Homeschooling in BC: How to Get Started

In British Columbia, families have two different options for how to teach their children at home: homeschooling (registering) and online learning (sometimes referred to as enrolling). Each offers something unique to the learning experience. In this post, we’re going to talk about how to start homeschooling in BC and what these options mean.

When you register as a homeschooler, the government sees your child as an official homeschooler with you as his/her teacher. Once a parent has registered with a school board, this option gives full freedom to choose your child’s course of education – which curriculum to use, what you want to teach when, and whichever homeschooling method you would like. 

Registration must be completed by September 30th if you know you are going to homeschool  for the upcoming school year. However, you are free to pull your child from school at any point throughout the year and register at that time. You can register with a public school or independent school of your choice. BC’s Homeschool Association (BCHEA) has a handy list of options for where to register for homeschooling in BC.

The other option is online learning. This might also be referred to as enrolling or distributed learning (DL), but since 2021, the terminology changed, likely because of the pandemic and how educated was presented to the province overall. 

With this option, the government sees you as a student learning outside the classroom. You are still part of the school system and have to complete learning just like peers in your child’s grade level. You are assigned a teacher, who is responsible for the planning, delivery, and evaluation of your child’s education – much like if they were in a classroom setting. Students work to achieve the provincial learning outcomes each year.

Technically, online learning (or enrolling) is not considered homeschooling by the government. It’s still school and is considered such.

Homeschooling children do not receive a government issued Dogwood diploma, however there is the option of overlapping both learning methods for the high school years – where registered homeschoolers in grades 10-12 can enroll in online classes to earn official credits towards their diploma, if they would like to. 

Here is the government’s website about how to get started with online learning in BC

Whether registered or enrolled, most homeschoolers enjoy the support and community found in a local support group. A list of local support groups for different areas in BC can be found at https://bchea.ca/getting-started/support-groups/bc-support-group-list/  (Please note that most of these are Facebook support groups so you will need an account to connect with them.) Local support groups vary as much as the members of each group. Often they will plan field trips together and co-ops for different school subjects or whatever group members are interested in doing.

SOME HELPFUL RESOURCES: 

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT HOW TO HOMESCHOOL IN CANADA?

This guide was updated in 2022 based on the information available on the BC government’s website.

106 thoughts on “Homeschooling in BC: How to Get Started”

  1. Caroline Durocher

    We are Canadian who live in BC. In January 2014 our family (kids 10, 8 and 5) will be moving in Port au Prince Haiti. Do you provide alternative for family who want to homoeschool in the “Canadian system” in abroad?

    1. Hi Caroline, The only thing you can do is to keep following along with the Personal Learning Outcomes for the Province you lived in. Being that you will be out of country you won’t receive any funding. Please feel free to contact me and we can talk more. -Lee

    1. Hi Joyce, Not that I know of. You only get funding if you enrol with a Distributed Learning Program. Email me and we can talk more and I have some contacts we could ask. Lee

      1. You need to change your information. The school that you’re registered at, receives $250 per student, not the parent. But they.have to offer you resources

  2. As long as a family has legal residence in BC, they can receive funding while travelling or working abroad. Check with your school of record for details.

  3. What if I am only wanting to register until we move to a new province, at which point my son will be going back to public school? How will that year of registered home schooling effect his reentry into public learning?

    1. In my understanding, it will have no affect on their reentry to school. You just need to go and register them when you are ready for them to go back. 🙂 If you want to keep close to the government curriculum, it will likely help make a temporary transition easier.

  4. I’m just gathering info to find out if home schooling is an option with the strike going on. I have many questions like if they go back can my child ( grade 9 and 12) reintegrate back into the public system? If I do 1 complete year at home can my grade 9 daughter go into grade 10 in public school next year?

  5. My question is in regards to registration for homeschooling. According to BC law, your child has to be registered by Sept 30th in order to qualify for any potential funding. After that, no funding is given (the monies that the school gets for your child).
    With the strike going on, if I register my child by the legal deadline, does that negate the parental strike pay that the government is offering?
    Thanks for your help!

      1. Hi,
        We are from Ontario and will be moving to BC in Aug. We home-schooled our two boys from k-3 and k-5. They have been in the public school system for 2 years. We loved our homeschooling years and now, moving to BC we are considering it again. We are not sure were we will be (around Burnaby I do know) but not knowing the neighborhoods/schools I hesitate in enrolling the boys into the schools.

        There seems to be many options regarding homeschooling in BC. I have done some reading about registering vs enrolling, and would love to talk to someone and pick their brains…. about independent and public options, the monetary incentives, the process of registering/enrolling and the homeschooling support as a whole.

        Thank-you in advance for you time and support.

        Salina

    1. Hi there, wow I wish I was homeschooling in the days of govt funding! Sounds great! They ripped the rug out from homeschoolers across BC right at the start of the pandemic, in May 2020. The school you register with now gets that $250, not you. You get nothing. (I can’t understand why the school would need it for lending out some library books, but whatever ). So I suppose this whole article is irrelevant now.

  6. If I want to homeschool my son with Autism after the Sept 30th deadline will I then receive his Spec Ed money that the school receives from the Government for his TA? I think it is around $18,000/year
    Thanks !

    1. Hi Claudette,

      I sent you an email to connect you with an awesome homeschooler in BC who might be able to better help you with your question. Please let me know if there’s anything else I can help with.

  7. Hi i have the exact same question as Claudette. My son is in grade 1. At present he integrating into his grade one class is not going well. I have not been able to find any info about how to register as a homeschooler in the middle of the school year. Also what happens to the funding that would otherwise go to the school? My son has just been diagnosed with Autism so I am totally new to all the paperwork that comes with funding.Thanks.

    1. Ack – sorry that it’s taken me so long to get back to you! I’ve popped you an email to connect you with my contact in BC who will be better able to answer your questions! I hope that helps 🙂

      Thanks!

  8. Hello, I have a 5 year old son who has no problems socially or academically, but this being his first year in public school has had many issues socially, mainly dealing with bullies. Im in the process of deciding if I want to home school him or not at least until hes a bit older (I was home schooled during elementary and it really helped me), am just wondering, since he is enrolled in a public school already, what is the process to switching to home school and how do I apply etc.

    Any other info would be super appreciated, I luckily work from home so am wanting to make this work for him..just want to make sure I do everything right.

    Thank you!!

      1. Hi Lisa could you also connect me with this person? My daughter is deaf (bilateral cochlear implants) and I am curious if there is additional funding available to homeschool. Thank you!

        1. Hey Shannen,
          I’m going to recommend that you connect directly with an organization in BC to get the best answer for your situation. BC’s policies around funding for homeschoolers has changed in the last year or so and I’m not really sure I can offer specifics to your situation. You might want to try BCHEA – https://bchea.ca/
          Hopefully they can help. If not, let me know and I’ll dig a little deeper to find you a contact.
          Lisa Marie.

  9. Hello i have some questions about registered homeschooling. If they don’t receive a dogwood can the children still go to college? That may be a silly question

    1. Hi Jamie,
      I’ve sent you an email to connect you with someone in BC who can help you with your question.

      I’d also encourage you to visit this site: http://universityadmissions.ca/homeschoolers/ – the author, Sarah, has worked hard to put together a great resource of information about homeschoolers and post-secondary school – including how to get in without an official diploma. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Lisa Marie.

  10. Hi there,

    My husband and I have decided homeschooling is going to be the best option for the balance of our autistic sons high school years. He is now 16, in gr 9 and struggling to succeed in his current environment. Is there anyone you know of that could give me some guidance and suggestions. Thanks

    1. Hi there Susie,

      I’ve popped you an email to connect you with my friend in BC who might be better able to help you with your question. I forgot to add that I’d heard of a great facebook group for helping homeschooling families with special needs kids in BC. You might want to try applying to join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/385597354924709/ (I recommend messaging the admin after applying to explain your situation and that you are real!) Hope this helps! 🙂

  11. Hi and thanks for your comprehensive website. My daughter will be 4 this summer so next year we want to start homeschooling. We have already started planning an extensive curriculum tied into one of the Christian Online schools. In order to keep her socialized we have been wondering if it would be possible to bring in children from other homeschooling families a couple of days a week to take some specialized classes that they could all benefit from. Of course there would be no fee charged to anyone. Would this violate any BC regulations for our child or the other children?

    1. Hi JC,

      That sounds like a great idea. 🙂 I’ve forwarded your question to my BC friend who will be best able to help you find an answer.
      Good luck!

      Lisa Marie.

  12. Hello there.
    I am a single working mother of a 12 and 14 year old, I have wanted to home school since the get go, yet also I have had to work and school as aweful as it sounds has been a baby sitter. Now my children are older and my son with learning difficulties and in able to graduate due to the modified learning program and my daughters issues with bullying and public school not being a very positive environment yet she is strong accademically , I now see myself prepared to homeschooled, the public school is also on board with this choice. I would like to register but not enroll them in homeschooling am I able to do this through their current public school or do I have to pic a new school? We live in salmon arm BC. Also any other information for this area on homeschooling would be well received. Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi Tina,
      I popped you an email to connect you with a single mom in BC who is very wise in the ways of homeschooling on the west coast. I hope she can help answer your questions. 🙂
      Lisa Marie.

  13. I’ve got a gr.10-12 student ‘enrolled’ and the school is telling me there is $75 per class allotted to resources such as tutors. If you’re suggesting there is $1000+ to access, does this sound right? Who do I speak to about releasing the rest?

    1. Hi there,
      I popped you an email to connect you with someone in BC who might have an idea of how to get the information you need. Please let me know if you have any other questions I can help with! 🙂
      Lisa Marie.

  14. Would you be so kind to forward information in regards to pulling our son out at this point in the year? He is grade 6 in a 6/7 split and there have been issues of bullying with the older boys. We know he is much brighter than the marks have been showing and believe it is due to distractions. It also seems they are constantly sending home project after project. It makes us wonder what he’s even learning at school as he has to do so much research at home. Is it too late to ENROLL or would we need to just obtain some learning materials from the school to finish out the year then officially enroll in the homeschool program next year?

    1. Hi Carolyn,

      Thanks for the question. I sent you an email to connect you with my BC contact. I am sure she’ll be able to guide you in the right direction. 🙂

      Lisa Marie.

  15. I will like to find out how much it will cost to home school 2 kindergarten student who are international students. Kindly help out please.

    1. I’m not officially certain what regulations are in regards to international students and homeschooling (especially in BC), but in general homeschooling costs anywhere from free to very expensive, depending on what materials, methods, and resources you use. If you are good piecing together your own plans and activities, then you can find it much cheaper than buying a preset collection of curriculum materials.

  16. Hello.
    My 8 year old daughter is strong academically, yet socially she seems to have trouble with kids and bullying.I’m wanting to homeschool her here in port moody, but am having a tough time figuring outwhether to register or enroll her.
    With the traditional homeschool there is not any government monitoring and no diploma. I’m sure in a couple years she will be back in school, what do you think is the best in this situation?!

  17. The 2nd to last comment about having a son in grade 6 enduring a 6-7 split with a lot of bullying , teachers who turn a blind eye until we addressed it directly with them and the perps.. Because he is bright and engaging .. Seems to get lost in the daily dramas here and there. He is a honor roll student and has had a the lead in a school play , is a Shodan black belt and plays rep hockey.. Not a lazy kid and has many interests like most boys his age .. Just want to further connect more benificial learning options for his grade 7 year to better mature him for grade 8..
    Thanks ever so much for your comments in advance…

  18. We are living in BC and I have questions about homeschooling with the option that enrolls the kids but they don’t attend the school. How does this work? Is it a local school they are enrolled in? How does the funding work? Anything I’ve ever read up until this site says the money goes to the school.it would be a huge help if it paid for our homeschool supplies but how do I find out? And who do I call?

    Thanks!

  19. Hi we are homeschooling here in BC and moving to AB possibly early October. How loncan we stry with our DL school here in BC?

    1. I just sent you an email, but now that I read your question again, I think I connected you with the wrong person! hehe – oops. If Deb can’t help you,let me know and we’ll get you connected to our Alberta contact. In the meantime, it might be worth talking directly to your DL school to see if they have any wisdom.

  20. Hi. I have a question, similar to one above, about my autistic child and the funding available / given to the school. I am hoping to get all my ducks lined up by the end of August to make sure we are moving in the right direction before pulling our son and homeschooling. Could I trouble you for your contact in BC who can answer all the funding, etc questions wrt special needs children? Thank you – and thank you for maintaining this thread too!

  21. Hello, I’m wondering if there is an option for homeschooling international students from Thailand along with our own kids who are from BC, Canada?
    Is this an option, does anyone know the process for registering or enrolling students from other countries into the BC school Homeschool system?
    Thank you in advance for any help or advise given.
    Regards,
    Chris

  22. Also, what is the best way to enrolling our kids into the homeschooling system. We would like to receive funding for the extracurricular sports and arts part of the curriculum for them as well. We would like to have a set curriculum and submit it to the support teacher whenever is required by the MOE in BC.
    We would be doing the distance learning program for our kids who will be going into grade 1 and grade 3 for September 2015 I believe..? Our daughter is 6 on November 29th 2015.. I’m not sure of I have the cutoff correct or not?
    Thanks again for the help and advice.
    Best

  23. Hi there! Thank God I found this information and to be able to ask you some stuff. I’m another parent that needs help on where to start. I live in BC and have twins that turned 5 this past January and I want to homeschool them for Kindergarten for sure. Please let me know who to talk to, to begin, where to start, the approximate costs, etc. etc. Thanks!

    1. Hi I have twin boys hat turn 5 June 29/2019, I want to homeschool. Can you share some of your experience with homeschooling your twins, please!? Thank you so much.

  24. Um excuse me but you say that ‘you receive’ when actual fact ‘You’ as a parent do NOT receive any funding, it is the registering school that receives the money. Don’t know where you get the thousand dollars from but I have checked the BC Education site and it only states: ” Funding Grants
    Provincial funding grants are sent to each registering school; no funding is sent to parents. The provincial funding grant amounts are as follows:

    Public schools receive $250 for each registered homeschooled child
    An independent school authority (PDF) holding a certificate of group 1 or group 2 classification receives $175 for each registered homeschooled child” … That is an official quote. Please stop telling people that they receive the money when in fact it is the registering school that receives the money. The parent(s) receive access to educational resources and that’s it. That is for Public and Independent schools.

    1. Hey there,
      Thanks for visiting The Canadian Homeschooler. This post was actually written by a homeschooling mom in BC who shared her personal experience. I’m not sure exactly what every family gets while homeschooling and it sounds like it depends if a family chooses to be enrolled or be independent if you get access to any money. It’s also stated here that it’s done as a Purchase Order and not like cash (at least from my understanding).
      I hope that clarifies things.
      Lisa Marie.

  25. Hi I am a BC resident and want to learn more about how to home school my three kids. Grd 6,3 and k. Is there someone or website that can help me with the set up. I also would love to talk to other parents in my area that home school. Can you put me in touch with them? Thank you

    1. Hi Parisa,
      I would recommend talking to BCHEA (https://bchea.ca/) They are the homeschool organization in BC and will be best able to help you figure out what you need to do to get started there. 🙂
      If you are on Facebook, take a look for a group that is in your local area by searching for “City name Homeschool” and see what comes up! I hope that helps!

  26. Cristal Boissonneault

    hi there, my husband and i are new to home schooling for the 2018-2019 year for our daughter who is entering grade 3. we have enrolled her in the selfdesign, they are a DL school that allows more freedom to choose curriculum. more like a traditional idea of home school, although we both like the idea of a learning consultant helping us keep on track with her studies being it our first year.
    my question that i have is dose a DL school allow for grade skipping? our daughter has always been quite advanced in her learning and we find she gets board of the subject if it possesses no challenge for her. at the end of the last school level her teacher had her assessed at a grade 7 reading comprehension level and grade 4-5 level for math. i am wondering if i should school her according to that assessment of stick with the grade she is enrolling in to as to not overwhelm her and my self in our first yr together.

    1. Hi Cristal,

      I’m not actually familiar with Self-Design’s policies about grade levels in particular, but I think generally they try to work with the family / child at the level they are at. I would probably consider contacting them directly for the best answer.

  27. Any information on homeschooling as a non resident? We are moving to Canada and my husband will be getting a religious work visa until we are able to apply for residency. How do we go about legally homeschooling our son?

    1. I’ll be honest that I’m not 100% sure, but I’m pretty certain that as long as you are following the education requirements for homeschoolers in the province where you live, you should be allowed. I would recommend checking in with an organization like BCHEA to confirm exactly what the steps are for homeschooling in BC with your situation.

  28. Hi, We’re looking at homeschooling our two young ones when they are old enough. Can you register and homeschool up until a certain grade and then enroll them later or a dogwood?
    Thanks!

  29. We have received funding for this year, however what if our residency changes? will they want it back? how does that work?

  30. Hi. Thanks for the helpful article. Is there an up to date description available about the process and requirements for enrolment/registering BC homeschool kids so that they are eligible for the $1000/year funding you mentioned? Thank you.

  31. Hi, this website has certainly helpful. We live in BC, I was born and raised here. We are going to be living abroad for a year or two (in brasil) and I want to homeschool my kids (entering grade 1 and grade 4 in September 2019) for the next year. Can I do this from there? I’m not looking for funding. I just want to make sure that if I home school them it counts towards their graduation/diploma. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I do have a valid Canadian/BC residence and will have while away.

  32. I’m asking on behalf of my sister who has a nine year old boy in grade 4. He is in the middle of the school in a Vancouver public school, and she is considering of homeschooling him. My question is this, would it be best to start the following year and let him finish the year in grade in public school.

    1. I think the answer to that varies per situation. If things aren’t going well at school, or he’s having trouble with bullying or not having his educational needs met – there’s no need to wait. If you think that waiting will work for him and want some time to prepare and get the plan in place, etc – you can totally wait. It’s a personal choice.

  33. Hi, I have a few questions about homeschooling my 11 and 13 yo. Can you send me an email?
    Thanks

  34. Hi,
    I have decided to homeschool my children in the upcoming year due to Covid and health related issues. I was wondering if there is anyone I could talk to about my options here Surrey and just to learn more about funding, experiences with registered vs enrolled homeschooling etc. Thank you.

  35. I have grades 7, 9 & 12 and would like to homeschool this year. Now that masks have been made mandatory my kids will not be going to school. Can you provide me the exact steps on how to register? Much thanks 🙂

  36. Hey There,
    I would like to homeschool my daughter this year ( she will be in grade 3) but I dont want to deprive her of a Dogwood Diploma in years to come.

    Do you know if …
    – she were to return to public school or be accepted into distance learning in future, she would be in a grade with her age group or would she have to go back to where she left off? and
    – later in life (grade 10 11 12) would she be able to challenge something to be accepted into a program where she could receive her Dogwood Diploma?

    I was looking into Distance Education but it seems as though most things are full so I am looking for information on Home Schooling as an alternative.

    Thanks so much for your time and wisdom!

    Kait

    1. Hey Kait,
      Generally, from my understanding, children are accepted back into the school system at whatever grade level they would be to match their peers by age.
      As I’m not in BC and I want to make sure that you get the right information specific to your province, I’m going to recommend you connect with BCHEA – they are a fantastic support for homeschoolers in BC! https://bchea.ca/
      Hopefully they can help.
      Lisa Marie.

  37. Hi there,
    How can I homeschool in BC in French as first language(my kids go to a french school, not immersion)and and also get some funding for materials(books etc?)
    I have one child in grade 2 and one in gr 5.
    I read your article about homeschooling in bc and how we can find the books from Quebec vendors but I need to be able to get some funding for the books and as far as I understood we can only get funding if we register but all the homeschooling options I found are only in English. Please help. Thank you

  38. Hi there,
    We’re currently in Dubai and getting ready to move to British Columbia within 4 to 6 months. Currently homeschooling my boys (12 and 16).
    They finished year 6 and year 10 in a British school. My elder one was supposed to give his GCSEs this Academic year but since we’ll be moving, spending all that money doesn’t make sense for us (really expensive here). So they’re at home studying with me at the moment.AND won’t be giving GCSEs .
    My question is will all of this affect him later when we’re in BC and trying to put him in public school. Or can they join easily without losing their year?
    Help!!
    Rima

    1. Hey there.
      In general, the answer is that it won’t affect their ability to join the school system, however, since there is secondary education involved, I’m going to recommend you connect with the Ministry of Education in BC to confirm how they handle international programs and homeschooling credits when going to public school: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/organizational-structure/ministries-organizations/ministries/education/ministry-contacts
      I hope that helps.

  39. Annemarie Bredenhof

    Hi,
    Our family lives in Mexico as missionaries but we are legally BC residents (we still file taxes in Canada). Our oldest child just turned 5 so he is technically kindergarten age. Since our children are Canadian but we live in Mexico, should we follow Canadian regulations or Mexican regulations? Is Kindergarten mandatory in BC? Should he already be registered with a BC school? We have been educating him already, but purely informally.
    Thanks!

    1. Hello to who
      It may concern I have a son who was home schooled for kindergarten we just moved from Surrey to abbotsford o did register him for grade 1 but I’m Just not happy with school. I’ve pulled him out said we will go on to home school. I don’t see teachers wearing masks and there’s a couple other things I don’t agree with I want to keep my child safe from covid. Can I continue using Wal-Mart books for grade one and education.com work sheets for school work at home. Thanks for ur help I would put go. Back I to public school when he’s older maybe grade 5 is middle school here and they follow covid protical which I like. Just a mom who would love to teach my son again and do it right he’s very good when doing work at home.

  40. Hello,

    We are Americans beginning the initial stages of immigration to BC. We have two children, currently grades 3 and 6, that are currently homeschooled. I am looking at the different options on enrolling or registering (1. public, 2. DL, or 3. traditional). It would be nice to get an insider’s perspective on the pros and cons of each of them or any personal stories that can help us. When we first started homeschooling, we were clueless and it helped so much to hear from others in our area on their recommendations of why one way over the other. One other caveat is one child has autism. The USA’s homeschooling requirements are very different even state to state. Thanks for any advice or information that can help us uncover more information on this journey.

    1. Hi Tammy. Sorry that I don’t have any personal insight to offer here (as I’m in Ontario), but if you are on Facebook you are welcome to join our Homeschool Swap & Chat Canada community or look for a BC home education group to see if we can connect you with homeschoolers for their opinions!

  41. Hi,
    We are moving from Toronto to Vancouver. I wanted to ask if it’s possible to apply for homeschooling in the middle of the school year. I understand the BC deadline is Sept but can we apply for homeschooling in April?

  42. Hi,
    Thanks for the really useful information.
    We are planning to move to Vancouver in a few weeks and would like to homeschool our 3 children, mainly due to concerns about them getting COVID at schools.
    Is it possible to enroll for home schooling for the next months and then switch to regular schooling?
    What steps are necessary? Would we need to enroll at the catchment area schools first and then let them know we would like to homeschool?
    Thanks so much!

  43. Hi there, thank you for your info! I’m in Tri-Cities, BC and have 2 kids grade 9 and 12 that want to be homeschooled or work with some online self-paced type of set up.

    I am low income and not sure how to pursue this but I’ve got school officials breathing down my neck and my kids are refusing to go. I’ve looked around and seem some schools that might fit what my kids need, but financially I don’t know how to swing it. I need to figure something out quickly. Is there anyone or anywhere you can point me to? Much appreciated! Thanks again for your info. I am overwhelmed at the moment trying to figure out how to do this.

  44. Hello,
    my daughter is 17 and would like to go abroad for Arts Education in Europe. I’m wondering what is the best way to keep her working toward her dogwood preferably online, while living abroad. She homeschooled for grade 5 through a distributed learning school here in BC and really enjoyed it. I appreciate any insights you may have.

    sincerely,
    Gage

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