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Alberta Home Education Association

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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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Contribute to Alberta’s Vision for Student Learning

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Background

The Minister of Education has invited parent and guardian input on the draft ministerial order on student learning to help shape the direction of education by February 24th, 2020 which will be in place for the 2020/2021 school year. It will replace the current ministerial order from 2013. This draft was the result of the Curriculum Advisory Panel (CAP) that AHEA met with last year. (Members can read about our meeting in our last HOME Matters edition – available online.) This committee has provided recommendations to Minister LaGrange on the direction of Alberta's K-12 curriculum and priorities. The previous curriculum work has been paused to ensure that it meets with the updated ministerial order.

Why Home Educators Should Participate

As home educating parents, it is important to keep fully informed and involved in education in Alberta. Anything 'education' – we care about participating in! Our presence and input can keep the Minister aware of our care and concern for our greater community and the priorities of Albertans. We believe in the rights of all parents in the province to contribute to what is understood in the Education Act to be the "visions, principles and values" that "are the foundation of the education system in Alberta."

If parents want to be heard, and AB Education is looking for your input, you will have to speak up. You should prepare a response in advance, as on-the-spot answers may be more difficult to provide. 

What You Can Do

The Minister has provided several imminent opportunities for you to share your opinion of this draft order. Please consider participating in one of the following:

  • Online Survey

  • Written Survey in English or French
    • Email them in to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or mail them to:
    • Executive Director, Curriculum Coordination and Implementation
      Alberta Education
      9 Floor, 10044 108 Street, 44 Capital Boulevard
      Edmonton, AB T5J 5E6

  • In Person Sessions – I was specifically told that if you want to go to one of the in person sessions, which are table discussions, you should attend even if it says it is full, as they are set up for overflow. The in person sessions have a high turnout by teachers (who are also parents, I realize) that have come prepared with their ATA suggested comments/responses.
    • Feb. 18th – Calgary is FULL, but address is Sandman Hotel, 8001 11th Street SE
    • Feb. 19th – Calgary can register here. Edmonton can register here.

What You Need to Know Before

You need to read the draft in full to consider your responses to the following questions:

  1. Having read the draft Ministerial Order on student learning, does it accurately represent the goals for student learning in Alberta?
    (Y or N) (Why/why not?)

  2. What are the strengths of the draft Ministerial Order on Student Learning? 
    (Why do you consider these strengths?)

  3. What are the gaps in the draft Ministerial Order on Student Learning?
    (Why is it important to address these gaps?)

Additional Reading

If you would like to know more about what the CAP Recommendations on Direction for Curriculum to Minister LaGrange, read their report here. This is actually very helpful in understanding the basis for the draft Ministerial Order. 

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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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An Opportunity for Home Education Students

An Opporunity for Home Education Students

 The Minister of Education had made the following, widely circulated, announcement. AHEA is wanting to bring it to your attention again, in the hopes that there may be some of our number willing and able to take part in this unique opportunity. Let us know if you join the Minister's Youth Council!

Applications are due by July 31, 2019.

"As you know, student voice is important for our education system.

I am excited to announce recruitment for the 2019/20 Minister's Youth Council. We are looking for approximately 32 junior and senior high school students, ages 14 to 19, with diverse interests, identities, backgrounds and perspectives from all regions of Alberta. We will be accepting up to eight returning council members and at least 24 new members. The council will continue to give students the opportunity to build their leadership skills at the provincial level, make an impact on education and leave a legacy that will last well into the future.

Students can apply directly to Alberta Education before July 31, 2019. For more information, I invite you to visit our website at alberta.ca/student-engagement.aspx.

Should you have any questions regarding the provincial student engagement strategy, please contact Rhonda Jessen, Manager, Strategic Engagement Branch, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 780-638-3153 (toll-free by first dialing 310-0000).

I look forward to hearing directly from students and working together to strengthen our education system."


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The World Needs Home Educating Fathers

In a recent story in the Edmonton Journal, a scientist discussed his impending death and how he would not be continuing dialysis treatment: “What are two more weeks worth? You see? They are nothing.” Well, with all due respect to that scientist – who has since passed on – I disagree. Every minute is important.

Let me contrast the scientist’s view with the story of a successful businessman attending a conference in a large city far from home. After the close of the first day of the conference, the businessman spends some time networking with those in the same business as he. A group then heads to the subway to take a train back to the hotel where they are staying.

The businessman drops his binder of notes on the stairs leading down to the subway, and so he tells the rest of the group to go on ahead and he’ll meet them at the hotel. He picks up the scattered notes, continues down the stairs, and comes to the nearly deserted platform. Nearly deserted, except for a young man in his teens who is sitting on one of the benches smoking a cigarette.

The businessman doesn’t smoke, doesn’t like the smell of smoke, and notices that smoking is prohibited in the subway station. So he decides to go over and speak to the young man. As he approaches, he sees that the young man is shaking. When the young man looks up, his face is wet from tears.

The businessman was prepared to deliver a lecture and a rebuke. Instead, he sits down and says, “What’s the matter?” That question leads to a conversation that takes several hours. It lasts out of the subway station (because the station closes after the last train leaves), out to a nearby doughnut shop, and then into a taxi to take the young man home.

The businessman is saying goodbye, shaking the young man’s hand, when the young man tells him one last thing: “I don’t know why you came over to talk to me, but I want you to know something. That cigarette was going to be my last one. I was going to jump in front of the next train that came into the station. I’d be dead right now if it wasn’t for you.”

Every minute is important.

I know home-educating fathers already know that, because one of the reasons we educate at home is to spend as many minutes as we can with our children, forming them and helping them grow into good and godly men and women. But it often seems that the rest of our world has forgotten what is truly important.

If my life is only for me, then one minute or two weeks may not be worth much. But when we become adults, and especially when we become parents, we learn that our lives are not for ourselves. As fathers, we know that our lives are not meant to be focused on self but focused on others: our focus is on our wives, our children, on God. If we try to make our lives God-centred, then we will naturally become less me-centred.

That’s not easy, of course. As I write this, the countries of Greece and France have just held national elections where the people of those countries chose political parties that would not impose cutbacks on the country. “Turning away from austerity” said the headlines. “Turning away from adulthood” is what I thought; the people want more even though governments can’t pay for more.

We all want more. Our children want more. But as they grow into adults, one of the things we need to teach them and model for them is the nature of adulthood: adults try to be selfless, adults know how to sacrifice, adults know what it means to serve.

Fathers can show children that there is another path to follow instead of the easy road of the world. Through our example and our teaching, we can show just how rewarding a God-centred life can be, how much better it is to give than to receive, how life-changing and world-changing it is to sacrifice and serve.

Home-educating dads know the value of selflessness, sacrifice, and service. We need to teach it and to model it. The world needs us.

 


 

 

Paul van den Bosch is a member of AHEA’s Board of Directors. He and his wife Mary have home educated their seven children for over 18 years.

This article was originally written for the Summer 2012 issue of Home Matters.  For more articles, go here.

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