New Families: Eight Steps for Getting Started in K-9
You're signed up with HCOS. You've talked with a Regional Administrator, and your child has been accepted. Now what do you do?
The purpose of this page is to help new to HCOS families get started in their school year. Hopefully, following this step by step guide will make the start of the new year as smooth as possible for you.
Step 1. Connect with your Support Teacher
Your Support Teacher is your primary connection to the school. S/he is responsible for collaborating with you in planning your year. S/he is there to support, encourage and empower you in your home education journey. Your Support Teacher will help you choose and order curriculum for the year. S/he will help you with weekly input and guidance as well as answering your questions. Your Support Teacher will collect work samples throughout the year and will provide formative assessment (feedback). Your Support Teacher will write report cards for your children. Your Support Teacher is key to your child's educational journey (and your sanity). :)
Regular communication with your Teacher
It is very important that you work out a system for communicating regularly with your Support Teacher. The most used options include email, phone calls, texting, and reporting programs such as See Saw. If your Teacher doesn't know what you're doing, it's really hard for them to support you.
Step 2. Get into Encom
Encom is our school database. It is where we house student applications, documents, Student Learning Plans (SLPs), report cards, Proof of Work, your curriculum spending account, and more. It's also where you choose any online courses. You will have received your Encom username and password in your "Welcome to HCOS" email (that is an important email to hang onto).
Step 3. Work together with your support teacher to create Student Learning Plans (SLPs) for each of your children.
The Student Learning Plans (SLPs) are very important documents. It is the first document that the Ministry of Education looks at when they are checking to see if we are following the government guidelines. Collaborating to write the SLP is usually your first contact with the support teacher. It's important to remember that the SLP is a living document, meaning that it can be revisited and revised during the school year. Parents are required to sign off on the SLP once it has been completed.
Step 4. Order your resources and sign up for courses
How do you purchase curriculum? Your Support Teacher can help to guide you through this process.
The HCOS website has a list of vendors who accept HCOS PO#s. After reviewing the resource choices with your Teacher, you can order those from one of the approved vendors.
New guidelines have changed how HCOS can process the purchasing of resources from companies that do not accept HCOS PO#s. For more information see here. For a list of vendors which do accept HCOS PO#s please go here.
For more information, visit Purchasing Process for Parents.
Computer / Tablet Leases
Computers, tablets and iPads can be leased through our computer lease program: information and forms. Please note that you must obtain your Teacher's approval in order for the lease request to be processed.
If your student is taking any online courses, you will need to choose courses in Encom. Here is the step by step process.
Note: Although this refers to High School courses, the process is the same for Grade five to nine online courses.
Step 5. Check out the Learning Commons
The Learning Commons is our library. With a little bit of work, you can find all of the resources needed for your schooling without spending a dime of curriculum funds. You can sign out physical books, virtual books and audio books. We also have unit kits for Science and Social Studies. HCOS subsidizes many subscriptions, which both enhance and reinforce learning in all subject areas. To find out more information on specific subject-related subscriptions, click here. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) resources can also be signed out including various robotics and coding kits.
Your "Welcome to HCOS" email will also contain your login information for our Learning Commons.
Step 6. Subscribe to your region's Learning Groups e-alerts
We have many Learning Group activities around the province. Everything from writing workshops, to robotics, to drama, to field trips happens in Learning Groups. It is important to subscribe to Learning Groups for your region so that you will receive notifications of upcoming events.
Most events can be paid for using curriculum account funds.
Step 7. Set a daily schedule
You will find the greatest success if you have a set schedule and location to do your school work.
When scheduling for the year, look at the total number of weeks (usually 30-36) and then divide your lessons so that you will complete the curriculum on time. Do this for all of the courses. Online courses have a built in scheduler to help. Be sure to factor in holidays.
Schedule your week. Start with a weekly schedule. Which days will you teach each subject? English, Math, Physical Education and Bible should happen every day. Science and Social studies should be taught three times a week. Art, Second Language, ADST and Career can be taught twice a week. Leave room to have some fun. You might try, "Field trip Fridays", "Project Wednesdays", or "Choose your own adventure afternoon".
Have a set starting time for the day's studies. This helps to keep everyone on track. You will find that some days go longer and others will be shorter. This flexibility is one of the great strengths and blessings of home educating. Your average school day will likely be about four hours long. Of course, this will vary by child.
Step 8. Note the important dates
For specific information about deadlines and due dates please go to our SOPHIE page: Important Dates.
It's useful to have these dates on hand so that deadlines aren't a surprise.
You CAN do this!! You're ALREADY doing this. You've been teaching your child(ren) since the day you came home from the hospital. This is just taking another step. Your Support Teacher, and our school are all committed to your success, and most importantly, Jesus is walking with us every step of the way.
If there are other items that you would see as being useful that we should add to this page, please contact your Support Teacher or Regional Administrator.