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Homeschooling in Ottawa [Guest Blog Post by Trella Walker]

Homeschooling in Ottawa [Guest Blog Post by Trella Walker]

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So many people are curious about homeschooling but shy away because it seems like a daunting task. The reality is that it is a simple process and there are numerous resources available. There are only a few things that you need to consider to begin your family’s own homeschooling journey.

Ottawa homeschooling legal requirements

In order to determine the homeschooling legal requirements for Ottawa, families must look to the Ontario Ministry of Education’s guidelines. At present, Policy Program Memorandum No. 131 addresses the homeschooling guidelines that should be followed in the Ontario province. Here is a brief summary of those issues pertinent to your personal experience as a homeschooler:

• Notify the school board that has jurisdiction of the school where the child would attend in writing and include the following information: include each child’s name, gender and date of birth; the address and telephone number of the home; and a signature by a parent. There is a sample letter provided here.
• Notify the school board in writing if there is a change of address.
• Give notification in writing each subsequent year of homeschooling prior to September 1 and including the same information as previously mentioned.

That is all that is required to legally homeschool. However, I encourage you to visit the Ministry of Education page because it also includes detailed information on additional resources provided for homeschoolers such as testing and assessment, courses offered through the Independent Learning Center, and a wide variety of other resources.

Finally, this information also addresses possible reasons for an investigation into a homeschooling family. While this may seem frightening, there is no need to be alarmed. There are only a few reasons that an investigation would be initiated:
• Refusal to notify the board in writing of the intent to homeschool
• A credible report by a third party about the instruction being provided
• Evidence that the child was removed from school because of problems with the school
• A history of absenteeism prior to the decision to homeschool

What this section of the Memorandum really tells you is what you should include in your overall approach to your child’s learning. The Ministry even includes a one-page form that is used for the investigations and you use it as a guide, you can track your child’s progress in these areas.

Homeschooling philosophy

Identifying how and why you want to homeschool your child can make the homeschooling journey easier because making this determination will help you identify and implement academic and social resources to aide you in the development of your child(ren). Some great resources to help you determine your homeschooling philosophy are the Homeschooling Choices Checklist and Where Do I Start? – Introduction for New Homeschoolers.  Both of these resources will give you questions to contemplate to help you develop your family’s personal approach to homeschooling. You can use your philosophy to help you identify academic resources that support your approach to education.

Extracurricular activities and support

Determining ways to keep your family active and connected can be vital to a positive homeschooling experience. Though extracurricular activities and socialization are important for children, the parents also need outlets that provide support, advice and resources for homeschooling. There are a wide variety of homeschool support groups. A large organization that can provide more local resources is The Ontario Federation of Teaching Parents (OFTP). This organization provides a wealth of information, local support groups and other forms of support for homeschooling families.

By addressing these main areas, you can have a smooth transition into your journey as a homeschooling family. Happy homeschooling!

Trella Walker is a freelance writer and homeschooling advocate. Her passion is to encourage diversity in homeschooling. For more information and discussion about homeschooling, you can find Trella at or on Twitter at @trellaspeak


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