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HomePlus Learning Network at PRPS

Posted on April 4, 2024 by Ryan Dahlman

By Samantha Johnson
Prairie Rose Public Schools Content Writer

Prairie Rose Public Schools (PRPS) HomePlus Learning Network currently has just under 50 students enrolled. Most of the programming is a parent-choice model, primarily home education directed by the parent(s). Two options are available, one is to follow a 22-outcome model from K-12 and the other is to follow the Alberta Education curriculum. With the second option, the parents are funded to buy all the resources and are responsible for the education of their child(ren).

HomePlus is more involved in the learning process with the online program where software platforms, such as Seesaw or Google Classroom, are populated with learning materials and education is guided at home. Each student has regular virtual check-in meets with HomePlus where successes and concerns can be shared.

Distance learning is also an option, with some students attending school while living in other countries or long-distance sailing with their parents. Outside of assessment and marking, there isn’t a component for teacher time with distance learning, thus it is more suitable for students who are able to work independently,

Additionally, there are five students who currently have in-person programming with HomePlus. This is for students who aren’t attending a regular school but require an in-person experience and their schedule, along with if they also have blended online learning, depends on the needs of the student and schedule of the parents.

“There are so many different family circumstances out there and this can fit around various scenarios,” said Principal Carol Carlson.

HomePlus staff are very attuned to mitigating students feeling isolated. “Many home-ed parents bring that up,” stated Carlson. “At the same time, because they are so aware of it, they do a beautiful job of getting their kids involved in things in the community. Many of those kids are in 4-H, sports, their parents have memberships at the Y, or they go to music lessons. They are doing so much and there is an opportunity for them to be around other kids. It inspires what we try to do to support that.”

Michelle Kuzik is the Behaviour Education Assistant with HomePlus and compiles a regular newsletter that outlines all the events and age-appropriate activities available in the community.

“I take the extra time to do the legwork and put it all on an easy document along with a calendar for them to see. We also update what we are doing in school so they can get involved on some of the projects or research going on (such as for Passion Projects),” added Kuzik.

Her role supports unique learning where Kuzik finds strategies and ways to strengthen weaknesses or enhance strengths to build student’s confidence and self-awareness so they can move forward. Kuzik meets with most of her students daily, but the schedule is constantly changing depending on their needs. Some require more support than others and there is often shyness to overcome when there has been in-person learning and a student is now moving to home learning.

“We often support them more in the beginning to get them into a routine,” said Carlson. Helping students establish routines and walking them through how to start their day is a key aspect when joining HomePlus. “Even for online learning, you still start your day with your regular things, whatever that looks like in their household, to stay balanced,” added Kuzik.

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