This year I started officially homeschooling Kiddo. He’s enrolled in SelfDesign, a distributed learning (DL) school funded by the BC Ministry of Education, so it’s technically public school but we do it at home. Kiddo qualified for SelfDesign’s SupportEd (special education) program, which gives us extra funding to help pay for his autism intervention services.

I chose SelfDesign because I’m a big fan of public education and because SelfDesign’s philosophy supports truly individualized education. BC laws allow for two types of homeschooling. Families can register as homeschoolers, meaning the government knows they’re homeschooling, but they don’t have to meet any provincial standards. Alternatively, families can enroll with a BC distributed learning school, which isn’t technically homeschooling because a BC certified teacher oversees the education program.

Snore. That was boring. Sorry.

I think SelfDesign offers the best of both worlds. It’s a DL school, but their philosophy means that I have a huge amount of control over what I teach and how I teach it. I chose curricula that best suit Kiddo’s learning style, and we implement it on our own schedule. We’re still required to meet the provincial education standards, but we have almost unlimited flexibility in how we do that. I submit weekly reports to our learning consultant (teacher — because SelfDesign has to invent new terms for everything). And because Kiddo is in SupportEd, he gets an individualized learning plan (ILP — again with the creative terminology).

We’ve been with SelfDesign for more than four months now. It look me a while to get the hang of their multitudinous, clunky systems, but I finally ironed out the bumps. I’m continuing to use Logic of English Foundations and RightStart Math. I’m so glad I spent so much time researching programs before buying because I seem to have found the right ones on the first try. Kiddo’s reading and math skills are progressing nicely, and he actually understands how English and math work (as much as a six year old can). I’ve also introduced R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey, and we supplement with various other programs and Lego, Lego, so much Lego!

I feel so fortunate to have this education option available to us. Kiddo is smart, but his autism creates challenges for him as a learner. I think he could get by in a regular brick-and-mortar school, but without adequate supports I don’t think he would reach his potential. By teaching him at home in a way that is tailored to his specific needs and abilities, I feel like we’re giving him the best possible chance for success in life.

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