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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is homeschooling?
    Homeschooling, also known as Home Education is the education of child(ren) in the home by their parents or guardians.
  • Is homeschooling legal?
    Yes, homeschooling is legal in Ontario. In Ontario, the Education Act states the following under Section 21(2)(a): a person is excused from attendance at school if [...] the person is receiving satisfactory instruction at home or elsewhere.
  • Why do people homeschool?
    Many parents commit to educating their children at home. Their underlying motivation is the conviction that this is best for the moral and spiritual development of their family, and it is the best way to provide a solid education for their children. They are concerned for the spiritual and character development as well as the social and academic welfare of their children. Specific advantages have been expressed as follows: Individualized instruction Ability to cater to unique learning styles Learning follows the pace of the child Faith and Spiritual development Children gain respect for their parents as teachers Curriculum can be custom designed to support each family’s values and traditions Children have time to think and explore new interests Communication between different age groups is enhanced Tutorial-style education helps a child achieve his full potential Observing religious obligations that are outside of the conventional calendar Family bonding- unity, closeness and mutual enjoyment of each other Nurturing atmosphere A path to fulfill the due rights of child and parent Character Education Spending more time in nature Flexible scheduling can accommodate parents’ work and vacation times and allow time for many activities Development of a love for learning No peer pressure or need for social conformity Dissatisfaction with the school system
  • Why join Toronto Muslim Homeschoolers (TMH)?
    Toronto Muslim Homeschoolers (TMH) is a non-profit organization that has a network of more than 200 homeschooling Muslim women and their families in the Greater Toronto Area. We are a homeschooling support group for mothers that provides a sense of belonging and valuable information for their homeschooling endeavors. We have monthly in-person meetings where members share their thoughts, challenges, victories and aspirations from their homeschooling journeys. Our exclusive forums and moderated WhatsApp groups keep you informed on all things homeschooling. Visit the Our Services page on how we can support.
  • Can I pull my child out of school before the year is complete?
    Yes. You will be required to fill out a letter of intent to Homeschool and submit it to your child’s school.
  • What is a letter of intent?
    Parents may withdraw their children from the school system for the purpose of homeschooling at any time of the year. To do so, they should send the school board notification in writing of their intent to homeschool. It is also both common sense and common courtesy to also provide written notification to the principal of the school the child has been attending, for example by sending a copy of the letter of intent that was sent to the school board. In this way, the child will not be considered truant but will be understood to be excused from attendance under section 21(2)(a) of the Education Act. Sample Letter & More Info Here: School Board Mailing List:
  • What are the legal requirements and my options if I am home educating a child who has never been recorded by the school board?
    There is no legal requirement to inform the school board of your intentions to home educate if your child has never been enrolled in the Ontario school system. Children between the ages of 6 (on the first day of school in September) and 18 (as per the 'Learning to 18' changes introduced by Bill 52, 2006) are required by law to attend school unless excused under Section 21 of the Education Act. If your child has never had any dealings with the school board, you have a few options: Continue to homeschool knowing that, even though you have chosen not to send in a notification, you may become known by your local board. If this happens, the school board will likely forward a form for you to complete, describing the names, ages and gender of your school aged children as well as a place on the form for you to sign, indicating you are responsible for the education of your children. The decision to comply with this request rests with the individual family, since this is not a legal requirement, but since you would be in the position of having to confirm your homeschooling status anyway, it makes sense to do so in writing if only for documenting your actions, and the most cooperative way to do that is by filling out the Notification of Intent form they send (- keep a copy for your records). Continue to homeschool and voluntarily send the letter off to your local school board without being asked, even if you don't need a letter of acknowledgement from them. Continue to homeschool and voluntarily send the letter of intent to your local school board because you need a letter of acknowledgement from them in order to access other government services such as School Health Support Services (SHSS). You may want to specify in your letter of intent that you need the letter of acknowledgement for government services, since not all school boards automatically reply with one. Reference:
  • What are some of the benefits of homeschooling?
    Some of the benefits of homeschooling include: Low teacher to student ratio Tailored instruction Ability to follow the pace of the child Ability to follow the interests of the child Social interaction with children both younger and older Social interaction with adults in the community Family bonding time Opportunities for character education Opportunities for faith based learning Opportunity to protect the child from allergies and sensitivities Encourage critical thinking Being able to focus on the child’s struggles and weakness both academically and psychologically Developing a close relationship with your child Plenty of time for play and rest Flexibility in family schedules More opportunities to take learning outside Extra time to spend developing children’s talents
  • What are some of the disadvantages of homeschooling?
    Some of the disadvantages of homeschooling include: Financial investment on curriculum materials and books Time investment for homeschooling parents
  • How much does homeschooling cost?
    The cost of homeschooling can vary from family to family and can depend on which educational method you choose to follow. Homeschooling families can spend anywhere from $200-$900/year per student. Costs are entirely up to the parents.
  • What is your typical day like?
    To answer this, you will need to do some internal/external retrospection of your home life. Choosing among alternative homeschooling methods requires first that you consider the many aspects of home education. Below are some of the considerations to ponder. Personal Values Do you want your homeschool style to help you instill a specific value system to your children? Do you prefer to leave value systems out of your specific homeschool approach? Educational Philosophy Do you ascribe to a specific educational philosophy that would affect how you approach your child’s education? Are you neutral in terms of educational philosophies and prefer to focus on other aspects of education? Homeschool Duration Do you know how long you plan to homeschool and whether your child will be returning to the classroom at some point? Is your homeschool duration open-ended? Educational Goals Do you have specific personal, family, or educational goals that you want your child(ren) to accomplish while homeschooling? Will you be taking each homeschool year as you come to it, rather than having overarching goals? Family Circumstances Are there personal, financial, or medical circumstances that could affect how you homeschool? Do you prefer to homeschool irrespective of family circumstances? Flexibility Do you prefer to follow a single homeschool style that will define everything you do in your home education model? Are you comfortable mixing and matching homeschool approaches to create whatever blend of homeschool style best fits your individual child(ren)? Now that you have taken stock of your feelings about how you want to approach homeschooling, it’s time to take a look at some of the most popular types of homeschooling methods. This will help you dig into the specifics of each approach to find the ideal fit for you, your homeschooler, your family and your life schedule.
  • What types of homeschooling methods exist?
    Traditional Homeschooling Traditional homeschooling is essentially doing school-at-home, using similar methods to those used in public or private schools. Because this is the educational model that parents are most familiar with, many new homeschooling families begin their journey by purchasing textbooks, desks, wall posters, and other items that mimic the conventional school setting. Unschooling Unschooling is a style of home education that allows the student’s interests and curiosities to drive the path of learning. Rather than using a defined curriculum, unschoolers trust children to gain knowledge organically. Unschoolers are homeschoolers who are focused more on the experimental process of learning and becoming educated, than with “doing school.” The focus of unschooling is on the choices made by the individual child, dictated by interests, learning style, and personality type. Eclectic Homeschooling Eclectic homeschooling is a highly individualized education method resulting from mixing and matching a variety of homeschooling resources. It is an exceptionally personalized approach for every child based on their strengths, learning styles, and interests. Many families find that what worked well one semester, may not work the next. Or in some cases, what works for a child in one subject, does not work in another subject. As a result, the eclectic homeschooling approach will be completely different for different families. Classical Homeschooling The classical approach has the worthy overall goal of teaching children to think for themselves. Using the “trivium” model, children move through three main stages of learning: concrete learning (the grammar stage), critical learning (the logic stage), and abstract learning (the rhetoric stage). It’s a language-focused, literature-focused style of learning that has been adopted by many homeschooling families. Montessori Homeschooling The Montessori approach to early childhood education is a child-centered approach that values each child as a unique individual. Creativity and curiosity are encouraged, which leads students to value knowledge and seek it out for themselves. “Self-regulation” is a key goal of the Montessori philosophy of education, meaning the ability of a child to regulate his or her conduct in a way that is appropriate to the situation. The Montessori method views a child’s classroom as a preparatory environment for the biggest classroom of all: life. Homeschooling with Unit Studies Unit studies are time-specific overviews of a defined topic or theme that incorporate multiple subject areas into the study plan. Sometimes called “thematic units,” these studies often involve multisensory learning where each activity is organized according to the thematic idea. The objective of unit studies is to allow students to delve deeply into a given topic so that they can gain mastery of it. By exploring a subject from multiple angles, information is more likely to be retained. Charlotte Mason Homeschooling Charlotte Mason put a heavy emphasis on using high-quality literature, which she called “living books,” to teach children. She believed that education should involve the whole person, not just the mind. According to Mason, education is “an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.” In terms of homeschooling, the Charlotte Mason approach translates to: The abundant use of narrative literature Plenty of time spent outdoors exploring The development of an appreciation for art, music, and nature Journalling, narration, dictation, and copywork Waldorf Homeschooling The Waldorf education philosophy proposes that: Early childhood education should focus on creative play and active, hands-on learning Elementary education is the time to introduce academic instruction, while teaching students to increase their imagination and manage their emotions Secondary education should focus on critical thinking, empathy, and community service One of the unique things homeschoolers discover about Waldorf education is that curriculum can be quite inexpensive. Because the focus of the program is on learning through play, exploration, and the natural world, homeschool families have most of what they already need right at their fingertips or just outside their doorway. Anything that cultivates imagination and creativity can be used as part of a Waldorf curriculum plan.
  • Where do I find the resources to teach my child?
    There is a lot of curriculum specially designed for Homeschoolers that can be purchased online, at stores or homeschool conferences. There are also many educational resources that can be obtained for free from the local library and online. Visit our page on Getting Started for more details:
  • How do you manage multiple children?
    In a multi-aged learning environment, children often assist each other and learn from one another. Older children will teach and assist the younger ones, which will in turn solidify his knowledge. Younger children will watch and learn from their elder siblings. If you are spending time educating your older child, try and set up your younger child with independent activities such as colouring, busy bags, or manipulatives. You can also schedule learning times for your older children around the nap times of your younger ones. The unit study method of homeschool works especially well for families homeschooling children across multiple age groups.
  • How do children learn socialization?
    One of the most common questions homeschooling parents and homeschooled children face is that of socialization. In order to address this question, it is important to first understand what is meant by the term “socialization.” Socialization refers to social interaction but it also refers to understanding and learning to navigate a society’s social norms and rules of behavior. Most scholars view peer interaction, which generally centers on the school, as a critical component of this kind of socialization. However, many homeschool parents and leaders argue that the socialization children receive in school is unnatural and that socialization is best gained through life experiences that center around the family, and should include interactions with those in a variety of age groups.
  • How do you homeschool a child in high school?
    There are many ways to homeschool a child in high school. The Independent Learning Center (ILC) sponsored by TVOntario has a page on diploma requirements in terms of which credits are needed. There are only three options for obtaining high school credits: Attend an accredited brick-and-mortar high school ~ This could be either a private high school with a government approved curriculum, or a public (or separate) high school. Enrol in a school that provides distance education, either through correspondence courses or Virtual Learning Centres ~ OFTP has prepared a list of Correspondence Schools and Virtual Schools, some of which offer Ontario high school credits. Please note that this list is only the correspondence schools/virtual schools of which OFTP is aware. You can search for more on the Internet. Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (see PPM129) may apply to students who have been homeschooled and are now in high school and seeking recognition and credit for their prior learning. Note: To earn OSSD credits, students must have a Ministry Identification Number (MIN) or an Ontario Education Number (OEN) as well as having an Ontario Student Record (OSR). When applying to correspondence or online schools, it is generally understood that home learners do not already have these, and the school would generally apply for the government number for the student and then open the OSR. The Virtual Learning Center (VLC) is another program and you can find details about it here: More Public and Private Schools listed here:
  • Do homeschool children get accepted into college/university?
    Absolutely. Some of our members have homeschooled their children through high school and were successfully enrolled into a college or university program. The most common hesitation about whether or not to homeschool during the high school years, is the concern about not having a high school diploma and how that might affect a student's chances at being accepted into a post-secondary institution or getting a job. There is often a presumption that a high school diploma is necessary for admission into university or college. Fortunately, thanks in part to the efforts of the OFTP, more and more colleges and universities are establishing special homeschool admissions policies that offer alternative means of verifying that a student is at the requisite academic level and social readiness. Reference: Related Resources:
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