History of AQED and Quebec’s homeschooling movement
AQED is more dynamic than ever. With over 40 dedicated volunteers, the association works tirelessly to support and defend its 600 members. A new website completes the organization’s revamped look. The political action committee strengthens its relationship with the Minister of Education and Higher Learning. AQED is now cementing its status as the homeschooling thought leader in Quebec.
AQED celebrates 20 years with a new image, a new logo, a new website, and its first two-day conference. 300 attendees participate in more than 50 workshops. 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.
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 methods and communicate them to the school boards.
14 years after its creation, most of the founding members have left and AQED’s growth slows. 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. They seek to improve AQED’s infrastructure and they also update the website.
The Minister publishes homeschooling guidelines. The document, which has no legal power, is used by many school boards and parents.
AQED writes its guidelines. Given the lack of legal clarity and the largely uncoordinated school board efforts, this document is a reference tool, as much for the parents as for the school boards, on how to go about homeschooling. The presentation of the guide, given on the Sunday following the 2007 conference, is a disaster! The document proposes steps to follow which do not sit well with members, some of whom want clarity and others wanting freedom without obligation to the school board. Distribution of the guide is postponed.
The first meetings with the Department of Education take place to discuss the state of homeschooling in Quebec. 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.
Pierre Compagna and Adèle Dufour create the legal committee to support members facing abuse from school authorities.
AQED’s first legal analysis takes place and a rough draft is distributed to members. Homeschooling is really in its infancy. Some school boards claim it is illegal while parent educators push to enforce their rights.
The association is in full bloom! Word travels between parent educators, and there are already 200 active members. A wind of change is in the air! The first Portfolio Magazine is published, and the first conference takes place at Collège Bois-de-Boulogne. Pierre Compagna, Marie Tremblay’s husband, joins the governing board, and this couple will remain known to AQED under the pseudonym of the Comblay family (COMpagna+tremBLAY). The website is in its infancy.
Following the initial parent gathering, the association is formalized as a non-profit.
AQED is founded by three energetic women. Marguerite Corriveau, Laurraine Gouin, and Marie Tremblay work together to regroup Quebec families looking to homeschool their children. Homeschooling as a choice is not well-known at the time. Only a handful of marginalized, avant-garde parents find the strength to proceed.