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Alberta Home Education Association

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Home Education Accessibility Needs To Be Addressed

20.10.Home-Education-Accessibility

AHEA knows that becoming a home educator is supposed to be accessible all year round. We started discussing the fact that the volume of people looking at home education was going to create a bottle neck at our July meeting with Minister LaGrange. We observed that covid was creating waves in the education world. There had already been an influx of interest by families who liked their child learning at home with them, now followed by those who are nervous, and potentially more who are unwilling or unable to work within the new school context for many reasons. The normal trickle of 'rescue' families by boards that are not eligible for funding may be a steady flow during this unusual year. We asked the Minister to have a plan in place to adjust funding after Sept. 30th.

Now that the September 30th Count Date has passed it has clearly become more difficult for families to access home education. AHEA has seen messages going up each day, looking for groups that are willing to accept families. It concerns us greatly that there has not been an official and public answer that addresses this disparity in access. The need for access was brought up early in order to head off the problem which is now being experienced by potential home education families. We are seeing 'registration closed' or acceptances with a fee or donation required, if a home can be found at all. This is certainly far from providing equal access or access to ideologically aligned supervision if it is desired. Notification only, no funding is but one of the choices that Alberta Education offers. We'd like to see parents continue to have ALL their choices in educational matters for their children.

Parents should know that the home education model is a valid, accessible, year-round choice. AHEA is counting on AB Education and the Minister working together with the home education community to ensure that this is the message being sent or perceived, publicly or within our community. The current logjam must be resolved quickly so as to not dishearten those who wish to become home educators this year. That is why AHEA is making this exceptional request regarding funding and has given a proposal for their consideration. Stay tuned.

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Did you know... that you do not have to talk to the school or previous place you had your children with? 

NOTIFYING WITH SOMEONE NEW IS ALL YOU NEED TO DO!

Many parents get talked out of their decision when they advise someone that they are leaving. This results in an attempt to retain their 'business.' When your notification is entered into the PASI system, the old place you were with will no longer be able to count you - the files will be transferred automatically.  Spread the word! 

*This year it was a courtesy to advise any home education associate board if you were making a change as they have been flooded with inquiries. Public schools had been making personal calls to ask families what they are choosing. Remember, the choice is totally yours - there is no requirement to disclose your choice to anyone except as required by your new notification recipient.


AHEA is a not-for-profit organization that appreciates the support of the community. Donations to AHEA can be made here.

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Welcome to the Web

Welcome to the Web

Alberta Education's Home Education webpage has been updated in response to AHEA's feedback. Home educators should find the refreshed information reflective of the current options available to them. AHEA has been pleased to collaborate with the Alberta Department of Education to ensure that families starting to consider home education will have the clarity of content they need, provided in a welcoming expression that reflects our community. Stay tuned for an update on the Home Education Handbook this fall!

Please make sure to refer new home educators to AHEA's own website for more helpful information and to stay up-to-date on the advocacy work that AHEA does year-round on their behalf. They will also want to be informed about future events like the annual AHEA Convention, looked forward to by families from across the province, with inspiring speakers and a large exhibit hall to browse.

AHEA is a not-for-profit organization that appreciates the support of the community.
Donations to AHEA can be made here

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Where Are You When It Counts?

where-are-you-when-it-counts

Where do you have to physically be on the fast approaching Count Date of September 30th?

Home educators in Alberta have long made adjustments to their plans to accommodate an almost problematic rule which demanded they be in province. When AB Education updated the Funding Manual last week they addressed this issue, which AHEA had been advocating that they review and modify. Clarifying the physical location a home education family on the Count Day of September 30th, we are very pleased to advise that the manual now states on page 61,

"4. Home education / Shared Responsibility students and their parents who ordinarily reside in Alberta on the September count date of the current school year."

This is a wonderful change from what it previously stated, "Home Education / Shared Responsibility students and their parents must reside in Alberta on the September count date of the current school year."

We hope you all enjoy this additional freedom to make plans that do NOT have to center around Count Day because you count every day!

                                                                          AHEA - Working Hard For You!

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Grade One Funding Manual Update

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This week AB Education updated their funding manual to clarify access to Grade One. We are pleased that this was put into the manual as a note so that consistent application and understanding are ensured instead of case-by-case or call-by-call basis, which has lead to exceptions and misunderstanding in the past. 

Here is an excerpt from page 139, see 3's Note:https://open.alberta.ca/publications/1485-5542

3. is at least 5 years and 8 months or older and eligible to enter Grade 1 according to the school entrance age policy of the school jurisdiction, but less than 20 years of age on September 1 in the school year in which he/she is counted. 

Note for the 2020/21 school year only: Due to the transition to the new age of entry in kindergarten, a one-time exception will be made to allow students who are at least 5 years 6 months of age to be counted as a home education student if they are starting grade 1 and meet all other funding requirements.

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Our Count Runneth Over

20.09.17.Our-Count-Runneth-Over

September is upon us all with the 'Bang!' of a starting gun in a marathon! Students are refocusing on their studies, moms and dads are re-calibrating their days for fall activities and AHEA continues in its multiple pursuits on your behalf. Let's look at some of the challenges we are currently facing, foresee and the solutions that we are working for.

We must first note that AHEA is blessed to have so many veteran home educators amongst us. A multitude of the parents who are new to home educating already know or have been in touch with others who know home education intimately, and that it is a wonderful testimony to the synergy in the home education community. AHEA works to support the efforts of our community as many of you reach out and open your homes and hearts to those who are finally taking that step or have considered and made the decision in a very short time. An abundance of resources and information can be gleaned from the AHEA website or our AHEA Facebook page. You also can subscribe in the right-hand column on the Political Updates page to receive updates directly to your mailbox. Keep checking for news on the upcoming April 8-10, 2021 AHEA Convention here.

Many associate and independent associate school boards that provide supervision to home educators have been advising that their numbers and staff have doubled in size, if not more. Taking on new families and students have found a very competitive market in the last couple of months. Last year home education was 1% of education stats in Alberta, so we all anticipate with excitement the September 30th Count Day figures, but we realize that is not the end of the story.

AHEA has been advocating for several months with the Minister and the Education Department as a whole to work on a plan to anticipate the potential capacity and demand issues for home education in the current environment. We are so pleased that home education will see so many new families joining us and want to ensure that even more families continue to have the choice to move to home education during the rest of the year even if they receive no funding due to moving after September 30th. While the home education community has for years adopted this type of family with no qualms and just a gracious eye to the future of home education, this seems unlikely to be as manageable or simple this year. Home education must be a viable option year-round!

Many changes and exceptions have been granted the other educational models due to the need to be flexible this year, including the fact that additional funds have been flowing to ease and accommodate the unusual needs and situations. While AHEA does not typically ask for extra funding, this may be a year where it is necessary to look at some compensation mid-year for associate boards to continue onboarding anyone changing their educational decision during the year as they are being offered quarterly choices in the public system. AHEA not only wants families to be able to start home educating if they decide to opt out of the public system, but we want to ensure that they have the choice to start with an ideologically aligned supervising authority who will support them in the ways that they may need.

Of course, this fall also brought in the Notification Only, No Funding (NONF) option, effective September 1, 2020. AHEA was pleased to see the fruition of its advocacy and the implementation of the unsupervised option. The new Parents for Choice in Education Executive Director, Jeff Park, correctly notes in their last article that NONF is a huge win and Alberta is now the best place to home educate in North America due to the variety of choices! AHEA advocates for something that money cannot buy – the freedom of parents to make the best choices for their child.

Now that the option itself has been made a reality, it is time for us to work on honing the verbiage around it in the recently released and updated Home Education Regulations. There was so much activity this fall that sufficient attention to the wording of the regulations around this option within the department may have overlooked important clarifications. However, AHEA had already started addressing this and will continue to do so, along with other Alberta partners in education like Parents for Choice in Education, who concur that while checks and balances are to be expected, there is room and a need to refine the current regulations.

Overall, it's been an exceptional year of progress for the provincial advocacy work of AHEA, and we look forward to continuing to interact with the government on behalf of home education families who highly value their ability to home educate and the freedom to deliver a customized program for their children. One of the items that AHEA has already started pursuing is the funding for special needs children who are home educated. More information will be coming out on this as work progresses and as we collect information from our families.

            Watch for upcoming opportunities to attend
AHEA 2020 Fall Talks – How Our Work and Future Affect You!!

Consider supporting AHEA – Working for YOU! 

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