Over my fifteen years as a home educating father I've come to see how home education is a great method for achieving key education goals. This list of goals comes from Colorado Home Education leader, Kevin Swanson in his book Upgrade: The 10 Secrets to the Best Education of Your Child. I will briefly list them and share quick personal examples of how home education has helped my family work towards achieving these goals. You will see how my wife and I, having been educated in public and private school respectively, strongly believe home education method is superior to the school model in achieving these goals.
Alberta Home Education Association
Welcome to AHEA, the Alberta Home Education Association. We are here to help those of you who are new to teaching your children at home on account of the restrictions our province has made related to the COVID-19 virus. We've been around since 1986 promoting home education, defending freedoms to do so, and providing various resources, such as an annual convention, a website, a Facebook page and a magazine called Home Matters.
I realize many of you are newly experiencing a full time endeavor of teaching your children at home. Most of you in this situation are in the unenvious position of bringing school home. Hopefully you will see from this article, as well as various helpful links on our site, that there is another excellent option, if not for the remainder of this school year, than for the upcoming fall: home education.
Back in the fall of 2009 I shared an article with AHEA members. I've included the start of it below. It should give you an initial feel for what we mean by the distinction between home education and bringing school home.
"Summer has come and gone, and now it's time for most of use to get into the groove of more formal education. Mind you if your family is like ours, learning did not stop during the summer, whether it was history and geology discovered on a family vacation, some math or music studies that continued part way into the summer months, or skills learned gardening and running lemonade stands. I recall from a couple of years ago at this time where our local public school had its large sign announcing: 'Welcome back to learning.' My eldest daughter, 8 at the time, remarked on that being a silly message. She figures that learning takes place whether or not formal school is in session. I concur."
Fast forward eleven years, and that daughter and my second have graduated and we are still home educating our five other kids ages 7 to 17. What is it about home education, teaching our kids at home, that draws my family and a growing number of other families to persist in this practice year after year? And why is it that a number of families who try to bring school home, rather than try out home educating, tend to send their kids back to school? In short, home education, although really tough at times, is a joy, while trying to replicate school at home is too tall an order for most folks to do over the long haul. Rather than further tackle these questions in this article, I will point you to several pages on our site that will get you to strongly question that the school model is the only or preferred method of providing learning to our children when they are at home.
Here is the key landing page to start with About Home Education.
From there I'd head to the New to Home Education section.
If you wish to dig deeper into what I mean by home education, head here: Defining Home Education.
To find out more how home education differs from simply bringing school home, read the information on the Home Education in Alberta Compared to Home-Based School Programs page.
Does home education get tougher in the high school years? Sure, but those of us who do it really think it's worth it. Check out our High School page. And if your children are approaching graduation, check out our Post Secondary and Apprentice and Mentoring pages.
If the above information convinces you to move from bringing school home to home education you will need to notify of your intent to home educate. For more freedom and a best fit for your family we suggest doing it with a private school. Check out this page for more details.
In closing, yes, learning doesn't just happen from September to June in a public school building. It can also happen at home and be a joyful family endeavor. Please join me and thousands of other Alberta families by embarking on home education. As well, feel free to reach out to us with particular questions.
In light of the March 12, 2020 recommendations made by the Chief Medical Officer of Health for the Government of Alberta, AHEA has no choice but to follow caution and cancel our March 26-28, 2020 Convention at the Westerner in Red Deer, Alberta. We applaud the willingness of so many to encourage the Convention's continuation, but we care deeply about the well-being of our attendees and are following Provincial guidelines in order to make their safety our first priority. We are currently considering options to provide value to those who have already purchased admission to our Convention and will update everyone within the coming days. Those involved with putting on the Convention will be contacted directly by a Convention team member.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we all navigate this unexpected and unfortunate situation.
The AHEA Board
The convention team is working hard with great anticipation and excitement to finalize everything for the convention! We pray that it will be a blessing to you and your family.
We are pleased to announce that a few registration deadlines have been extended to March 14.
- Our enriching Children's Program. Register here!
- Hands-on Youth Labs. Register here!
- First Aid
- Speed Reading
- Card Creation
- (NOT Heart Dissection)
There is a new special College & Career event on Friday night! Help spread the word!! Designed to encourage the young adults and to give them an opportunity to make lasting friendships. They will also spend time in an intimate group setting with our keynote Daniel Craig, who has a great heart for young adults. Register here!
As usual, we are in great need of volunteers - about 150 at this point in time. Without them, we cannot run the convention. So if you can spare even a few hours of your time during the convention, it would be greatly appreciated! Register here!
See you soon!
AHEA Convention Team
The Minister of Education has invited parent and guardian input on the draft ministerial order on student learning to help shape the direction of education by February 24th, 2020 which will be in place for the 2020/2021 school year. It will replace the current ministerial order from 2013. This draft was the result of the Curriculum Advisory Panel (CAP) that AHEA met with last year. (Members can read about our meeting in our last HOME Matters edition – available online.) This committee has provided recommendations to Minister LaGrange on the direction of Alberta's K-12 curriculum and priorities. The previous curriculum work has been paused to ensure that it meets with the updated ministerial order.Why Home Educators Should Participate
As home educating parents, it is important to keep fully informed and involved in education in Alberta. Anything 'education' – we care about participating in! Our presence and input can keep the Minister aware of our care and concern for our greater community and the priorities of Albertans. We believe in the rights of all parents in the province to contribute to what is understood in the Education Act to be the "visions, principles and values" that "are the foundation of the education system in Alberta."
If parents want to be heard, and AB Education is looking for your input, you will have to speak up. You should prepare a response in advance, as on-the-spot answers may be more difficult to provide.What You Can Do
The Minister has provided several imminent opportunities for you to share your opinion of this draft order. Please consider participating in one of the following:
- Virtual Parent Sessions
- Online Survey
- Written Survey in English or French
- Executive Director, Curriculum Coordination and Implementation
9 Floor, 10044 108 Street, 44 Capital Boulevard
Edmonton, AB T5J 5E6
- In Person Sessions – I was specifically told that if you want to go to one of the in person sessions, which are table discussions, you should attend even if it says it is full, as they are set up for overflow. The in person sessions have a high turnout by teachers (who are also parents, I realize) that have come prepared with their ATA suggested comments/responses.
You need to read the draft in full to consider your responses to the following questions:
- Having read the draft Ministerial Order on student learning, does it accurately represent the goals for student learning in Alberta?
(Y or N) (Why/why not?)
- What are the strengths of the draft Ministerial Order on Student Learning?
(Why do you consider these strengths?)
- What are the gaps in the draft Ministerial Order on Student Learning?
(Why is it important to address these gaps?)
If you would like to know more about what the CAP Recommendations on Direction for Curriculum to Minister LaGrange, read their report here. This is actually very helpful in understanding the basis for the draft Ministerial Order.