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Alberta Home Education Association

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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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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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Living Within A Lockdown

living-within-a-lockdown Children are struggling with isolation, and parents are worried.

Parents have not only been processing the demands of the lockdown personally but assessing how it has been affecting their family – and more specifically, their children. The costs have been real in a multitude of ways throughout our society. And there is a very specific concern about the effects of the drawn-out lockdown on children that we need to address.

"According to pediatric disease specialist Dr. Ari Joffe, children living through the COVID-19 lockdowns are often facing family financial stress, family violence, loneliness, hunger, inactivity, and disrupted educational opportunities. This will result in "permanent profound impacts on their future quality of life, educational achievement, earning potential, lifespan, and health care utilization.""[i]

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