10 FAQ’s About Homeschooling in Canada

10 FAQs about Homeschooling in CanadaLee and I get regular emails from new to homeschooling parents who are desperately seeking help as they start their homeschool journey. We’ve narrowed down the top 10 most asked questions and put them together (with the answers we usually provide) in one place – hopefully to help!

(Note: We still love to get emails, so if you need more than these answers offer, PLEASE don’t hesitate to contact us!)

1. Am I allowed to homeschool in Canada? 

Absolutely! Every province of Canada supports and accepts homeschooling as a valid, legal method of education. Some provinces have more rigid guidelines and expectations for homeschoolers, where others basically leave you to your own devices. We recommend clicking on the flag of the province you want to know more about on the left of the screen here to go to more information about that provinces’ requirements.

2. My child and school aren’t going to work – we’ve decided to homeschool. What do we need to do in order to take our child out of school? 

We’re sorry to hear that school isn’t working out as you’d hoped. The answer to this question actually varies according to where you live in the country. Each province has rules or expectations of what steps to take when you decide to pull a child out of the system to teach them at home.

In Ontario and PEI, for example, you just have to send the board a letter that explains your intent to homeschool and you are set. In Saskatchewan, you need to notify your district at least 30 days before the school year of your plans, and maintain a portfolio of what you’ve completed through the year. Again, check your provincial page on this site for links to information. If you can’t find exactly what you need, let us know and we will find it for you.

3. Does the government give us any money for homeschooling supplies and programs? 

Again, this is province specific. The majority of the times, the answer is a disappointing “no.” However, if you live in British Columbia, the Northwest Territories, or Alberta, you will receive some funding towards your schooling. The amount is dependent on how you register with the government and how independent you want to be in your teaching.

4. Do I have to use a government supplied curriculum? If not, where do I find curriculum – everything I’ve seen seems to be Christian/American/expensive/overwhelming? 

In most scenarios, the answer to this question is no. There is no government supplied curriculum, or even a curriculum with a stamp of government approval. You can choose what will work best for your child and family and get started. There may be more regulations on what is expected if you choose to homeschool under a school umbrella however. Make sure to confirm exact details regarding curriculum expectations before buying anything.

If you are looking for curriculum, you will notice that the top promoted products are Christian in faith, and American in origin. Although there is nothing wrong with these sets – they aren’t a good match for every family. If you would like to find Canadian content, check out the list on The Canadian Homeschooler – where I’ve been spending years sharing books, resources, and curriculum materials for Canadians. Since, to date, there hasn’t been a full Canadian curriculum in a boxed set (unless you know about it, in which case you need to tell me PRONTO!), you can pick and choose different materials to mix and match your own curriculum materials.

5. Does my child need to be regularly tested – like standardized testing? 

No – I’ve honestly never heard of any homeschoolers needing to be tested with the public school standardized testing system. You CAN choose to use past tests online to see where your child is at, but testing is completely a personal choice and something that many homeschool families feel aren’t an important part of their child’s education or success.

6. Where can I find a local homeschool group/support group? 

One of our goals here at Homeschool Canada is to provide people with a list of available local support groups. By no means is our list exhaustive, but be sure to check the lists of support groups under your province page. There are yahoo email groups, Facebook groups, and local meetings. Other places to look for groups are at the website meetup.com and through Facebook communities, such as our Homeschool Swap: Canada group and our individual Facebook pages. When you find someone in your community who homeschools, ask them if they belong to a group!

7. Can you help me pick out curriculum for my kids? 

We love to help, if we can. Feel free to contact us with where you live, what ages/grades you are doing with your kids, and what kind of homeschool style you are hoping to use. We can offer suggestions of companies and products we know about that might be a good match for your family. Remember, we don’t know everything and they might not work for your family, but we can give you a list of suggestions.

8. Do I have to follow the provincial curriculums when I homeschool? 

Unless it’s required under the method you register with your local school board (such as an umbrella tree, or distance learning), you shouldn’t HAVE to follow the provincial curriculum outlines during your schooling days. However, using the government approved guide is a good way to keep yourself on task and cover everything. Under each province page you will see a link to Learning Outcomes, which shares the curriculum expectations and outlines for each grade.

9. What about high school? Can we homeschool our high school student?

Absolutely. You just have to be more creative in your planning. There aren’t nearly as many resources available for the higher grades – and it will take some work to find a match for your child and the options that are available. There are online programs, distance/correspondence options, just learning independently, and lots of great volunteer opportunities – you just have to find them.

10. What about post-secondary school? Am I setting my child up for failure? 

It can be overwhelming to think of how the schooling choices we make at any stage of our children’s lives will affect their future educations and career choices. Are we letting them down by not following the norm? Post-secondary is one choice that our kids can do after school years – as is apprenticeship, a job break, travelling. If college or university is your education goal plans, then there are a lot of options available, including registration at an open-university and working directly with your university of choice to establish homeschool requirements. We highly recommend visiting UniversityAdmissions.ca for more information on what to do as a homeschooler heading towards post-secondary schooling.

38 Comment(s)

  • by Eddie – The Usual Mayhem Posted October 9, 2012 1:04 pm

    Great post!
    We homeschool in Quebec where lines are blurred. Although it iis completely legal to homeschool here, I would strongly advise an HSLDA membership before notifying the school boards because they will try to convince you that you must pass some sort of parent-evaluation interview to get permission to homeschool, that you must submit your kids to their testing, that you must homeschool under their umbrella…none of it is true but the HSLDA will be very useful in backing you up.

    • by admin Posted October 13, 2012 5:15 pm

      That is a great point and I agree to having their membership is an excellent idea!

  • by Judy Posted October 9, 2012 3:15 pm

    I don’t know about the other territories, but in the Northwest Territories, we are well compensated for home schooling. 🙂

    • by Sherri Posted October 26, 2014 3:12 am

      Are you still homeschooling in Northwest Territories I’m very interested and looking to get some info

  • by Crystal Posted July 7, 2013 3:25 pm

    I live in Alberta, and My daughter is starting grade 1 this september. I am trying to figure out the best curriculum, and wondering if you can give some suggestions. We used Timberdoodle for Pre-K and Kindergarten, and LOVED it but had to supplement since it is a USA company. Thank you!

    • by Lee Fisher Posted July 8, 2013 2:09 am

      Hi Crystal, There is great curriculum out there and there are some great groups on Facebook that I can recommend for you if you are there. Email us and we can discuss this further.

  • by S’s Mom Posted October 30, 2013 5:53 pm

    we had our son in a preschool learning program, and he got a human bite from another child. We have since pulled him out, but now are unsure what to fo. He is 2 1/2 and loves to learn. Where can i find teaching material for preschool? we have done the dollar school books etc. He know’s his upper and lower case letters, shapes, colors, numbers etc. We are working on letter sounds and Sight words. Any assistance is appreciated.

    Thanks.

    • by Lee Fisher Posted October 30, 2013 7:39 pm

      Send us an email and we can talk more !

    • by Erinwyatt Posted June 16, 2018 1:48 am

      Can google any preschool activities and print out including arts and crafts scissors fine arts gross motor ideas ..when it comes to sharing peer social skills and following instruction from another adult you might need to go to parks play dates ect

  • by Concerned Daddy Posted November 15, 2013 8:22 pm

    Hi! Thank you for making this top 10 FAQ’s page, it answered alot of questions that have been tumbling around in my head for a little while now. I have slowly been losing my faith in the Educational system..i have watched as it has failed more and more students and families and have been considering other options ie. homeschooling for my 4 yr old daughter who is set to begin SK next year. I kept her at home this year instead of enrolling her in JK because i felt i could teach her more at home then she would learn at school..there is nothing JK can teach her that i can’t regarding her letters, numbers, colors, shapes etc. and she has learned them all very fast..including how to count to 10 in Spanish which she did on her own (i lived in Venezuela for a short time so sometimes i count in spanish just for fun) she just listened and put two and two together associating which number in spanish i was speaking to which number in english it represented..that is something i know she would not have learned in JK lol. Anyways, i am exploring options and thank you for listing some FB pages/communities that focus on Homeschooling in Canada..i live in Toronto, Ontario and have had many people tell me that the TDSB makes it VERY difficult for parents to keep their kids out of the public school system…for what reason i don’t know nor do i want to speculate but it is has brought me great relief after reading this page that they really do not have a legal leg to stand on should i choose to keep my daughter at home and school her myself. Thank you! OH! one more thing..someone commented that there is an organization out there that is in place to assist parents in getting started in homeschooling and are there to back you up should you need it if some government official decides to take advantage of someone who is not familiar with their rights to homeschool to make them think it is illegal to homeschool and make us go through some sort of parent evaluation etc. can you please give me the link to that organization so i can read up some more on them? Thanks Again!
    Warmest Regards.
    a concerned Daddy..

    • by Lee Fisher Posted November 15, 2013 10:28 pm

      Love this. Please contact me at homeschoolcanada@shaw.ca and I can connect you with people in your area. The organization you are referring to, I believe is the HSDLA and it can be found here http://www.hsdla.ca It’s the Homeschool Legal Defence Association of Canada. It is quite easy to homeschool in Toronto with a lot of support groups. Hope to hear from you soon! -Lee

  • by Taylor Posted December 5, 2013 2:11 am

    I am a resident of Alberta waiting for my custody papers I have British Columbia medical … Can I do he school in bc until my papers are done for me to attend public school

    • by Lee Fisher Posted December 5, 2013 11:10 pm

      I am not sure Taylor. Email us and we can talk more. -Lee

  • by Allison Posted December 17, 2013 5:50 pm

    Thank you very much for this list as it has cleared up some concerns. I too am in Toronto and my son will be starting JK in September. He has special needs (specifically autism) and it seems the the TDSB wont be giving him what he really needs in terms of support. While he is in all kinds of therapies that he is doing very well in, school is still a mystery. Homeschool is looking like a great option for us!

    • by Lee Fisher Posted December 24, 2013 6:27 pm

      You are so welcome Allison. Email us if you have any questions! homeschoolcanada@shaw.ca -Lee

  • by Melinda Hegan Posted March 17, 2014 5:04 am

    My daughter is 13 and in grade 7 here in Ontario. She is having a very hard time with school with bullying. I have had many talks with her teacher and principals and have everything tried moving schools. She is begging me to please home school her. Can u start to homeschool in the middle of a school year? Can u start at grade 8. What about high school. Trying to figure out what to do.

    • by Lee Fisher Posted March 24, 2014 3:56 am

      Hi Melinda, Please email me and I can get you in touch with my Ontario contact. – Lee

  • by Tracy Posted April 3, 2014 7:26 pm

    We are preparing for a move to BC, and a switch to homeschooling at the same time. Am I allowed to homeschool through Alberta, even though we’d be living in BC?

    • by LisaMarie Posted May 14, 2014 5:50 pm

      I’ve honestly never heard of anyone being able to homeschool under another province’s laws while living in a different province. You might want to contact http://www.hslda.ca to see if they have any legal advice for you about this idea.

  • by Carlie McCracken Posted November 11, 2014 8:24 pm

    We are in Alberta and although we are in the 3rd month of school, and funding has already been allocated, my 9-yr-old is struggling. When she asked if I could homeschool her, I began doing a lot of research about that option. Now I really want to homeschool all of my children, ages 9, 7, and 4.

    We leave to New Zealand in January for 2 months and I was already planning on educating my children while we are abroad to keep them caught up in school. Now I am thinking I would like to begin a homeschooling program before we leave so that we have something consistent to work with while we are abroad that we can flow with when we return.

    Previously, I had thought we might begin homeschooling next year, but now that I better understand how both of my older girls are struggling and how they could be benefiting from homeschooling, I’m really eager to begin soon. My question is, is it ok to pull my children from public schooling mid-year? Are there adverse consequences to this that I may not be aware of? I know we won’t receive any funding, but we need to register with a school board or private school and they won’t receive funding either. Will this be a problem? And since winter break is only 6 weeks away, should I wait at least until then to transition my children?

    Lastly, I plan to do traditional home schooling and work our science and social studies learning around our trip to NZ. I am currently trying to sort through the piles of info about math and language curriculum options. My girls have already decided that they don’t like math (terribly sad at this age) and I am determined to find a good, meaningful and fun curriculum that will help convince them otherwise. I’m wondering if there are any math and/or language & reading curricula that you would highly recommend? Thanks!!!

    • by LisaMarie Posted November 25, 2014 7:18 am

      Hi Carly,
      I’m sending you an email!
      🙂
      ~Lisa Marie.

  • by Cynthia Posted January 17, 2015 6:14 pm

    Hi!

    Firstly thank you for providing this site!!… I have 3 daughters 19 11 and 9. My oldest did not finish High school as a result of continuous bullying. I am seeing the same situations sadly starting to repeat themselves. My 2 youngest daughters have been begging me to homeschool them for over a year. My oldest daughter wishes that we would have homeschooled. My question is can I pull my 2 youngest daughters grade 6 and Grade 4 out of the Alberta Catholic Board of Education, mid year that is now Jan 2015, or do I have to wait until Sept 2015, and how do I do that.

    Thank you so much!

    Kind regards

    Cynthia

    • by LisaMarie Posted January 24, 2015 7:30 am

      Hi Cynthia,

      As far as I know, you are free to pull your children out at any point during a school year, but if you do it after September, you cannot get any funding in Alberta. I recommend connecting with the Alberta Home Education Association (http://www.aheaonline.com/) as they will better be able to give you the information you need.

      Lisa Marie.

  • by Gillian Posted March 27, 2015 3:08 pm

    We live in Kawartha Lakes and I am very interested in finding out more information regarding resources, to homeschooling my grade 5 and grade seven children. One of them can’t tell time or multiply, they don’t teach spelling or grammar at their school. Bullying is on going and is not handled in the best interest of the victim. My son was attacked by a boy a lot bigger than him last year for talking to much and to loud, the boy received a one-day in school suspension. My son received a concussion, loose teeth and was off school for a week. I tried to involve the school board but that didn’t accomplish much. My sons teacher this year said they don’t need to know cursive writing that it isn’t needed in high-school anymore. They are not learning the basics but the new curriculum is pushing so much explicit stuff in sex education. Some of the teachers spend more time yelling, belittling and bullying the students instead of teaching them, it sure makes the good teachers look bad or farther and fewer between then the bad ones. There is one teacher my son was told he could go to that he trust because he didn’t feel safe. Last years teacher had a marriage break up and was constantly bashing men, the boys in the class were getting frustrated and acting out more. I don’t believe it is right to bring those personal problems and attitudes to school, It isn’t fair to the young men to be taught all that negativity regarding men. There are good and bad regarding both sexes. My son finally walked out of class a couple days before the end of last year after she made more slurs against men. The principle is nice enough to talk to but has no control over that school, the teachers, students and is not respected much by students and parents. Most sports have been band since it isn’t safe, but sign up for yoga, line dancing and sometimes choir.
    I don’t understand this NEW CYOL choice your own learning. I just found out this week, some days they get an hour sometimes even two hours where they can choice from a list which order to d o work, catch up on assignments or work on line dancing which i suppose is under gym or health. I have been told how my son is behind but they won’t send home any homework, they will take him out of another class to do a missing assignment which puts him behind in the class they remove him from. Come high school they won’t be ready for homework since they never get any in public school. Imagine (choice your own learning) in public school. We have had co-op students grade 10 & 11 and a couple were not able to write their own last name. I do not want that for my children or any children. What is going to happen in Canada if our children can’t spell, write, basic math or taught character-honest, trust, hard work, pride, encouragement and strength the ability to get back up, that failure is just a stepping stone to success. My children are worried that they won’t have friends if they are home schooled that their friends parents won’t let them come to visit. My children are as smart as the next, my son grows garlic, radishes and other vegetables to sell, my daughter wants to start growing fresh cut flowers. they both like to read. My son gets frustrated easy when it comes to school. I am worried he won’t let me teach him but he may give up completely if i leave him in the school system. Any help, websites, resources and suggestions for their social skills if i home school them.
    Gillian

    • by LisaMarie Posted March 27, 2015 5:17 pm

      Hi Gillian,
      It sounds like you are very frustrated with the school system that your children are in and that it’s not meeting the expectations you have for their education. As far as socialization goes with homeschooling, finding a local homeschooling community to tap into is a key, as well as seeking out resources, classes and activities your children can join in to.
      I’m not sure if you are Christian or not, but there is a Kawartha group that is: http://www.katchpeterborough.org/index.html
      I couldn’t find any other local to you when I searched on the list I usually use, but I do know that there’s an Ontario group on Facebook, if you happen to use FB. It would be a great idea to join and ask if anyone knows of something local. https://www.facebook.com/groups/2344429697/?fref=ts
      I do know there’s a busy group in the Peterborough area.
      I hope that helps,
      Lisa Marie.

  • by Stephanie Posted May 1, 2015 10:26 pm

    Hi I am trying to figure out how to take my 5 yr old out of the catholic school system and home school her and how to do it properly. she is enrollerd in jk and since halfway though the year she has regressed with the potty but only at school, every attempt to fix this has not worked and we are continuing to be pressured to fix the problem. when I talked to the teacher helper she about a situation of her being picked on she turned around and told me she didn’t belive my daughter and that would never happen in the class, made my daughter feel like a liar and that no matter what she would not be belived so we have had enough and wish to pull her out. since there is nothing they can teach her that myself and her father cant at home. but we want to do it properly. we live in London Ontario. is there anything I should do first before I pull her?
    Thank you
    Stephanie

    • by Stephanie Posted May 3, 2015 4:21 am

      sorry I didn’t mean to post this as it sounds let me rephrase this when it comes to the teacher helper when I brought up my daughter complaining about being picked on she had replied that all the children are good children and that she couldn’t see that happing in this class, she said so first to me then again in front on my daughter which of course made my daughter uncomfortable and then when she proceeded to talk to my daughter in front of me the words and tone she used gave me the impression that no matter what she would not believe my daughter and that my daughter must be lying which I do not agree with nor approve of how she spoke to her. as we do not see this being resolved appropriately we are contemplating pulling her since with the regression maybe she wasn’t as ready as we had originally thought and are fearful that leaving her in may not be the best for her. and we feel that the method of approach was not appropriate with the helper and our child. any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. please understand we do like this school but are sure that right now it is not the best situation for our daughter

    • by LisaMarie Posted May 3, 2015 6:36 am

      Hi Stephanie,
      I’m so sorry that you are having such a hard time with school and your daughter’s experiences there.
      In Ontario, all you have to do is send in a letter of intent and you are free to pull her our and bring her home with you. You can find more information about it through http://www.ontariohomeschool.org – they even have some sample letters.
      I hope that helps and that you are able to get a good solution to help your daughter excel.
      Let me know if there’s anything else I can help with.
      🙂
      Lisa Marie.

  • by TL Posted May 20, 2015 6:26 am

    Hi,

    I shared your post on my Facebook page. I received a response back that the article was one-sided. Also, a comment was made about if there are resources available to those parents who’s child may have a learning disability. How would a homeschooling parent go about getting a diagnosis for their child? Another part of the comment was are homeschooling parents trained to recognize learning disabilities. I live in Ontario.

    • by LisaMarie Posted May 20, 2015 7:51 am

      What part of the article was one sided? I’m happy to hear other points of view or to see how I can present this better. I have put together a more recent version of this post in the FAQs section of the top menu, if that will help.

      As far as learning disabilities and homeschooling – it’s totally possible to do so. Some parents don’t get an official diagnosis, but use their every day observations and interactions with their child to see their area of weaknesses and approach their education plan from a different method. One great thing about homeschooling is because you are with your child so much you have a lot of time together that your knowledge of them is so much more in depth than people can realize. You can see first-hand the challenges that your child has. If your child is struggling to read, you find a way to make it easier for them. If your child can’t sit still, you adapt your plans to include lots of breaks and movement.

      If you know that your child has struggles and want a diagnosis, typically parents have to pursue testing on their own, as far as I know. This isn’t my area of expertise, in honesty, but there are a LOT of homeschoolers with children who have learning challenges.

      I personally have 2 of my boys that I have had concerns about and have decided to have tested and examined. For example, I’ve noticed that one of them has a hard time hearing and understanding instructions – especially in a group or noisy setting. In the past, we’ve tried a hearing test and other similar tests, but it is getting more obvious as he’s getting older. We’ve adapted learning to making sure he has a quieter space when doing his independent work, and putting him physically close to me while we do group learning, so I can make sure he’s on task, speak closely and directly to him in smaller step by steps, and repeating instructions several times. Years of observations have led me to think that he might have some level of auditory processing issues (or maybe he just has developed some really great mom-ignore filters! hehe). Since I want to make sure that I am helping him the best I can and want to know how to approach learning for his best success, I’ve talked to my family doctor about my concerns and she connected me with a specialist who will be able to offer the testing we need for him.

      The reality is that resources you have access to before or after a diagnosis is going to completely be dependent on the community that you live in and what services are available, how they accept kids into their programs, and whether it’s important to you to use those services. There are lots and lots of resources for you to research and learn from – books, websites, online and offline support groups – and homeschooling allows you to find and adapt your learning plans to create a scenario of greatest success.

      I hope that helps a little.

  • by Guy Nad Melanie Dubreuil Posted September 11, 2018 4:04 pm

    We have a 13 year old dealing with too much drama and bullying for a 13 year old in my opinion, we are looking to homeschool in Alberta and would appreciate any contacts you have that could help guide us through this.

    • by LisaMarie Posted September 14, 2018 5:19 am

      Hey there.
      I’d recommend connecting with a group like AHEA – https://www.aheaonline.com/ – as they will have the best information for you to know what to do to get started on your homeschooling journey in Alberta.
      Let me know if there is anything I can do to help. 🙂
      Lisa Marie.

  • by Jackie Posted October 23, 2018 12:05 am

    Hello, I have a 13 year old who is bullied and we live in Manitoba. Planning on homeschooling him, it’s October 22nd and I’m wondering since I have him and another child in the same school will the other child be required to be taken out of school too? She doesn’t want to leave school as she enjoys it. Is it legal for the school to make me take both out if I want to remove just the one? Any information would be great thank you

    • by LisaMarie Posted November 5, 2018 6:50 am

      Yep, you can take out one, some, or all of your kids. 🙂 No obligation to take all of them out. (As far as I know anyway! I’ve never heard from anyone anywhere that it’s all or nothing!) Here is a good resource: https://manitobahomeschool.com/

  • by Emily A. Posted January 7, 2019 10:06 pm

    Hi, I’m a mother of two highly gifted children (gr. 2 and 4) in Alberta, one of whom also has sensory issues. The public system is not working for our children. We have applied for a charter school for gifted children and are thinking of homeschooling them until they get places in the charter school. This could be anywhere from six months to a year or more. Do you know whether homeschooling will affect whether or not they are allowed to return to school? Is temporary homeschooling an option? Thanks!

    • by LisaMarie Posted January 14, 2019 8:24 am

      As far as I know you have the right to pull children out and put children into school whenever you would like, although, I suggest following up with an organization such as AHEA to make sure you have all the important and accurate information needed for your situation.

  • by Sara Posted January 14, 2019 9:16 am

    Hi there… due to mental health issues I am considering homeschooling my 13 year old and pulling her out of school now. I have a good relationship with the school and I’m afraid of back lash from the school if I decide to put her back in school in the future. Should I expect problems? We are in NS.

    • by LisaMarie Posted February 2, 2019 7:15 am

      It is well within your rights to remove your child from the system and put them back in whenever it feels appropriate to you. Schools may or may not have a voice of their opinions on the matter, but they can’t stop you from making that decision. I suspect the response on return will completely depend on the specific school and staff. However, I really haven’t heard of too many people saying they had problems putting their child back into school. Usually homeschool kids slide back in pretty easily. 🙂 The only issue you might run into is the school not necessarily giving your child credits for a high school level homeschool class that you’ve done at home – if you get that far in your homeschooling. 🙂 But you can talk to the high school about that and their policies. I hope that helps.

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