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Homeschooling in Atlantic Canada – How to Get Started 

Are you considering homeschooling? Or perhaps are new to homeschooling in Atlantic Canada? How do you get started? Where do you begin? And what’s the best route to take in order to be a successful homeschooler? Is homeschooling even legal in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland & Labrador? We are going to cover each of these provinces unique learning standards for homeschooling. 

Before we dive into homeschooling in Atlantic Canada Provinces it’s important to select a curriculum that works great for your family. (If you are in Newfoundland & Labrador, please check curriculum standards before selecting curriculum – See below) 

How do I pick homeschool curriculum? 

There are hundreds of curriculum options available for homeschooling families now. We recommend that you purchase a Canadian based curriculum. There are so many phenomenal American Homeschooling curriculum options. However, if you are homeschooling in Atlantic Canada, you will find that you have to supplement your curriculum more often than not for Canadian concepts. 

Here’s an excellent blog about how to pick the very best curriculum for your family: Choosing Homeschool Curriculum

 

The Basics of Homeschooling in Nova Scotia: 

The first province we will cover when it comes to homeschooling in Atlantic Canada is Nova Scotia. 

Let’s start with the basics. 

Is Homeschooling legal in Nova Scotia? 

The answer is yes! In fact, homeschooling is legal in each province of Atlantic Canada, but rules do vary. The Department of education in Nova Scotia outlines the legislation for home education. It’s always best to start there when you have questions about homeschooling in Nova Scotia. 

Does your child need to be registered in Nova Scotia?

Yes! Parents and guardians in Nova Scotia are required to register their children, ages 6 to 16 in an educational program. First, you will need to register your child for Primary (Kindergarten) whether your child is 5 or 6 years old. Be sure to register them in the year that they will be 5 years old before December 31st. Secondly, you will need to provide a copy of your child’s birth certificate for their first year.

What are your responsibilities as a home schooling parent in Nova Scotia? 

First, you need to advise the Department of Education (Halifax Office) of your intent to homeschool your child. 

Secondly, you need to complete the registration form annually and return it to the Regional Education Office, Halifax, Nova Scotia. For a child that has not been registered in public or homeschool before, you will need to include proof of their age with your registration form. 

Third, in June you will need to provide a report to the Department of Education (Halifax Office) on the progress of your homeschooled child(ren). This report should be compatible with the program of study of the child(ren). 

Fourth, you as the homeschool parent need to ensure that your child is diligent in attempting to master their home education studies that had been described in the registration form.

Fifth, as the primary home education parent you must be prepared to meet with the school board officials if and when the child(ren) are to be enrolled in public school. You are required to provide evidence of your child’s education program. Because as the home-educating parent or guardian, you are responsible to provide solid evidence of your child’s education.

Where can you find the Registration form? 

As the homeschooling parent you will need to fill out the registration form for each of your children at the beginning of the school year. Click here to visit the Nova Scotia Department of Education’s Website where you can find the registration form. Overall the registration letter is simply laid out, very straightforward and easy to understand. This form will ask for both you as the parent or guardian and your child’s information along with the name of the curriculum that you are planning on using for that school year. 

What are the requirements for reporting and grading in Nova Scotia? 

Every June, the homeschooling parent or guardian must send in another form. This form is called “The Home Schooling Student Report Form.” Click here to view these forms.  The Home Schooling Student Report Form is quick, simple and easy to fill out. You can fill out the subject/course name, test marks, and the overall course grade. Then you can use the little subject boxes to fill out a little more detail and information on the subjects covered in the school year. While also including  your students learned. 

If you were using Schoolio curriculum and needed to fill out the Science section for Grade 5. You could simply go to the table of contents of your child’s completed Science book. Then write the key lessons that they learned for the year. ‘Forms of Energy, Conservation with Renewable Resources, Electricity, Energy Footprint, Structures’ etc.. 

If you are registering your child for a primary grade for the first time you simply need to: 

  1. Register with the Department of Education by filling in the form and being sure to submit it in September. 
  2. Make a report on your child’s progress within your areas of study in June each year.

If your child is attending school already and you’d like to legally withdraw them from school in Nova Scotia:

  1. Be sure to inform the school that you will be homeschooling. Ask them to remove your child from the school register. 
  2. Complete the Nova Scotia Department of Education Homeschooling Registration Form. Being sure to submit it to the Department of Education to register your child as a homeschooler. 

More information on Homeschooling in Nova Scotia can be found at The Canadian Homeschooler.

 

The Basics of Homeschooling in New Brunswick: 

The second province we will cover when it comes to homeschooling in Atlantic Canada is New Brunswick. 

Let’s start with the basics: Is Homeschooling legal in New Brunswick? 

Yes! It is every parent’s right to home educate their child in New Brunswick. Moreover, you do not need to have a teacher’s certificate or be a college graduate to homeschool your children. Additionally, there is no reporting or annual testing requirements in New Brunswick. 

Your first step would be to establish if homeschooling is the right choice for your family.

The Minister of Education New Brunswick suggests that you answer these 5 questions. 

  1. Adequate Time? 
  2. Do you have Adequate Finances? 
  3. Strong Parenting Skills? 
  4. Do you have Effective Time-Management Skills? 
  5. Common Vision? 

Families that choose to home educate are asked by the Province of New Brunswick to complete the Annual Homeschool Application Form. Then they are required to forward it to their local school district. 

Keeping in mind that in order for your homeschool to be considered effective instruction it must include these areas of learning: 

  1. Language Arts 
  2. Mathematics 
  3. Science 
  4. Technology 
  5. Social Studies 
  6. Health 
  7. Career Development 
  8. French 
  9. Music 
  10. Art 
  11. Physical Education 

What is the Annual Homeschool Application Form? 

The Annual Homeschool Application Form states that you as the parent or legal guardian are taking full responsibility for the education of your child. Once this application has been submitted, the district office will forward the form to the Minister of Education. Following the submission of the letter, the Minister of Education will send the family a signed letter that states they have been approved to home educate their children for the current year. 

Here you will find the French and English Annual Homeschooling Application Form: 

Homeschooling in New Brunswick Recap: 

  • If your child is just starting school, or you are pulling your child out of school to homeschool, you must inform their current school that you are homeschooling.
  • Choose a curriculum that suits your family.
  • Fill out the Annual Homeschool Application Form. 
  • Submit the Homeschooling Application form to the district office. 
  • Await the letter from the Minister of Education for approval. 

Click here for additional information on homeschooling in New Brunswick.

 

The Basics of Homeschooling in Prince Edward Island.

The third province that we will cover when it comes to homeschooling in Atlantic Canada is Prince Edward Island. 

Is Homeschooling Legal in Prince Edward Island? 

Yes! Parents are able to home educate their children in Prince Edward Island! They can do so by using a home education program or public education curriculum. 

How can you legally homeschool your child in Prince Edward Island? 

You will need to notify the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning that you will be homeschooling your child before the school year begins. Find the Home Education Notice of Intent here. 

What curriculum are you required to use? 

You can choose whichever curriculum you would like. In addition to this, there is also another option to access curriculum books with provincial curriculum when home educating your child. At this time the Provincial Curriculum costs $50 per child, and that amount will be refunded once the books have been returned after use. Also it’s important to remember that you as the homeschooling parent are responsible for your child’s curriculum, record keeping and their testing. 

Homeschooling in Prince Edward Island recap: 

  • If your child is already registered in a school, be sure to notify the school that your child will not be attending. 
  • Fill out the Notice of Parent’s Intention to Homeschool form and notify the Department of Education. 
  • Choose a curriculum that suits your family. 

For more information on homeschooling in PEI click here.

 

The Basics of Homeschooling in Newfoundland & Labrador. 

The fourth province that we will cover when it comes to homeschooling in Atlantic Canada is Newfoundland and Labrador. 

The first question, is homeschooling legal in Newfoundland and Labrador? 

Yes! Parents do have the right to homeschool their children in Newfoundland and Labrador. However, there are mandates that local school boards are to monitor the progress of the students that are residing in their district. 

What are the legal requirements of homeschooling in Newfoundland and Labrador? 

Parents or legal guardians need to send in an application to homeschool. Moreover, the four regions of the Newfoundland & Labrador English School District have a Homeschool Coordinator who approves applications. The Homeschool Coordinator also oversees the homeschool program. For information on how to fill out the form click the NLESD Homeschooling Application. 

What curriculum will you be required to use in Newfoundland & Labrador? 

You can either choose to use the provincial curriculum of Newfoundland & Labrador or you can use any other curriculum which has been previously approved by the EECD. Furthermore, if you don’t want to use an approved curriculum, you will need to provide information about the curriculum to the homeschool coordinator. Then the  homeschool coordinator will assess the curriculum that you would like to use. Doing so to decide whether it meets provincial learning standards. 

Homeschooling in Newfoundland & Labrador recap: 

  • Notify the school that your child is attending.
  • Find out who the Homeschool Coordinator is for your region.
  • Fill out and send the intent to homeschool form.
  • Choose a curriculum. Remember, if you choose a curriculum that isn’t approved by the EECD, you will need to  include this curriculum in your homeschool plan for the Homeschool Coordinator. 

For more information: 

 

Homeschooling in Atlantic Canada Recap: 

We hope that this how to guide has cleared up your questions about homeschooling in Atlantic Canada. Please be sure to follow all the rules and guidelines of your province. And if you are still unsure about any of the standards and requirements for your province, please reach out to your local homeschooling group. Local homeschooling groups can connect you with other local homeschoolers. Additionally, homeschooling groups can help you learn the best route to take with homeschooling, along with the legal requirements for your province and region.

Homeschooling can be a huge transition for your family, so be sure to check out the Schoolio Blog for helpful tips on how to be successful when homeschooling. It’s our hope that you will enjoy your homeschooling journey, and that your children will benefit from this unique education opportunity.

For general information on how to get started with homeschooling in Canada click here: How Do I Homeschool?

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