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Convention 2017: Home Education: Education with a Purpose

Unsettling Times for Home Educators

November 15, 2016

This is an unsettling time in Alberta.

Home educating families with the oldest and largest homeschool authority in Alberta have been asked, by their home school authority, to be patient and calm while court proceedings take place.

Home educators with other school authorities are also anxious because they fear that all home education is under scrutiny by Alberta Education.

There are also many distractions: confusing news articles about funding, contradictory information from our provincial government, ill-informed editorials from a teacher's union bashing parents and home education, the spread of misinformation and prejudice.

Waiting is a difficult thing.

It's hard to stay calm in the face of the unknown.

There are some things we can do now:

AHEA does not recommend submitting receipts for educational resource reimbursement directly to Alberta Education

Alberta Education has indicated that parents may submit their receipts WITH THEIR PROGRAM PLANS directly to them for reimbursement.

AHEA is advising against this.

Why?

- The potential for misunderstanding is great if we, as parents, submit a program plan to an individual who has no understanding of the goals and educational desires that we have for our child.

AHEA has had to explain many unique aspects of home education to many different staff members of Alberta Education, especially those in Strategic Financial Services (the department which would provide the financial reimbursement).

This has occurred enough times that it is apparent that there is a poor understanding of the nuances of the specialized home education programming that can be offered to children.

- The submission of receipts could place notification with Trinity/WISDOM in jeopardy.

Alberta Education could assume responsibility for a child's education, notification, administration, resource reimbursement, and /or teacher evaluations should we submit our receipts directly to them.

The lack of clarity provided by Alberta Education makes AHEA highly skeptical of the assurance that a child would remain a student under Trinity/WISDOM.

- The timeliness of reimbursement is questionable.

It is quite possible that Trinity/WISDOM will be granted the full operating injunction on January 5.

If this happens, the reimbursement of educational resources to parents of Trinity/WISDOM would occur in the same time period as submitting receipts directly to Alberta Education.

This is a precarious time for all of Alberta's home educators.

Every vein of educating at home has seen major changes over the past several months.

The degree of change, and intensity and invasiveness of future scrutiny remain to be seen.

Now is a time to take great precautions.

AHEA encourages you: ‘have your say’ on Curriculum Input before November 18

Alberta Education is conducting a two-part survey that asks for feedback on future curriculum and current curriculum.

Part 1 of the survey contains a number of values-based words that it asks you to respond to, yet the exact definitions of these words are not provided.

There is opportunity at the end to provide written comments, and you may provide your own definitions of what these mean.

You may state your opinion on what the purpose of curriculum, and education is, and the roles educators and families have in this:

https://education.alberta.ca/curriculum-development/curriculum-survey/everyone/curriculum-survey/

Part 2 asks detailed questions about the current curriculum and how this should compare to new curriculum.

Even if you don't use public curriculum, it is good to input agreement and/or disagreement to curriculum components.

Hold on to encouragement and hope moving forward

While these are times of great trial, it is important to focus on what IS known.

You, as a parent, are the primary educator, and YOU have the first right to determine the education of your children.

Canadian Supreme Court decisions for decades have confirmed this.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights confirms this.

Your own experience confirms this.

Parents know what is best for their child, not government.

It has been proven that children are most likely to succeed when their parents are involved in their education.

Home education provides the maximum opportunity for this, the maximum potential for your children to succeed.

You, as a parent, know this.

Stay focused on that.

There are those with ulterior motives who want to create confusion and upset.

Don't buy in to that.

Keep home educating your kids.

You have that right and that authority.

Carry on.

Media Claim that Alberta Education will be Providing Educational Reimbursements

The subject of “sending your receipts directly to Alberta Education” has been raised by recent media stories but, as of November 8th, there has been no official statement and no detail provided by Alberta Education.

In the absence of a detailed statement, the media stories have raised more questions and caused confusion.

The implications of submitting receipts to Alberta Education are, as of yet, unclear and it is unknown if parents who submit receipts will continue to have their notification remain at Trinity Christian School / WISDOM Home Schooling.

This confusion causes AHEA great concern and should cause great concern to every home educating parent.

There should be no questions and no confusion and, with something of this significance, this story should not have been spread through the media. That is especially true now, when this issue is before the courts.

At this time, AHEA asks that all home educating parents wait until more clarity has been provided. Please stay in close contact with their home education provider – whether that is Trinity/WISDOM or another home school administration – so that that relationship is not damaged or changed and so that you can get clear information through your home school administration.

As we have recommended during the last couple of weeks, it would be best for home educators to wait for clarification before considering taking any action.

Thank you.

Interim injunction granted to Trinity/WISDOM until hearing on January 5, 2017

To all AHEA members and Alberta home educators and parents.

After Education Minister David Eggen shut down Trinity Christian School and WISDOM Home Schooling on October 25th, AHEA received a torrent of calls and texts and emails from concerned parents.

These came from both WISDOM parents and non-WISDOM parents, from home educators and those who don't home educate, from many Albertans shocked and dismayed by what had occurred.

The commonly expressed concern was that the government had not acted in a fair manner and had not followed due process.

On November 4th, Trinity/WISDOM were granted an injunction allowing them to stay open (although without funding until at least January 5th when further proceedings will take place)

While AHEA makes no statement on the merits of the allegations brought by the Alberta government, AHEA does point out these legal proceedings - and those to come - will allow both sides to present their cases in an open and fair manner so that due process can be followed.

To that end, AHEA is encouraged by today's ruling and we look forward to having the truth come out in full

This is in line with AHEA's Philosophy and Objects:

http://www.aheaonline.com/index.php/about-ahea/philosophy-and-objectives

AHEA "recognizes the supremacy of God and the rule of law", and holds that government "must exercise its compelling interest in the education of the young by the least intrusive means."

As such, we ask that you pray for our elected officials and courts so that the respect for constitutional rights will always be honoured.

The board of the Alberta Home Education Association

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