Homeschooling in Nova Scotia: How to Get Started

Welcome to homeschooling in Nova Scotia.

How to Homeschool in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia flag with the text How To Homeschool in Nova Scotia overlay
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.

Roles and Responsibilities

The roles and responsibilities of home educating parents in Nova Scotia are:

  1. To advise the Department of Education (Halifax Office) of their intent to educate their child(ren) at home.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. To ensure their child(ren) is/are diligent in attempting to master the studies described on the registration form.
  5. 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.

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. 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.

Reporting and Grading Requirements

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.

Homeschooling in Nova Scotia: Important Links

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT HOW TO HOMESCHOOL IN CANADA?

 

This post was originally compiled by Lindsay in 2012.  Lindsay has 11 children and has been homeschooling since the birth of her oldest son. Currently,  she is homeschooling 9 children – from preschool to grade 12 as well as a toddler and a baby. It has been updated in 2020.

47 thoughts on “Homeschooling in Nova Scotia: How to Get Started”

  1. Christie MacArthur

    Hello,
    Thank you for the information on filling out the progress report! We are relocating to NS from NB for my husband’s work and have been homeschooling for 3 years with our 3 children. In NB you only have to sign a letter of intent, the progress report made me nervous until you explained it because we don’t do a lot of standardized testing. I can tell how there doing because I correct their work everyday and if they need extra help with something we stop and go over it again:) My question is are there any homeschooling support groups in Windsor, NS? Thanks in advance!!
    Christie MacArthur

    1. Hi Christie, So glad we could help you. Email me and I think I have some connections to help you find those groups. -Lee

  2. Florence Hayden

    requirements for person teaching home schooling their education ? would it be acceptable if just a teachers aide ?

    1. Hi Florence, You do not need a degree to homeschool however it would be up to each individual family as to what they would want if they hired someone.

  3. Hi, how would you go about pulling a child out of school about a month in to the year, to homeschool them? My daughter has extremely severe anxiety to the point where she can’t go to class with out having a panic attack right in the middle of the period. I’d like to take her out, so she can get her work done, graduate, and still feel comfortable doing it. My only question is, how would I do it?

    1. Hi Corrina,
      I sent you an email to help connect you with another homeschooler in Nova Scotia who will be better able to help you figure out a plan of action that will work for your province.
      Please let me know if you have any other questions.
      Lisa Marie.

  4. I am a certified elementary teacher interested in providing homeschooling for families. Is this possible? Any information or advise?

    1. Hi Rhonda,
      I’m sorry it’s taken so long to answer. I will be honest and say that I’m not sure enough about offering programs for homeschoolers in Nova Scotia to know if you are allowed or not. I’d recommend trying to connect with the provincial support services that are available there: http://hems-ns.ca/ and http://nshea.org/ (although, this one seems to be down atm). Hopefully they will be better able to answer your questions or direct you to where you can get them.
      Thanks
      Lisa Marie.

    2. Hi, I would be interested in you doing home schooling with my child if you’re in the lower sackville area. Thanks!

  5. I am looking at homeschooling my son but we are half way the ought grade 8 and i have some real concerns about the anxiety he is facin this year. As a result i plan to meet with his principal tomorrow to let them know that he is not returning to class and then off to the school district office to get things rolling. Is this a good approach?

  6. Hi I am in nova Scotia and wish to homeschool my grade 6 student..I am looking for any information on where to get curriculum from.

    1. Hi Alicia,

      At this time, there is no official “buy this grade” Canadian boxed set. Most people choose to mix and match their materials or to use an American program and adapt it. Some people choose to look at the government curriculum guidelines and build a plan from there, while others choose to just do their own thing.

      If you are on Facebook, in invite you to join us at Homeschool Swap Canada. There are a lot of great materials for sale there, but more importantly there’s a great network of homeschoolers from all over the country who can offer their suggestions and ideas. https://www.facebook.com/groups/158947230864513/

      I also recommend you connect with Kimberly – she’s got a great resource blog about homeschooling in Nova Scotia. http://homeschoolinginnovascotia.com/

      I hope that helps,
      Lisa Marie.

    2. Hello we live in Nova Scotia and I am beginning to think public school is going to be very unpredictable this year and not structured and my daughter requires structure and my fear is she will be home more than at school so I am really considering home schooling her until things get back to normal if they ever do anyhow I’m wondering if there are books out there that I could order, or a grade 6 curriculum I could follow so I know she is learning what is expected at this grade? If anyone has any information on this please reach out any information will be appreciated. I have to say I am new at this and if this is what we choose to do I want to do it right my daughter requires structurec& stability and I really believe the school year the kids are going to be thrown around at school out of school kinda year and for my child this will not work for her this is why we are thinking of home schooling so I need all information I can get I just want to make sure if I do this I’m doing it right.
      Sincerely
      Tanya

      1. Hey Tanya,

        To find out what is typically taught at the grade 6 level in NS, you can visit here: https://curriculum.novascotia.ca/english-programs/grade-6
        You can also go here on my site where I’ve pulled together various resources for each grade – https://thecanadianhomeschooler.com/learn-at-home-plans/

        If you want to piece together your own homeschool curriculum (which is what most of us tend to do), this post will walk you through how to do that: https://thecanadianhomeschooler.com/homeschool-planning-guide/
        Hopefully that helps!
        Lisa Marie.

  7. Melissa Hemmings

    Hi We live In Nova Scotia and I was just curious and wondering if we were to home school our child, if there is a certain program, we follow for our chchild’s education or is it up to the parents to make it up? Thanks 🙂

  8. Hi there! Our homeschooling laws here in BC are way stricter, but they also supply us funding. We are considering a move to NS, not sure which community just yet. Can I ask if funding is given to homeschool families there?

    1. Hi Patty, my husband and two children live on Vancouver Island and are making plans to also move to NS with intentions of homeschooling there. If you are still considering a move, maybe we could connect and share in some of our journey if you are interested?

    1. Nope. 🙂

      Homeschoolers do not need teacher training to teach their kids. In fact, a lot of people who were teachers who now homeschool say it’s a completely different experience and that they had to change all their teaching mindset since it’s not the same.

      I hope that helps!

  9. Hi Guys,
    We currently live in NB but will relocate to Cape Breton in two years and would like to home school our son and daughter.If there is any info or support groups we can get involved with that would be great. We would be in the St. Peter’s area but don’t mind a bit of travel to share learning experiences and activity trips. Any help would be appreciated, as well we will need to get stared in NB so if anyone out there has a connection in the Fredericton area that would be great as well. Looking forward to meeting new friends and helping our children in a non traditional schooling environment.
    Thanks
    Ken and Katie

  10. Hi im a grade 12 student and im about half way through my first term and i know im pretty late to asking this but, is it still possible for me to get homeschooled or is it too late? The classes im in are the worst classes ive ever had, i cant stand the sitting down and staring at a wall for 5 hours a day 5 days a week. My teachers teaching methods are the complete opposite of what i like, making 5 days of every week just torture for me. Half of 2 of my classes are just me being forced to stare at a wall and sit still (since both teachers are strict about phones), and the other half is doing pointless work, the one class that is not like that is only because their are alot of desks which makes it easier for me to enjoy since i dont have to turn my head completely side ways just to see my teacher. There are MANY things that make school prison for me other than the things i just said but all in all im just hoping you at least know if its possible for me to get homeschooled at this point. And if i could switch classes i definitely would, i even have a free period everyday, sometimes 2 yet i still cant stand sitting in classroom for that long. Please let me know asap if i can get homeschooled while in the 12th grade.

  11. I am interested in home schooling my child however I do have a few more question I would like to ask. If you could send me a quick email, I would love to discuss them with you, Thanks

  12. Krista MacQueen

    Where is the form where you don’t want to send your children back to school in September 2020 because of COVID? They have health conditions

  13. I will be homeschooling my daughter for her grade 4 year due to the covid and being immune compromised. Once I choose to enroll her back into public school for her grade 5 year, what form of proof is exceptable to prove that she has completed grade 4 via home schooling in order to enroll her back into the public school system? Thanks.

  14. I would like to homeschool my son who is going into grade 11 this year. How could I find someone who could come teach/tutor him?
    Thankyou for your help

    1. I’m sorry. I don’t really know what to suggest for this as tutoring / teachers coming into a home is not something that I usually consider homeschooling. You might want to look for local groups on Facebook, etc. to see if anyone has any suggestions.

      1. Hi there,
        I am looking to homeschool 2 school aged kids (grade 1 and 3) and a 2 year old due to covid-19. Do you have any good advice on curriculum for this? I know I can Google like anyone else but is there books, etc you can give advise on or where to buy, etc?? I’m having a difficult finding any clear paths, even the department of education wasn’t exactly helpful.
        Thanks in advance!!

        1. Hey there.
          Choosing curriculum is such a personalized thing that I always hesitate to offer ideas and suggestions. What works with my kids might not work with yours, your values, what you consider important to include, etc. Plus there are so many options that it could be a daunting task to just start throwing ideas out there. So – what I *will* recommend is starting here: https://thecanadianhomeschooler.com/homeschool-planning-guide/
          This walks through the questions to ask to help narrow down your choices. When you’ve done that, if you have any questions – please message / email me! 🙂

  15. i Was considering homeschooling my son ,he in grade 7. If I do homeschooling and it does work out can he go back to regular school this years.

    1. Yes. Although this year they might have plans in place for specific times when students can return to in class options, your son can return to a school even if you’ve pulled him out to homeschool.

      1. Could you please explain to me what I need to do to homeschool my son who is entering grade 11, he has a learning disability and is on an IPP, online learning would be better for him, is there a program that would work for him?

  16. Hi I filled in the registration form for Home Schooling this year, do I need to wait for an approval or do I need to send him to school until I get an approval for home schooling

  17. Heather M Burneau

    my name is heather burneau and I am fed up with public school system and I want to home school my daughter. I don’t know where to start or what I need. I don’t know what has to be taught at home versus in school or is it the same. Where i can also access resources. I would be nice if you could give me a shout back as soon as possible.

    1. Hey Heather,
      In Nova Scotia, you just need to register and you are good to go. You can decide the how and what you want to teach. There are many many different options and ideas for currciulum – it depends on what you want to teach, how much you want to invest, and long long you are planning to homeschool. If you haven’t yet, visit the “Getting started” section of my website and you can find guides for picking curriculum, etc. I also recommend checking out my friend Kimberley’s website: https://www.homeschoolinginnovascotia.com/ as she has lots of great advice for you!

  18. Victoria Reardon-Hulme

    Dear Team,

    I wondered if you are anyone here is aware of any social-meet up classes (within covid restrictions of course) for homeschoolers? We have just registered our two children (grade 5 and grade 7) on the 4cats art program which is a 1.5 hour class that runs for 10 weeks for homeschoolers – which we are hoping will be as great as it looks! Hoping there are other programs out there?

    1. Hey Victoria,

      You might have better luck finding local activities if you join a Facebook group because they are up to date and a great place for people to share ideas / resources. 🙂

  19. Hi,
    I am overwhelmed about homeschooling and am having difficulty with the registration form and how to make a curriculum for my children.

    1. Hi Kimberly,

      Here’s a great resource that can walk you through the registration form and getting started. https://www.homeschoolinginnovascotia.com/getting-started/

      And, the curriculum piece depends a little on whether you are looking into doing this long term or short term.

      FIRST OPTION:
      The first is if you want to follow along with the curriculum expectations for what your child would be learning if they were at school in this grade.
      The pro to this is that you know that your child will be close to or on par with their peers when they go back to school. This is something that people who are COVID schooling in particular seem to mostly be looking for.
      The con is that you have to basically pull a plan together yourself and find resources that match “close enough” because there isn’t just a bundled package that’s “Nova Scotia Grade 3” anywhere.
      I put some learn at home plans with resources that might work for you as a starting point here: https://thecanadianhomeschooler.com/learn-at-home-plans/
      I have a planning guide for short term learning here: https://thecanadianhomeschooler.com/single-year-homeschool-planning/

      SECOND OPTION:
      The second is to just do you own thing – pick the subjects, topics, goals, curriculum and resources that you would like to use and don’t worry about matching up to the Ontario curriculum plans. This is often what long term homeschoolers decide.
      The pro of this is freedom – allowing yourself to use whatever you want and however you want.
      The con to this is also freedom – it’s kind of scary, especially if this is new or you are only planning to homeschool for a short time. Plus, there are so many options out there for what you can do, which can be completely overwhelming.
      I have a step by step guide to planning out a homeschool year for this option here, which will help you narrow down your choices and options: https://thecanadianhomeschooler.com/homeschool-planning-guide/

      I’ve also got a plethora of videos that I’ve done on my Facebook page lately The Canadian Homeschooler all about helping new homeschoolers.
      Hopefully one of these options will help. 🙂

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