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The magazine had 26,700 subscribers and was sold on the newsstands across Canada and the United States, resulting in a coming together of many homeschooling families, both locally and across Canada. A few of these people were becoming homeschooling activists in their own provinces. (When I began to receive homeschooling queries from our American readers, I referred them to the GWS office, lessening the burden of the deluge of mail on our family’s time and resources, and continuing the exchange of information and support with John Holt and his staff.)

Unlike the situation in some American states, homeschooling has always been legal in Canada, with language and procedures differing slightly from province to province. Provincial education legislation recognizes the right of parents to educate their children at home and provides them with an exemption from compulsory attendance at public schools or sees it as an alternative to public or private school attendance. In the 1970s and 80s, this legality was not well understood – or even known about in many cases – by local school authorities. This led to routine attempts at intimidation of families by school board truancy officers.

Our family was harassed twice by two different school boards in the Spring and Fall of 1979. Shortly after the first incident, I heard from one of our Natural Life subscribers living in Manitoba who was homeschooling her children. She had been a teacher and school principal but was also engaged in a dispute with her local school board. She told me that she was going to start a provincial organization and call it Manitoba Association for Schooling at Home (MASH). Realizing that there was a huge job to be done educating the educators, I suggested that a national advocacy and support organization would also be helpful. And so began Canada’s first two homeschooling organizations. I called the national one Canadian Alliance of Home Schoolers (CAHS).

The announcement of the organization’s birth was sent to media outlets across the country. That resulted in interviews on CBC national and local radio shows, as well as with numerous magazine writers and newspaper reporters. The day that I was on a radio program with the Education Minister for my home province of Ontario, truant officers appeared at our door once again needing to be educated about the legality of homeschooling.

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