This year, parents have been challenged more than ever by the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many families have decided to pull their kids from traditional schooling because they’re worried about outbreaks. Depending on the province, they may have connected with a distance-learning hub or have had very little support. We’ve created this guide to help parents across Canada who are considering taking the leap to homeschool!
We’ve provided an overview of the different homeschool offerings for each province, as each varies greatly. We’ve provided links to each province’s guidelines, as well as a series of Canadian resources. Before deciding to homeschool, we believe it is valuable to know what support is available for both the parent as an educator and their learner!
At Beyond Learning, we recognize homeschooling’s value for many Canadian kids and the need for support for struggling students. We offer courses that are both live and flexible in subjects that may be harder for parents to tackle. For example, we provide lessons in areas such as chemistry, paragraph development, and exponent rules. As more parents choose to homeschool their children, making sure they’re supported is essential!
How does homeschooling work in each province?
Homeschooling is a legal option in Canada, and each province varies in its delivery of educational opportunities. For whatever reason you decide to homeschool your child, each region is more than willing to accommodate, and some offer a variety of flexible options depending on your needs. As each province is unique, we’ll go over their offerings individually in the following sections.
British Columbia offers a few different styles of learning for its residents. Compared to other provinces, it is the most inclusive schooling portfolio with significant funding available depending on how you choose to educate your child and the school district you live in. They classify their education under three different categories for alternative/homeschooling:
The Ministry of Education in British Columbia describes traditional homeschooling as education managed by a parent or guardian and is done independently of the school system. There’s no oversight: children do not need to follow the government’s learning outcomes, and a certified teacher is not involved in their learning.
While the government does not supervise you, you’ll need to register your child for homeschooling through the Ministry. You can contact a public school in your district to learn more about the registration process and how they can help you.
If you choose to homeschool your child through the traditional method, they will not receive a Dogwood diploma, the standard high school graduation certificate. However, if they complete high school credits through distributed learning or another alternative schooling, they can receive an adult graduation certificate. Additionally, students can take courses through distributed education from grades 10-12 without losing their homeschooling status!
Distributed Learning (enrolled)
Distributed Learning (DL) is what British Columbia calls distance education. You can have your child complete Ministry-approved courses that count towards the Dogwood diploma. Your child is considered enrolled in the district under a DL school and supervised by a certified teacher. You’ll need to follow the BC learning outcomes when designing your child’s schedule. DL learning has a lot of potential for parents who are nervous about sending their kids back to school in person or want to offer more flexible learning. Students are also eligible for funding (the amount depends on the district).
Blended Learning (enrolled)
Blended learning is flexible, offering students the opportunity to do in-person classes some days and online learning on the others. If your child needs additional in-person support, this is an excellent option as it cuts down on the long hours in school and allows parents to register their kids in the trickier sessions.
Blended learning is enrolled and not considered to be homeschooling in the traditional sense. Like distributed learning, students are supervised and need to hit the Ministry’s education targets.
Home Education is like Traditional Homeschooling in British Columbia. Parents are 100% responsible for the procurement of educational materials and their child’s learning. There may be some support from the “associate board” (also referred to as a willing board), but parents ultimately decide for their children. There’s funding available for parents to purchase resources, but we’d recommend checking with your school board as it may vary.
Distance education is the same as it is in British Columbia. Students complete courses designed by the Ministry and are under the supervision of a teacher. This option is excellent for students who wish to be more flexible in their schooling and families who are not ready to send their kids back to in-person learning.
The school teaches a percentage of education, and the other portion is done at home and negotiated by each family. It helps students who may need some school support but can’t pull the long hours in classrooms. It allows for flexibility and lets kids go in only for the courses that they need the extra help. The student will need to follow the learning outcomes of Alberta’s Ministry of Education.
An Important Note:
The following provinces offer minor support in terms of homeschooling. If you live in these provinces, it is essential to make sure you’re fully committed to homeschooling, have a budget for resources, and that content is available that aligns with your educational goals!
Home education is easy to start in Manitoba - all you need to do is submit a letter to the government disclosing education’s commencement. Some homeschooling sites recommend informing the school you pull your child from to be aware that they’re no longer attending.
One important thing to note is that if you decide to homeschool, there’s no funding or curricula available unless your child has a disability or medical condition that makes in-class schooling difficult. The resources available for students with disabilities are online courses that are the same content that they teach in schools. Other families have the option of accessing this content for a fee.
When a parent informs the school board of their intent to homeschool, they must submit an educational plan for their child and provide 30 days notice. We recommend keeping a portfolio of your child’s progress as you’ll need to submit a summary of their progress at the end of the year. There’s some funding available, but it varies per district.
Parents need to submit a letter of their intent to homeschool and forward a copy to their child’s school as a courtesy. The government does not get involved beyond this, and no funding is available.
Parents inform the minister and school board of their intent to homeschool and need to submit an outline of their learning plan. A minister’s representative will follow-up at some point in the year to check on progress, and a year-end summary will need to be submitted. There’s no funding available.
New Brunswick offers a handy infographic that highlights the rights and responsibilities of homeschooling parents in the province. One key takeaway is that parents will need to submit their request to homeschool and keep detailed records of their child’s progress throughout the year. There’s no finding available.
Newfoundland and Labrador
In Newfoundland & Labrador, you’ll need approval from the Director of Education within the school district in order to homeschool your child. Additionally, you’ll have to seek this approval yearly. If you’re approved to homeschool, your child is registered through their local school and textbooks are provided to them free of charge.
According to the Canadian Homeschooler, PEI is the most relaxed around homeschooling children. As a result a vibrant community is available for those who choose to educate their child at home! A form is filled out that informs the district of your intent to teach at home, and the parent is completely responsible for their education and testing. If you wish to follow the provincial curriculum you’re supposed to contact the district for further instructions.
In Nova Scotia, the parents must register their child annually for homeschooling and provide documentation of their age. They must also produce an annual report in June of their children’s progress.
Finding Resources and Curriculums for Homeschooling
For Canadian parents, finding vital resources to educate their children can be a real challenge. We believe that finding Canadian content is essential to homeschoolers’ education. It is more cost-effective, relevant to the country they live in and lets them connect with content creators that may be local to them! Social studies/history, science and math are essential as content from other countries won’t match. In this section, we’ll compile a list of Canadian resources that parents can use to homeschool their children. If we’re unable to find a reputable curriculum, we’ll replace it with an American counterpart.
Before we go over the resources that you can access, We’ll first list the different standard subjects in school as reference:
1 - Language Arts/English
2 - Mathematics
3 - Science
4 - Technology
5 - Social Studies
6 - Health
7 - Career Development
8 - French
9 - Music
10 - Art
11 - Physical Education
Websites to Order From and Free Resources
We’ve compiled a list of Canadian resources - perfect for getting started on homeschooling!
Canadian Home Education Resources (CHER)
CHER offers resources in all core subjects: science, math, history/geography, and language arts. They also go a step farther and offer electives as well. They’re a great starting point to finding the resources your child will need to learn at home. Some exciting elective options available are leadership, economics, gardening, cooking and music.
Homeschool Canada has a collection of resources that you can find in Surrey, BC. They offer an impressive array of books and even digital downloads - making learning more accessible across the country. Some of the vast array of content to order from include computers and coding, critical thinking, LGBTQ+, and the core subjects listed above.
If you live in British Columbia, BC Hydro (a crown corporation) offers courses and information for students K-12 on sustainability and climate change. It is free and aligned with Ministry educational requirements!
Donna Ward/Northwoods Press
Donna Ward is a well-known Canadian social studies program with a variety of courses geared towards homeschooling families. They also offer various Canadian history books, and their programming is perfect for students of all ages!
Kaleeka Press is the one-stop-shop for language! They have materials in both French and Spanish and encompass 20 units spread over four books and CDs and develop content that parents can incorporate at any age.
Kids Can Press
Kids Can Press is not Canadian but offers a great selection of books about animals, space travel and Canadian history for kids up to 15 years of age.
Pearson Canada offers the most text-based resources for the most significant number of subject areas than the other publishers on our list. They’re the resource often relied on by schools, so their content is helpful if you want to follow some of the Ministry’s guidelines. They also offer textbooks and curriculums for Advanced Placement programs and the International Baccalaureate program.
Beyond Learning offers curricula in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) as well as language arts lessons that are flexible depending on your child’s needs. We have two teaching styles: live and flexible. A teacher teaches the live classes through a webinar, which allows your child to ask questions and get help on the spot. The flexible sessions give your child the freedom to work when they want to while still having extra support. Having this choice allows students to choose more help if they need it or less oversight if they work at their own pace.
In this article, we went over the different homeschool opportunities to parents in each province and the kinds of supports that are available. We provided links to each region’s policy page for further reading and a list of Canadian resource websites that contain essential products for your child’s learning. Finding Canadian content and support can be difficult, and we recognise that parents want to ensure their children have education that’ll set them up for success. By providing this guide, we hope you’ll feel more confident deciding on homeschooling or distance learning for your child.
At Beyond Learning, we understand the importance of giving the best content for your child and their needs. This is why we’ve worked hard to develop course materials that go beyond the textbooks you can order online. By creating pre-recorded and live lessons with teacher supervision, we hope to provide robust curricula to parents who may need a hand teaching their kids some of these advanced concepts. Our list of available courses is always changing and expanding! Check out our online lesson list to see what’s currently available, or get in touch with us if there’s a course you’d love to see!
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