We regularly receive questions about the homeschooling law in Nova Scotia. All of this information below can be found in other places, but we’ve gathered it here to make it easy for you to find. If you are ever in doubt about something you’ve heard or that happened to a friend, check it against this.
Remember, the Education Act and the Regulations are law. We are bound to obey them. The policies, on the other hand, are a means of exercising the law and they can be applied in a variety of ways.
If you find yourself in a situation where you’re not sure how all of this applies to you, please! contact us. Also, we strongly recommend that ALL homeschool families become members of HSLDA, the Home School Legal Defense Association. Their job is to protect your family’s right to homeschool. Even if you never need to personally use their services, your membership supports other homeschooling families as well as underwriting the National effort to ensure homeschool freedoms. For more information on HSLDA, please visit www.hslda.ca. If you are a HEMS member, you will receive a discount on your HSLDA membership.
HOME EDUCATION ACT of NOVA SCOTIA
Provision of home education 128
A parent may provide a home education program to a child of the parent centered in the child’s home.
A parent providing a home education program to a child shall
(a) register the child for each school academic year with the Minister; and
(b) report the child’s progress to the Minister, as prescribed by the regulations.
With the approval of the schoolboard, a child in a home education program may attend courses offered by a school board, subject to any terms and conditions prescribed
by the school board.
The Minister may require the parent of a child in a home education program to provide evidence of the child’s educational progress by providing one or more of the following as the parent determines:
(a) results of a standardized test;
(b) an assessment from a qualified assessor;
(c) a portfolio of the child’s work,
as prescribed by the regulations.
Notwithstanding subsection (4), where, in the Minister’s opinion, further evidence of a child’s
educational progress is required, the Minister may appoint an independent assessor, as prescribed by the regulations, to assess and report to the Minister whether
(a) the child is making reasonable educational progress;
(b) the home education program is adequately addressing the child’s needs; and
(c) the available public school program will do more to
further the child’s educational progress than the home education program.
A parent may request that a child in a home education program be assessed through an assessment instrument authorized by the Minister in order to determine the child’s educational progress, in accordance with the regulations.
When, following participation in a home education program, a child enrolls in a public school, the school board shall determine the child’s grade placement.
1995-96, c. 1, s. 128.
Termination of right to provide home education129
A parent may not provide or continue to provide a home education program to a child if, based on the evidence provided pursuant to subsection 128(4) and the report made pursuant to subsection 128(5), the Minister determines that
OCTOBER 17, 2014
(a) the home education program does not meet the requireents of this Act and the regulations; or
(b) the child is not making reasonable educational progress as determined by the child’s performance as measured pursuant to subsection 128(4).
Before making a determination pursuant to subsection (1), the Minister shall
(a) notify the parent, in writing, by registered mail of the Minister’s intent to make the determination; and
(b) give the parent an opportunity to make representation to the Minister in writing as to why the home education program should be provided or continued.
1995-96, c. 1, s. 129
A parent providing a home education program who registers a child for each school academic year with the Minister pursuant to clause 128(2)(a) of the Act, shall,
where the parent registers the child for a full school academic year, submit the registration to the Minister on or before September 20 of the school academic year in which the parent wishes to provide the programs; or
where the parent registers the child for less than the full school academic year, submit the registration to the Minister before commencing the provision of the home education program.
A registration form required by subsection (1) shall include,
in the case of previous public school experience, the last grade level attained;
in the case of previous home education experience, the program level of achievement and estimated equivalent public school grade level; and
identification of the proposed home education program.
A parent providing a home education program who reports the child’s progress to the
Minister pursuant to clause 128(2)(b) of the Act, shall provide the report
at least once a year in June of the school academic year in which the child takes the home
education program; and
in a manner consistent with the type of program provided and which accurately reflects the child’s progress.
For the purpose of clause 128(4)(a) of the Act, a “standardized test” means a nationally
or internationally recognized achievement test given under standard conditions to measure
the level of academic achievement of individual students.
For the purpose of clause 128(4)(b) of the Act, a “qualified assessor” means a person, other than a parent of the child whose educational progress is being assessed, who is
a person holding a teacher’s certificate issued by the Minister, or
a faculty member of an education faculty of a Nova Scotia university that trains teachers,
whose area of expertise relating to assessing educational progress includes students within the age range of the child.
For the purpose of clause 128(4)(c) of the Act, a “portfolio of the child’s work” means a representative, multi-curricula selection of the child’s work performed over a period of time, for the purpose of assisting the Minister in assessing the child’s progress and achievement.
For the purpose of subsection 128(5) of the Act, an “independent assessor” means a person who has at least the qualifications of a “qualified assessor” prescribed in subsection 41(2).
An assessment instrument authorized by the Minister through which a child in a home
education program is assessed under subsection 128(6) of the Act shall be
administered to the child by a school board at the same time and under the same conditions as it is administered to public school students; and
taken by the child with age alike or grade alike public school students.
What are the rules and regulations regarding home schooling?
Parents are required to register with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. For more information, refer to Roles and Responsibilities and the Education Act and Regulations under the Education Act.
How do you go about registering?
Each school year, parents/guardians are required to fill out a Registration Form for Home Schooling. Parents/guardians may complete the form directly by entering the required information into the form on the website (http://homeschooling.ednet.ns.ca), print a copy of the form, and mail the form with a description of the proposed program to
Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
Parents/guardians are also invited to call our toll-free number (1-866-873-1722) to have a registration package mailed to their home address for each child that will be registered if that is more convenient.
When do you register for home schooling?
If already a registered home schooler, please mail the Registration Form for Home Schooling and the Description of Program Topics for the next school year with the Student Report Form in June. If a child is a new home schooler, send the Registration Form for Home Schooling and the program information as soon as you decide to home school.
What is the youngest age a child may be registered for home schooling?
Your child must be five on or before December 31 (re Amendment to Education Act Regulations, Section 3(1)) in order to be registered.
Does a child have to register for grade primary?
Nova Scotia has thirteen grades starting with grade primary. Students must be registered and complete each grade level before a registration is approved at the next grade level. This means that a student must be registered and complete the primary level before he/she can be registered for grade one. A copy of the child’s birth certificate must be included with the registration form.
When do I have to register my child who is eligible to begin school?
Registration for the school year should be received by September 20. Students that have begun their school year in public school, but wish to discontinue this in order to pursue home education can register at that time. A student must be registered for and complete the primary level before he/she will be registered for grade one.
Is there any funding available?
The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and provincial school boards do not provide funding for home schooling.
Does the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development provide a home study package?
The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development does not provide any home study package. Curriculum guides are available through the Department web site(https://sapps.ednet.ns.ca/Cart/index.php) for all grades and for grades 7 – 12. There are correspondence courses that can be purchased (see http://csp.ednet.ns.ca). Commercial programs are also available from a variety of suppliers.
Is there a support group for home schoolers?
In order to serve you, there are two provincial organizations that work to encourage and support individual home schoolers and local/special interest groups. Please take a moment to visit our websites and see if there is a way we can help you in your home school journey. While there, take a look to see if there is a group for you in your area.
Afin de mieux vous servir, il existe deux organismes provinciaux qui oeuvrent à encourager et à épauler tous ceux qui choisissent l’école-maison en Nouvelle-Ecosse. Nous vous invitons donc à vous rendre sur leurs sites respectifs, vous trouverez certainement réponses à vos interrogations. Sur ces sites, une liste de groupes régionaux et/ou d’intérêts communs est à votre disposition.
Is home schooling supervised in any way?
Parents/guardians are required to send in a report in June on the progress of their child(ren).
How do you enroll your child(ren) in public school?
Parents/guardians should contact the school principal or the school board officials in the area in which they live. The responsibility is on the parents/guardians to provide evidence of the child’s education program. If the child registers for public school, the parents/guardians must notify the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Regional Education Services office (toll-free number 866-873-1722), of the name of the school the child is attending.
Do I need to notify the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development Home Schooling Division when my child is no longer being home schooled?
Yes. Your reply may be made by regular mail, telephone, fax, or e-mail.
How do I access speech-language services for my child?
If your child is home-schooled, he/she may be eligible for speech-language services through the Nova Scotia Hearing and Speech Centres (NSHSC). Please contact 902-492-8257 to make a referral to the Speech-Language Pathologist providing services to home schooled children at NSHSC. Alternatively, you can contact any Nova Scotia Hearing and Speech Centre in your community and ask that a referral be forwarded to the Home School Service Speech-Language Pathologist on your behalf.
Where do I find information on Childhood Immunization and Public Health Services Offices?
Can my child who is home schooled attend our neighbourhood school for specific programming?
Section 128 (3) of the Education Act states: “With the approval of the school board, a child in a home education program may attend courses offered by a school board, subject to any terms and conditions prescribed by the school board.”
The student must register in the neighbourhood school prior to September 30 and with the Home Schooling division of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Education. As a registered student in the neighbourhood school, the student would be required to be present for the specific courses/subjects as requested. However, as a home schooled student, the school would only be responsible for supervision of the student during the specific times that the course/subject was offered. The student would also be responsible to adhere to school rules and regulations while in attendance at the neighbourhood school.
Parents that wish to take advantage of this option for specific areas of programming should meet with the principal of their neighbourhood school to discuss scheduling and expectations.
Can I get high school credits and a high school graduation diploma through home schooling?
The Home Schooling division does not award credits or graduation certificates. High schools and the Nova Scotia Correspondence Studies program (http://csp.ednet.ns.ca) do award credits that can be counted towards the Nova Scotia graduation requirements.
Can a homeschooled student write Advanced Placement (AP) exams?
The College Board’s Advanced Placement courses are college-level classes in a wide variety of subjects that students can take while still in high school. They offer students challenging course work and a taste of what college classes are like. More information on AP courses is available at https://apstudent.collegeboard.org/exploreap. AP Exams are usually given in the first two weeks of May and there are fees associated with writing AP exams. If a home schooled student wishes to explore this option further, please contact the Home Schooling division at email@example.com and staff will try and arrange the administration of the AP exam at a school offering the course.
- To advise the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development of their intent to educate their child(ren) at home by mail to Regional Education Services, P.O. Box 578, Halifax, NS B3J 2S7 or by calling 1-866-873-1722.
- To complete the registration form annually and return to Regional Education Services, P. O. Box 578, Halifax, NS B3J 2S7. Proof of age must be included with the registration form for a child not previously registered in public school or home schooling in Nova Scotia.
- To provide a report to the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (Regional Education Services) in June on the progress of their child(ren). The report would be compatible with the program of study of the child(ren).
- To ensure their child(ren) is/are diligent in attempting to master the studies described on the registration form.
- To meet with school board officials if and when the child(ren) is/are to be enrolled in public school. The onus is on the parents/guardians to provide evidence of the child’s education program.
Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
- To provide parents/guardians with an information package which includes:
- To make available to parents/guardians through the Department website the Public School Programs and curriculum guides.
- To certify the registration for home schooling.
- To receive the annual student progress report from parents/guardians in June.
- To discuss with parents/guardians, if so desired by parents/guardians, any difficulties concerning home schooling.
- To advise the appropriate school board of the names of students being educated at home.
- The school board shall determine the grade placement of a student who has been home schooled and returns to public school.
- The school board (school) shall determine what, if any, credits will be awarded for home school work at the senior high school level.