What are the advantages of Distributed Learning?

Distributed learning (DL) is a flexible approach to education that offers students the opportunity to learn outside of the typical classroom setting or schedule. Programs meet the requirements set out by the BC Ministry of Education, and learning plans lead to a BC Certificate of Graduation, just like brick-and-mortar schools.

Distributed Learning can include:

  • In-home programs for K–9 students
  • Online teacher-led programs for grade 7 and higher
  • Blended courses (a combination of teacher-led, face-to-face classroom instruction and online learning)

This allows families to tailor their child’s education to the student’s specific needs or learning style.

What is the difference between Distributed Learning and Traditional Homeschooling?

In British Columbia, every school-aged child must either “enrol” or “register” with a BC school.

Distributed learning increases student access, choice and flexibility for study outside of the classroom. DL students “enrol” and follow the BC curriculum learning guidelines for school subjects—and are eligible to receive a Dogwood diploma upon completion of their high school studies. As an independent DL school, TLA follows the terms of the BC Ministry of Education’s DL Agreement and receives provincial funding for teacher and material support for DL students.

Traditional Homeschooling is an alternative method of teaching offered outside of the BC educational system. Typically, a family member delivers the entire educational program to children at home. Homeschool students “register” with a school, but are not required to follow provincially-mandated curricula and are not eligible to receive a Dogwood Diploma. TLA supports the right of families to traditionally homeschool and offers homeschoolers access to many of the services available to our DL students.

How does TLA’s application process work?

Students enrol in TLA through our online application form, which is automatically submitted to our Registrar. Parents/guardians must submit an application for each student under 19. Adults submit an adult application form.

In addition to the completed application form, all new applications must include:

  •  A copy of the student’s birth certificate or other legal identity document (such as a passport or driver’s license)
  • Documentation proving parent’s BC residency (e.g. utility bill, credit card invoice, rental agreement, etc.)
  • The student’s most recent report card or transcript (if the student is coming from another school)
  • The student’s most recent Individual Education Plan (if applicable)
  • Assessments confirming the diagnosis of the student (if applicable)
  • A copy of any custody agreement (if applicable)

Applications will not be processed until all supporting documents are received.

Parents/guardians and adult students must ensure they read and agree to the Terms and Conditions each year before they submit the application form.

Understanding of, and agreement with, these terms and conditions is fundamental to the continued success of our DL program. It ensures that parents and students are fully aware of the Ministry of Education’s requirements of students—and of approved DL programs.

Personal information is collected, used and disclosed by Traditional Learning Academy DL in accordance with the Personal Information Privacy Policy for Parents and Students.

Once the application is submitted, with supporting documents included, it will be reviewed by the applicable Vice Principals and, if appropriate, the Principal. We will then contact the parents and students by phone or email as appropriate, so everyone has the opportunity to ask further questions and ultimately determine whether TLA’s programs are the right fit for the student.

Applications might be declined for a variety of reasons, such as the inability to meet a child’s needs or teacher availability. In these situations, TLA will notify parents by email.

Once the application is approved, TLA sends a confirmation email to parents that includes information on TLA Policies and how to access resources. Within a week of acceptance, parents and students will be contacted by their teachers.

How long will it take to process my application?

Once the completed online application form and supporting documents have been received, it will be reviewed by our Registrar. The approval process takes around a week.

Will a teacher from TLA come to my home to educate my child?

No, TLA does not provide in-home services, but K-9 and LSS teachers will visit your home each term, schedules and geography permitting.

How much time will my child spend on the computer?

Depending on the program you choose for your child—Home, Blended, or Online—screen-time may vary. Online courses will require more computer time.

When can I start an application for next year?

Application forms for the next academic year are available March 1st.

Can my student enroll in TLA mid year/mid term?

Yes. TLA is a continual entry school and accepts applications throughout the year.

Is there a penalty for late registration?

There is no penalty for late enrollment, however, K-9 students receive less government funding if they transfer mid-year.

Does TLA have early learning programs for pre-K?

No, TLA is a Kindergarten to Grade 12 school and does not offer early learning programs for pre-Kindergarten students.

I’m an international student. Can I take courses with TLA?

Yes. TLA welcomes international students. Upon admission, applicants must provide a valid study permit and will be invoiced $1200/course.

I’m an adult student—can I take courses with TLA? Is there a fee?

Yes. Whether you want to upgrade courses or complete your high school diploma as an adult, TLA offers courses for both non-graduated adults ($250/course) and graduated adults ($500/course).

We live outside BC. Can my child still be a TLA student?

Yes, your child can attend TLA while living outside of BC. However, fees will apply. See the course fee schedule here.

Can my child be a student at TLA if we are traveling or temporarily live outside of BC?

Yes. However, students must maintain and provide proof of BC residency or out-of-province fees will apply.

How do TLA teachers communicate/receive assignments/work with students, either local or remote?

Teachers communicate with students weekly via Gmail, Google Hangouts, Skype, etc.

Parents assist in communicating with teachers when a student’s physical or cognitive level requires.

Assignments in online courses are generally submitted through our online course system.

Does TLA provide a standard set of resources for Distributed Learning students?

In the K-9 Home program, no. TLA teachers can recommend resources and programs, and parents can simply request that the teacher make the choices for these facets of the students’ learning plan. However, TLA prefers to work in partnership with the family to choose resources and programs based on the family’s goals and the children’s interests and needs. Teachers will guide the pacing of study where needed to encourage student success.

In the 10-12 Online program, online academic courses generally have a standard course outline, and students have full access to resources after paying a refundable $50 deposit.

How much funding is available for my child?

K–9 Students: with a comparatively low student-to teacher ratio, TLA provides maximum benefit to each student from the Ministry grant through a $600 budget. This includes third-party services and consumables, and freely lent non-consumables like textbooks, through online licenses to learning resources like IXL.com and readingeggs. We also provide numerous field trips, and easy access to our Blended and Online courses.

K–9 Home Students: have access to a $600 budget per child, according to Ministry of Education rules. TLA families also have access to freely lent textbooks and non-consumable learning resources and tools. Access to our online and blended courses is available with only a minimal impact on the above-mentioned budget. In addition, we connect you with a host of top-quality, freely provisioned online resources. We do not cap the school’s provisioning of your child’s learning program at any set dollar figure.

10-12 Students: in general, there is not a budget allocated for standard academic courses, but some elective courses like Music, Cooking, Dance, and PE are eligible for access to $100 funding per non-standard course, to a maximum of $400 to support course related activities.

What is the Home program?

Available from kindergarten to grade 9, the Home program is a highly personalized learning program created by the parent and the teacher—and with the input of students as they get older. Learn predominantly happens in the home under the parent’s supervision; but Blended courses may be included in the Home program, and Online courses are available from grade 7, onwards. Home programs are created one student at a time and often incorporate personal interests and needs. TLA teachers visit in the home several times annually to plan with the family to maximize children’s learning.

What happens after my child is accepted to the TLA Home program?

You will have an initial visit with a Home teacher at your home, who will learn as much as possible about the students. They will ask you and your child about interests, strengths, weaknesses and goals for the term. They will also discuss resource choices and teaching strategies, and you can let us know which learning resources you want to use in their child(ren)’s learning plan. The teacher will then determine if the intended resources satisfy the learning standards. If there are areas where the standards are not met, we’ll figure out how to supplement the resources so that learning standards are met. This needs to be accomplished as early as possible, so that resources can be in place when school starts in September.

Teachers, in collaboration with parents and students, complete a Student Learning Plan (SLP). All SLPs must be completed prior to the first day of school in September for students who enroll before August 20th, or within seven school days for students who enroll after that date. All SLPs will be shared with parents and students in grade 8 and up. Each student must have an SLP to cover all of the required curriculum areas for their grade level as well as any elective or supplementary courses they are studying.

How early can students begin taking online courses?

Beginning in grade 7, students have the option to take online courses. If you want your children to take courses online, simply let your Home teacher know, and they will make the request for you. Students studying online for Grade 7–9 courses will follow the course overview as indicated online and will attempt to complete a course prior to June. Students in Grades 7–9 can also take a full course load online. In this case they will not be assigned a Home teacher.

How does Distributed Learning work for students in grades 10–12?

Grade 10–12 Online students work with TLA’s Vice Principal, who helps ensure each student has a personalized plan and the credits they need for graduation.

TLA’s Grade 10–12 online courses are designed to help students meet the curriculum requirements to earn their Dogwood Diploma. These courses include an online overview and schedule, based on either a linear or semester plan. Students who enter or exit a course other than in September or June may request individualized schedules.

How do your courses work?

Each TLA online course is taught by a BC-certified TLA teacher. Online course requirements may include a combination of online materials, web-based or textbook reading materials, and a variety of assignments, quizzes and other assessment activities.

When you enrol at TLA, you’ll receive a school email address and access to our online course system through an assigned TLA account. You’ll use your TLA email for all school-related communication. All of the courses you’ve enrolled in will be available to you through our online course system.

Can I go to TLA and another school at the same time?

Yes. This is called “cross-enrolment,” and students in BC are permitted to cross-enrol with multiple schools.

Cross-enrolled students are part of TLA Online and will access their online courses as above.

In grades 10-12, this process is common, and simple. In grades K-9, TLA Online needs to make arrangements with the other cross-enrolling school.

What is the cost for your online (grades 10-12) courses?

There is no tuition charge or fees for our online courses. However, we do ask for a deposit on books borrowed from the TLA library.

How do I get the books I need for my courses?

The TLA Library will loan you any books needed for the online courses. There is a $50 deposit per book to a maximum of $100. If you live in the Lower Mainland, you can pick the books up at our Cloverdale office. If you live outside the Lower Mainland, we’ll mail the books to you, but they must be returned to us at your expense.

How long does it take to complete an online course?

Online courses take anywhere from 100-120 hours to complete. This time varies from student to student.

How fast can I finish a course? What’s the maximum time I can take?

We recommend completing a course no faster than two months. This allows teachers time to provide adequate feedback and assistance. The maximum time per course a student can take is 12 months from the course start date.

When can I start a course and how do I pick up more courses?

Courses can be started at any time. If you are currently enrolled, you can add courses by filling in the Add/Drop form in our Online Student Office. If you’re not currently enrolled, you’ll need to complete a new application form before new courses can be added.

Are your courses certified? Will they count toward graduation?

Our courses are taught by BC-certified teachers. Marks for all completed courses are sent to the Ministry of Education, where they are added to your credits toward your Dogwood Diploma.

Do universities look at DL/Online courses differently than courses from other schools?

TLA Online courses appear on your Ministry of Education transcript the same as any other courses. If your primary school is not TLA, then only your main school’s name will appear on your transcript. You will receive a report card from TLA for any courses you take with us. The only difference is that some universities will only count grade 12 courses toward early admission once they are complete.

I’ve never taken an online course. Will I be able to manage the technology?

Taking an online course can be daunting at first, especially if you haven’t spent much time with computers before. TLA’s introductory course for students and parents shows you how to navigate our course website before you begin your courses.

If you’re generally familiar with using email, know how to save and attach files, and have used word processing programs like Word or Google Docs, then the tech requirements will be a breeze!

How will I access my courses and connect with my teachers?

TLA’s online learning connects you to a private website where you gain access to your courses and your TLA community. When you enrol with TLA, we create a profile for you with your own personal email account and home page, where you’ll find links to your courses. In your course pages, you will find assignments as well as print and visual resources to enrich your learning and help you complete the assignments.

You can also attend live virtual classes online on your topic of study, where you can collaborate with other students and your teacher. You’ll be able to connect with your teachers online or through email or chat if you have any questions or need help. You’ll find the information you need to connect with your teacher on your course page. Your teachers will mark your assignments and offer feedback online. When your assignment has been marked, you’ll receive a notification through your school email account and check your grades online.

Does taking an online course mean being online the whole time I’m doing the work?

Online learning doesn’t mean you have to be connected to the internet all the time. You’ll have time offline while you read textbooks, novels or other course materials, answer assignment questions, or prepare a report. Assignments can be downloaded and handwritten according to your preference. Students will then access the internet to upload completed assignments or attend a class.

Who is successful at online learning?

Typically students who are organized, self-motivated and can schedule or pace their progress in several different subjects at once are the most successful at online learning. Any student can work towards strengthening those skills—it just takes practice and a desire to be consistent.

The most successful students benefit from a dedicated study space that is well-lit and quiet (but not their bedroom) and regular check-ins from their parent or guardian. Our teachers and supportive administrative staff are here to help you set up your schedule, and provide the advice and counseling to parents.

Is it possible to achieve a certified high school diploma through TLA Online?

Yes. As an accredited independent BC Distributed Learning school, TLA Online offers a full complement of core and elective high-school courses that meet the BC Ministry of Education learning standards. Our courses are taught by BC-certified teachers, so you can take your whole high school program with TLA Online while fitting learning into your family’s lifestyle—at home and online. Students who graduate from TLA Online earn a recognized BC high school Dogwood diploma.

What kind of teacher support is available?

At TLA, we surround your student with a supportive community of professional Christian staff and teachers who are passionate about families, children and education. Our BC-certified educators are experienced online teachers and are only a call or click away. Our teachers are also available through weekly check-ins, virtual classes and integrated face-to-face classes that support student’s online learning.

How much do technology skills play a part in online learning?

Our students not only get a rigorous academic education, they gain competency in technology to whatever degree they wish to engage in it. Students who learn to work online will develop skills to meet their future. You don’t have to be a tech wizard to start, though. We help you through the first steps and build in support and natural advancement in technology skills. Our tech-support team is available to you via our help desk with quick assistance to your problems and questions. Our tech team members are also teachers, and offer technology skill-based courses and seminars.

How do tests work? Do I need to write exams at a TLA location?

Many tests and quizzes in courses are completed online, under parental supervision. In academic courses there are two tests that must be formally supervised online via Examity.com. Graduation Assessment exams are held at a TLA location.

What happens when I graduate from TLA?

Upon completion of graduation requirements at TLA, students will receive a Dogwood Diploma from the BC Ministry of Education. Students are also invited to attend TLA’s Grad Gala event, which takes place each year at Newlands Golf Course in Langley.

My child has a learning disability or Ministry designation. Do you have space for them?

TLA’s Learning Support Services Vice Principal determines space availability for students with Ministry designations or learning disabilities in categories A–H.

How much funding will students with a learning disability/Ministry designation receive?

TLA receives educational funding grants—provided to all independent distributed learning schools in BC—for all students, including those with special needs. LSS students are those who have been assessed and designated by approved professionals within specific categories. These categories allow TLA to apply for additional funding to support programs for LSS students. This Ministry of Education funds support the entire LSS program, including students, teachers and administrative support.

Every student is entitled to a specialized program that meets their individual learning needs. While no student receives a specific amount of funding, teachers and parents work together to develop an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) that includes resources and services paid for with Ministry of Education funding. These resources and services must be linked to the student’s IEP and justified by appropriate assessments and recommendations.

Upon acceptance and enrolment in LSS, parents will receive a full budget policy. TLA complies with Ministry policy, and as such, does not provide student budget funding for services such as: respite care, child care, weekend or overnight care, transportation, animals or animal care products. For further information, please see the preliminary LSS information here.

What's the difference between Blended programs and Blended courses?

Blended programs are one or two day programs where a teacher works with a class of students, and is also the teacher for the Home portion of educational program. These programs are usually multi-grade level and only at the K-9 level at TLA.

Blended courses are individual courses that complement a K-9 or 10-12 program. For example, a Home student in grade 8 may take Blended Humanities 8 as part of their grade 8 program. A grade 11 student may take Blended Biology 11, but take the rest of their courses online.

What is Blended learning at TLA?

Blended learning combines face-to-face instruction with learning via electronic media in a purposeful and complementary way to enhance student engagement. Students divide their time between attending a brick-and-mortar campus and remote learning through the online delivery of content and instruction.

TLA Blended courses offer families greater options for the educational journey of their K–12 students. Through core academic subjects or special-interest classes, TLA’s Blended teachers design their curriculum to meet provincial learning outcomes. Taught by specialist instructors, our Blended courses are designed to spark students’ interests and passions and promote student growth. Our class sizes are intentionally small to encourage student participation and allow teachers to interact with each student.

TLA offers Blended courses like Humanities 7–12, Drama, Math, Biology and more, as well as one- and two-day programs for students in grades K–9.

How much time will my child spend in class with a Blended course?

Students typically spend 1.5 hours per week in the classroom, in an interactive learning environment where they engage with their teacher and peers. Outside the classroom, students have access to course content and receive weekly communication through an online hub, such as Google Communities or Moodle.

Some weeks, learning may be facilitated in a “flipped” classroom, where the teacher assigns course information (such as a YouTube video, or a reading assignment) for students to review prior to class—allowing them to focus their classroom time on concept application and group work.

Who can enrol for a TLA Blended class or course?

For grades K–9, both TLA and non-TLA students can enrol.
For grades 10–12, both TLA and cross-enrolled students can enrol.

Can I make an appointment to meet with someone in person?

Yes, by all means! For program-specific inquiries, or to schedule your appointment, please contact:

Grades K–9 (Home, Online, Blended)
Steve Borley
1-800-745-1320 ext. 104
sborley@schoolathome.ca

Grades 10–12 (Online and Blended)
Mary-Anne VanderHorst
1-800-745-1320 ext. 234
mvanderhorst@schoolathome.ca

Learning Support Services
Virginia Hooper
1-800-745-1320 ext. 136
vhooper@schoolathome.ca

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