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Alberta Home Education Association

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Home Education Special Needs Access Launches May 2nd!

22.04.30.HE-Special-Needs-Program-Launch Home Education Special Needs Access Launches May 2nd!

AHEA celebrates the advent of a tremendously important change in the home education landscape for special needs families! Starting on Monday, all home education families will be able to access supports via the Khan Communications website Home Ed tab. These support services will be provided by speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, behavioural & mental health therapists, and psychologists. AHEA's advocacy on behalf of home educators can be supported here.

The Alberta Government is providing the access through a grant to AISCA, who has engaged Khan Communications to provide the supports. An overview of the AISCA Home Education Supports Video can be watched here. If you missed the virtual meeting with AISCA/Khan Communications on April 27, 2022, you can still catch the recording of Specialized Services for Home Education.

Now to some quick bits of reference information that you will find helpful!

What is the program designed to provide?

  • Universal strategies to help parents learn more about the learning needs of their children
  • Screenings and assessments to answer educational questions regarding their child's learning
  • Parent coaching
  • Access to workshops and resources
  • Online consultations between parents and specialists


What type of information will be needed to complete the registration process?

  • Parent name and location
  • School jurisdiction/authority name and home education facilitator name/contact # 
    (If applicable - Notification Only parents are also entitled to support!) 
  • Some specific information on their child (including their Alberta Student #)
  • Main areas of support parents are interested in
  • An online consent form
  • Selecting date for online consultation

If parents are having difficulty accessing the supports through the Khan Communications website, they can seek support by calling (780) 440-3251 ext. 1, or by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

AHEA wants to thank all of the home educators who shared their stories and filled out the survey when we started our focused work on this important need. You inspired and helped us achieve this goal! There are so many more of you than many realize. We couldn't be more pleased that you now have the choice to access these supports for your family as you deem helpful and necessary. We hope that it helps equip you and your children in your home education goals and growth.
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Something Special Happened

22.02.26.Something Special Happened ---banner

The heart cry of the special needs families in the home education community, to be seen and treated as equals, has finally been heard and responded to. It is with a thankful and joyful heart that we are able to confirm that special needs families will have access to supports equal to that of the public system. AHEA has worked hard to see that this issue was addressed. Our discussions specific to this topic started in July of 2020. AHEA has had two very specific goals in our advocacy - philosophical agreement and practical action, as explained in our previous article A Special Report. Our initial focus was refined to one very clear and pointed question:

The answer to our question was clearly given within the Throne Speech delivered by the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta on February 22, 2022. It was an exciting moment when these words were heard…

We had seen some initial movement on this issue this last fall, which was encouraging. However, the fact is that the practical action was still of help to some families and not all, and not as full in scope as we wished. We wanted to see the kind of course correction that will result in more than a nod in the direction of home education families. Our idea of the practical side of this question had seen us focus on requesting three specific items:

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A Special Report

A Special Report "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" is a quotation from William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet. On this topic, no matter what terminology is used, it has been a privilege to focus time and effort on some very special people in our home education family. Webster's website says that the word special stresses having a quality, character, identity... of its own.

AHEA knows that those of you who have these exceptional children in your home have faced extra challenges because of your choice and commitment to home educate, since you've felt it provides the best environment for your child. We, in turn, made a commitment to you to seek to address this issue, and we have. It has been a regular discussion point in our advocacy work with the government for over a year now.

Last fall we invited families with special needs to participate in a survey on this topic. We collaborated with another stakeholder so that we could gather data from a wider group. The resulting information from respondents confirmed what we had heard and seen. As was shared in a Political Update blog last November, "There is no funding for diagnosis and support for children with diverse learning needs under The Home Education Regulations, The Guide to Education, and the Funding Manual." This is a serious problem that affects a great many of our home education families.

  • 38% had more than one child with special needs
  • 11% were single parent/caregivers
  • 90% were traditional, parent-directed home educators
  • 77% were formerly in the public system
    • 59% left within 1-3 years and another 27% left after 4-6 years

Everyone AHEA has spoken to about the topic has been very kind and cares about the needs that we are discussing. People have not been calloused, whether or not they personally have a child that may require additional support. However, and this is a big HOWEVER, caring needs to result in some very specific actions in order to be of help. Families don't want empathy - they want the kind of support that will make a real difference in their life. 

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The Improvements, The Hard Reality And The Work We Have To Do

the-improvements-the-hard-reality-and-the-work-we-have-to-do Children are not meant to be locked up or locked down....

January 22nd, 2021 the Department of Education announced the new details of what home educators can and cannot do under the current lockdown orders given by Dr. Hinshaw, which will go into effect Monday, January 25th. The home education community must note that the Ministry is limited in its response by the current State of Emergency in Alberta. That said, the clarity is welcomed as it gives AHEA the opportunity to reiterate that home education is not the same educational model as what occurs in a brick-and-mortar school, and attempts to make us fit that mold will always sit, and fit, wrong. There is obviously more work to do in ensuring that our educational model is not seen in the light of 'social gatherings' in the eyes of AHS and that the Dept. of Education is well equipped to rebuff that type of qualification from the outset. AHEA will continue to respectfully work with all parties to ensure that the interests and understanding of home education increase.

As a home education community, we need to ensure we are paying attention, focusing our collective efforts and are prepared to work. So carefully review what we have gained and what is challenging. Then, let's address what is really required to solve the issue we face – that our children, all children, are really suffering. The main source document that you need to cross-reference to is found here, being the Guidance for Schools on Re-Entry – Scenario 1.

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Observing and Remembering Are Different

Lest-We-Forget

The lens through which we look at the world informs our decisions/actions. This year's Remembrance Day was especially poignant for that reason. As our last surviving war veterans leave us, what they risked their lives for may be leaving us too. It is said that every generation has to defend the freedoms they have inherited or fight for the freedom they want. Failure means loss. And who in our land knows what they would risk their lives for today? Our country? Our beliefs?

Observation is mostly passive. Watching a ceremony can become part of a routine that slowly, but surely, loses its meaning. The importance that something has can be underestimated when it is not on a individual level. Passivity, in either a personal or cultural sense, means a lack of resistance that may result in submissiveness, reliance and a retreat into inaction.

Remembering in itself is a personal action. It means that we have internalized something, whether we have participated directly or not. We develop a deep appreciation for the reasoning, action and the resulting cost. Our understanding means that we are willing to pay a price for something that we value.

God asked the Israelites to remember constantly. It was a multi-generational action that was to enable them to translate history into their current situation, imbibing them with the ability to react correctly on a personal level. The beauty of the Christian faith is that it inherently challenges us to think. Questions are welcomed because there are answers. And because there are answers, we can take heart.

Today we are at a serious point in history. And because we are living history, it is vital that we take the time to remember – very carefully remember – before we take action or respond in a way that is reflexive. Though each of us have our own personal history and memories to draw from, we also have our biblical and world-wide shared history to examine and recall. We should be able to read, watch, and consider information in order to come to a conclusion for ourselves and our families, and to influence what happens in our cities, province and country. We are also starting to sense, even more critically, that our action or inaction have the ability to affect things on a world-wide scale.

Censorship is a real threat today. The Government of Canada is actively seeking ways to control what you are able to see and read, in order to affect your response to politics. This censorship will deprive you of important information – information you are entitled to as a citizen in a free country. Only in a country that is in the process of losing its freedoms, or in one that is no longer free, does the government decide what you get to base your decisions on. The next step, of course, is that you will not have to consider your position at all, for it will be provided to you.

Home educators should be aware of this tendency towards censorship, as we have fought it on a provincial level in recent years. Do you recall the efforts to have the Human Rights Code instilled in the Education Act? This would have resulted in creating an expectation about what you could teach that may have conflicted with what you explained on a personal belief level to your children. Do you recall the efforts to dictate to the independent Christian schools that they could not use biblical language in their policies? Many home educating families, who notified with these schools that had to go to court to defend their right to hold and/or teach from a religious perspective, will remember this significant battle. Yes, the threat to freedom is real in our own province.

Anyone, including home educators, who thinks that they need not concern themselves with life outside their home is committing a grave error in judgement. "Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean that politics won't take an interest in you," said Pericles. Edward R. Murrow was blunter, "A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves." We do ourselves, and our community, a disservice by disengaging. This is true in the normal day-to-day, and even more so in a time of unease, strain, change and crisis. Now is when we must do our best work to affect governmental responses and to see that our interests are preserved and protected.

AHEA has long stood as an independent voice for home educating families in the province of Alberta. Within the education community, we have a 35-year history of speaking up for families that are affected by government action. This has allowed us to advocate for positive change and to resist the negative. We must never forget that ongoing actions are constantly required in both circumstances. And we must constantly be preparing for next steps, because there are always other groups preparing theirs.

Your direct connection with AHEA is critical to our ability to protect and speak up for your interests. The home educating family that supports AHEA's work through donations enables us to provide a voice for their interests. You can observe the work being done, or you can remember what is being done by internalizing and seeing how you are directly affected by this work… And remembering will lead to action. We need your direct financial support today, so that we can continue to support the work you do each and every day in your home. Please see our website for information on work being done on your behalf and to make a donation to keep our voice loud and strong. We need you just as much as you need us!

God gave you the rights that we are all endowed with, and men died for the freedoms you have enjoyed. Let us ensure that we work hard to have an informed, nuanced, biblical and educated perspective in order to take appropriate actions today. We need to remember and take action, instead of just being observers. 

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