Take note: We also have a Getting Started webinar recording available in our Recordings section, if you prefer that format for this information.

SHBE recommends that families wanting to educate their children at home follow the following 6 steps for success:

Step 1: Why? What are your reasons for homeschooling?
Step 2: What? What does your child need to learn to be “Successful”?
Step 3: How? You know your child best: How does your child learn best? What is your teaching style?
Step 4: Plan! Start learning about curriculum, resources, clubs and activities.
Step 5: File. Just like taxes, file your paperwork with the province.
Step 6: Enjoy and adjust as needed…

Step 1: Why? What are your reasons for homeschooling?

Start by carefully considering why you want to homeschool. What are the philosophical or religious convictions that convince you to homeschool? What is the purpose and nature of education?

Write down positive reasons to homeschool – not based on fear or frustration. Flexibility, faith and beliefs, customized learning, positive socialization, more time with family and friends, creativity, critical thinking, deeper exploration of concepts, and high academic achievement are many positive reasons to homeschool. The outcomes of home education are not limited to academic achievement (studies consistently indicate better academics, marital stability, civic engagement, volunteerism, generosity, tolerance, faith) (Van Pelt, 2009). Think about what is the purpose and nature of education (is it about preparing for a vocation, passing on values, learning for the sake of learning, developing critical thinking skills, etc).

Answering these questions will drive the rest of your plan and can be referenced during your year as a source of strength and inspiration.

You need to decide if home education is the right choice for your family.  Following are helpful suggestions as you are working through the factors:

  • Browse our website for all the available information about homeschooling in Saskatchewan
  • Discover local Facebook homeschool groups to locate support group contacts and for information on others' experiences
  • Visit your local library to obtain books and resources on home education, also referred to as Home Schooling (make use of inter-library loan services if your branch has limited resources). Read as much as you can to make a wise decision.
  • Talk to experienced home educators. SHBE has an annual convention in February.  The Getting Started seminar is always free to anyone, including those not registered for the entire convention!  This can be great opportunity for those wanting to learn more about home education. In addition to other home educators, this convention also has numerous curriculum vendors who are very willing to answer questions.
  • Contact your SHBE Board Director to answer any of your questions

Step 2: What? What does your child need to learn to be “Successful”?

The core subjects for provincial reporting are Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies. You may choose to teach additional subjects such as philosophy, religion, music, health, industrial arts and so on.

The subjects and topics you cover will be heavily influenced by the nature and purpose of education you considered earlier, which determines your measure of “success”. How do your chosen subjects intersect with each other and with the core subjects of Math, Science, Language Arts and Social Studies? For example, Historical novels may intersect with both Language Arts and Social Studies, or Speed, Velocity and Rates of Change in Science and Math may intersect.

How you start your program will depend on what educational approach you take. There are as many styles of home education as there are home based learning families from the very structured to the free-form, from school-at-home to unschooling. Read up on the different approaches and the philosophies behind them to create one that suits your family’s needs and values. 

Step 3: How? How does your child learn best? What is your teaching style?

Homeschooling offers a lot of freedom, so many of the preconceptions you may have from classroom experiences may not apply. Learning style, level of independence, special needs, and your style and preferred teaching method will all shape how you homeschool.

Assess your strengths and style – do you enjoy flexibility or schedules and structure? Assess your child’s strengths and style – do they enjoy sitting and listening to stories, or do they enjoy building, or are they more inclined to watching demonstrations? Are you children able to learn independently? Assess your resources – do you have hobbies or interests that may intersect with your child’s education?

Lots of new homeschoolers find it beneficial to take an online quiz to discover their child's learning style to help them decide where to begin!  You can even find quizzes on your own homeschool teaching style!

Consider different approaches – Charlotte Mason, Classical Education, Unschooling, Store-bought Curriculum, Unit Studies, or mixture of methods (eclectic)?  The internet is full of information on all of these approaches.  Here is a site that shares 8 types of homeschool methods!

Step 4: Plan! Start choosing curriculum, resources, clubs and activities.

Having considered why you will homeschool, what you will teach and how you will homeschool, you can make better decisions about what curriculum and/or resources to use. Join a homeschool support group or attend a homeschool convention. Speak with other families to see what works for them.

It is a good idea to maintain flexibility as you get started – it is not uncommon to change curricula or resources to meet your goals! Some good feedback from parents include waiting to purchase curriculum by using libraries and free resources to gain experience and evaluate different educational styles. Another piece of advice was to stagger the dates when you start different subject areas – perhaps start with math or language arts, then a week later start another subject, and so on until you have established a full rhythm.

If you haven’t already, find and join your local support group, join SHBE, read the SHBE Journalsubscribe to a magazine, follow our Facebook page, check out homeschool supply stores. You will find the community of home-based learners is a generous community that is willing to share ideas and support. Help from SHBE is only a click or phone call away!

Join SHBE to be part of the provincial organization that is committed to supporting home educators, promoting home education, and protecting the right to home educate! Membership is $35 per year and is renewed annually.  To learn more about SHBE, check out our About page!

Step 5: File. Just like taxes, file your paperwork with the province.

SHBE has a helpful guide to walk you through reporting, from filing out the Notice of Intent, documenting a Written Education Plan, and completing the Annual Progress Report.

Saskatchewan is a high-regulation province. The legal requirements are defined in The Education Act, The Home Based Education Regulations, and The Home Based Education Policy Manual.

Acts and Regulations are quite broad and change very infrequently, so the policy manual outlines the practical consideration that govern the responsibilities of school divisions and home based educators. SHBE is very familiar with the Home Based Education Policy Manual, which outlines the content of the Written Education Plan and Annual Progress Report that must be filed with the Registration Authorities.

SHBE has worked hard to simplify the filing process by meeting regularly with the Ministry of Education and speaking with various school divisions. We speak with the Ministry of Education to find out what is their understanding of the policy manual and what instructions they provide to school divisions. We speak with school divisions to learn how they understand their role as registering authority, and to discuss any areas that are not clear. We also speak with Home School Legal Defense Canada (www.hslda.ca) to better understand what are the minimum legal requirements to meet provincial regulations and policies. We have used this information to provide Written Education Plan and Annual Progress Report templates that comply with the provincial regulations.

Notice of Intent: You are required to notify the school division that you live in that you intend to register as a home based educator. This is done by filling out the form entitled Notice of Intent and Registration of a Home-based Education Program form.

Written Education Plan: There is no prescribed format required, but it must include: (1) a philosophical approach and positive reason for homeschooling; (2) three broad annual goals in language arts, social studies, math, and science; (3) the means of assessing and recording the educational progress (either “standardized test” or “portfolio of work”); (4) the services requested from the registering authority. SHBE has developed a template for the Written Education Plan that meets all regulatory requirements (see our Forms & Templates Resources page).

Annual Progress Report: A record of assessment toward the broad annual goals documented in the written education plan. There is only one method of assessment for each written education plan – you do not need to provide detail – “standardized test” or “portfolio of work”. If you selected standardized testing as a method of assessment, those results constitute the annual progress report, but you still must compile and maintain a portfolio of work. The portfolio of work includes a periodic log and a summative record and/or sample of work for each broad annual goal listed on the written education plan. School Divisions may not require samples of work when summative records are provided (“Portfolio of Work” does not mean “Samples of Work”). SHBE has developed a template for the Annual Progress Report that meets all regulatory requirements for a portfolio of work (see our Forms & Templates Resources page).

For greater detail on complying with reporting requirements, as well as using the SHBE Templates, please refer to the SHBE Guide to using SHBE Templates.

The provincial regulations require each school division to develop home based education administrative procedures to define what services will be available, including extra-curricular sports, art or music, materials, books, photocopying, or other supports, in addition to the required driver training and educational assessments. Any school division procedure must align with the Saskatchewan Home Based Education Regulations and Policy Manual.

Step 6: Enjoy and adjust as needed…

Now take a deep breath, relax and enjoy the time you have with your child!  Home educating, while more difficult and time consuming than sending your child off to a public school, should not constantly give you stress and headaches. Remember: relax and enjoy!

This is a time to spend with your child and to teach them in the way that fits them best. You will know that better than anyone else. Sometimes it is easier to stick with one curriculum when beginning, but be open to and aware of your child’s specific learning preferences and needs. Be creative in your teaching and learning methods. As you gain experience, you may find that you want to adjust your reasons for homeschooling, what methods you want to use, etc…

Change and Adjust as desired!