Five Things You Should Know About Homeschooling In Canada
Home learning is becoming increasingly popular with the fear around covid-19. Many families making the switch, have no idea what there options are or where to start. Making the switch for the first time can feel very overwhelming and it’s very easy to be “bullied” into doing things unnecessarily harder than it needs to be.
Before we jump in, I just want to say, the district “crisis homeschooling” of the 2020 pandemic is NOT a glimpse into true home learning!
5 Things You Need to Know About Homeschooling: Laws and Facts!
1. Every province is different in its regulations
Find your province below for more information on how to get started in your area! Each province has different rules and procedures. We have also included provincial-specific curriculum and resources for each area.
Here you have 2 main options for learning at home. You have the option of enrollment or registered homeschooling. These are two very different choices to consider.
If you choose enrollment, there is district enrollment and Distributed Learning (DL) enrollment.
In order to enroll, you need to find either a district school that supports learning at home or a DL school – this is my strong recommendation.
With DL enrollment, you have to submit regular reports and portfolios of example work and follow the provincial curriculum guide. The amount of funding received is dependant on the school you are enrolled with. The expectations on students learning and parents’ freedom to choose resources, is also dependent on the school chosen.
– Enrolled home learning places your child under the guidance of a BC certified teacher using the BC curriculum.
– You get access to up to $1000 in funding as well as access to free learning resources (this all varies per school).
District home learning is essentially learning exactly what and as you would in a classroom – at home. Your child is expected to meet all learning outcomes met by children in public school.
District homeschooling does not offer funding however, you do receive resources that the school deems appropriate.
If you choose to register as a homeschooler instead of enrolling, you can do this at any public, private, or DL school.
– I recommend choosing a DL even for registering as most still offer some free resources – both online and sometimes physical borrowing kits as well.
– This method of homeschooling is completely on your own and is also referred to as traditional homeschooling and you can receive up to $150 in supportive funding.
You need to be under a school board and will recieve 2 home visits.
Funding may be available depending on the school board you go with.
The three options are traditional, blended, and aligned.
– Traditional homeschooling allows you to follow your own curriculum. You can receive up to about $800 in funding with this option.
– Blended homeschooling, your program follows some Alberta curriculum guidelines and may receive some funding
– Aligned homeschool program follows all the Alberta government outcomes and the school board will provide resources. There is no funding for this method.
You need to register to homeschool and submit a written educational plan for each student.
You are required to keep a portfolio of your child’s work and present a summary at the end of the year.
Funding varies by the school division, anywhere up to $1000.
Saskatchewan Homeschool Program
Beginning at age 7 until age 17, you will be required to fill out a notification package.
You must provide the ministry with periodic progress reports, to be submitted in January and June using the official forms also located at the web address above.
If a child is being homeschooled for medical reasons, distance learning courses are available free of charge.
Often a local school is willing to accommodate homeschool students for part-time courses or extracurricular activities (Phys Ed, Music, French, etc) but this is at the discretion of individual schools.
Parents may use any curriculum or learning method they choose.
Once enrolled as a homeschool with the ministry of education, parents have access to the Manitoba Resources Library (English and French units) which contains a number of useful educational materials, curricula, and other such resources.
Homeschooling students are not required to take provincial exams but may make arrangements to do so with a local school if they so desire.
There is no funding.
Post-secondary institutions in Manitoba accept homeschooling students on an individual basis and are very accommodating.
You submit a letter of intent if you are withdrawing your child from school, if you begin homeschooling from day 1, there is no letter required.
There is no funding and also no requirements.
**Some school boards will try to tell you that you have to inform them of curriculum plans or do testing. This is not true.
You do have the legal option for your children to take the EQAO in grades 3, 6 and 9 and the Literacy test in Gr. 10, but they are not required
In Ontario, there are no laws for homeschoolers that require you to submit curriculum plans, textbook lists or reading lists. You do not need to have approval to teach what you wish to your child.
If the school board gives you a detailed questionnaire to fill out, they’re trying to conduct an investigation, which they’re not supposed to do without a good reason. (If that happens to you, contact the Ontario Federation of Teaching Parents for help.)
Ontario’s Learn At Home Portal
Provincial Curriculum & Resources
You have to provide an education that is equivalent to what is provided in school in the eyes of a school board.
You must send in a learning project outlining plans for the year.
During the year, parents are also required to send in a mid-year and completion report.
At the end of the year, parents are also required to have an evaluation done.
Sometime in the year, a minister’s representative will hold a follow-up meeting to see how things are going.
There is no funding.
You need to fill in a form and send it to your local school district office notifying them of your intentions.
The Anglophone board requires submission of a fairly basic set of forms and will respond with a letter of approval.
The Francophone board is more complex – requiring a more detailed application outlining your homeschooling plans along with an in-home interview.
There is no funding.
You need to fill in a registration form (you can do it online here) and describe your curriculum.
You need to send in a report in June on your child’s progress outlining what your child learnt throughout the year using the Home Schooling Student Report Form. It asks for the subject/course name, test marks if applicable, the course grade and has a small comment box.
There is no funding available.
Nova Scotia Department of Education
Nova Scotia Curriculum
You need to sign a letter of intent to homeschool.
You are free to choose whichever curriculum and learning style that meets your values.
Kids are also allowed to attend some classes at a public school if they want to.
There is no funding and resources are available with a $50 deposit.
You need to complete a form (online here) and provide a basic education plan. The school board needs to approve this and send you a letter of approval.
You do need to register with your local school, but it’s a formality and takes about 10-minutes to drop by and do.
Over the course of the year, you need to submit samples of work done.
There is no funding.
You need to register your children with the department of education, create an educational plan, and do testing.
This is all done through Aurora Virtual School.
There doesn’t appear to be any funding available however, resources are available as well as online courses.
North West Territories:
You register your children with your local school.
You do receive funding, up to 25% of what the school receives for public school children.
You follow the Alberta education program.
You need to register with your local school, and that may look differently depending on your district.
There is funding available on a reimbursement plan.
2. Home-educated students do not receive high school diplomas
The school board will determine your child’s grade level if they return to the public school system. (This varies per province and style of home learning chosen). Many Post-secondary schools will accept a homeschool student on an individual basis.
3. Homeschooling is NOT just for religious groups
There is a large movement moving rapidly from being faith-based to more mainstream.
4. Our homeschooling community is huge!
There are many support groups and online Facebook groups/co-ops that you can get involved in. Search your town/region online or on Facebook (or start your own!)
5. Some can challenge your decision to homeschool your children
YES, people can and some even do call child services on families that do not send their children to a brick and mortar education institute! Though home learning is increasing in popularity thanks to the 2020 pandemic, there are still MANY styles of home learning and there’s always that possibility of someone thinking they know better.
Legal protection and insurance
The Home School Legal Defence Association of Canada (HSLDA Canada) is a national not-for-profit organization. This appears to be a more prevalent concern in Ontario however, they are an advocate to support and protect homeschooling families in Canada. You can become a member for a small fee and they are with you every step of the way. The money you pay goes towards management and lawyer fees, as they will help you if you ever get into a legal battle over homeschooling your children.
Once you become a member they will send you details on your province, support groups in your area, what you need to do.
Visit their website at www.hslda.ca. Contact their office by phone at 519.913.0318 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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