The Alberta Home Education Association (AHEA) began as the response to challenges that had begun to plague home educators in the province of Alberta. Home education had, for many years, been the domain of families who had poor access to regular educational facilities, due to distance and other factors.
In the seventies, a movement began that was to change the face of education in Alberta. More parents were becoming concerned about the secularization of education in the province, and as a result, alternative education methods began to spring up.
Included in the movement was a growing body of parents who decided that educating their children at home was the preferred method. For some, the school authorities were supportive, but for many more, the authorities were hostile. Because of the small numbers in this environment, school authorities found it easy to intimidate parents, and methods of appeal were limited.
As a result, a small but knowledgeable group of parents decided to develop a provincial organization. On November 26th, 1986, AHEA registered under the Societies Act of Alberta
- Up to 1985, very few home educators (55 in 1985)
- Parental authority began to be openly assaulted by progressive education advocates
- Government (Ghitter report on tolerance and understanding) stimulated an attack on Christian Private Schools (particularly against the Accelerated Christian Education program)
- Christian Pastor is jailed for not ‘requesting permission’ to educate his own children
- Many parents began to be awakened to the conflict
- Numbers of home educators rose to 1244 by 1989
- AHEA was born as a result of individuals who saw that the public educators were very much opposed to parents having control of their own children’s education
- Many were willing to go to court or even jail
- Parents were running into problems (threatening gestures from school boards & superintendents – told that what they were doing was illegal)
- Nov 1986 AHEA submits Objectives & By-Laws for gov’t approval
- 1988, AHEA representatives & large numbers of home educators attended meeting with Department of Education
- Courageous parents stood up to the harassment
- 1988 new School Act clearly outlined ‘notification’ (key word – parents are ‘in the driver’s seat’ rather than begging permission to teach their children)
- Concept of ‘Willing Non-Resident Boards’ began
- Oyen-School District #50 – 1st board to agree to accept notifications (of non-resident families)
- AHEA continues to work with the Gov’t over the years to establish the ‘Home Education Regulations’
- 2019 saw the Education Act replace the School Act. AHEA’s advocacy on behalf of home education contributed to the language of the bill including:
- that “parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.”
- that “the Gov’t of Alberta recognizes… home education programs as being valued and integral in providing choice in education to students and parents.” and
- ‘Supervision, if any’ – which made possible a Notification Only, No Funding option!
- Fall 2020 the Notification Only, No Funding option was made available to home education families due to AHEA’s advocacy.
- 2021, AHEA continues to support parents in their right to maintain the sole responsibility for the welfare, socialization and education of their children.