Facilitation – History Pt. 1: Back to the Basics (Part 30)

Categories: Léo’s Insights 2023-2024, Back to the Basics

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If you were to mention home education facilitation to home educators anywhere other than in Alberta, you are likely to get strange looks.  Most have never heard of it.  “Home education what?” they ask.  “What is it?  What does it entail?  How is it that teachers come into your home?  Isn’t that an affront to the family?  Is it not threatening?  Do you have a choice?”  And a plurality of other queries intent on comprehending what on earth you are talking about.  Since home education facilitation is a phenomenon pretty well unique to Alberta, it requires a made-in-Alberta explanation.

As previously stated, home education is legal in most civilized countries and likely the only option in some less civilized ones.  Only a few democratic countries oppose and/or outlaw home education.  Alberta sets itself apart in the world of education by believing in and advancing educational choice which, by extension, means defending parental authority over the children.  At least that is what is being said.  This is true, however when it appears untrue, it is usually a consequence of school intransigents rather than government opposition.

Let’s begin with a few rules to explain how facilitation came to be.  All Alberta students between the ages of six and sixteen must be enrolled for education.  In the beginning, in the 1980s, that meant home educating students had to be registered with local school boards, some of which were ambivalent or even outwardly antagonistic toward these students.  And while home educated students were funded at the same level as regular students, nobody understood or knew what to do with them.

The School Act of 1988 introduced a new and foreign concept to the Alberta Education landscape, that of willing non-resident school boards.  This allowed home educators who were experiencing antagonism from the local board to find shelter in friendlier, non-resident boards willing to accept responsibility for the “education” of these home-based learners.

Remembering that at this time all students were funded at the same level, what could possibly have motivated non-resident school boards to attract home educating students?

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