Canadian Homeschool Laws: Nova Scotia

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:

  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.

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.

22 Comment(s)

  • by dave macneil Posted January 25, 2013 11:50 pm

    we live in glacebay and would like to homeschool

    • by admin Posted January 31, 2013 11:18 pm

      Where abouts is Glacebay? You can email us to discuss more options. -lee

  • by Christie MacArthur Posted October 23, 2013 10:48 pm

    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

    • by Lee Fisher Posted October 24, 2013 4:10 pm

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

  • by Florence Hayden Posted January 29, 2014 4:02 pm

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

    • by Lee Fisher Posted January 31, 2014 11:47 pm

      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.

  • by Corrina Posted October 7, 2014 5:58 pm

    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?

    • by LisaMarie Posted October 7, 2014 8:20 pm

      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.

  • by Rhonda Posted December 8, 2014 6:51 pm

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

    • by LisaMarie Posted January 24, 2015 7:44 am

      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.

    • by Jill DeLorey Posted April 21, 2015 6:25 pm

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

  • by Al weatherbee Posted January 4, 2015 4:53 pm

    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?

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  • by alicia Posted March 21, 2015 8:35 pm

    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.

    • by LisaMarie Posted March 23, 2015 8:11 am

      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.

  • by Melissa Hemmings Posted June 14, 2015 5:56 pm

    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 🙂

    • by LisaMarie Posted June 19, 2015 6:22 am

      Hi Melissa,

      Popped you an email to connect you with my NS contact who can better answer your province specific questions. 🙂 Thanks!

      Lisa Marie.

  • by Patti Posted August 2, 2018 2:16 pm

    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?

    • by LisaMarie Posted August 2, 2018 3:39 pm

      Hi Patti,
      Nova Scotia doesn’t offer funding – no.

    • by Dionne Posted December 18, 2018 2:24 pm

      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?

  • by Cat Posted August 6, 2018 8:47 pm

    Do you have to go through any schooling before homeschooling children?

    • by LisaMarie Posted August 7, 2018 8:42 am

      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!

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