Ontario Homeschooling: An Interview with a Schoolhouse Ambassador

Over the past several weeks we have read about homeschooling in Jamaica, the Philippines, New Zealand, and several different provinces in Canada. Today let’s take a look at Ontario again as we interview Schoolhouse Ambassador Lena Emo who lives in this Canadian province.

Ontario Homeschooling - An Interview with a Schoolhouse Ambassador

Q. Why did you decide to homeschool?
A. I decided to homeschool when my two older boys were going into the first and fourth grades. They had been going to a private Christian school and I was working full time. I wanted to spend more time with them and teach them our faith. We have 5 children ages 15-31. Homeschooling gave our family quality time to spend with each other and learn as a family.

Q. How do you start homeschooling in Canada or specifically your province? Do you need to notify anyone (school district, government agency)? Where can you find more of the legal requirements? 
A. In Canada it is legal to homeschool your children. Depending upon which province you are in, the requirements differ. Here in Ontario, we have a lot of flexibility. If your child has previously been enrolled in the public school system you are asked to notify them that they will be homeschooled. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 26(3) guarantees your right as a parent to home educate your child. A great place to learn more about homeschooling in Ontario is Ontario Christian Home Education Connection (OCHEC)

Q. Do you need a set curriculum or can you pick and choose based upon your homeschool philosophy?
A. Depending upon which province you are located in, the curriculum is up to the parent. Some provinces require additional curriculum designated by the government.

Q. What support networks are available? Where do you suggest looking to meet up with other homeschoolers in your country? 
A. In Ontario there are a number of local groups that get together for outings, meetings, and other support. Due to the present pandemic, the contact has been limited. There are local and provincial groups families could get into contact with. Traditionally, homeschool conferences have provided a wonderful place for parents to meet other homeschooling parents. The Learning House store in Bradford, ON has been a great resource to buy curriculum and also online seminars.

Q. Why do people choose to homeschool in your country? 
A. I have found home educators in my area are teaching their children for various reasons. Some are for religious training, others want to spend more time with their children, enabling free time to explore and learn at their own pace. The schools have focused on more of an agenda rather than academics. Including teaching on things contrary to parents’ beliefs at home.

Q. How can you incorporate your country into your homeschool studies? Is their curriculum specific to your country? 
A. For the younger years, Donna Ward has an informational unit study approach to Canada. She includes quality pieces of literature to read with a guidebook to ask questions. My children enjoyed Paddle-to-the-Sea, a book by Holling C Holling, using a map to colour. [This is a 1942 Caldecott Honor Book in which a young Indian boy carves a little canoe with a figure inside named Paddle-to-the-Sea. Paddle takes a journey through the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean in the book.] 

We studied both geography and history together. Canadian History is required for High School to graduate and I studied it with a unit study approach. We read classical literature and also used the book The Story of Canada to fill in pieces here and there. Whether living in the country or the city, there are plenty of enriching activities.

Learn More About Homeschooling in Canada 

Did you know there is a Canadian division of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine called The Canadian Schoolhouse? They are dedicated to supporting Canadian families both spiritually and academically as they impact their world for Christ. Knowing that it can be difficult to find appropriate resources and support when homeschooling in Canada due to each province having its own unique homeschooling rules and regulations, The Canadian Schoolhouse seeks to come alongside homeschoolers in Canada. They hope to provide specific solutions to support all Christian homeschooling families in Canada. 

Through The Canadian Schoolhouse website, families can 

  • Find stories and expert advice about homeschooling in Canada. 
  • Read what homeschoolers in Canada are creating and designing. 
  • Explore the geography and nation of Canada. 
  • Read about Canadian history. 
  • Find recipes for cooking and baking. 
  • Find reviews of Canadian companies that may help you on your homeschool journey.

Family Adventure Challenge

Gear up for summer fun with The Canadian Schoolhouse Family Adventure Challenge! Share your family fun, inspire others with your family activities, and be entered in a draw for a $100 Amazon.ca gift card. 

Family Adventure Challenge

Every picture you share for the challenge with the hashtag #TCSsummer2021 will be one entry in the draw.

Be part of the fun on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram from August 23–September 3, 2021. We will have posts for six themes: beach days, backyard days, history days, park days, travel days, and hobby days. 

Be sure to follow TCS on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to participate in the Family Adventure Challenge. In addition to summer fun, you will find encouragement and learn more about homeschooling in Canada. 

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A Division of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine