Ontario Homeschool Guidelines Demystified

Ontario Homeschool guidelines demystified (1)

Chances are if you’ve been hanging around Homeschooling sites, blogs and social media for the past few months, you have heard the ongoing discussion about what “permissions” are required to Homeschool in Ontario.

Welcome!!!

If you are a new Homeschooling parent and your children previously attended a Public or Catholic school, the school staff may very well not be aware of the limitations of these documents.  Before you get too concerned about anything they are requiring of you (and nothing is required), simply share the references to these documents below with them.

The Short Answer

The short answer is that no permission is needed.  There you go, run on home and teach your children. (I smile, give you a hug and send you on your way)

The Facts

Inquiring minds however do want to know more so here goes:


The Universal Declaration of Human Rights -Article 26 states that:

“(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.”

The Ontario Education Act states:

“(2) A person is excused from attendance at school if,

(a) the person is receiving satisfactory instruction at home or elsewhere;”

And also:

PPM 131, a memorandum that provides direction to schoolboards concerning homeschooling states:

“Parents who decide to provide home schooling for their child(ren) should notify the school board of their intent in writing…

When parents give a board written notification of their intent to provide home schooling for their child, the board should consider the child to be excused from attendance at school, in accordance with subsection 21(2), clause (a), of the Education Act. The board should accept the written notification of the parents each year as evidence that the parents are providing satisfactory instruction at home. The board should send a letter each year to the parents, acknowledging the notification; for this purpose, the board may use the sample letter in appendix C.

Normally, the board should not investigate the matter. However, if there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the child is not receiving satisfactory instruction at home, the board should take steps to determine whether the instruction is satisfactory, as outlined in the next section.”


Letter of Intent to Homeschool

This letter of intent is a simple document found in the appendix of PPM131 but your board may have exactly the same letter, on their letterhead that they wish to have completed.(yes, I’ve seen it happen)  How you choose to go forward with this, is up to your family.

“Notify” not “Permit”

So there you have it.  These are the regulations that govern Homeschooling in Ontario.  Important to note is that written “notification of the intent to homeschool” is not “permission to homeschool”.  You do not need permission from anyone to homeschool.  Note as well that the wording is that parents “should” send a letter of notification and not that they must.

Bullies

Please if you feel bullied by anyone to not homeschool, contact one of the organizations listed below this article.

No Red Tape

No documentation is required: no report cards, no lists of curriculum that you are using, no meetings with school staff. I will say that I have met with my child’s teachers and support staff before removing him from school and they were very helpful. Some school boards have a “homeschool liason” and when this is a supportive person, it can be wonderful.  I will also add that I love to keep track of our progress, because, it’s just who I am and also my son wishes to attend a post secondary institution and our documentation in the high school years may make that task lighter for me as his education supervisor when I put together his transcript.  So, I’m not saying, don’t document your work, I’m just saying, it isn’t required.

Ok, maybe a little red tape if…

If your children are in need of School Support Services such as Occupational Therapy or Speech Language Therapy, you will likely need to submit a letter of intent in order to access these services.

Concerns?

Now, some folks who are unaware of the vast, supportive community that exists for homeschoolers might be very concerned at this point that there is no requirement for parents to teach particular things to their children at home and that no documentation of what is taught is required.  I get it.  Some families in general, struggle with parenting and you are concerned about these children.  I would point out to you then that parenting is the concern in that situation and not education.

Welcome again!

To those new to homeschooling, welcome to our world.  Welcome to a community where you will find support for your lifestyle and your homeschooling style, whatever you choose.  Welcome to a world of teaching and learning along with your child.  Welcome to all the “ah-ha” moments, the messy moments and all the moments in between.  Follow me here, join me over on Facebook in my Ontario Homeschoolers group.  Do your research or book an appointment with me and I will walk you through the process of finding a style, schedule and curriculum that works for you and your children.

New Normal

Our current pandemic situation has opened the eyes of many to the wonders of home education but even veteran homeschoolers are struggling to find a “new normal”.  I know, that we can and will build a bright future with our children while all learning together.

Where we learn is a small part of the equation.

Happy Homeschooling!

 

Other info on this topic can be found at:

Homeschool Legal Defense Canada 

Ontario Federation of Teaching Parents

Ontario Christian Home Educators Connection

Published by Homeschool Help

Christian, Wife, Mom, Homeschooler, Librarian: just a few of my hats!

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