Education Options for Your Child

Kids between the ages of six and 16 who live in British Columbia must attend school. Kids don’t necessarily have to attend public schools, or even private schools, which are the two school systems most people think of first. As long as schooling follows the BC provincial curriculum, any type of schooling is accepted. So, what education options do you have?

Public School

Publicly funded schools, known commonly as public school is the traditional type of schooling that most kids in the province attend. Public schools are available in most communities across BC and run from kindergarten right through to Grade 12. It is free for any child to attend as it is government funded.

Private School Education Options

Private schools are another option that has been around for years that many parents think of when considering schooling. There are several different types of private schools available throughout the province, all with different focuses. Private schools typically receive little to no government funding, so parents must pay for their children to attend. Just a few of the many private school options are religious schools, Montessori Schools, boarding schools and single-gender schools. A lot of parents feel these types of school fit with their values more than other types of schooling. Some private schools are elementary only, high school only or offer all grades.

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Teaching your kids yourself, or “homeschooling” is an option that has become a lot more popular in the last decade or so. Homeschooling means that you are teaching your children at home, using your own methods and materials, as long as the BC curriculum is followed. Many parents join up and teach all their children together, each handling different subjects. However, other parents prefer one-on-one styles with their own children. You will now find homeschool meetup groups, swim lessons and other options in most neighbourhoods as this type of schooling grows in popularity. Homeschoolers typically must register with their local public school and can gain access to curriculum and possible funding to purchase teaching materials.

Distance Education

Distance Education is offered through most school districts for little to no cost as it is typically part of the public school system. It is like homeschooling as students are given the curriculum, must go through the materials and learn it themselves. However, they will receive some online education from teachers and typically turn to online resources and educators to assess their work and ask questions. Support is available via online chats or email. Exams are typically completed in a central location or online via a supervisor. Distance education is offered for all levels of schooling. But it tends to be more popular with the middle or higher grades.

Nature & Forest-Based Education Options

This is another one of the education options that has become a lot more popular in the last few years. Many cities now offer at least one forest or nature school option for their young people to learn. The curriculum is taught all or at least mostly outdoors, using a hands-on nature-based approach. Nature schools receive little to no government funding, so the parents must pay for this type of schooling. However many are co-op based and have lower fees if the parents are involved in the teaching process. The goal of most nature and forest schools is to give students time to connect with nature, explore their creativity and create meaningful connections with their communities. Nature-based preschools seem to be the most popular in most cities. However, you’ll find some schools that are elementary-based, and even ones that offer all levels of schooling.

Specialty Education Options

Some children with physical and/or learning limitations may benefit from specialty education options offered in the community. Depending on the school district, some of these schools may be offered as a public-school option. However, many of these schools will rely on the parents to pay for all or some of their child’s education. Specialty education schools are usually offered for all levels of schooling, but depending on the learner’s needs, school may not be offered full time.

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