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Homeschooling in the province of Ontario is an easy and straightforward process when it comes to documentation. Parents fill out a form called An Intention to Homeschool available either online or at school offices. All forms are easily accessible online. For example, York Region School Board has its form right here:

After that, the steering wheel is in parents’ hands. Unlike some other provinces, Ontario does not have any formal regulations or visits paid by the Ministry of Education to the homeschooling parents.

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What happens after you have submitted forms

The good thing is that the choice is all yours. Many parents choose to unschool children for some time if the school experience was too painful or traumatic. Other parents take a completely different approach, such as exclusively tapping into their child’s innate interests and building up a foundation from there. Some parents , in the pre-COVID world, choose more travel, if an opportunity exists. Others send their children to nature and forest schools. Many try to set up a school model at home, with scheduled in breaks, subjects, snacks and similar to school timings.

Expert’s experience and advice

The anxiety-provoking thing is that many parents feel that the responsibility is immense. Over the years and especially over the past few months, I have received hundreds of calls from worried parents who are on the route of making a life-altering decision to take their children out of school. Are we ready? Which model do we follow? What if we fail? How many hours do we allocate daily for “school”? And what if …. the list is endless.

There are a few important lessons I’ve learned over the years from interacting with homeschoolers and their families. First, if you spend 30 minutes daily with your kindergarten or grade one aged kids, you are most definitely doing enough. A bit older kids need up to an hour of academics daily, with grade five and six kids needing up to two hours of daily study time. This number peaks around grade eight and up, with students needing around three hours daily of quality study time. I have never met a homeschooler who spent over three hours daily on “school work”. Intense, quality learning is taxing, and longer periods of intellectual strain are hard to sustain.

Another lesson is flexibility. Home school is not set in stone. Since so many parts of it depend on you, the parent, the key is to cut yourself some slack. Just like in any other process, the ultimate goal of homeschooling is to be sustainable. It needs to stand the test of time. Your child is really not into that great math resource that you picked for them but loves to do story writing? It might be worthwhile to drop one subject for a few weeks and come back to it later, perhaps in a different format. After all, flexibility was one of the initial reasons you started to educate at home, wasn’t it?

What’s next?

When is it time to re-integrate back to school? It’s totally up to you and your family dynamics, but please remember that a child won’t be able to graduate from school without high school credits. That might be a topic of further investigation because recently, colleges and universities have some options of entry for homeschoolers.

We support

We welcome and guide homeschoolers. We have a wide range of options available, from joining one of our weekly groups, learning one-on-one or reaching out to us for support whenever the process becomes too shaky.