Getting Started Homeschooling
Homeschooling is legal in every province and territory in Canada. You can homeschool in Nova Scotia with little hassle. Here’s what you need to know to get started homeschooling in Nova Scotia.
When to start
All children ages 6 – 16 (re: Amendment to Education Act Regulations, Section 3(1)) must be registered for homeschooling in Nova Scotia by September 20th of the coming school year. If you’re pulling your child out of public school and starting mid-year, this date doesn’t apply. You may register your child for Primary as long as s/he will reach the age of 5 by December 31st of the year you are registering, or you may wait until your child is turning 6 years old. Your registration must include:
“in the case of previous public school experience, the last grade level attained; in the case of previous home education experience, the program level of and estimated equivalent public school grade level; and identification of the proposed home education program” (Regulations Section 39 (2))
You may send in a letter to register with the required information, or fill out the Registration form offered by the Department of Education. Please note that only the spaces shaded in grey must be filled out – the blue spaces are optional/if necessary.
The program description boxes are specifically on the second and third pages are for those homeschoolers designing their own program of study or for homeschoolers using a different commercial curriculum for each subject (simply list each one in the corresponding subject box). You may design your own list of subjects and do not have to adhere to the examples listed. If you are using a single commercially available curriculum (i.e. Sonlight, Tapestry of Grace, The Well-Trained Mind), simply fill out the form up to the subject boxes on the second page. If you are registering your child for the first time, the Ministry will demand a copy of your child’s birth certificate, so you may want to include one with your registration.
What about curriculum?
In the Education Act Regulations, reference is only made to providing your children with an “educational program”. There are no stipulations as to what the “educational program” must be and can be whatever you feel is appropriate to give your child a well-rounded education. This gives you complete freedom to choose whatever materials (religious or secular) you want and to design your own program that meets your child’s needs. The cost is up to you, you can use free resources on the internet and at the library, or you can purchase a homeschool curriculum, or do a little bit of each.
You may choose to refer to the Learning Outcomes and Curriculum Documents available at the DOE website but there is no obligation to follow the Nova Scotia curriculum, and curriculum materials (ie books, worksheets etc) are not available for purchase through the DOE. You can use any homeschool method you wish, including Montessori, Classical, Waldorf, and unschooling.
The yearly report
Homeschoolers are also required to submit a report to the D.O.E. each June,
“in a manner consistent with the type of program provided and which accurately reflects the child’s progress” (Regulations, Section 40).
There is a form you can use for the report on the DOE website, or you can make your own. We make the whole process easy by placing our registration for the following year in the envelope with our June report and then we only have to think about the requirements once a year! Please note that you can also email your registration and report. The correct email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Feel free to also peruse the Homeschooling in Nova Scotia website for articles, resources, and curriculum reviews and you will find support groups under “Resources and Support” in the sidebar. If you have any trouble with the registration or reporting process, feel free to contact me or the Homeschool Legal Defence Association.
Love, Luck &