Northwest Territories Homeschooling FAQ

Is homeschooling legal in the Northwest Territories?

Yes. School age children in the NWT are legally excused from attendance at school if they are “attending a home schooling program,” which is defined as “a program of education carried out under section 20 in which a parent is primarily responsible for instructing his or her child.”

Do homeschooled children in the NWT have to be registered with any official authority?

Yes. Homeschooled children have to be registered “with a school in the education district in which the child resides or, if the child resides outside an education district, with a school in the nearest education district.”

Is there any monitoring of homeschooling programs?

Yes. Homeschool programs are provided by parents “under the supervision of a District Education Authority or a commission scolaire francophone de division.” Section 69(2) of the Education Act outlines the duties of a principal, including “(e) perform the prescribed duties relating to the monitoring of and provision of support to home schooling programs.” Section 78(2) outlines the duties of a Superintendent of Education, including “(n) in accordance with the regulations, review, monitor and, at the direction of the District Education Authority, terminate home schooling programs. “

However, the Home Schooling Directive states that “it is not the responsibility of the principal or Superintendent’s designate to ensure that the home schooling program meets curriculum standards, or to evaluate the way the home schooling program is carried out” but “to ensure the student is making progress in the program, and support the home schooling program wherever possible, as agreed upon with the parent.”

Where can I find the NWT curriculum?

The Department of Education, Culture and Employment has a section on curriculum guidelines for its schools.

Do I have to follow the NWT curriculum?

No. Parents can choose their own education plan.

Do I have to teach a certain language or in a certain language?

No. Under section 74.(1) “A parent of a student in a home schooling program may apply in writing to the Minister for an exemption from using or teaching the language determined by the District Education Authority as the language of instruction or the language to be taught as part of the education program.” and section 74(3) exempts homeschooling parents from the requirement of section 70(1) that the language of instruction be an Official Language

Do I have to be a certified teacher in order to homeschool my children?

No. Section 44 of the Act, relating to teacher qualification, states that it “does not apply to […] a parent of a student instructing the student in a home schooling program.” As for your own self-confidence in taking on the responsibility, just recognize that your child learned how to walk and talk in your care, without school and without you having to train to be a parent, so if you managed in the baby and toddler years, you can manage as well in the school age years. All you have to do is continue to facilitate your child’s natural learning by supporting their interest and exploration of the world around them, introducing them to more things to discover, and initiating them into the mysteries of cracking the code of reading and basic math. As they get older, they will begin to take charge of their own research to go beyond the basics, if you help them keep their innate curiosity and gain the necessary skills to be a lifelong learner.