Home Education

The Home Schooling option for parents and their children is available through the Northern Lights School Division in partnership with your neighborhood school and the Alberta Distance Learning Centre.

While we support the concept of students attending public schools, the circumstances of a student may call for an alternative educational option.  In the past, parents and students have chosen a Home Schooling program for many, very different reasons.

  • Students may have health issues, which prevent them from regular attendance.
  • Students may need to leave with family members for an extended period of time for sports or employment.
  • Students may want a particular program of studies not available in area schools.
  • Students may find the structure of schooling difficult to cope with.
  • Students may have been expelled or suspended from regular programming.
  • Students may wish to follow an alternate curriculum focus.


Success at Home Schooling

Students that experience successful home schooling programs tend to:

  • have strong reading and writing skills.
  • maintain a learning plan including regular times for home study, exercise and proper nutrition.
  • have at least one family member supervising and assisting the student.
  • have reasonable organizations skills.
  • have a desire to do quality work.
  • be avid learners about themselves and the world around them.

Students should be cautious about enrolling in a home-school program if:

  • there is little or no home supervision
  • reading is difficult
  • special needs require numerous accomodations or special assistance.

If these statements describe you, then a home school situation may be made available to you.


Expectations for Home Schooling

As a home schooling family, we will have certain expectations of you.

  • print and complete Form 2 (Home Education notification).
  • enroll in a full-time program under the supervision of an associate school.
  • develop a learning plan, which meets the Alberta Program of Studies outcomes.
  • commit to at least 30 hours of study per week.
  • complete daily assignments.
  • attend meetings and submit progress reports to the supervising school.
  • permit the associate school to conduct at least 2 evaluations of the progress of the student in each school year.
  • write provincial achievement and diploma exams.

Students in grades 1 to 10 must register before September 30th of the current school year.  Students enrolled in a high school program should do so in consultation with a high school career and course counselor or one of the Off-Campus Schools.

For more information about Off-Campus Schools and Outreach Education visit our Off-Campus Schools page.


How Home Schooling Operates


Students enrolled in a home schooling program apply for and receive distance education courses.  The courses are divided up into modules.  Each module represents a distinct learning concept or topic that is required to complete the course.  The number of modules varies according to the course subscribed for, but 8 is not an unusual number.   When a student has completed a module, it is usually mailed away for evaluation.  The instructions for this are contained in the parent package. When all the modules are complete and have been evaluated, the student is ready to write the final exam.

Independent Programs

Home School parents may negotiate a special home school curriculum they have developed or purchased for their student with the associate school. The program should be "outcomes" based, clearly indicating the knowledge and skills the student will be able to demonstrate at the completion of the special program. Parents must notify, in writing, of their intent to offer an independent program to the associate schools.  Schools must provide a written response accepting or denying their sponsorship within 15 school days.

Final Exams

Exams will be sent to the supervising school after the last assignment in the course has been received.  A teacher or administrator will supervise the exam.  If students are writing a diploma exam during the summer, they must register at one of our test writing centres.  Bonnyville High School (780-826-3366) or J. A. Williams High School in Lac La Biche (780-623-4271).

Summer School

Northern Lights School Division operates a summer school program for high school students.  Home school students are welcome to register for courses during the summer term.  For more information see summer school.


Learning Plans

Home school parents and students should contact the principal of their host school to develop a learning plan.  Included in the learning plan are timelines, course selection and reporting standards.  Your host school district will receive a nominal yearly grant per student from the provincial government and schools may pay for a significant portion of the student’s planned program, not exceeding the funded amount.

Sometimes schools may be able to provide textbooks, library access, or supplemental support for home school students.  This is arranged on an individual basis and may involve additional costs.  In some cases, students may arrange for a blended home school program that gives the student the opportunity to take selected school courses and/or participate in extra-curricular activities.  Such arrangements are at the discretion of the principal.

In the learning plan developed for a home school student, we would expect:

  • students to begin working on their lessons as soon as the course material arrives.
  • students to do their own work.
  • students commit to quality work that is neat and appropriate for the grade level.
  • students will have a daily work routine totally at least 30 hours per week.
  • parents to partner in the development of a learning plan and supervise its success.
  • parents to notify the school, in writing, if the student experiences an extended illness or absence from the daily work routine.
  • parents to examine the quality and content of their students’ work to ensure it is reasonably appropriate for the grade level and ready for evaluation.
  • parents to notify and arrange for test writing sessions at the host school.
  • a prearranged school contact schedule to evaluate the success of the student.

Hours of Instruction

Student learning standards indicate:

  • 200 school days per year.
  • 6 hours per day or 900 hours per year.
  • Each 5-credit high school course will take a minimum of 125 study hours.

Goal Setting

Use the NLSD calendar to help you develop an annual plan for completing the home schooling coursework.  This way, your home school student’s schedule will roughly correspond to his or her peers.  If the student is in grades 3,6, 9, or 12, remember to consult and account for provincial testing days.

Plan wisely.  Determine the number of modules in each course and work backwards to develop weekly goals.  Submit completed modules promptly for evaluation and feedback. Getting timely, constructive feedback on completed work is an important part of the learning process.

High Expectations

Developing learning plans and setting goals are essential to a successful home schooling program.  Home schooling is an educational choice and parents and student should maintain the high expectations of a regular classroom program.  Students who are unable or unwilling to maintain the rigors of a successful home schooling program will be called to account by the host school and subject to the remedies provided by the School Act.


Contact Information

For more information on home schooling and other alternative learning programs, contact:

Jimmi Lou Irvine
Associate Superintendent - Teaching & Learning Services