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Alberta Home Education Association

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BREAKING NEWS! - Bill 15 Choice in Education Act!

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AHEA is very pleased to announce that the proposed Bill 15 Choice in Education Act, tabled today in the AB Legislature, will make significant steps in affirming parental choice. This work was the result of a platform mandate, as well as the processing of over 50,000 survey responses from Albertans. Home educators made significant efforts in responding and our voice, at 5.3% of the respondents, considering our volume, was noteworthy, showing that approx. 25% of home educators were active in this government survey of the community. This speaks to the active civil engagement that is so important to home educators.

Minister LaGrange has said, "If passed, the bill will amend the Education Act to affirm that parents, not politicians, have the right to choose the kind of education they feel is best for their children. It will strengthen Alberta's successful history of education choice, including public and separate schools, francophone schools, charter schools, independent (private) schools, home education and early childhood education."

Highlights of the changes significant to home education are as follows:

  • It adds a statement from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (section 26.3) to the preamble of the Education Act that states, "Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children."
  • It adds a statement to the preamble of the Education Act:
    WHEREAS the Government of Alberta recognizes: public schools, separate schools, francophone schools, private schools, charter schools, early childhood services programs, the provision of alternative programs, and home education programs as being valued and integral in providing choice in education to students and parents.
  • It amends the Home Education Programs section of the Education Act (section 20) to allow for an unsupervised, notification-only, non-funded home education program.
    Annual notification of the intent to homeschool will be required as well as submission (not approval) of a home education plan/program that demonstrates sufficient opportunity to achieve, to an acceptable level, appropriate learning outcomes.

Premier Kenney noted that, "This will be the first law in Canada that explicitly recognizes and enshrines that Universal Human Right."

We are gratified to see the steps taken today will strengthen a parent's inherent ability to care for their child's best interests. It should also put to rest the validity of that interest being intertwined with their child's, and not at odds with it.

You may read the full Alberta News Release here.

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Lacking Confidence for Home Educating - Are We Giving Our kids Enough?

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I'm probably one of the least likely ones to be writing about this topic, but when my husband said someone was asking if I'd be interested in doing so, I thought that maybe it might be something God would have me do.

Ironically, just when I started writing, the program I was using decided I'd done enough, and shut down on me. Maybe I'm not supposed to be doing it, but at the same time, I didn't want to give up that easily.

I'd first like to give some background as to why I lack confidence as to whether I'm able to give my children what they need. I was home educated myself, but never felt that what I received was very thorough. And, yes, partly that was my own fault, in that I was pretty "scatter-brained", and had a hard time focusing on my lessons…. I'd far rather be outside building a treehouse, or something like that. Nonetheless, beyond getting the basics of reading, writing (could I even do that?), and arithmetic, I always said my science consisted of my dad pointing out the north star and the big dipper; and my "social studies" was lived out in that we traveled all over the place. I knew very little history, and, well, just always felt I was lacking in many ways.

Fast forward 30+ years, I'm now the mother of 11 children, half of whom are adults, and all of whom we've homeschooled from the start. I've believed from the first child on, that God gave me these children, knowing my weaknesses and shortcomings, yet He still chose to give them to me, along with the responsibility to raise and educate them.

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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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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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