One of the challenges of homeschooling can be finding local activities that are as enjoyable as they are educational, that are affordable, and that understand and accommodate the home learning life. You want activities that support your home learning goals, that foster creative thinking and exploration, and that welcome and respect your child as a unique individual with their own capacity to contribute meaningfully to their personal education.
Luckily, theatre programs such as TES Theatre Company can provide the perfect fit that BC homeschooling families are looking for. Whether you are a registered homeschooler, attend a blended program in the Vancouver Lower Mainland, or are enrolled with an Online Learning Program, TES Theatre makes home learning easy in so many ways. For example, did you know that you can cover a lot of BC curriculum learning outcomes through theatre classes?
Here are ten tips for how TES Theatre can help you with your home learning goals.
1. Documentation for Learning Plans
If you are enrolled with an OL (an Online Learning Program, or an institution previously identified as a “DL” or distributed learning program), you probably have to provide documentation for some of your child’s learning activities. You might already be in the habit of compiling work samples, photographs, videos, teacher reports, class descriptions, or other artifacts of your child’s education. TES Theatre makes this easy by providing photographs and video clips of the classes and productions, as well as descriptions of what happens in each program. This makes it really simple to just transfer documents to your learning folder, or print evidence for your learning plan conference portfolio.
2. Allotment Funding
Some OL Programs offer allotment funding to help pay for educational items or classes. Since almost all of TES Theatre’s students are home learners, we have long standing relationships with most OLs. We can invoice them directly so that you can use your allotment funds towards the classes without any hassle. TES Theatre makes this process as easy and seamless as possible. If you find navigating the SRF forms to be a nuisance, we can help. We know how home learning works and we can save you the headache of figuring out all the red tape.
3. Curriculum for K – 8
One of the reasons OL funds are easily applied towards TES Theatre classes is that our curriculum matches BC’s learning outcomes. Our classes meet all of the Big Ideas, Content, and Curricular Competencies as described by the British Columbia Arts Education Curriculum. In the younger grades, all of our programs provide a solid foundation in theatre arts. Students can choose to focus on any aspect of theatre they find inspiring, including:
Participants can meet their schooling needs through any of these disciplines. Many of our younger students attend TES Theatre to complete their arts requirements for elementary school or middle school.
4. High School Credits
At the older high school level, from grades 10 – 12, our programs can be used for more specific course credits. TES Theatre is an effortless fit for the content and curriculum of every secondary school course in any of the following:
- Theatre Company
- Theatre Production
- Creative Writing
- Theatre History
- Musical Theatre
Or almost any arts subject, as described by BC’s Arts Education High School Curriculum. Even students who attend a regular brick & mortar school can cross-enroll for a handful of arts/theatre classes. While TES Theatre does not have a certified high school teacher, students can sometimes provide sufficient documentation to their own teacher to assess the work being done and the accomplishments the student has achieved. If the student already attends an OL such as IDEAS, this is generally seamless.
5. Multidisciplinary Learning
While it might be obvious that a theatre program would provide the educational expectations of theatre and arts courses, there are other subjects that students can cover through theatre as well. Theatre is extremely multidisciplinary! Through TES Theatre, students have studied and/or contributed to the requirements for courses in huge range of subjects, including:
- English Literature
- Social Studies
- Capstone Project
While it might be challenging (but not impossible) to get a full course in something like ADST (applied design, skills & technologies) or Social Studies through TES Theatre, the program is diverse and multifaceted enough that components of it can be applied to almost any course, since students can choose to focus on any aspect of the program that they find exciting and inspiring.
6. Life Skills Learning
As well as covering school curriculum, theatre students learn a lot of life skills that are harder to quantify. So much goes into creating a stage play, and participants learn from all of it. If you are an unschooler, or an eclectic homelearner, you will recognize how building a set or timing a soundtrack involves numeracy; how learning about your character involves social studies; or how exploring a script involves literacy. Learning happens all the time, anywhere and everywhere, but there is a high concentration of learning that happens at TES Theatre. The students are involved in every aspect of putting on a play, and come away knowing all sorts of things they didn’t know they were going to learn.
7. Creativity in Kids & Teens
It might seem self-evident that theatre is great for channeling creativity. This is true in lots of obvious ways involving performing, painting sets, and interpreting scripts, but there is also a lot of creativity in adapting the productions to our own space, our niche audience, our young demographic. There is creativity in costuming an entire period drama within a budget, and in mounting a large scale broadway musical with a very small ensemble. When the teen group wanted to tackle The Rocky Horror Picture Show, they had to get really creative about how to make it appropriate for an all-ages audience. The creativity that being part of a theatre troupe inspires is as impressive as it is unlimited. This is the kind of learning that is gold for homeschooling families, and because it emanates from TES Theatre’s inspiring youth-led approach, it is impossible to replicate in a conventional school.
8. Democracy & Communication
There are a lot of seriously philosophical discussions at TES Theatre! The kids choose the plays they want to work on as a group, which means participants get to pitch their ideas and try to communicate their visions so that their own excitement over a particular play gains traction amongst the group. The students have to collaborate on decisions through both democratic and consensus-building processes. This level of engagement supports youth in becoming involved citizens with a sense of agency in the broader community. It engenders self-confidence as well as respect for fellow citizens and respectful behaviour towards those with opposing views. For many families, this is what home learning is all about.
9. Ethics, Diversity, & Safe Space
The discussions at TES Theatre sometimes broach philosophical problem-solving at an ontological level, and this can get complicated! There are issues of representation that come up in theatre, issues of gender, culture, diversity, and history. Sometimes the kids choose a play with outdated stereotypes, or questionable representations, and have to figure out how to negotiate with the subject matter in ways that are relevant, respectful, and contribute positively to the conversation without extending the lifespan of negative cliche or harmful constructs. This can be very tricky, and even when we decide to shelve a play because we can’t find the right balance, the discussions are always invaluable. The kids engage in thoughtful dialogue worthy of University seminars. For home learners of all kinds, from curriculum-followers to unschoolers, this kind of enriched, analytical-yet-empathetic exercise results in the deep affective/ethical learning that home education is all about.
10. Socializing for Home Learners
Maybe the biggest concern about homeschooling is socializing: how will the kids make friends. This is equally true for enrolled home learners, online learners, and registered homeschoolers. The fear of social isolation is one of the misgivings that holds people back from choosing to homeschool. But fear not! One of the best aspects of TES Theatre is community. The kids make friends. Theatre has enormous potential to create the kind of safe space where youth feel comfortable to build lasting friendships, through ice breaker activities, warm ups, theatre games, and the kind of camaraderie that naturally evolves from being part of a team. TES Theatre prioritizes respect and safety, embraces diversity, and is committed to maintaining the kind of healthy social environment where kids thrive. Whether your child is shy, socially awkward, or has had a hard time fitting in somewhere else, they will have an entirely different experience at TES Theatre. TES Theatre is friendly, welcoming, and inviting. If you have any concerns about your home learning kids’ socialization, join TES Theatre and they will make friends.
There are many ways to be a home learner, and people choose to homeschool for many reasons. But no matter why or how you approach it, TES Theatre is great for home learning. Not only do the participants have a great time learning, but it takes the pressure off the families in terms of paperwork, curriculum, and socializing. Homeschooling can be hard, but TES Theatre makes it easier: more exciting and enjoyable for the kids, and easier for the parents.
Are you a home learner? Contact us to learn more!