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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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Special Help Has Arrived

22.04.14 - Special Help Has Arrived Special Help Has Arrived

AHEA is pleased to direct you to the special needs help that we've worked so hard for you to have access to. (Read more about our efforts for you in the previous article.)

IN ONE WEEK our friends at AISCA is will be hosting a virtual meeting for all home educators to attend... and 'all' means ALL!
It does not matter if you have decided to do Notification Only or if you are with an Associate Board/Private (Independent) School as you all have equal access to these services. What a win for the whole home education community!

YOU are in charge of your child's education. These supports, you are now able to obtain, don't change why you decided to home educate. They enhance your ability to address pre-existing needs. Your decision to home educate was not reliant on this, but this access will enhance your ability to get help if and when you wish to. Watch AISCA's explanation of how it's going to work here!

AISCA Poster (Click to download a printable version.)

AHEA is an independent voice for parents that home educate, though our work often has far reaching implications in supporting and advocating for choice, parental rights and the family in general. If you would like to support AHEA in our efforts please click here.

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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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What's in the Works for Home Education

What's in the Works for Home Education
This will be an exciting year on the home education front I believe. Hard work in advocating for the interests of home educators, over the last year and more, is bearing fruit. We are excited to tell you about some changes that are being implemented or proposed, as well as some ongoing concerns that we continue to pursue on your behalf.

  Done!!

  1.  Notification Only – No Funding. The expansion of home education notification to include this option for parents is especially gratifying after all the years that home educators have asked AHEA to advocate for it. The opportunity to press in on this issue with the introduction of the Choice in Education Act was fully utilized. We made a case for the validity of the choice, trusting parents, and the fiscal savings.
    • How it will work – Parents will provide a Notification form directly to the Minister, understanding that in doing so they forfeit the claim to the $850 grant they would be entitled to if they would have notified with an associate board. They have initially said that parents will need to send in an Education Plan annually, for information only, with no further review or supports provided to them, but we continue to work on this portion. This will be effective for the 2020/21 school year. More details will follow, but you can read the Minister's official news release here.
  2. Reduction of Receipts Required For Refund of Parental Grant. Parents will be required to submit receipts that equal only 75% of their grant of $850 in order to receive all of it. This will allow parents to stop worrying about purchases at a garage sale or from a friend. You must submit $637.50 worth of receipts before the deadline in order to qualify for the entire grant.
  3. Receipts Can Be Dated Up To August 31st. Parents can claim purchases up to this cutoff date for the 2020/21 school year. This standardized date should help all parents have equal access to their funding and not be driven by individual associate board policies. This is the same for everyone no matter who you are with if you are under the home education regulations.
  4. Funds Left Unspent Will Be Clawed Back. Any funding that you as a parent do not spend will be returned for Alberta Education to use these savings in another way. There will be no ability to 'donate or leave funds' with the associate board you notified with. Parents will either receive all of their part of the $850 grant or a portion. Any unspent portion will be returned to AB Education at the end of the year, after the August 31st receipt deadline. This eliminates associate boards pooling the parent portion of unused funds for any other purpose.
  5. The Final Count Deadline. We are pleased that this date will remain the same for the home education community, although not for other educational models. This means that you can notify as a home educator until September 30th, as usual.

TO-DO LIST! 

  1. Multi-Year Claims – Currently home educators have generally experienced the ability to roll-over their funds to the following year if not fully utilized by advising their associate board, who they have notified with. At this time the changes to the funding manual by the department have reduced our spending time to a single year. We have highlighted this for the Minister's reconsideration, as we had asked for three years to allow for budgeting for larger items.
  2. Standards of Reimbursement – This is currently under discussion, as it has been an ongoing concern of AHEA members. We have highlighted this for the Minister's consideration after discussing it with the department and hope to see some movement on the guidelines that are unnecessarily concerned with percentages being broken down for the small amount of funding available to home education families.
  3. Funding for Special Needs Students Who Choose to Home Educate – We find it grievous that the special needs student who is home educated is deprived of all taxpayer funding dollars that are available if they were in a different educational model. We have been bringing this up in multiple meetings with the department and the Minister, advocating for a funding solution to be found. Parents, who are home educating because they feel it is the best environment for their child, and are taxpayers too, should not be lacking all real forms of support and services, as is currently the case. Efforts will continue in this vein until we are heard and some form of initial progress for this vulnerable segment of our community has been reached. We remain hopeful that the intent is not to take away from these children and their families but that there has not been sufficient effort in finding a way to make it happen. This is doable, and we will not give up in reaching an understanding with Alberta Education on these student's behalf.
  4. A Healthy Competitive Environment for Parents to Choose FromAHEA's job is to advocate for our membership and advance the cause of home education in Alberta. While AHEA clearly cannot be representing the interests of associate boards, since our parents are required to notify with them, it is in our interests to help ensure that a market driven equality exists. Parents should have the ability to see plainly their available funding dollars and the financial policy for whatever model they choose publicly stated and be able to focus more on the services, relationship and a good fit being offered by any associate board they are considering. Financial information shouldn't be a mystery.

The shift to a weighted moving average for the other educational models (which we negotiated out of this year) have meant that associate boards are experiencing a rather big shift in how they can manage their administrative and operating costs. AHEA has no role to play in how their finances play out, except to have made this apparent to AB Education - without an even playing field, as home education relates to the shared responsibility (blended) model, access to home education could be reduced if the associate boards cannot survive or thrive. How you are coded matters! Shared responsibility can be a confusing model for parents to consider and navigate as the funding seems to shift situationally and the teaching responsibility between parents and teachers can lack transparency. This grey area has been manipulated in the past and we are supporting efforts to bring clarity to the situation for the sake of parents, who need to have information plainly stated to make a good and fair decision. Boards that incentivize parents to leave home education, because of the promise of additional dollars for their child, will themselves plan on collecting on a substantially greater amount. Therefore parents should make sure that the parental responsibility and funding dollars correctly applying to them is abundantly clear. The health of the home education model, and its supports, lies with parents who understand the difference.

Ongoing advocacy is the year-round work of AHEA that parents may not always be aware of. The results of this continuous work can result in a peaceful experience for the home educator who has no idea of the bullets dodged, or can be the means by which a battle-cry is sounded to preserve this unique and amazing opportunity for our children and families. Either way, your vested interest in staying informed, and supporting this work, makes your life choice possible!

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