I have lived and homeschooled in Nova Scotia for the last 6 years, although we lived and homeschooled here for 1 school season 2 years before moving here on what we thought was a permanent basis. That makes 7 school years that I have homeschooled in Nova Scotia.
Nova Scotia has a small but growing population of homeschooling families. The smaller portion of those live here on Cape Breton island, which is where we live.
All children between the ages of 6 and 16 are required to be registered in an educational program. They must first be registered for Primary (Kindergarten) regardless of whether they are 5 or 6 when they are first registered. They can be registered in the year they will be 5 years old before December 31st. In the first year of registration a copy of the child’s birth certificate must be provided. I register my children in the first year that I am able and cease to register them at the age of 16 even though they are still homeschooling at that time.
Homeschooling parents are requested to fill out a registration form at the beginning of the school year although a simple letter of intent would suffice. The registration form can be found on the Nova Scotia Department of Education website, www.homeschooling.ednet.ns.ca. It is pretty simple and straightforward and asks for the parent and child’s information as well as the name of the curricula that you plan on using that year.
The roles and responsibilities of home educating parents in Nova Scotia are:
To advise the Department of Education (Halifax Office) of their intent to educate their child(ren) at home.
To complete the registration form annually and return to the Regional Education Office, Halifax, NS. Proof of age must be included with the registration form for a child not previously registered in public school or home schooling in Nova Scotia.
To provide a report to the Department of Education (Halifax Office) in June on the progress of their child(ren). The report would be compatible with the program of study of the child(ren).
To ensure their child(ren) is/are diligent in attempting to master the studies described on the registration form.
To meet with school board officials if and when the child(ren) is/are to be enrolled in public school. The onus is on the parents/guardians to provide evidence of the child’s education program.
In June, the homeschooling parent must send in another form, Home Schooling Student Report Form. You can use your own reporting method, but this form is quick and easy. All it asks for is the subject/course name, test marks if applicable, the course grade (I just mark it S for satisfactory in the subjects that we do not provide a grade) and a small comment box. One year I was contacted by someone at the department of education who requested more information, which I did not provide, because I didn’t fill out the comment box, so now I simply use that box to give a quick overview of the subjects covered that school year. For example, for elementary level math I would write: adding, subtracting, money, fractions. I simply go through the books for each course each child completed that year and write a few chapter headings to make it simple for each of my 8 school-aged children.
All things considered, in recent years, I haven’t heard of many families being bothered for more information by the Department of Education. The laws of Nova Scotia are simple and few for those of us who choose to home educate our children.
Compiled by Lindsay
Lindsay has 11 children and has been homeschooling since the birth of her 17.5 year old son. Currently, she is homeschooling 9 children – from preschool to grade 12 as well as a toddler and a baby.