This page is for you! We know it can be overwhelming to get started with home education. We’re here to help with some of the basics of homeschooling in Nova Scotia.
This page gathers together some of our most popular resources and suggestions for getting started with homeschooling in Nova Scotia. If, after reading through these resources and hints you’d still like more guidance, please don’t hesitate to reach out using the contact form.
YES! Homeschooling is legal in every province of Canada. In Nova Scotia, the Department of Education outlines the legislation for home education. You should start by reviewing the legislation and Q&A on the Nova Scotia Department of Education website about homeschooling. This site details the requirements.
If your child is pre-school age (under 5), you’re already home educating them! Everything we do with and around our children helps them learn. Playing, singing, reading, colouring, talking, even chores is facilitating learning. Transitioning from this to your first year of homeschooling is quite simple. You can begin to add more advanced topics to your playing, reading, and conversations. If you’re looking for more structure, you can begin by adding short “lessons” to your day, increasing the time you spend with structured activities as it suits you and your child.
When you’re ready to register for grade primary, (in the year your child turns five), you’ll:
We also recommend that you take a look at the Roles and Responsibilities page from the Department of Education to understand your legal obligations as a homeschooling parent. Don’t worry, they’re not onerous!
The Homeschooling in Nova Scotia site also has a wonderful resource that outlines the steps for starting to homeschool in Nova Scotia.
If you have decided to homeschool and your child is already in public school then you simply need to:
A key thing to remember is that your child will learn best when they are interested and developmentally ready to explore a task. This developmental readiness is highly variable. Comparing your child to others their age is not an accurate indication of their own learning abilities or readiness to learn.
Another key thing to remember is that a stressed brain causes your child’s higher-level cognitive abilities to shut down. No amount of persisting in the stressed state will help them learn.
If your child has had negative experiences around school-type learning, then they may initially associate any school type activities at home with the same stresses they experienced in school. This will set them up to have the same negative associations about homeschooling as they had about public schooling. We explore ways to help avoid that negative association in the next section.
Also, note that your homeschooling will not require as much time as a public-school day. Public school teachers have many children to teach and transition times to deal with which is why the school day is 6 hours long. You have far fewer children to deal with as a homeschooling parent, so your daily curriculum coverage will take much less time than a public-school day.
After withdrawing your child, you may be tempted to jump right into whatever program, curriculum, or method you’ve chosen for homeschooling. However, if your child has negative associations with school then it’s advisable, to embark on a period of deschooling to help them rediscover their innate love of learning.
“Deschooling” is a period of time where your child adjusts to being out of school and generally doesn’t involve much formal school-type learning activities – focusing more on a life-learning approach. This allows them to rebuild their positive outlook on learning as they rediscover learning through their interests and real-life activities. You can read more about deschooling, why it’s important, and how to do it, in the HomeschoolMom’s blog post here.
However, if your child is wanting some school type of activities in their daily routine in the beginning, then feel free to do so straight from the start. Just remember to also partner with them on exploring their interests and learning from those as well.
The same is true if your child has never been to school and you are transitioning from a play-based, life-learning approach to a curricular one. Have your overall curricular plan in mind but ease into it gently – perhaps by incorporating one curricular area of study at a time and growing into your full program of study at a pace that maximizes your child’s engagement by tapping into their innate joy of learning.
This is a big question. Before you complete the Department of Education registration form, you’ll want to explore the many options for HOW to educate your child at home. There are many different ways to “do” homeschool. Below are a few resources for learning more about these.
We recommend you consider how your child likes to learn best, your reasons for homeschooling, and the best ways to match these with an education program. The sky is the limit. This can seem overwhelming, but you also have a lot of flexibility to do what works best for you AND your child’s educational needs.
The Department of Education does have curriculum outcomes available for each grade organized by subject. These can be used as a guideline for putting together your own program of study, but this is NOT required. You have full flexibility to include whatever subjects and content you deem appropriate for your child’s education. There are also MANY off-the-shelf curriculum packages available from a wide variety of suppliers, as well as many individual resources. Before deciding on a curriculum or resources, you first need to decide what approach you’ll take.
We’ve also put together a list of some curricula and resources in a list. The list is by no means exhaustive and some methods of homeschooling don’t even require a curriculum. You can check out our list here.
The Canadian Homeschooler site has a great “How to Homeschool in Canada” resource which, in addition to providing broader information about homeschooling, also provides descriptions of some of the most common approaches/theories/methodologies for homeschooling. The Canadian Homeschooler also has a “Homeschool Planning: The Ultimate Guide to “Planning Your Homeschool Year” resource which can be very helpful as well.
We’ve found the above to be extremely useful in helping our members navigate homeschooling in Nova Scotia. We hope you’ve also benefitted from reading. Whether you’re just researching, new to homeschooling, or a veteran, we hope this has been a helpful and informative read. We also have our Frequently Asked Questions page available to answer other questions you may have.
If you still have questions, feel free to reach out and Contact Us if you would like further support on your homeschooling journey in Nova Scotia. After all, that’s what NSHEA is here for! And remember to follow us on our Facebook page as we also provide in-person and virtual support at workshops and events throughout the year.