How homeschooling works in Alberta
In Alberta, you have many options to legally register to home educate your children without fear of truancy.
You can either give notification of your intent to home educate with a homeschool board, who is legally required to be attached to a brick and mortar school, or you can submit your Education Program Plan directly to Alberta Ed.
In order to register with a homeschool board for funding, you need to have notified with the school board by September 30 of the current school year. In my experience, your new homeschool board will let your old school know you have switched to home education, so you don't have to deal with that yourself is you choose not to.
How Funding Works
Did you know that homeschoolers in Alberta can be reimbursed for educational expenses? It's true!!!
When you have notified with a homeschool board, you are eligible to receive reimbursement for educational expenses listed in your EPP for up to $850 per year per student in grades 1 and up. Grade eligibility is determined by birth date, not whether or not your child is already capable of grade 1 academic work. The home education grant money is allocated per student, and must be claimed with eligible expenses. Wisdom has more information about funding here.
If you submit your EPP directly to Alberta Ed, you will not receive any funding for the school year. You also won't have a mediator between your family and the government. The plus side is that if you miss the deadline to register with a board, you have another option and won't have to be considered truant for not being registered with a specific homeschool board.
The notification-only process to AbEd will be through a portal of "My Pass", the parent student online portal of Alberta Education. This is not yet available as of September 4, 2020, but the form to notify directly is available here and is currently mail-in only. I have been given the suggestion that anybody notifying directly with AbEd might also want to consider taking out a membership with the Home School Legal Defense Association of Canada.
Select & Notify with a Board
When you're choosing a homeschool board, you can either choose your "resident board", or a "willing non-resident board".
A "resident board" means whatever school district you live in, and who would be legally required to facilitate your home education, but may be clueless of how to do this. Resident boards have a reputation of encouraging homeschooling families to put their kids back in school, or at least in to teacher-directed programs.
A "willing non-resident board" means a homeschool board for anywhere in Alberta who is willing to facilitate your home education, even if they are not local to you. Programs that are for parent-directed only are all willing non-resident boards.
I've made up a list of boards here.
If you are parent-directed, your homeschool board will assign you to a facilitator who is required to check in with you twice a year. All facilitators are certified teachers. Most facilitators are available to help you more if you need it. You write your Education Program Plan and submit it to your facilitator for approval. They can also help you write it if you'd like.
Decide what and how you will teach
The beautiful thing about homeschooling is that you have the option to decide, as the parent, on what and how your children will learn. You can select a curriculum, or you can unschool, or you can hire tutors or sign your kids up for all kinds of classes. It's up to you. Earlier, I mentioned that you need to submit an Education Program Plan. Don't let this scare you. Your homeschool board should be able to help you put one together if you feel stuck. There are lots of samples online, or parents who have done different methods to ask on Homeschool Facebook Groups
I understand that this part is entirely optional. But it might be my favorite part ;) I've shared the things that have worked for us here.
Once you've figured out the paperwork, decided what and how you're teaching, and you've gotten going, the last thing is to stick with it! I've posted my favorite books and groups for the parents, and also some of the things that have motivated my kids here.