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Alberta Home Education Association

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5 Hot Tips to Make Sure Your Home Education Grant Refund Adds Up

Funding-Manual

There were many updates and improvements to the Funding Manual last year. If you are a home educator that notified with an associate board or associate private (Independent) school, let's make sure that everyone is on the same page to enhance good communication! Here is a summary for reference and where the points are directly addressed in the Funding Manual, Sections C pages 30-31 for associate boards or D pages 59-60 for associate private schools. You can reach out to AHEA if you need any further support.

1.   The parent directed side of the Home Education Grant is exactly $850 - no more and no less. This is tied to the Education Plan receipts that you submit for a refund. (Read this for more details on the Standards for Reimbursement.)

2.   You have two years to use your funds, and this is now mandatory everywhere. It goes without saying that the oldest funds should always be used up first in your records, giving you the most opportunity to utilize funds. This allows for families to plan for a more expensive item that qualifies for reimbursement under the Funding Guide.

(6) An associate board or associate accredited funded private school must offer to the parents of a home education student 50 per cent of the home education funding for the purchase of instructional materials. An associate board or associate accredited funded private school may not reimburse parents of a home education student, whether in a shared responsibility program or not, more than 50 per cent of the home education funding, the reimbursement amount may not exceed $850 per year. Parents have up to two years to access the parental portion of home education funding.

(14) 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.

3.   You should receive a 100% refund of your current year's $850 grant portion if you submitted receipts for 75% or more.

1.6 – Home Education and Shared Responsibility Grant
The Home Education Grant supports educational choice for students and parents. For each home education student, the school authority is provided 50 per cent of the funding to support the home education student, and 50 per cent of the funding is provided to the parent and/or guardian as reimbursement for instructional materials and services that support the instructional program at home. Furthermore, parents who submit receipts for at least 75% of eligible expenses will receive the entire $850.00.

4.   If the parent-directed side of the grant remains unused, the Department of Education will claw it back at the end of that time.

(8) If parents decline or do not claim the parent portion of Home Education funding, Alberta Education will recover the unclaimed/declined portion, the year following the previous two year period.

5.   Home education families have the option to donate some or all of their funding to their associate board or associate private (Independent) school if they wish.

(7) Parents will be allowed to transfer some or all of the parental portion of the home education funding 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: (https://www.alberta.ca/assets/documents/edc-home-education-funding-transfer-of-parent-portion-declaration-form.pdf.)

If you have chosen to avail yourself of the Notification Only option for home educators that was offered as of September 2021, you will have No Funding to worry about tracking!

It is so helpful when we work together to keep the funding side of home education functioning in a clean and clear manner.  A big 'Thank You' to all the staff who work so hard with our families to keep things straight and their reimbursements timely. It's great when this topic makes 'cents' to us all!

Opportunity Knocks - Become a Voice for Home Education

21.07.Ministers-Parent-Advisory-Committee

The Minister of Education announced the creation of a Parents Advisory Council last week. This is an exciting opportunity for you to represent the home education perspective to government! To ensure parent consultations are not flooded with special interest voices, this ensures that parents are heard from directly and clearly. You could be one of 40 parents from across the province that serve for a 10 month term, advising the Minister about issues, concerns and opportunities. AHEA would be excited to see even more representation to government from our parents - we have a lot to contribute!

Eligibility guidelines are that you are a p
arent and guardians in Alberta who:

  • has one or more children in Alberta's Kindergarten to Grade 12 education system as of September 1, 2021, and 
  • is an Alberta resident.

More details are available here or on the fact sheet here. You can apply here, which is only 4 questions.

* * * * * * * * * * 

The Teacher Advisory Council also has the ability for home educators to be heard! 

Teachers in Alberta are able to apply online if they meet the following criteria:

  • attained an Alberta teaching certificate – interim or permanent


There are a few more questions, but the key one related to home education is that you declare that is the authority that you teach under, which can be home education. 

The deadline for both is August 31st, 2021.

Let us know if you DO get onto the Minister's Parents  or Teacher Advisory Councils. We'd love to support you!


Step 2: Update to Public Health Measures

large-accessing-off-site-facilities

AHEA continues to work with the Alberta Department of Education, voicing concerns and sharing examples of issues faced in the home education community. They are the ones interacting directly with Alberta Health Services on behalf of students across the province. Please note the wording is 'home education co-ops' and/or 'supportive group learning environments.' You may wish to review prior articles on this blog for helpful clarification and action items. AHEA's work continues unabated and your joint efforts and action assist us greatly.

Here is the latest update from the Deputy Minister of Education for your review...

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Freedom Does Not Come Cheap Or Easy

freedom-does-not-come-cheap-or-easy Home education freedoms on solid ground

Home education history may not be well known today, but we should realize the rights that we have today did not come cheaply or easily. Understanding how some of our philosophy driven freedoms came about due to the fact that another pastor went to jail in the late 1980's is a timely consideration. Pastors are sometimes defenders of liberties for society when it comes to government overreach because of their bedrock beliefs being enacted in their leadership positions. Like events of today, the issue was whether or not the government's permission was needed in order to take the actions motivated by the dictates of faith.

Words are important to home educators. So important that sometimes we've said we are "word sensitive" when it comes to interacting with the government in addressing policy. This is because so much can ride on the interpretation of a single word or small clause being properly placed or understood. Home educators have a unique and rather specific bunch of terms that we utilize to bring awareness to a deeper meaning, many hard won. An example of this is the word notify...

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Home Educators Accessing Off-Site Facilities

large-accessing-off-site-facilities A door has opened... accessing off-site facilities.

AHEA was notified today of further changes to freedoms that home educating families have under the current guidelines. We continue to work with the Department of Education on your behalf. We are all functioning under the Department of Health's oversight in this matter.

The health orders can be difficult to follow and context is critical. I am pleased to note that the previous definition of 'school' in CMOH Order 42-2020 Sec. 33 (c) (i), which specifically excluded home education, has been amended. Today's CMOH Order 02-2021 Sec. 55 (b) and (c) corrects the misconception that home education and the children are 'social gatherings,' not learning environments and students as well. While AHEA prefers to see home education noted as being a unique educational model in most circumstances, it is being broadly associated with other educational models for clarity here. This is significant because we can now ensure that you are able to read the Orders as they apply to 'schools' as distinct from 'the public' and know that they apply to you. Items covered in our last advisory remain in place (like cohorting for recess) unless specifically changed.

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