It is important to know that there are two ways to homeschool in Alberta: parents may notify of their intent to home educate their children or they may register their children in a school program that takes place at home. In Alberta, the term “homeschoolers” can refer to families who homeschool by means of:
- a parent-directed home education program that is operating and funded under the Alberta Home Education Regulation;
- a teacher-directed school-at-home program (including online) that is operating and funded under the School Act;
- a “blend” of a parent-directed home education program and a teacher-directed school-at-home program.
Home Education (under the Alberta Home Education Regulation)
With home education, parents make a choice to retain the responsibility to direct and deliver the education of their children under the Alberta Home Education Regulation (AHER). The parents notify a willing school board or private school of their intent to home educate and determine, provide and evaluate the home education program; it is the role of a facilitator assigned by the school board/private school “to conduct at least two evaluations of the progress of the student in each school year.” (AHER 4[2)][b])The parent decides how evaluations take place and if any testing is to be done. When choosing this form of education, parents are eligible to receive 50% of the home education funds designated towards the program for reimbursement of instructional materials and resources. Home educating under the Alberta Home Education Regulation offers the greatest degree of parental control.
Home-Based School Programs
School-at-home programming does not fall under the Alberta Home Education Regulation at all. In this situation, parents grant the government the control over their children’s education. Funding for school-at-home programs comes entirely from the government’s public or separate school funding, and the program operates under the School Act and not the Alberta Home Education Regulation. Students enrolled in school-at-home programs are considered to be as much a part of the public or separate school system as the students who physically attend institutional schools. The responsibility for program delivery and evaluation belongs to the school board, which will deliver the Alberta Program of Studies by means of a certified Alberta teacher using government-approved resources and this may include online programs that are delivered electronically to the students in their homes. The school, through the teacher, is responsible for providing the program as well as for correcting and grading all assignments. The students’ education is fully the responsibility of the school board; parents have the least amount of control with this option.
Blended programming consists of two distinct parts:
- a school-at-home program where a teacher employed by a school board or accredited private school is responsible for providing for the delivery and evaluation of courses aligned with the Alberta Program of Studies as per the School Act; and
- a home education program which operates under the Alberta Home Education Regulation.
Choosing a blended program can mean more funding, as the board is now accessing public school funding rather than just the home education funding provided by the government. With blended programming, it is expected that you will receive the extra support and supervision that the board is responsible for providing for that portion of the student’s program that falls under the School Act. However, the responsibility for educating the child in those areas becomes exclusively that of the school, which is required to use government-approved resources and deliver the Alberta Program of Studies. There is also a greater degree of accountability expected on the parents’ part for this part of the program, as the board has the right to make requirements of the parents for the part of the program that falls under the School Act such as testing, assignments, etc. A blended program is teacher-directed education (under the School Act) combined with a component that is parent-directed (under the Alberta Home Education Regulation).
AHEA and Home Education
AHEA has always affirmed the right of parents to retain the responsibility of teaching their children. We believe that God has equipped parents to direct the education of their children. We believe that programs that may compromise this right and these responsibilities need to be carefully evaluated by each individual family. If a parent desires and is able to exercise exclusive direction of their child’s program, then home educating under the Alberta Home Education Regulation is the preferred option if a parent desires to maintain their parental authority over their child’s education.
Home-Based School Programs
|The parent...||. . .chooses to retain control of his or her child’s education.||. . .chooses to give responsibility for his or her child’s education to the government.|
|The government considers this to be. . .||. . .home educating.||. . .public education at home.|
|The program is taught by. . .||. . .the parent or a person designated by the parent.||. . .a certified Alberta teacher hired by the applicable board.|
|Who is ultimately responsible for the program?||The parent is responsible.||The school board/school is responsible.|
|What curricula can be used, and who chooses it?||A wide variety of parent-selected curriculum options are available, including unit studies, literature-based studies, textbooks, workbooks, DVDs, online classes, APS, and various complete curriculum packages.||The school has the authority for the program and the curriculum, which are to meet the requirements of the Alberta Program of Studies (APS).|
|Who evaluates the student?||The parent assesses the student’s progress, and the parent and student meet twice each school year with their teacher-facilitator (a certified Alberta teacher) who will evaluate the student’s progress.||Evaluation, assessments and testing are the responsibility of the teacher/school.|
|How much government funding is received per student for the 2015/2016 school year?||Approximately $835 is provided to the parent and $835 to the school board/private school (as per the Alberta Home Education Regulation) for each child in Grades 1 through 12.||The school board receives a base instruction rate of $6,679 per student (not including additional applicable funding); no resource reimbursement is offered to the parent.|
|Relevance of the Alberta Home Education Regulation?||A home education program operates under the Alberta Home Education Regulation.||School-at-home programs do not fall under the Alberta Home Education Regulation but instead operate under the School Act.|
Blended programs are homeschooling programs that comprise a parent-directed home education program that operates under the Alberta Home Education Regulation AND a teacher-directed school-at-home program that operates under the School Act. Typically, 50% to 90% of a blended program will consist of a teacher-directed school-at-home program, with the remaining 10% to 50% consisting of a parent-directed home education program.