If you are one of my many followers in the US, you might just be plain curious how it works up here in your sister-country and I am going to reveal ALL our secrets today. If you are new to homeschooling and live in Canada, you might be wondering where to start or what you need to know. There is so much information it can be hard to sift through what is real and what you need to be aware of, so check out these 25 things you need to know!
25 Things You Need to Know About Homeschooling: Laws and Fun Facts!
- There are about 60,000 Homeschoolers in Canada (as opposed to 2.5M in the US)
- The ratio of homeschooled to public school students is about 1 out of every 127 (1:127) vs. 1:32 in the USA.-based off of statistics canada children numbers and homeschool numbers)
- Every province is different in their regulations
- There is a large group of homeschoolers that are completely secular (non-Christian). The movement is moving rapidly from being a faith based movement to more mainstream.
- There is funding available in some provinces
- In BC, you can choose to be under a teacher and get up to $1000 funding/resources, or you can choose to homeschool completely on your own and receive up to $150. If you are under a teacher you have to submit regular reports and portfolios of example work and meet all learning outcomes met by children in public school. The amount of money receive is dependant on the school you are with.
- In AB, you need to be under a school board with 2 home visits. Funding may be available depending on the school board you go with. The three options are traditional (you follow your own curriculum), blended (your program follows some Alberta Ed outcomes) and aligned (your program follows all the Albera Ed outcomes). As of this fall things have changed a bit for funding traditional still gets funding (usually a little over $800), blended gets some funding and aligned no longer gets funding (the school board will provide reasources).
- In SK, you need to register to homeschool and submit a written educational plan. Saskatchewan does have funding but it varies by school division. It’s anywhere from $0 to $1000.
- in MB, you fill out a notification form and then 2 reports through the year.
- In ON, you submit a letter of intent if you are withdrawing your child from school, if you begin homeschooling from day 1, there is no letter required. There is no funding but also no requirements.
- In QC, you have to provide an education that is equivalent to what is provided in school in the eyes of a school board. There is no funding.
- In NB, you need to fill in a form and send it in to your local school district office to notify them of your intentions. There is no funding.
- In NS, you need to fill in a registration form (you can actually do it online here) and describe your curriculum, you need to send in a report in June on your child’s progress and there is no funding available.
- In PEI, you just need to sign a letter of intention to homeschool, also kids are allowed to attend some classes at the public school if they want to. There is no funding.
- In NL, you need to complete a form (online here) and provide a basic education plan. The school board then approves and sends you a letter of approval. You do need to register with your local school but its a formality and takes about 10-minutes to drop by and do. Then over the course of the year you need to submit samples of work done. There is no funding.
- In YT, you need to register your children with the department of education, create an educational plan, and do testing. It is all done through Aurora Virtual School and while I don’t see funding available, it looks like resources are available and even online courses, etc.
- In NT, you register your children with your local school and you do receive funding, up to 25% of what the school receives for public school children.
- In NU, you follow the Alberta education program. You need to register with your local school, and that may look different depending on your district. There is funding available on a reimbursement plan.
- Many curriculums are US based and don’t meet local outcomes you might be dealing with or your families needs. Regardless of whether you need to meet learning outcomes or not, it is important that our children learn Canadian history, government, spelling (says the girl who lives in Canada but has a blog primarily in the US and writes in US spelling 😉 ), money, and measurement. Because of this, it can be a bit harder to find ones that fill that need and there are certainly less options to choose from than the States.
- Many curriculum companies are in the USA and you will have to consider shipping, duties, and exchange rate into the cost, making it much more costly for us.
- There are many support groups and online Facebook groups/co-ops that you can get involved in. Search your province online or on Facebook (or start your own!)
- The HSLDA (home school legal defence association) is an advocate for you here in Canada. You can become a member for a small fee and they are with you every step of the way. The money goes towards management and lawyer fees, as they will help you if you ever get into a legal battle over homeschooling your children. Once you become a member they will send you details on your province, support groups in your area, what you need to do, the whole thing! Learn more here.
- There are very few homeschool conventions in Canada if you are comparing them to the US. Because Canada is so big, you might have to drive 12 (or in my case 25) hours to get to your nearest one, food thing you can order online! But take a look to see if there is a convention in your area, you often get free shipping or physical product if you can make it to one.
- You may feel envious at times of your friends in the States who seem to have a homeschool convention on every corner, cheaper curriculum, and more support. But just because we are smaller and have a little bit more land in between each other, there are options, you just need to look a little bit harder 😉
- Homeschooling is just a smaller movement right now in Canada. Because it is smaller in ratio to the public school environment, it can feel overwhelming to get started and you might feel alone, that is why it is SO important to get connected with other homeschoolers in your province that can walk you through (even if that is online) and give you a sense of direction and encouragement.
Where to buy Curriculum in Canada
Some curriculum companies to shop from here in Canada are:
- Learning House
- Heritage Resources
- ACE Canada (for ACE products)
- A+ Books
- Vernon Teach and Learn
- Tree of Life at Home (based in NB)
It is important to keep in mind that many US companies will offer free shipping and many of them have sister suppliers here in Canada (ie. Math U See has a Canadian division here). A beka will ship to Canada for free, some of the curriculum is so much cheaper in the States that you can order it and even after paying shipping, it is cheaper than here (though keep in mind the current exchange rate)! Donna Ward is another supplier of Canadian based social studies, you can find her website here.