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Alberta Home Education Association

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The ADLC Anomaly

21.09.03.The-ADLC-Anomaly The ADLC Anomaly

History is complicated and the Alberta Distance Learning Center's (ADLC) relationship to home education, now history, is no exception. They started out simply enough, providing print resources (curriculum) to students across the province of Alberta. That simple plan grew over time into a service that provided not only print-based material to distance-learners, but online classes as well. In essence, both methods delivered teacher-directed materials with the possibility of the grades that would be recognized as fulfilling the Alberta Program of Studies, resulting in credits for an Alberta diploma.

Home educators have been told for a long time that this access fit within their home education mandate. This was very true from the sense that a parent could access many teacher resources (curriculum) for free. You actually still can find these government resources on LearnAlberta.ca. This was a boon for those parents who were looking to save money when they purchased their resources for any given year. The subtle shift of becoming a student of a teacher for credits, instead of a home education student that used the Alberta Program of Studies material and then challenged for the credits through a supervising authority, happened over time and without the implications being fully scrutinized by all the parties.

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Parents - It Is Not Too Late For September Choices!

21.09.02.September-Choices

It's not too late to make home education choices this year! Each year, parents have the responsibility to notify the Minister of Education of their intent to home educate their child. Families have until September 29th to finalize their decision and qualify for funding, after which you can still become a home educator but will no longer qualify for funding in this academic year.  (Note the date change from the 30th due to the new federal holiday.)

You will need to decide if you will notify that you are going to home educate in a supervised or unsupervised manner. Here are the Cole's notes on the forms you need to know about, but more information follows, so don't feel overwhelmed by the language or the process… keep reading and learning. Home education is big on parents learning as you go, just like we want our kids to!

Supervised means that you need to notify with a willing associate board or associate private (independent) school and be accepted by them. Don't leave this to the last week as they have limited space. You notify a supervising authority of your intent to home educate your child through the Home Education Notification Form – Supervised by School Authority.

You will have access to your portion of the home education grant, which is exactly $850 and claimed by submitting receipts to your supervising authority for reimbursement. The other half of the grant pays for one of their teachers to visit you twice a year to assess the learning progress of your child. You need to submit an education plan to be reviewed and approved by them, but they can assist in this.

Unsupervised means that you only need to notify the government that you will be home educating. We may refer to this as Notification Only, No Funding (NONF). There is no requirement to submit an education plan, no visits and no funding. We recommend that you still lay out a plan as recordkeeping is a protection for you in case of a need to make a change or if an inquiry arises during the year. There are two available ways to notify the government. Filling out and sending in the Home Education Notification Form – Not Supervised by School Authority or through an online form in the Provincial Approach to Student Information (PASI) accessible in myPass.

About AHEA

AHEA provides a ton of information on our website to help you have a full picture of what you need to understand and do. Get our ABC's booklets to get a fuller grasp of how home education works in Alberta and the work that AHEA does for you all year. Look at the Glossary of Terms that we've started to help you learn some of the home education language you are bound to come across. Let us know if you have a term you'd like defined!

We have a listing of the Associate Boards/Private (Independent) Schools, along with a helpful list of questions for you to consider when interviewing them. There is also a great list of Curriculum Providers to help you with your resource selection. Look at a sample Education Plan, noting that there are many different styles and you can ask around for other samples to look at.

Support AHEA's work as an independent voice for home education families by making a financial contribution or considering advertising with us. Stay in touch with current work and events by subscribing to our Political Update blog or our bi-monthly newsletter, the Arrow. Keep your eyes and ears open about a local presentation of AHEA's annual Fall Talks around Alberta, coming soon. Hope to see you out there!

The French Lesson

21.08.16.The-French-Lesso_20210816-164827_1

France has started to restrict home education. This from a country that most would have called 'free.' You might wonder what threat home education poses to France. The New York Times reported that the new law, "… aims to combat extremist ideas at every level of French society. Among a range of steps, it toughens conditions for home-schooling, tightens rules for associations seeking state subsidies, and gives the authorities new powers to close places of worship seen as condoning hateful or violent ideas."[1] The legislation that was being debated contained 51 articles, of which the home education ban was tucked into the 21st spot. "In the article that prompted the most virulent debate, and over 400 proposed amendments, it places severe limits on home-schooling without banning it, as originally proposed. Educating children at home is viewed by the government as a source of the "separatism" that undermines French values…"[2]

Understanding the threat means we have to understand the language. "Separatism is the advocacy of cultural, ethnic, tribal, religious, racial, governmental or gender separation from the larger group… Groups simply seeking greater autonomy are not separatist as such. [1]"[3] This makes tolerance come to mind, which traditionally was understood to mean being able to co-exist with people who had different cultures, beliefs, thoughts or practices, perhaps agreeing to disagree, and not forcing your position on others. Restated, it is respecting the freedom of people to make choices for themselves. In the western world, this has had the largest latitude possible because infringement on these freedoms was antithetical to its foundational principles, derived from a Judeo/Christian worldview.

Is there an inherent predisposition in a government's perspective on religion that dictates its position and views of education in general and of home education specifically? Well, in France today this connection is indisputable. It is critical to learn that when the language of law is left too broad, it may be argued in one context and applied in other ways when passed. We must be cognizant of this danger and discerning when reading, acting and voting.

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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!


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