Home educators prepare for weekend conference in Red Deer

Home educators prepare for weekend conference in Red Deer

A three day chance to talk with and learn from other home educators, the Alberta Home Educators Association is welcoming thousands to Red Deer this weekend.

Paul van den Bosch, a past president and current media relations board member of the Alberta Home Educators Association, said the event is a chance for home educators to meet with other educators and learn about what they’re doing, listen to speakers and take advantage of the used curriculum sale.

“We fill a hall with the used curriculum that people want to sell and quite often, donate,” said van den Bosch. “Last year we had more than 10,000 pieces of material including books and CDs. It was the first year we tried it and we sold more than 9,000 of them.”

He estimated about 1,800 to 2,300 people would attend the conference this weekend. In Alberta, there are about 25,000 students being educated at home. Some use online methods while others use the “parent-directed” method.

There are more than 80 speakers on a variety of topics.

“We have this one weekend a year for people to meet with people from all over the Prairies,” said van den Bosch. “We’re here to provide a weekend for those people, a retreat in a way.

“Passing on best practices is exactly what this weekend is all about. The speakers are sharing from what they know. It’s good to hear from people who have been there before and find out what may work.”

The speakers include Ken Ham, a creationist who debated science educator and engineer Bill Nye; Heidi St. John, an author and conference speaker; and Todd Wilson, a writer, conference speaker and former pastor.

van den Bosch said the conference offers a wide range of viewpoints and perspectives.

“He’s one speaker among 80. If you don’t agree with him, fine, there are lots of people to listen to,” said van den Bosch.

The convention runs Thursday from 6 to 9:10 p.m., Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Westerner Park, 4847A 19 St.


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