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Alberta has about 8,000 home school students.

As many parents prepare to send their children back to school in two weeks, for hundreds of Calgary students, school happens on their own timetable.

Alberta has about 8,000 home school students, who decide what they learn, when they learn and how.

Colleen Guggenberger has home schooled her daughters for three years. She says the public system didn't support or challenge them.

"If they concentrate they can do a full day of school in two and a half three hours," she said.

Her 12-year-old daughter, Danika, loves learning at home.

"Last year I was introduced to geometry and math and I even stayed up to 10:30 one night doing it," she said.

Teaching outside the classroom

Donna Holstine Vander Valk is keeping five-year-old Jack at home for Grade 1 this year. She says she teaches him every day.

"For instance in grade one you might be learning to count by two's up to twenty. He's learning to count money to do that and he's doing that when we're at the grocery store instead of sitting down with a worksheet," she said.

Diana Stinn is a co-founder of Phoenix, a private Calgary school that supports home schoolers. Parents pick homeschooling because it reflects their values and children excel at home, she said.

"[A] home schooled child is probably like I said a grade or two ahead of their peers," she said.

"We're seeing all kinds of different educational options for kids all the way from kindergarten all the way through to university. So you see lots of ads on TV about online courses and things like that. So for sure I think there's a huge growing trend in home schooling."