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Alberta Home Education Association

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~ FUNDING UPDATE ~

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                                           AHEA – Working for You!

AHEA is very pleased to announce that the updated version of the Alberta Education Funding Manual for the 2020/21 school year released on June 18th, 2020 contains many of the great improvements for home educators which we have been busy advocating for. Considering where the discussion started, which was that home education would be included in the weighted moving average policies like school based model funding, we have come a long way. Home education funding, therefore, has managed to successfully maintain many of the necessary considerations for our unique model, and has changes in several areas.

The following are basically quoted from the guide itself, with comments by AHEA's Government Liaison italicized, if given. Some of the information is repeated for your information and clarity in general.

Retained/Maintained
  • September 30th enrollment deadline for home education.
  • Must reside in Alberta on the September count date of the current school year.
  • 50% of the funding grant is available directly to parents/guardians as reimbursement for instructional materials and services that support the instructional program at home.
  • Education plans must be consistent with the learning outcomes… in the Alberta Program of Study or stated in the schedule attached to the Home Education Regulations. Further information will be provided in the coming weeks after the Home Education Regulations are updated, pending the passing of Bill 15 and the clarification on a new option for Notification Only, No Funding (NONF). Currently you can wait or register under any option available, and feel free to move before the Sept. 30th cutoff date.
  • The associate board (that you notify with) must provide the resident board information through PASI and Student records. This is not new, but all home educators should know that their student information and funding is processed this way, without exception.
  • An associate board or associate accredited funded private school must offer to the parents of a home educated student no less than 50% of the home education funding for the purchase of instructional materials.

Improved
  • Parents who submit receipts for at least 75% of eligible expenses will receive the entire $850.00. This will allow purchases between people, garage sales, etc. to focus more on the purchase than the paperwork. Just note that it will not be allowed if you don't provide the first 75% of documented receipts.
  • The Standards for Home Education Reimbursement have been updated and are good for you to reference while planning for next year. You should note that items need to be necessary for and related to your student's program (this is important to qualify for the funding) and paid for and supported by invoices. You may reference them anytime, but important to note now are the following items which have been made 100% eligible. (Keep in mind the note about regarding 75% back up provided and 25% backup note required IF the 75% is documented.)
    • Lessons – including, but not limited to, music, swimming and language…
    • Tangible assets – e.g. cameras, telescopes, musical instruments, physical education equipment, sewing machines.
  • Parents have up to two years to access the parental portion of home education funding. Parents are guaranteed the option of rolling over their funding by the government, not their associate board. This should not be seen as an allowance but as a right you are entitled to everywhere you may choose to register without exception.
  • Parents will be allowed to transfer some or all of the parental portion of the home education funding (your $850) to the associate school authority for education supports should they choose to. If parents decide to transfer their funding, they will be required to sign a Parent Declaration Form to facilitate this transfer. This option allows you to allocate your funding to an associate board instead of having unused funds return to AB Education. Some may choose to easy the tax payer burden. Others may wish to support an associate board, which will be limited in their use of the funds to educational supports, not general or discretionary use. This is important for us all, as we desire clear accountability to parents and the government for funding usage, critical in the reputation of our home education model.
  • If parents decline or do not claim the parent portion of the Home Education funding, Alberta Education will recover the unclaimed/declined portion, the year following the previous two year period. You don't have to worry about this, as your associate board will handle the paperwork based on your choice and submissions. Do be aware, however, that the carry-forward allotment should always be considered 'used first' by your associate board, so that you have the maximum flexibility and use of your funds.

Problem Areas – Still Under Discussion
  • Home education / Shared Responsibility students are not eligible for severe disabilities funding. We continue to work on special needs funding as an item that should be dealt with apart from their educational model choice. Students should not be discriminated against because of their preference.

                                          OTHER ITEMS OF INTEREST

New – Shared Responsibility Funding Clarified

This is a significant clarification by Alberta Education. Many people considering home education, and weighing the choice of parent directed versus teacher directed, have looked at funding differences as a deciding factor. The clarification by the government that NO additional funding be provided by ANY method, was necessary and closes a loophole that had been abused. Any additional funds that a shared responsibility program receives are to be used to pay for the teacher portion only. Parents are not eligible for extra perks – so getting them should make us stop and look harder, not away.

  • Students that are coded as shared responsibility students and meet the program requirement outlined in The Guide to Education will be funded at the shared responsibility rate. Shared responsibility programs receive additional funding to address instructional costs.
  • In order to qualify for shared responsibility funding, at least 20 percent of the program must be delivered by the school authority, up to a maximum of 80 percent, and be teacher-directed. Below this range, the student should be enrolled as a regular home education student. Above this range, the student should be enrolled as a regular/online student, with the school authority responsible for 100 percent of the program and the parents not eligible for any home education funding.
  • School authorities that provide shared responsibility program may use some or all of the parents' 50 per cent funding, only with parent's signed agreement, to pay for the cost of these courses and required instructional materials.
  • Reimbursements to parents of students in a Home Education or Shared Responsibility program, may not exceed $850.00 in value per year and are subject to the same reimbursement interpretations as the Standards for Home Education Reimbursement, whether they are reimbursements, ordered by purchase order or directly procured by school or district. Note the lack of exception for payments by another means. Going around direct funding for you as the parents is no longer a loophole to be exploited.

Online and Regular School Models

This is critical to understand, given the recent impact on choices to educate at home. Online school is not the same as home education. There should be no funds provided to the families when the teacher directed program is the model chosen. There should be no exceptions. 

  • School authorities are not permitted to provide funding, whether by reimbursement, purchase order or direct procurement, to students or families in cases where a student is enrolled in an online or regular school program.


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Overall, the clarification for home educators in all matters of funding is not only necessary to understand, but critical to ensure that proper stewardship is maintained by everyone. AHEA families would be wise to seek to ensure that there are not instances of exceptions to these guidelines, as that reflects badly on our community, deteriorating trust internally and externally. Help us help you!

AHEA is pleased with the efforts of Education Minister LaGrange and her office to listen well to the comments and the concerns presented. If you have suggestions or recommendations for changes you'd like to see advocated for, you should approach AHEA directly for us to be able to respond appropriately and through the proper channels. We have witnessed and see before us the results of good advocacy and listening by an Education department who wished to ensure parental choice in the system based on respect for all the models under its care. Home education is a valid and valuable choice that all Albertans can and should consider when making education choices for their children.  

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A Work In Progress

A Work In Progress


Bill 15 passed second reading in the Legislature on June 9, 2020. The Bill is now 'In Committee Of The Whole' which means that the whole Legislature will discuss possible amendments, which could be considered. AHEA is satisfied with the wording of the Bill's support of home education, which reinforces the primacy of a parent's right to choose the education of their child, the acknowledgement of home education as an equal choice and makes possible the additional option of notification only, no funding because of the phrase, 'supervision, if any' being clarified. Home educators should support this Bill and reaching out to your politicians at this time to encourage them would be wise. You can find your MLAs on AHEA's new page "How to Contact YOUR Politicians."

AHEA has been working with the Minister's Office and Alberta Education throughout this process. More work is required as we move to the Home Education Regulations being amended by Minister LaGrange to flesh out Bill 15's intentions. This is a work in progress, and while there is much anticipation in wanting to know how the Regulations will read, please be patient while we await the actual wording.

AHEA's continued interaction with the government has allowed us to reinforce that when we have advocated for a Notification Only option, we did mean 'only,' not 'plus!' AHEA has never suggested that a parent submit a notification plan directly to the government. The discussion around the parent's responsibility for the education plan of the child is being worked on as I write this. If the Minister wishes to provide a distinct, new option, it must be different from what we already have access to, and Ontario provides an example. We feel that our position is clearly understood, and efforts to continue communicating are mutual. Your continued prayers are appreciated while we work.

You will be informed as soon as there is more formal news. It is no surprise that there is opposition to this from other groups. While we do not feel the need to respond directly, we do encourage our members to exercise caution in what they may read as it may not fully present the information you seek in a positive or appropriate context. We also encourage all members to be unified in the expansion of home education options, regardless of it being a choice that you would consider in your own family situation. As a community, standing together and supporting each other in strengthening home education in law, regulation and perception is a work that we share. Being wise in our words, patient while awaiting facts and persevering in the pursuit of our goals will make each AHEA member an asset.

Keep your eyes open for further updates, expected shortly, with exciting information on more changes to our funding guidelines and the standards of reimbursements. 

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How Home Education Best Leads to Key Educational Goals

How Home education Best Leads to Key Educational Goals

Over my fifteen years as a home educating father I've come to see how home education is a great method for achieving key education goals. This list of goals comes from Colorado Home Education leader, Kevin Swanson in his book Upgrade: The 10 Secrets to the Best Education of Your Child. I will briefly list them and share quick personal examples of how home education has helped my family work towards achieving these goals. You will see how my wife and I, having been educated in public and private school respectively, strongly believe home education method is superior to the school model in achieving these goals.

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Welcome to Teaching Your Children At Home

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Welcome to AHEA, the Alberta Home Education Association. We are here to help those of you who are new to teaching your children at home on account of the restrictions our province has made related to the COVID-19 virus. We've been around since 1986 promoting home education, defending freedoms to do so, and providing various resources, such as an annual convention, a website, a Facebook page and a magazine called Home Matters.

I realize many of you are newly experiencing a full time endeavor of teaching your children at home. Most of you in this situation are in the unenvious position of bringing school home. Hopefully you will see from this article, as well as various helpful links on our site, that there is another excellent option, if not for the remainder of this school year, than for the upcoming fall: home education.

Back in the fall of 2009 I shared an article with AHEA members. I've included the start of it below. It should give you an initial feel for what we mean by the distinction between home education and bringing school home.

"Summer has come and gone, and now it's time for most of use to get into the groove of more formal education. Mind you if your family is like ours, learning did not stop during the summer, whether it was history and geology discovered on a family vacation, some math or music studies that continued part way into the summer months, or skills learned gardening and running lemonade stands. I recall from a couple of years ago at this time where our local public school had its large sign announcing: 'Welcome back to learning.' My eldest daughter, 8 at the time, remarked on that being a silly message. She figures that learning takes place whether or not formal school is in session. I concur."

Fast forward eleven years, and that daughter and my second have graduated and we are still home educating our five other kids ages 7 to 17. What is it about home education, teaching our kids at home, that draws my family and a growing number of other families to persist in this practice year after year? And why is it that a number of families who try to bring school home, rather than try out home educating, tend to send their kids back to school? In short, home education, although really tough at times, is a joy, while trying to replicate school at home is too tall an order for most folks to do over the long haul. Rather than further tackle these questions in this article, I will point you to several pages on our site that will get you to strongly question that the school model is the only or preferred method of providing learning to our children when they are at home.

Here is the key landing page to start with About Home Education.

From there I'd head to the New to Home Education section.

If you wish to dig deeper into what I mean by home education, head here: Defining Home Education.

To find out more how home education differs from simply bringing school home, read the information on the Home Education in Alberta Compared to Home-Based School Programs page.

Does home education get tougher in the high school years? Sure, but those of us who do it really think it's worth it. Check out our High School page. And if your children are approaching graduation, check out our Post Secondary and Apprentice and Mentoring pages.

If the above information convinces you to move from bringing school home to home education you will need to notify of your intent to home educate. For more freedom and a best fit for your family we suggest doing it with a private school. Check out this page for more details.

In closing, yes, learning doesn't just happen from September to June in a public school building. It can also happen at home and be a joyful family endeavor. Please join me and thousands of other Alberta families by embarking on home education. As well, feel free to reach out to us with particular questions.

Ted Tederoff

AHEA President

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Choice in Education Survey - AHEA Encourages Your Response by Dec. 6th

Choice in Education Survey

​Hello Alberta home educators. You have until Friday, December 6, 2019 to fill out this Choice in Education engagement survey. The AHEA board has come up with some ideas on how you may wish to answer some of these questions with the idea to promote the home education approach to learning and lifestyle. Feel free to consider the below ideas in your answers, trying where possible to put things in your own words. Hopefully many of our ideas strike a chord with your thoughts and sentiments concerning home education. As well, please let us know of benefits of home education that you submitted in your survey that we might have missed. You can email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

You can find the survey here, (https://www.alberta.ca/choice-in-education-engagement.aspx) where you can either fill out the survey electronically (with the ability to partially fill it out, save it, and finalize it later) or use the PDF version that you can print out.

Regards,

The AHEA Board


What does choice in education mean to you?

With respect to the right to home education, this includes not merely a right over the place in which education occurs, but a right to determine the very content, process and timing of this education.

Christian schools and other schools of faith, should also be able to choose curriculum that is consistent with their faith perspective and the values of the parents who choose to send their children there.

What are the reasons that you/your child chose this school(s)/program(s)? (Please write in the box below)

  • The ability to instill my family's values (religious, worldview) in my children.
  • Because I believe that God has given me, as the parent, the responsibility to teach my children.
  • To personally lead my children in fine academic achievement.
  • To personally lead my children in contentment in life.
  • To personally lead my children in being active citizens.
  • To take the lead in producing children who are sociable, not just with their peers, but with people of all ages, and in various situations and settings.
  • To spend a significant amount of time with my children whom I love being with.
  • The ability to tailor the curriculum, the delivery of the curriculum, and the pace of learning to match what is best for my children, including those with special needs.
  • To achieve flexibility in education in terms of the timing of educating my children, as well as the location.
  • For my children to benefit from practical, life integrated education in the context of family and community.

​Are you satisfied with the current amount of choice in education in Alberta?

I would like to continue to see all of these education options to be available in addition to public education:

  • Separate
  • Private
  • Home Education

​What, if anything, do you see as currently working well or needing improvement in terms of choice in Alberta's education system?

When answering this keep in mind the freedom to have some education options that give you not merely the right over the place in which education occurs, but a right to determine the very content, process and timing of this education and assessment possibilities.

It is working well that standardized testing is not compulsory for home educated students, as parents are taking the responsibility for the education of their children, and home educated students follow individualized programming.

Areas for improvement may include greater recognition of parental authority in the education of their children.

What would you like to see in the future in terms of choice in Alberta's education system?

  • To continue to have the following educational options available in addition to public education:
    • Separate
    • Private
    • Home Education
  • To see the introduction of a "notification only" option for home education for which I would be willing to forsake funding and not be required to meet twice annually with a facilitator.

An update to all education acts and education regulations to clearly recognize parents as the authority over their children's education. This includes recognizing that it is the parents' responsibility to determine what is in the best interest of their children.

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