Legalities! A Practical Guide to Home Education – Getting Started (Part 5)

We live in a world of rules and regulations that generally have us do what we are supposed to do rather than what we want to do. In any case, we do need rules to avoid living in chaos, even if we don’t like them at times. Education is a good example.

The question is: who has authority over children, particularly when it comes to education? I intend to fully explain this someday, but for now, let’s just say that the parents who have brought the children into the world would obviously have the responsibility to train, teach and raise them, which is not possible if they do not have the God-given authority to do so.

Suffice it to say that parents are given the legitimate authority for all things pertaining to children. While government may claim to have this authority, God has not given it this authority. Simple logic should bring us to understand that God would not give children to parents and expect government to educate them. Had that been the case, most parents would have deemed potty training as a government responsibility, no doubt!

Once it is clear that parents have the God-given authority and responsibility to train, teach and guide children to adulthood, it is important to note what has to be done to stay out of trouble with the government and its false claims.

Too often, people quote the “render unto Caesar” passage as license to give our children to the government, but once again, consider that God gave them to parents, with no provision for handing off or abdicating the responsibility for raising them.

The rules in Alberta are simple, yet complicated. I am not going to deny that there are ways one can simply ignore the government directives respecting the education of children, but sometimes it is easier to simply play along.

Every child between the ages of six and sixteen in this province must be registered to receive some kind of education. Parents have the option to enroll students in a choice of schools, bring school home or educate the children the way they see fit.

Obviously, it is no burden, at least not at this time, to simply let the government know that the children are being educated, by you, at home, in a way that you approve of. This allows the government to think that it has authority while allowing you to exercise your God-given responsibility to train, teach and guide your children in keeping with God’s directives.

It may appear to be a compromise to some, but giving government what they want, which ostensibly is a desire to see all its citizens get a quality education, while parents retain authority to do so, is not “sin.”

Once understanding our place in this process, the question becomes, with whom will I register or notify? Alberta is unique in funding its home educated students without jurisdictional boundaries. This means that students can be registered either with the local school “authority” or any willing, non-resident one.

I do not recommend registering or notifying with the local school board. The local school system likely has little to no sympathy for, or understanding of, home education and so will naturally direct parents and students back to school, in one form or another. Not only do they believe that only schools can educate children, but there is also a monetary incentive for doing so.

Registering or notifying with a non-resident board provides far more choice and options. Once again, one must emphasize the importance of finding a board that will serve you, rather than manipulate your allegiance to their own benefit. Willing, non-resident boards can be public, separate or private schools, but very few, if any, truly understand the heart of unschooling parents.

It is also important to understand that since home education is funded in Alberta, money can become the primary focus, not only for home education providers, but perhaps even for home educators. Money should be the last criteria for choosing which school “authority” to notify with.

I have created a document that you may find helpful entitled, “Questions a Christian Home Educator Should Ask…” which lists a number of considerations for everyone involved in home education, including the parents. You can find it on our web site, by going to Resources, clicking on Home Education Guide and following through the steps provided to specifically address your present home education situation.

Summarizing, don’t simply believe what you are being told by potential home education providers. Knowing that your children come with money should alert you to go beyond the rhetoric.

Go to their web sites; look into their history; ask yourself, how has this board contributed to the long term best interest of home education? Consider the extent to which school based philosophy and accreditation is advanced; and make sure you will be the authority, otherwise you will be brought right back to the school-based thinking you want to escape.

Oh, and remember, just because a large number of people are doing something, does not mean what they are doing is right or the best option for you. If you make an informed decision in keeping with what is best for your family’s spiritual well-being, everything else will be added unto you.

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