Since its founding, AQED has undergone many changes. The volunteers who make up the organization are constantly working to improve it and make it reflect the needs of its members. The changing landscape of homeschooling in Quebec has also had a great impact on developments within the association.
Here are some highlights of AQED's history!
1997 – AQED is founded by three energetic and committed women. Marguerite Corriveau, Laurraine Gouin, and Marie Tremblay work together to gather Quebec families looking to homeschool their children. Homeschooling as a choice is not well-known at the time. Only a handful of marginalized, progrssive parents dare to make the choice.
1999 – The Association officially becomes a non-profit organization. The initial group of parents begins to pick up some momentum.
2000 – Word travels among homeschooling parents, and there are already around 200 active members. The winds of change can be felt! The first issues of Portfolio magazine are published, and the first conference takes place at Collège Bois-de-Boulogne. Pierre Compagna, Marie Tremblay’s husband, joins the board of directors, and the couple becomes well-known within AQED as the "Comblay family" (COMpagna+tremBLAY). The website is in its infancy.
2001 – AQED’s first legal analysis takes place and a rough draft is distributed to members. Homeschooling is really just beginning to take shape. Some school boards claim it is illegal while homeschooling parents work hard to assert their rights.
2002 – A legal committee is set up by Pierre Compagna and Adèle Dufour. Its aim: supporting members in the face of abuses by school authorities.
2004 – The first meetings with the MELS (Department of Education) take place to discuss the state of homeschooling in Quebec. At the time, AQED is made up of many key volunteers such as Marie Tremblay, Pierre Compagna, Danielle Faubert, Danielle Trépanier, Adèle Dufour, Gilles Pagé, Jocelyn Lortie, Marie-Chantale Giguère, Valérie Pelletier, Nadine Barrette, and many more.
2006 – AQED conceives and drafts a guidelines document, Le guide de la bonne entente. Given the lack of legal clarity and the largely uncoordinated efforts of school boards, the document serves a reference tool, as much for parents as for the school boards, on how to go about homeschooling. However, the presentation of the guide, on the Sunday following the 2007 conference, is a disaster! Certains steps proposed by the document do not sit well with members, some of whom want clear procedures, while others want freedom without any obligation to the school board. Distribution of the guide is postponed.
2010 – The Minister publishes its own homeschooling guidelines. The document, which has no legal power, is used by many school boards and parents.
2011 – Most of the founding members have moved on and AQED’s growth slows. Then, a new group of volunteers, including Marike Reid-Gaudet, Angèle Ross, Steve Boissonneault, Sonia Oualha, Geneviève Labonté, Caroline Quinn, and Annie Saucier, take over and breathe new life into the organization. Their approach is to improve AQED’s administrative infrastructure. They also update the website.
2015 – Homeschooling continues to gain ground in Québec. The Quebec ombudsman publishes a report on homeschooling and makes recommendations to the minister of Education, Leisure, and Sport (MELS). The government therefore has no choice; it must clarify its monitoring methods and communicate them to the school boards.
2017 – AQED celebrates the 20-year mark with a new image, a new logo, a new website, and its first two-day conference. More than 50 workshops attract over 300 attendees. For the first time in the association’s history, a representative from the Minister of Education is present.
AQED testifies before the parliamentary commission on homeschooling and it is invited to become a permanent member of the National Homeschooling Consultation Table. The association brings a second lawyer onboard. AQED’s membership surpasses 500, making it the biggest homeschooling association in Quebec.
2018 – AQED is more dynamic than ever. A group of committed volunteers works tirelessly to promote AQED's services and defend its members. The Political Action Committee maintains close relations with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEES). Through its involvement, AQED is now a key player in homeschooling in Quebec.