Serving the Home Education community.

Blog

Alberta Home Education Association

Keep up to date with everything going on in our province!

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. 

Continue reading
  318 Hits
318 Hits

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.

Continue reading
  502 Hits
502 Hits

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.

Continue reading
  813 Hits
813 Hits

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!

  478 Hits
478 Hits

Where Are You When It Counts?

where-are-you-when-it-counts

Where do you have to physically be on the fast approaching Count Date of September 30th?

Home educators in Alberta have long made adjustments to their plans to accommodate an almost problematic rule which demanded they be in province. When AB Education updated the Funding Manual last week they addressed this issue, which AHEA had been advocating that they review and modify. Clarifying the physical location a home education family on the Count Day of September 30th, we are very pleased to advise that the manual now states on page 61,

"4. Home education / Shared Responsibility students and their parents who ordinarily reside in Alberta on the September count date of the current school year."

This is a wonderful change from what it previously stated, "Home Education / Shared Responsibility students and their parents must reside in Alberta on the September count date of the current school year."

We hope you all enjoy this additional freedom to make plans that do NOT have to center around Count Day because you count every day!

                                                                          AHEA - Working Hard For You!

  723 Hits
723 Hits