Homeschooling is legal in every province and territory in Canada, including Nova Scotia. You can homeschool in Nova Scotia with little hassle. Here’s what you need to know for getting started homeschooling in Nova Scotia.
When to start homeschooling in Nova Scotia
All children ages 5 to 16 who are starting to homeschool at the beginning of the school year must be registered for homeschooling in Nova Scotia by September 20th (although you may choose to hold your 5-year-old back a year and start homeschooling them the year they turn 6 years old instead). If you’re pulling your child out of public school and starting to homeschool mid-year, this date doesn’t apply. You can start homeschooling at any time. Your homeschool registration must include:
(a) if the child has previous public school experience, the last grade level attained;
(b) if the child has previous home education experience, the program level of achievement and estimated equivalent public school grade level; and
(c) identification of the proposed home education program. (Regulations Section 32 (2))
Fill out the Registration form offered by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development here to register. If you don’t already have a PDF reader, you’ll need one to fill out the form – download Adobe’s free PDF reader here. Or you can print it out instead (remember, your local library offers free printing with a library card).
In each of the program description boxes, add the curriculum you’re using for each subject and/or a couple sentences about what you are planning to cover. You may add your own subjects (e.g. Japanese, co-operative education, the sky’s the limit). If you are registering your child for the first time in Nova Scotia, the DOEECD wants a copy of your child’s birth certificate, so include one with registration.
What about a homeschool curriculum?
In the Education Act Regulations, it only refers to providing your child with an “educational program”. There are no stipulations what the “educational program” must be. It 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. Use free resources on the internet and at the library, or you can purchase a homeschool curriculum, or do a bit of each.
You may choose to refer to the Learning Outcomes and Curriculum Documents available at the DOEECD website but there is no obligation to follow the Nova Scotia curriculum. Curriculum materials (books, textbooks, etc.) are not available for purchase through the DOE (although they only have a few textbooks available for loan). You can use any homeschool curriculum or method you wish, including Montessori, Classical, Waldorf, or unschooling.
The DOECCD recently made available Independent Online Learning (NSIOL) classes for Grades 10 through 12 here. Although courses are free when you register through your local high school, keep in mind there is no teacher and they provide a mentor only to clarify instructions. Personally, I do not recommend them (too much busy work and no teacher feedback), and there aren’t anywhere near enough classes to complete a full year of study at this time.
The yearly homeschooling in Nova Scotia report
Homeschoolers are also required to submit a report to the DOE. each June,
“in a manner consistent with the type of program provided and that accurately reflects the child’s progress.” (Regulations, Section 33 (b)).
There is a form you can use for the report on the DOE website, or you can make your own. Reports can be as simple as: Subject name – sentence describing progress – Grade (number or letter). Some families prefer to write a paragraph on each subject in the box provided on the form instead, especially if they don’t award grades.
We always made the entire process easy by placing our registration for the following year in the envelope with our June report. Then we only had to think about the requirements once a year!
Also check out the rest of the Homeschooling in Nova Scotia website for articles, resources, and curriculum reviews. You will find support groups in the sidebar to your right (or scroll all the way down on mobile). If you have any trouble with the registration or reporting process, contact me or the Homeschool Legal Defence Association.
Love, Luck &
Updated August, 2023.