Canadian Homeschool Laws: Ontario

I was asked by The Canadian Homeschooler to write a blog post about starting homeschooling in my province. Here in Ontario we’re pretty lucky to live in a no reporting area. We need to provide a letter of intent to homeschool to our local school board and that’s about it!If you are pulling your child from public school, you must do this so your child isn’t considered truant. You do not need to send a copy of the letter to your child’s principal, but it is generally considered to be a common courtesy. If you are homeschooling from the start, it’s not completely necessary to do this unless you are “discovered” by the local board, but people often do file the letter of intent just to cover all bases. In my case, I pulled my daughter Brianna from public school, so send a letter of intent each year. For my younger daughter Olivia, who will never be in the public school system, I will just add her to Brianna’s letter of intent when the time comes (6 years old in Ontario).Some school boards will try to tell you that you have to inform them of curriculum plans or do testing. This is not true. In Ontario there are no laws for homeschoolers that require you to submit curriculum plans, text book lists or reading lists. There are also no required testings in Ontario. You do not need to have approval to teach what you wish to you child.

You do have the legal option for your children to take the EQAO in grades 3, 6 and 9 and the Literacy test in Gr. 10, but they are not required. If you choose to have your children take these tests simply notify your child’s old school (or in the case of homeschooling from the beginning or due to school closure, a nearby school) the year your child will need to take the test (the earlier the better) and the school is required to provide your child with space to take the test. The results will be returned to the school the test was taken at and the school is then to forward the results to you.

If you’d like, the Ministry of Education has the general Ontario curriculum on their website, Elementary and Secondary and also the French Language Education. You can closely or loosely follow this curriculum. Some parents choose to do this so their children will stay at the same level as their classmates in the case that they would have to be re-integrated into the public system.

Other parents choose other methods of homeschooling that have nothing to do with the Ministry of Education’s planned curriculum. These are all perfectly legal for parents to do. If there was a point in time that you had no choice but to place you child back in public school, the school would simply administer a placement test to verify learning levels.

The Ontario Federation of Teaching Parents is the best resource for parents new to homeschooling. It give a breakdown of the laws and provides parents with blank letters of intent that they can fill out and mail to provided school board addresses. The site also provides a list of homeschooling groups by area. You can use the information on their site for free and/or become a member of the OFPT for a small fee.

Some people will make out homeschooling to be difficult. In some ways it is, but at least in Ontario you don’t have the added problems of cutting through miles of red tape from the government.

Links
Ontario Federation of Teaching Parents -  http://ontariohomeschool.org/index.shtml
Compiled by: Sandra Hart
Sandra – mother of 4, homeschooling 2 living at home (almost 3 and 9) and niece (11). Relaxed, eclectic homeschooler. Her blog - www.homeschoolingnewbie.blogspot.com
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44 Responses to Canadian Homeschool Laws: Ontario

  1. Dr. Mobarak Ali says:

    To Whom It May Concern
    We are Canadians from Toronto, ON living in Saudi Arabia and would very much like to have our children homeschooled here with Canadian curriculum. They have been here for about 8 years now and are not satisfied with the educational system here. Son GR 9; Son GR 8, & Daughter GR 4.
    Please advise how we can benefit from your homeschool program and how we can register to start right away.
    We would like to know how the program works, costs and recognition by Canadian Colleges and Universities.
    Thank you and hoping to hear from you soon.

    • Lee Fisher says:

      We are not a program, just a site for information. -Lee

    • daniela says:

      Hi,

      I am providing homeschooling and tutoring, I have three years experience with the Ontario Curriculum and French Immersion.
      if interested, please contact me @lovetoteach2010@gmail.com

    • rabab says:

      hi Dr.Mubarak
      I am a mom of 2 boys we are also Canadian but from Alberta and we live currently at Saudi Arabia at The Eastern Province Al Hassa. we have been here for 5 months but I am shocked with the schools and education system and I am very interested at canadian home schooling, i came across your message and was interested, if you don’t mind, to know what are you up to in this issue and if you were able to figure out a way to get your kids registered in homeschooling. thanks for your time

      • Lee Fisher says:

        You would have to live in Canada to be able to register for homeschooling. Sorry about your experience with their education system.

  2. Nancy says:

    I have a child who was being bulled in school and now is being the buller so I was considering taking her out and teaching her at home. Some other mother’s were saying that if I choose to teach her at home I would lose the childtax and the trillium and gst apparently: I just wanted to know is that true.

    • Lee Fisher says:

      From What I know and the peopleI have asked you do not lost any money. I haven’t lost anything and neither has anyone else. -Lee

  3. Stephanie Williams says:

    Can I homeschool my child even though I have no high school diploma ? I don’t have a diploma due to bullies . I want my child to learn in a fun , safe and loving environment.

  4. Stephanie Williams says:

    She is only two and hasn’t started school yet .

  5. Jefferson Wagenknecht says:

    Hi, i’m from Brazil and I have a six months daughter, but I’m really concerned about hers education, here in Brazil homeschooling it’s prohibited, people went arrested some times because of it, I have a friend there in Canada, and I would like to know if the fact that I want to practice the homeschooling would help me to get a permanent visa, of course I’ll work too, but the most important for me is her education, here in Brazil the schools are terrible and things are getting worse every day…

    • Lee Fisher says:

      Wanting to homeschool won’t help you get into the country but I don’t believe it would hinder it either. Good luck and if you need any more information about homeschooling in our country feel free to contact us at homeschoolcanada@shaw.ca.

  6. Farha says:

    i have been homeschooling my kids for 2 years now.I pulled them out of school because of bullying issues but didn’t tell the school as i did not wan tto be frowned upon and now after 1.5 yrs Canada revenue is reviewing my benefits and asking for teh money back as i dont have school letter and did not register tehm for homeschooling.I thought it was not mandatory and now we r in trouble.

  7. Krystle says:

    Hi, I have a 2yr old son who I want to homeschool starting at around age 4yrs. How can I find educational materials to help him transition to full-time homeschooling over the next 2 years?

  8. JENNIFER says:

    i need a lot more info on home schooling, i want to take mine out of the school system i am having a lot of problems with teachers, my children are begging to not go back, bu ti am being told i have to pass a test first. i am in mississauga, can someone email me more info in regards to this how i start home schooling them, support groups in my area, and if i actually need to pass a test, i have a 13 year old special needs, 12 year old, 9 year old, 5 year old, 4 year old. thanks so much

  9. Samantha says:

    Hello. I’m considering removing my son from gr 9. He is being bullied constantly and HHS school does nothing about it. But I’m scared. He is already on an iep and taking essential. I don’t know where to start. Please some advice. Ty

  10. Stephanie says:

    The things I’m reading about informing an Ontario school board of intent to homeschool all talk about submitting the letter every year “before September.” Does that mean that my child has to stay enrolled in her public high school school until June is done? Or can I send in my letter of intent and have her be officially withdrawn to homeschool starting now, in January? And if *can* do that, what happens to her currently enrolled courses on her transcript?

  11. Kay says:

    I am interested in having my son homeschool. Is there a group of teachers in Toronto that provides homeschooling or do I have to quit my job and do it myself?

    • Lee Fisher says:

      Usually homeschooling is done by the parents all though I have heard of families hiring private teachers to help with their children’s education.

    • Jamie says:

      Lots of homeschooling families also have to work. Depending on the age of the child and curriculum used (online, book & paper, etc) they can do a lot of the work themselves. Virtual schools and online curriculum are options if the child is motivated and old enough to be home while you are at work.
      If the child is not old enough to be home alone, homeschooling families sometimes swap with each other to help each other out. the great thing about homeschooling is that it doesn’t have to happen between 8:30am and 3pm. It can be done in the evenings, on holidays and weekends. :)

  12. Pingback: Homeschool Essentials: Understand The Rules | The Canadian Homeschooler - Canada Homeschool Curriculum Resources

  13. Pingback: Canadian Homeschool Laws: Ontario | Homeschool Canada | Life With Lucas

  14. Carrie says:

    Hey I’m Carrie from ontario Canada and I was wondering can my child be pulled from school at any given moment to be homeschooled? And when I send the intent letter do I have to wait for a response before I pull my kid out of her school? She’s in high school and all her work is online. We go through an online homeschooling system.

  15. Loreta says:

    Hello Lee, I have a child in grade 9 in Toronto and I am planning to homeschool my child. What I have to tell the high school office when I shall pull my child from school? Furthermore, do You have a list of reliable online schools that offer low price high school classes in Ontario or Canada? I have done a research and the prices are around 450 $cad per course for online courses. Thank You for Your time. – Loreta

  16. Vicky Taylor says:

    Hello, I am very interested in pulling my grade 7 daughter out of school for the remainder of the year and possibly grade 8. Our school has asked us to leave because we had no place to live, so we opted for a house that is considered “out of district” They won’t even let her finish the school year, and have cancelled bussing. Please help!

  17. Sara says:

    Hello, I was enrolled as a home schooler for grade ten. I was for that year following curriculum books on my own and for the following years(11 and 12 ) doing Ilc courses. I have a few optional courses left but now Ilc has asked me to show documentation for grade ten to prove my credits.I was wondering if you could tell me how homeschoolers can attain credits for their homeschooling years. Furthermore, I was wondering if credits from schools abroad can be transferred to your ost. I’d really appreciate any information I can get regarding attaining equivalency credits for my grade ten,
    Thanks

  18. Sara says:

    I was also hoping if you can give me any information regarding Plar assessment for mature students. Does Plar give equivalency for Canadians who took some courses abroad, thanks

  19. Heidi says:

    My girls are in Montessori and have never been in Public School. If I decide to homeschool them in September will I need to send a note to the board anyway?

  20. lisa says:

    Hi, I have pulled my son out off school due to they way he was being treated at the school from the teachers, and am going to home school him until school starts again in the fall, (hopefully a new school) and was looking for any ideas of where I can come up with work to finish off his Grade 6 year. Any input would be helpful. Thanks

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