The Importance of Knowing History: On the Alberta Home Education Association (AHEA) (Part 1)

Categories: On The Alberta Home Education Association, Léo’s Insights 2020-2021


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A friend of mine, a well known (and aging) wordsmith of notable repute by the name of Ted Byfield, has repeatedly encouraged me with his understanding of history. He often repeats that we cannot possibly understand where we are without at least being somewhat aware of where we have been. He has written a great deal on this topic, which I recommend that you read.

The Jewish culture and writings clearly understood the importance of history by repeatedly making reference to the past, particularly through genealogy, which was used to establish the authenticity of the narrative being presented. Indeed, every one of our lives is based on past events. That’s why we also reflect on parents, grandparents, relationships, genealogy and family trees.

It is important to understand that history cannot be changed and should never be revised to suit or accommodate recent understandings. Agree or not, history is history. Those who revise history are likely to infuse the past with modern mistakes and render it useless, while those who ignore it are likely to repeat its mistakes.

Moms and dads intrinsically know this. Usually, parents do everything possible to help their children avoid repeating the mistakes they have made. History is an inescapable part of every parent’s child training “program”.

The home education movement in Alberta also has its history and it would be instructive to learn at least that part of it that is most directly associated with your place within it or in keeping with the latest events. Something had to have happened leading to today’s situation.

Are you familiar with what has transpired in the past, even the recent past, respecting home education in this province? Do you know that the freedoms you enjoy today are a result of the efforts of the pioneers of the past? Do you know the history of the school or agency with which you are registered? What about the history of the person assigned to you by the school? Do you know whether traditional home education or a clear understanding of home education is part of your facilitator’s history? This is especially important in these changing times as many schools and agencies have a newfound “appreciation” for home education. What is their story?

We should make every effort to ascertain where the people and agencies we are associated with are coming from. That means we should have at least some idea of their history. Finding out whether your swimming instructor knows how to swim before taking lessons from him/her is a good idea! Asking questions is a good idea. Knowing the related past is a good idea. History is important.

One should not, in fact cannot, ignore history. It helps us understand why we occupy our present position and enables us to make more informed decisions respecting our future.

Personally, I have used my knowledge of what has happened to predict what will occur in the future by simply connecting the dots of past events, adding a pointer at the present moment, then lining up behind the arrow and looking at what the arrow is pointing to. I can’t say that I have always been “faultless” in my determinations of what would likely happen. However, this method has led me to relatively accurate predictions of the potential future consequences of current actions and decisions.

Searching for the truth requires that we know the past. Awareness of the past allows us to understand our present predicament and gives us something based upon which we can predict the future. Should we find that the past indicates that something was wrong all along, it behooves us to take a sober second look and to reevaluate what has come to be accepted. We may discover that something is seriously amiss.

History, sometimes referred to as HisStory is important! Learn from it and apply the lessons learned to your life and situation.

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