, especially if you need content support for designing a course of study that meets the expectations of the curriculum for each subject.
- Integrate Technology
Utilize technology to enhance your child's learning. There are a good number of free or low-cost online resources that support the Ontario curriculum. Video lectures, online practice questions, simulations, tutorials, and virtual field trips can enrich your child's learning experience. Through the use of technology, they will also develop digital literacy, an important life skill in the twenty-first century.
- Keep Proper Record of Your Child's Study
To the extent possible, keep a proper record of what your child has been learning for each subject and at each grade level. Write down the name of resources, the frequency, and duration of the study and your observation of your child's learning experience and progress. These records will be important should you decide for your child to transition back into the mainstream public or private education. It helps the receiving school to make an evidence-based decision when it comes to placing your child in the appropriate grade level.
- Consider Online Homeschooling
There are a good number of publicly funded and privately owned academic institutions in Ontario that offer the Ontario elementary and secondary curriculum online. As your child gets older, you might find that home-schooling in the traditional sense becomes more of a challenge. The subject matters become more specialized and designing and delivering each course becomes time-consuming. Depending on your budget, you can rely on the services of these institutions full time or part time to compliment your efforts at home.
- Think and Plan Long Term
Whatever your reason for home-schooling your child, it is important that you equip them with the knowledge and skills required to live a healthy and happy adult life. Whether they hope to enter the job market when they are 18 or to attend a college or university, they will rely on what they have learned during the home-schooling years to enter the next phase of their life. Lacking the required knowledge or deficiency in skills will set them back and can make the transition difficult.
- Consider Your Child's Personality, Learning Style, Academic Goal and Life Ambition
Some students learn better in a group setting, some learn better on their own and without the typical classroom distractions. Some kids learn better when someone explains the concepts to them, some like to learn on their own. Some students dream of becoming an Engineer and some want to become a humanitarian. In deciding what is the best educational pathway for your child, it is important to consider their personality, learning style, academic goal, and life plan.
Contact us today for more information about online homeschooling at BrightMinds Online School.