If you are new to homeschooling, or just exploring whether homeschooling is right for your family, you already know there are many benefits educating your children at home. Most importantly, homeschooling provides you with the freedom and flexibility that traditional schooling doesn’t offer. You set the rules, generate the schedule, and choose the curriculum.
However, before you get started homeschooling, you need to understand a few basics. Choosing an educational path that suits your children’s needs, following the laws in Saskatchewan, and keeping your children’s educational records can be overwhelming – especially for new homeschoolers. But the homeschool community is a great place to find information, encouragement and validation. We offer this guide as a first step on your journey.
Figure Out Your "Why-to"
Homeschooling offers incredible flexibility and can result in great relationships within the family, high academic achievement, opportunity for positive socialization, individual care and attention for special learners, or simply a lifestyle that more closely integrates your family's values and beliefs.
Why will you personally direct the education of your children?
What do you believe about the essential nature of children and learning?
What is the primary purpose of education?
If you don't have a positive reason to homeschool, why are you willing to put in the effort and make the sacrifices required to personally direct your children's education?
This "Why-to" is something you will come back to again and again for inspiration. But don't worry about getting it perfect the first time. Chances are, it won't change much, but as your family grows, you may decide to modify your "why-to" over the years.
Figure Out Your "How-to"
Once you've thought about why you want to education your children, the next step is to consider how your child learns best. Does your child learn by listening to instruction or stories (audible learning), by moving (kinetic), or does you child need to visualize the material being discussed (visual)? Based on your knowledge of your child, you can accommodate and challenge your child accordingly. Even if you choose to use a very structured curriculum, you will very likely be able to offer oral testing, or offer motion to keep a kinetic learner engaged while listening to a story.
Don't worry if you're not sure about this right away - it will quickly become clear as you start making progress.
Figure Out Your "What-to"
What are the basic things you want your children to know? In Saskatchewan, you will need to include (and report on, but more on that later) Math, Science, Language Arts and Social Studies. Other areas of study could include Bible, Music, Art, Dance, Health, and so on.
Knowing how your children learn will help you to choose appropriate curriculum (if any), resources, activities, clubs and events.
Now that you know why you are homeschooling, what is your purpose for educating your children, how your children learn, and what subjects you wish to teach, you buy your curriculum and resources, join clubs and groups, and plan what activities and events in which to participate. The selection process is much easier now that you have an idea of your purpose and have thought about how learning works best for your children.
We can't even begin to list all the excellent curriculum, resources, courses, clubs, groups, activities and events that are available. These days, there is a huge range of options from which to choose. There are full curricula sets that range from hundreds of dollars to free printables, from full online courses led from Canada and the USA to single-topic online resources, from conservatory private music lessons to learning through skype or youtube, from gymnastics to field days at the park. The limit is really your ability to join with other families and organize and lead events for the benefit of the homeschool community.
Now that you've got your detailed plan and know the why, how and what of your education plan, you can winnow those details down to what you must file to comply with government regulations. While the government acknowledges that children have a right to an education determined and delivered by their parents, in practise they demand a lot of paperwork to protect their "compelling interest". Meeting the regulatory requirements need not be too burdensome: Our provincial organization, SHBE, has worked closely with HSLDA to create templates that make complying with the legalities less burdensome.
In Saskatchewan, you must:
File a notification of intent to homeschool and a written education plan with your local school division by August 151
File an annual progress report, also with your local school division, by June 151
You do not need to wait for a disastrous school year to complete before starting to homeschool!
You can file at any time in the school year, with 30 days notice
If that is not safe, please contact SHBE and/or HSLDA for advice
Major studies have demonstrated that there is zero statistical correlation between higher regulation and better academic outcomes. Homeschoolers file paperwork simply to fulfill regulatory requirements, not to "do better" or "get approval" - our proof will be in the lives of our families and children, not government paperwork.
1 The dates vary with school division, but these are the provincial "defaults"
HOW TO MEET REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS
This is a simple form that notifies the province that you intend to educate your children at home and will not be sending them to school. Since Home Based Education in Saskatchewan is basically an exemption from compulsory school attendance laws, the province requires that parents notify the school division in which they reside of their decision to provide their children with a home-based education. Here is the Policy and Instruction included with the Notification of Intent form.
Click below for more information
The province requires that home based educators provide a "philosophy of education" and three broad annual goals for Math, Science, Language Arts, and Social Studies, select a method of assessment and identify any resources being requested.
While there is always some disagreement over what constitutes a "broad" annual goal, the basic thing to remember is that this written education plan is meant satisfy the minimum legal requirements.
Click below for instructions
The Annual Progress Report provides an assessment of progress toward the stated goals and documents presentation of instruction within the home based education program. Your annual progress report will be formatted based on the method of assessment selected in your written education plan. The portfolio of work must be maintained regardless of your assessment method and must align with the goals documented in your written education plan.
Click below for instructions
WHERE TO FIND HELP WHEN YOU NEED IT
You found us! The Association of Regina Christian Home Educators (ARCHE) is a local support group, in and around Regina. ARCHE exists to encourage, equipe, and edify families as they seek to provide their children with a biblical education, in which parents teach their children about the home, wherever they go and whatever they do; as they rise, as they walk and as they lie down. ARCHE is committed to an understanding that homeschooling is the default model for Christian education.
ARCHE is led by Bible-believing Evangelical Christians, and happily serves homeschoolers regardless of religious conviction - our practices will include prayer and teaching from a biblical Christian worldview. Participation in ARCHE includes a standard of behaviour for ourselves and our children that seeks to promote a positive impression of homeschooling. Parents are expected to be responsible for their children at all times.
ARCHE distributes notifications and information about community events and activities, as well as organizing events and activities. Check out the "infoline" and "calendar" to see what is and has been going on!
Saskatchewan Home Based Educators (SHBE) is the official voice of home-based educators in Saskatchewan. Assisting to create a positive social network and a positive political environment for all those who choose home-based education, SHBE networks with homeschool organizations across the country, continent and world. SHBE meets regularly with the Ministry of Education, Provincial Government and Post-Secondary Institutions.
Every February, SHBE holds a homeschool convention that includes world-class speakers drawn locally and from around the world, a well-equipped vendor hall, and a used-book/used-curriculum sale.
SHBE is 100% volunteer and is formed by homeschoolers, for homeschoolers. SHBE supports all homeschoolers, without regard to their religious or philosophical convictions, without regard to their chosen educational methods, and without regard to the content of their instruction. The common bond that ties our members together is a commitment that children have a right to an education directed and provided by their parents, in keeping with the family's beliefs and values. Homeschooling is not only a parental right; it is a child's right; it is a human right.
For over 25 years Home-School Legal Defense Association Canada (HSLDA) has been working diligently to support homeschool families like yours by providing everything needed to succeed. Expert legal support, insurance coverage, and advice from our experienced staff are just some of the many benefits of joining HSLDA.
HSLDA is the only organization in Canada with the legal expertise to represent homeschooling families in disputes with school boards, social services, or provincial agencies. Enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing you have an expert legal team on your side when you need it.
In addition to legal services, HSLDA provides members with answers and advice from their easily accessible and experienced member services team, can provide paperwork to verify their family’s home education, letters for employment, student ID cards, GED and postsecondary support letters depending on your family’s needs.
Discover many more benefits of being a member of the most trusted homeschool organization in Canada. HSLDA: The Partner in Your Homeschool Success!