By Laurel Coatsworth.

Marketers cater to it. Politicians stir emotions with it. Parents want more of it. Choice. In every sphere of life, choice is there, being celebrated. Every sphere, that is, except the one, that matters most: education. In Canada, there remain few options in this realm but more than ever, parents are exploring alternatives for their children. In fact, in Canada, from 2006 to 2012 homeschooling enrollment grew by an astounding 29% (Van Pelt).

For Alicia, homeschooling has always centered on wanting more for her children than she received as a student. While she was strong academically, Alicia confesses she didn’t recall a lot of what was taught in the classroom. And, who can blame her when rote learning has largely replaced concept acquisition. Having been homeschooled for only a few years and enjoying the experience, she decided to implement the method for her own children.

Alicia’s children aren’t just learning Canadian history, but their part in a much larger narrative. Starting with Jewish antiquity, the children’s knowledge extends to include Greek and Roman accounts, all the way through to the Reformation. In this way, Alicia hopes to instill in them a richer understanding of culture.

The family has even begun using Google Classroom* in their studies, which has helped them keep better records and fewer pieces of paper. This year, the children’s father scanned the entire curriculum onto his computer and the children then used stylistic pens to input their answers.

For Alicia and her husband, the emphasis is on preparing the child for life.“You’re more of a facilitator for learning than you are the entire source of their learning. You teach them how to learn versus what they need to know” (Goettl), explains Alicia.

The family has found the homeschooling landscape to be a freeing one. They’ve vacationed when most children would be in school because their homework travels with them. On Fridays, they participate in a homeschool co-operative group. Here, they learn new skills like sewing and music and have a chance to connect with other homeschooled students.

Later, learning comes to life when the children’s father shows some of the children the inner workings of a car engine and later some carpentry basics. Valuable life skills are being taught, still something more profound is taking place. Character is forming.“For me, it’s not as much about how well they do in math, it’s about what kind of person they’re going to be. Teaching character is much more important than teaching anything else and that’s what I can do throughout the day” (Goettl). Such a holistic educational approach isn’t typically found inside the average classroom.

For Alicia and her family the benefits of a home education are clear. While it is not an easy task caring for and instructing six children under twelve, Alicia feels it is her calling in life. “It always has its challenges but anything worthwhile does” (Goettl).

Sources

Van Pelt, Deani Neven. Home Schooling in Canada: The Current Picture-2015 Edition. Barbara Mitchell Centre for Improvement in Education, 2015, https://www.fraserinstitute.org/sites/default/files/home-schooling-in-canada-2015-rev2.pdf. Accessed 24 Sep. 2018.

Alicia Goettl, Alicia. Personal Interview. 6 September. 2018.

*To use Google Classroom, type in Google Classroom or go to https://classroom.google.com

Once here, you’ll be directed to log into your gmail account. If you don’t have a google gmail account you will need to create one before logging on.

A screen will pop up, and homeschooling individuals simply need to check off the box at the bottom of the page that says “I’ve read and understand the above notice, and I’m not using Classroom at a school with students” and then click continue and they will have access to the classroom.

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