Language is important.

While there are some common threads in each of these programs, it is important to note the differences between these programs as you decide which will best meet your family’s needs.

So often, we hear terms like “homeschooling”, “learning at home”, “home-based learning” etc. used interchangeably without really understanding what these terms mean. At Ignite Centre for eLearning, our experience has helped us ensure that we are using common language that is found in Alberta Education’s policy and legislation documents so that we are all “speaking the same language”, which will help families make well informed decisions regarding program choice.

Home Education – where the parent assumes responsibility for their child’s whole education program – has existed in Alberta since 1997. At that time, the term “homeschooling” was used to describe how families engaged in that learning program. Now, with so many students learning at home, “homeschooling” has become a confusing term, which is why at Ignite we refer to the program name itself – Home Education.

Similarly, with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, emergency remote learning often gets confused with Online learning. The primary difference between these is that emergency remote learning is intended to be temporary; there is an intention for the student to return to the classroom at some point during the year, whereas Online Learning is an intentional program choice made at the beginning of the year, and there is a plan for the student to remain in that program for the duration of the school year. There are very different approaches to teaching and learning in these two environments, as you can see in this chart we have created to help explain the differences.

In our explanatory chart, we also describe “Shared Responsibility Program“, which is a program where the parent assumes responsibility for part of the student’s program, and the school assumes responsibility for the other portion of the student’s program. This program was once referred to as a “blended program”, but since the emergence of blended teaching and learning environments – where some of the student’s programming takes place online and part face-to-face in a classroom – the term blended programs became confusing and was officially changed by Alberta Education to “Shared Responsibility” in 2018.

We hope you find these explanations helpful. Please contact us if you would like to chat further about these programs.

*In addition to Online Learning programming, if first year funding is approved by Alberta Education, Ignite will also offer Home Education and Shared Responsibility program choices. Emergency remote learning is not part of Ignite’s programming.

Click here to view the full chart of program comparisons to help you decide which program will best meet your needs.

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