As a family, we went back and forth on the decision of whether to enrol our son in a distributed learning organization, or simply, go it on our own. Here in British Columbia, families have the choice: register or enroll. If you register, you just let someone (the Ministry of Education) know you are homeschooling, and then you do your thing. If you enroll, you choose between a myriad of “schools” that oversee your learning (read reporting), provide you with planning help, and a stipend from the government ($1000 / year is usual).
Our family has a very free approach to learning – not a lot of structure, and a lot of child and interest-led learning. We all contribute to what we are going to do in any given week, and we try to listen to and accommodate our children’s curiosities whenever possible (which is most of the time). Mostly, we read together a lot, and play together a lot. We tell stories. We paint. We hike and take photographs. We garden. We cook. We talk. And, we listen.
This approach to learning has worked for us, so far. My son, at 4.5, is knowledgeable about all kinds of things (including his letters and numbers), and has an incredibly inquisitive mind, and sociable personality. I’d say we learn the way we do because of him, more so than the other way around, but it’s probably a bit of both. As for Kindergarten, we wanted to be sure we were enrolling him with an organization that matched our learning values, if we went that route.
To that end, we’ve chosen to enroll him with an organization called SelfDesign: a proponent of child-led learning, with a lovely, flexible structure. Yes, we have to report every week or two, but it will be short, and will consist of, well, just whatever it is that we do. With Self Design, we will design a learning plan for the year (as specific as we want it to be, or not), with the input of a learning consultant, ourselves, and our son. And we’ll receive a stipend to put towards classes, curriculum materials or whatever else we think will support his learning.
Do I think that I need someone to oversee our learning? Absolutely not. Do I think that I am the only one with ideas and input that would be worthy of considering while home learning with my son? Of course not.
I think it will be fun to have a learning consultant. I’m sure they’ll give me ideas and feedback on things I haven’t thought of. And, although we are very unstructured in what we do, I do love to record our learning, for my own sake, as well as my child’s. Yes, I like to write. So, I don’t think I will find the reporting burdensome.
Mostly, I am excited to be crossing a new bridge together. I don’t envision our year – which “officially” starts in September, but never really starts or ends – to be significantly different from what we do now. Because we are always exploring new things. But, as a person who likes to mark milestones, and finds symbolism and beauty in celebrating the seasons of life, I am excited to mark the start of Kindergarten with my son.
I’d love to know what you think of your state or provincial homeschooling regulations. Do they work for you? Are they too constraining? If your child is enrolled in BC, how do you enjoy it?
Once again, thanks for reading. The Homeschool Co-op’s sabbatical is over, although look for some changes in the way we do things in the next few months, as we ease back in. We’re aiming for a more streamlined approach, in keeping with what our readers use and desire most. A heartfelt congratulations to those finishing up your schooling year, and a welcome to our new subscribers!
All the best,
Kelly @ The Homeschool Co-op