What are the laws about homeschooling my child?
Every child in Ontario must attend school from age 6 to 18. But the law says that your child doesn't have to attend school if they're getting “satisfactory instruction at home or elsewhere”. This means that your child doesn't have to attend school if you're homeschooling them.
If you decide to homeschool your child, there are 2 main things you should do:
- Make a plan for how your child will get a satisfactory education without going to school.
- Tell your local school board in writing.
Homeschooling and remote learning are different
“Homeschooling” isn't the same as “remote learning”.
Remote learning is an option to attend a regular school using the internet. It's an option that’s only available during the COVID-19 pandemic. Homeschooling was always an education option, even before the pandemic. Homeschooling is still an option now, during the pandemic, and it will still be an option after the pandemic.
With remote learning, your child is still registered at their regular school. The school board is still responsible for educating your child. But instead of educating your child at school, they educate them online.
With homeschooling, your child is not registered at school. You are completely responsible for your child's education as well as all of the expenses connected to their education. The school board doesn't have to help you or your child, but sometimes school board staff may be willing to help you find homeschooling resources.
Changing your mind
You can change your mind about homeschooling at any time during the school year. If you started the school year homeschooling but now you want your child to attend school, you can register them in school. Similarly, if your child started the school year attending school, you can decide at any time during the school year to take them out of school and start homeschooling them.
Starting school before age 6
Children can start school before age 6, but it's optional. If you're homeschooling your child who's under 6, you don't need to let your local school board know.