November 15, 2016
This is an unsettling time in Alberta.
Home educating families with the oldest and largest homeschool authority in Alberta have been asked, by their home school authority, to be patient and calm while court proceedings take place.
Home educators with other school authorities are also anxious because they fear that all home education is under scrutiny by Alberta Education.
There are also many distractions: confusing news articles about funding, contradictory information from our provincial government, ill-informed editorials from a teacher's union bashing parents and home education, the spread of misinformation and prejudice.
Waiting is a difficult thing.
It's hard to stay calm in the face of the unknown.
There are some things we can do now:
AHEA does not recommend submitting receipts for educational resource reimbursement directly to Alberta Education
Alberta Education has indicated that parents may submit their receipts WITH THEIR PROGRAM PLANS directly to them for reimbursement.
AHEA is advising against this.
- The potential for misunderstanding is great if we, as parents, submit a program plan to an individual who has no understanding of the goals and educational desires that we have for our child.
AHEA has had to explain many unique aspects of home education to many different staff members of Alberta Education, especially those in Strategic Financial Services (the department which would provide the financial reimbursement).
This has occurred enough times that it is apparent that there is a poor understanding of the nuances of the specialized home education programming that can be offered to children.
- The submission of receipts could place notification with Trinity/WISDOM in jeopardy.
Alberta Education could assume responsibility for a child's education, notification, administration, resource reimbursement, and /or teacher evaluations should we submit our receipts directly to them.
The lack of clarity provided by Alberta Education makes AHEA highly skeptical of the assurance that a child would remain a student under Trinity/WISDOM.
- The timeliness of reimbursement is questionable.
It is quite possible that Trinity/WISDOM will be granted the full operating injunction on January 5.
If this happens, the reimbursement of educational resources to parents of Trinity/WISDOM would occur in the same time period as submitting receipts directly to Alberta Education.
This is a precarious time for all of Alberta's home educators.
Every vein of educating at home has seen major changes over the past several months.
The degree of change, and intensity and invasiveness of future scrutiny remain to be seen.
Now is a time to take great precautions.
AHEA encourages you: ‘have your say’ on Curriculum Input before November 18
Alberta Education is conducting a two-part survey that asks for feedback on future curriculum and current curriculum.
Part 1 of the survey contains a number of values-based words that it asks you to respond to, yet the exact definitions of these words are not provided.
There is opportunity at the end to provide written comments, and you may provide your own definitions of what these mean.
You may state your opinion on what the purpose of curriculum, and education is, and the roles educators and families have in this:
Part 2 asks detailed questions about the current curriculum and how this should compare to new curriculum.
Even if you don't use public curriculum, it is good to input agreement and/or disagreement to curriculum components.
Hold on to encouragement and hope moving forward
While these are times of great trial, it is important to focus on what IS known.
You, as a parent, are the primary educator, and YOU have the first right to determine the education of your children.
Canadian Supreme Court decisions for decades have confirmed this.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights confirms this.
Your own experience confirms this.
Parents know what is best for their child, not government.
It has been proven that children are most likely to succeed when their parents are involved in their education.
Home education provides the maximum opportunity for this, the maximum potential for your children to succeed.
You, as a parent, know this.
Stay focused on that.
There are those with ulterior motives who want to create confusion and upset.
Don't buy in to that.
Keep home educating your kids.
You have that right and that authority.