FAQs: At home learning

FAQs: Horizon at Home Learning and Home Schooling

Welcome to Horizon at Home learning with Horizon School Division! 

In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, we are offering a wider variety of learning options for Horizon families than ever before. We understand and value the importance of health, safety and education. We are dedicated to supporting our student’s diverse needs and creating a new normal for the new school year. 


Q: What is the difference between home school and Horizon at Home Learning?

A: Home school uses programming developed, taught and assessed by parents. Parents can choose the Alberta curriculum, or create their own. The programming has to be approved through the school division, and a teacher will check in twice a year. Home school traditionally lasts for the entire school year. 

Horizon at Home learning was developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The programming is developed, delivered and assessed by Horizon teachers. The programming will follow the Alberta curriculum. Horizon at Home Learning is flexible with multiple opportunities for students to transfer back to their community schools throughout the school year. 


Q: What is a community school? 

A: Community school is a term we developed to reduce confusion. Your child's community school is the school they were registered at previous to the pandemic and will be returning to after. 


Q: Can I send my child(ren) to their community school part time and participate in Horizon at Home learning part time?

A: At this time, to ensure the health and safety of all Horizon students, staff and families we are not offering blended programming. Families can choose to send their child(ren) to community school full time or enroll in at home learning full time. There are opportunities to transfer from at home learning back to their community school throughout the year, but students will not participate in both concurrently. 


Q: How much work should I be expecting my child(ren) to be doing at home?

A: We understand that all students work at their own pace, so times will vary but you can expect your child(ren) to be doing an average of 5-6 hours a day of school related work. 


Q: Are there any digital device requirements for my child(ren)?

A: There are no digital device requirements for students. Paper packages will be made available for students that request it. 


Q: If my child(ren) wishes to use technology for Horizon at Home learning, but does not have access to a device, are there any available to borrow?

A: Our Horizon at Home Hub does not have student devices, but this is something that some schools may be able to arrange if they have enough technology available. Please check with your school’s principal.


Q: If my child(ren) is doing at home learning using paper packages, where do we pick them up and drop them off?

A: The Horizon At Home Learning Hub is located on the main floor of the Horizon Learning Center at 5329 47 Ave. Taber. Drop boxes will be outside the main doors. Packages will be available for pick up in the same location, labelled with your child(ren)’s name. Pick up and delivery of paper packages may be arranged at your child(ren)’s community school on a case by case basis. 


Q: How can I support my child(ren)’s learning at home?

A: Supporting your child with managing their workload, helping keep track of due dates and ensuring assignments are completed would help reduce the challenges with at home learning. Elementary students may need additional support navigating the online environment, and/or reading their assignments. Having open communication with your child(ren)’s teacher(s) will also be beneficial. If you have questions or concerns about your child(ren)’s academic progress, their teacher will be able to provide support for both you and your child(ren). 


Q: How do I communicate with my child(ren)’s teacher?

A: Your child(ren)’s teacher will provide you with their contact information with their preferred methods of communication. Your child(ren)’s teacher will be available to you during Horizon “office hours”, Monday to Friday 8:30 am- 3:30 pm. Communication outside of these hours will be replied to as needed, or within office hours. 


Q: How will my child(ren) be graded?

A: All assessment and grading will be done by your child(ren)’s teacher. They will use a variety of methods to allow your child(ren) to show their learning. Elementary students will have a report card sent home three times throughout the school year (November, March, June) and junior high and high school students will have report cards sent home at the end of each semester (January, June). Teachers will be in constant contact with you and your child about how they are doing academically, and you are free to inquire about their progress at any time. 


Q: My child is currently on an I.S.P. (instructional support plan); how will their needs be met?

A: Your child’s teacher will have access to the I.S.P. and will develop programming that factors in your child’s needs. Both the Horizon at Home teacher and community school teacher(s) will have access to the I.S.P. and update the document as needed. I.S.P. meetings will be held twice a year, or any time major changes happen. 


Q: My child(ren) has previously been seeing the school counselor at their community school. Will that service be provided in at home learning?

A: Yes. The Horizon at Home learning team will be working with the Family Connections Wellness Coaches and FSLC (Counsellors) at your child(ren)’s community school to ensure their emotional and social needs are being met. Please discuss these needs with your child(ren)’s at home learning teacher to ensure this support is in place. 


Q: Will there still be P.D. days and holidays?

A: Yes, at home learning teachers will still participate in PD days. Teachers may be on site, but participating in professional learning. These would be non instructional days for at home learners. On holidays, teachers will not be on site, as they also have the day off. These dates will be provided on the school calendar. 


Q: Will my child(ren) be able to participate in events at their community school while enrolled in at home learning?

A: Community schools have developed procedures, routines and cohorts to ensure students and staff safety. At home learning students will not be a part of their community school’s events or activities until they have transferred from at home learning. 


Q: If my child is ready to go back to their community school, how do we transfer?

A: To help the transition, there will be a limited number of opportunities to transfer back into community schools. We would use natural breaks in the school year to ensure the best continuity of learning possible. Some examples of natural breaks would be the end of reporting periods/semesters, Winter Break, Family Week, Spring Break.


Q: If my child(ren) transfers to their community schools mid-year will they get the full curriculum?

A: Horizon teachers, both at community schools and online, are working together to create the most continuous learning for students as possible. When a student transfers from at home learning to their community school, their at home teacher will be in communication with community school teacher to ease the transition. There are a number of factors that may interrupt the continuity of the student’s learning, but we will work to ensure academic gaps are filled. 


Q: If my child starts the year with at home learning, then transfers to their community school, but then wants to go back to at home learning. Can we do that?

A: It is our hope that students will be able to stay at their community school after they transition from at home learning, but decisions will be made based on a variety of factors on a case by case basis. 


Q: My child is in high school. Will they be earning credits through at home learning?

A: Yes, your child will be earning credits for courses they successfully complete. If they meet the graduation requirements, they will receive their high school diploma. 


Q: What if schools are closed again? 

A: With the most recent information we have from Alberta Education and Alberta Health it is extremely unlikely that we will experience a province-wide school shut down. If community schools have an outbreak, they may close down, but this would be based on geography, not school division. If your child is enrolled in at home learning, but their community school is closed they would continue with their at home learning as usual. The students at the community school would have their learning provided in a similar manner in the first school closure. Transfers would not occur if the community school was closed.