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
(3) With the approval of the regional centre, a child in a home education program may attend courses offered by a regional centre, subject to any terms and conditions prescribed by the regional centre.
(4) 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:
(5) 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 to assess and report to the Minister whether
(6) A parent may request that a child in a home education program be assessed, in accordance with the regulations, through an assessment instrument authorized by the Minister to determine the child’s educational progress.
(7) Where, following participation in a home education program, a child enrolls in a public school under the jurisdiction of a regional centre, the regional centre shall determine the child’s grade placement.
Definitions for Act
31 (1) In clause 83(4)(a) of the Act, “standardized test” means a nationally or internationally recognized achievement test given under standard conditions to measure the level of academic achievement of individual students.
(2) In clause 83(4)(b) of the Act, “qualified assessor” means a person, other than a parent of the child whose educational progress is being assessed, whose area of expertise relating to assessing educational progress includes students within the age range of the child and who is
(a) a teacher;
(b) a person holding a teacher’s certificate issued by the Minister; or
(c) a faculty member of an education faculty of a university in the Province that trains teachers,
(3) In clause 83(4)(c) of the Act, “portfolio of the child’s work” means a representative, multi-curricula selection of the child’s work performed over a period of time, selected for the purpose of assisting the Minister in assessing the child’s progress and achievement.
(4) In subsection 83(5) of the Act, “independent assessor” has the same meaning as “qualified assessor” as defined in subsection (2).
32 (1) A parent providing a home education program who registers a child for each school academic year with the Minister under clause 83(2)(a) of the Act, must,
(a) if registering 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 program; or
(b) if registering the child for less than the full school academic year, submit the registration to the Minister before beginning the home education program.
(2) A registration submitted under subsection (1) must be in a form approved by the Minister and must include,
(a) if the child has previous public school experience, the last grade level attained;
(b) if the child has previous home education experience, the program level of achievement and estimated equivalent public school grade level; and
(c) identification of the proposed home education program.
33 A progress report required by clause 83(2)(b) of the Act to be submitted by the parent of a child in a home education program must be provided to the Minister
(a) at least once a year in June of the school academic year in which the child takes the home education program; and
(b) in a manner consistent with the type of program provided and that accurately reflects the child’s progress.
34 An assessment instrument authorized by the Minister through which a child in a home education program is assessed under subsection 83(6) of the Act must be
(a) administered to the child by an education entity at the same time and under the same conditions as it is administered to public school students; and
(b) taken by the child with age-alike or grade-alike public school students.
What are the rules and regulations regarding home schooling?
Register school aged children with the Department of Education & Early Childhood Development by the 20th of September.
Submit a progress report on each registered child to the Department of Education & Early Childhood Development by the end of June.
***Children entering the homeschool stream mid year are required to be registered at the same time they begin their homeschool program.
How do you go about registering?
Registration forms are available at the following link: https://www.ednet.ns.ca/homeschooling/forms and be submitted online or
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?
Registrations for families planning to homeschool for an academic year are due in June. For families who choose to homeschool part way through the year, registrations should be submitted immediately upon beginning to homeshool.
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?
No. Nova Scotia law is that all children between the ages of 6-16 are registered for school. The Department of Education prefers that children be registered as soon as they begin their educational path, however, if a child is not registered until age six/grade one, there are no repercussions or retroactive forms required.
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?
In Nova Scotia, there is no academic funding available for homeschool programs.
Does the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development provide a home study package?
In Nova Scotia, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development does not provide homeschool curriculum. Public school curriculum guides are available through the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development web site(https://sapps.ednet.ns.ca/Cart/index.php) for all grades.
Correspondence courses can be purchased (see http://csp.ednet.ns.ca).
***There are a multitude of commercial programs available from homeschool suppliers.
Is there a support group for home schoolers?
HEMS: helping encouraging mentoring serving, is a support group based in the HRM area of Nova Scotia. HEMS offers support and programming for home educators across Canada and around the world.
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?
Should your family make the decision to send a child to public school, the transition for grades Primary through 10 is simple. Parents should visit the principal of the school and complete the necessary paperwork.
For students entering public school part way through grade 10 through grade 12, need to be aware of Nova Scotia public school graduation requirements. https://www.ednet.ns.ca/credit-requirements-graduation
Families in this situation will need to work with their local school to make the best arrangements for their specific situation.
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?
If your child moves from homeschooling to public school, their unique student identification number will register the change. As a courtesy, you can notify the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development of your child’s change of status.
How do I access speech-language services for my child?
A homeschooled child may be eligible for speech-language services through the Nova Scotia Hearing and Speech Centres (NSHSC). Contact 902-492-8257 to make a referral to the Speech-Language Pathologist providing services to home schooled children at NSHSC. Any Nova Scotia Hearing and Speech Centre can forward a referralto 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 83 (3) of the Education Act states: “(3) With the approval of the regional centre, a child in a home education program may attend courses offered by a regional centre, subject to any terms and conditions prescribed by the regional centre.”
This is assessed on a case by case basis at the school level, so families should contact their local school directly. It is important to note that schools receive substantial funding for registering homeschooled students on a part time basis.
Can I get high school credits and a high school graduation diploma through home schooling?
No, Nova Scotia does not issue any form of graduation diploma for homeschooled students. HEMS Homeschooling will present a certificate of recognition of graduation for active HEMS member families.
Can a homeschooled student write Advanced Placement (AP) exams?
AP exams are available to homeschooled students by request (they are not mandiatory). These can be arranged through your local school, through the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, firstname.lastname@example.org , and through some private schools. Families are responsible to contact the delivering authority to make arrangements for their child to take the AP exams.
- 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.