Ontario Homeschooling FAQ

Is homeschooling legal in Ontario?

Yes. Section 21(2)(a) of the Education Act states that a person is excused from school attendance if the person is receiving “satisfactory instruction at home or elsewhere.” Satisfactory instruction is not defined in the law, and the Education Act makes no mention of any board approval process, only of a process to follow when there is a dispute, between parents and the school attendance counsellor, about the applicability of section 21(2). The homeschooling policy, PPM131 (not a law nor a regulation, just a policy) directs school boards to accept a parent’s Letter of Intent to Homeschool as sufficient evidence that they are providing satisfactory instruction at home.

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

No. Homeschoolers in Ontario are not registered. A Letter of Intent to Homeschool needs to be sent to the school board when a child is being withdrawn from the school system after having been registered to attend, but this is simply a written notification of a parental decision, not a request for permission nor a registration with any authority.

Is there any monitoring of homeschooling programs in Ontario?

No routine monitoring. Policy/Program Memorandum No.131 (PPM131) was created specifically to revoke the previous (informal) policy of routine monitoring and interference. PPM131 directs the school board to accept a parent’s Letter of Intent as sufficient evidence of satisfactory instruction, and not to conduct an investigation under normal circumstances.

The PPM indicates that a school board might choose to investigate if there are “reasonable grounds” to suspect that satisfactory instruction is not being provided, but this is in contradiction with the Education Act, which spells out in section 24(2) a specific procedure to follow when there is a dispute about the validity of a reason for non-attendance under section 21(2). In the Act, it is stated explicitly that an official appointed to conduct an inquiry must not be an employee of the school board that operates the school that the child has the right to attend. When there is a contradiction between a policy and a law, it is the law that must be followed.

Where can I find the Ontario government’s curriculum?

http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/document/curricul/curricul.html

Do I have to follow the Ontario government’s curriculum?

No. The Ontario government’s home schooling policy, Policy/Program Memorandum No. 131, is explicit that homeschoolers are not required to follow the Ontario curriculum, where it directs school board officials to “recognize that the methodology, materials, schedules, and assessment techniques used by parents who provide home schooling may differ from those used by educators in the school system. For example, the parent may not be following the Ontario curriculum, using standard classroom practices in the home, or teaching within the standard school day or school year.”

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

No. Be aware, however, that proficiency in English is usually a requirement for admission to most anglophone universities and colleges.

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

No. There is no requirement in the Ontario Education Act for a parent to be a certified teacher in order to homeschool their children. Research has shown that homeschooled children of parents who are not professional teachers do just as well as, and sometimes better than, homeschooled children of parents who are certified teachers.

Is there any funding for homeschooling in Ontario?

No. The positive side of this is that there is nothing given to which the government can have strings attached. No funds = greater educational freedom.

Can homeschoolers get an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD)?

That depends on what you mean by “homeschooling.” In the strictest sense of homeschooling, meaning being totally independent of the school system, no, a teen who is homeschooling throughout their high school years cannot receive an OSSD. However, in the broader sense of homeschooling as “studies that are done from home,” a previously independent homeschooler can switch to “distance schooling” (i.e. enrollment in an accredited online school) in order to earn OSSD credits and get the OSSD itself. Some credits can be earned indirectly, via Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR), but some will need to come from enrollment in credit courses that are accredited by the Ontario Ministry of Education. A high school diploma from a non-accredited school (including American online schools) is not an OSSD.

Be aware that having an OSSD is not the only way to get into university or college. Many have homeschooler admissions policies, and there are also other paths into post-secondary institutions. See University Admissions in Canada.

Other FAQ pages

See also the FAQ page of the Ontario Federation of Teaching Parents (OFTP)