parentlife with Vanessa Peterelli

Airdrie schoolHeroes of Home

I’ve always had great respect for families who choose the homeschooling path. It takes a committed parent to embrace the monumental responsibility of educating their own child.

The benefits of homeschooling are many, from schedule flexibility (allowing for participation in personal interests such as travel, sports or the arts, for example), to the ability to accommodate different learning styles and needs, to the opportunity to foster closer relationships with family.

Potential cons can include teaching-parent burnout, or strained relationships due to extended time with a family member who has the role of both teacher and parent.

Fortunately, Airdrie families have access to a variety of valuable resources – both online and in the community – to help them realize success.

Rocky View Schools’ Community Learning Centre combines the best of homebased learning with the flexibility and support of locally available staff. As a Grade 1-12 homeschool resource, the centre provides traditional parent-directed, teacher-directed and blended programming, offering guidance, planning, teacher facilitation and/or learning materials. Centre staff can work with parents to make homeschooling their children more successful and enjoyable.

The growing popularity of homeschooling can be inspirational for parents, but also a bit overwhelming. That’s where developing a support group of other homeschooling families – with whom to share ideas and advice – can really help.

Parents are combining forces to create homeschooling networks, which might range from Facebook groups connecting parents near and far, to local families taking educational outings together.

When it’s time for a change of scenery, parents can take advantage of a variety of Airdrie facilities and programs well suited to homebased parents and their children, from Genesis Place to Airdrie Public Library.

“Homeschool families have a history of using creative and hands-on methods to teach their children the skills and subjects needed to be successful in life, both personally and professionally,” says Danielle Coulter, owner of the Tutor Doctor franchise serving Airdrie, Cochrane and part of Calgary.

As homeschool supervisors, parents teach many subjects themselves, says Coulter, but as children grow and their needs change, there may be subjects they find challenging, don’t enjoy, or for which they just don’t have the time. “In that situation, many parents turn to tutoring because they know how important it is that their children understand the subject to move ahead in their future learning.”

“The right tutor can bring the focused help that a parent would like for their child with a different and complementary approach,” says Coulter. Enlisting outside help can take some pressure off the homeschool parent, while ensuring their child gets the help they need in that area.

Coulter explains that there are a number of homeschooling systems available, and since the Alberta Education curriculum is constantly being tweaked, she gets calls for help in a wide variety of subjects, and across grade levels. High-school help often involves subjects that might be more complex, such as chemistry and calculus, or assistance preparing for college admissions essays.

“Despite the changes in the economy, the demand for tutoring services continue to grow,” adds Coulter. “For all parents, the most important thing is the long-term success of their kids.”

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