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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why do families home educate their children?

A:The primary motivations to home educate are proactive: to achieve certain ideals or goals. Parents who home educate believe that it is the best op-tion for the moral and spiritual development of their family, and that it is the best way to provide a solid education for their children, according to the re-search project, Home Education in Canada: A Report on the Pan-Canadian Study on Home Education 2003 (the synopsis is available at http://www.hslda.ca/research).

Q: Are parents qualified to teach their children?

A:Parents know their children better than anyone and have the deepest love and concern for them. They also have the most direct and long-term responsibility for their children.

Educationally, one-to-one tutoring of a child has many advantages over the typical classroom where one teacher tries to meet the needs of many children at different learning levels.

The example and enthusiasm of a parent learning with their children will motivate and encourage them far more than striving to appear as if they know it all. Parents do not need to know everything in order to teach

Q: Is home schooling legal in every province?

A:Yes. Each province sets its own laws governing home education. Meet-ing the requirements of these laws may be as simple as informing the school district or department of education of intent to homeschool or as complex as having children tested and fulfilling detailed requirements of provincial reg-ulations.

Legislation is continually being proposed and considered in provinces. It is important for parents to work with their provincial and local homeschool organizations to aid the passage of favorable legislation and regulations which guarantee parental rights and maximize freedom to home educate.

Q: How much time does it take?

A:Home education requires a time commitment, although not as much as you might expect. One-to-one tutoring is more efficient than classroom instruction and therefore requires less time.

The time requirement varies according to the methods used, the ages of the children and the number of children in the family.

Daily academic instruction might begin with one-half to one hour for the early grades and work up to a few hours of instruction plus independent study for upper grades.

Most correspondence courses state that their work can be completed in four or five hours per day.

Q: What about socialization?

A:This is perhaps the most misunderstood aspect of home education. It is the positive aspects of socialization through the home that attract many families to this lifestyle.

Popular opinion assumes that children need periods of interaction with a group of peers to acquire social skills. By contrast however, many believe that exten-sive peer contact during childhood can cause undesirable and negative peer dependency.

Young children are more likely to be influenced by the majority than to be independent and an example to others. Children who receive their education outside the home are prone to accept their peers' and teachers' values over those of their parents. Dr. Bronfenbrenner of Cornell University found that children who spend more time with their peers than with their parents general-ly become dependent on those peers and parental influence is quickly lost.

Some advantages of freedom from peer pressure can be self-confidence, inde-pendent thinking, the ability to relate to people of all ages, and better family relationships.

Moral principles of interaction can be taught, demonstrated and reinforced at home by parents. Children can learn needed social skills by interaction with siblings or other children and adults under their parent's supervision. Young people who have had this type of training have adjusted very well to adult life.

Parents can help their children build and maintain lasting friendships with people of all ages.

"In their book Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers, Dr. Gordon Neufeld and Dr. Gabor Maté discuss attachment orienta-tion; how children both attach to and orient themselves towards either their parents or their peers. The authors define attachment as a child's innate need to connect with others for his sense of security and belonging. Children are in-creasingly bonding with their peers to the detriment of their attachment with their parents, seeking instruction, modeling, and guidance from friends."
(Chapman, Christine. "Hold on to your kids: why parents need to matter more than peers." Court Report & Communique Spring 2011, Volume XVII Num-ber 1: 3. Print.)

Q: What about my child’s special interests?

A:A wealth of experiences outside the home can supplement and enrich home education. Unlimited possibilities abound for field trips that individu-al families or groups can take. These provide valuable in-the-field learning laboratories.

Specialized classes are often available through parks, museums, art school or private lessons. Church and community teams offer various sports op-portunities.

There is actually more time and opportunity available for enrichment activ-ities for home educated students than for those in conventional schools.

Q: What about higher education and career preparation?

A:Many institutions throughout North America have welcomed home edu-cated students. "Many of these schools actively recruit home-educated gradu-ates because of their maturity, independent thinking skills, creativity, and ex-tensive academic preparation," says Inge Cannon, executive director of Educa-tion PLUS.

In anticipation of university or college entrance or any vocational training program, parents should prepare a thorough transcript of high school level work, award a diploma, and specify an actual high school graduation date. Occasionally tests may be required by a college or university for additional verification. Some provincial homeschool associations are officially host-ing graduation ceremonies for high school graduates.

Parents should contact postsecondary institutions early to determine specif-ic requirements for admission.

Q: What materials are available?

A:Fine materials developed for Christian and private schools are available to home educators. With the huge growth of the home education movement, new materials have been developed or adapted especially for use in home teaching. New curriculum has been written and published by homeschool moms and dads as well.

These materials may be obtained in several basic ways: you may order texts and teaching aids directly from the publishers, through mail-order compa-nies or by shopping at a homeschool conference. Shopping at a homeschool conference seems to be the most popular way to obtain materials as parents can view the materials, speak to curriculum experts, and when possible, their students can have input on the curriculum choices.

Home education magazines regularly presented advertisements of numerous suppliers of quality teaching materials, but with the shifting trends of the present day this information is now available all "online".

For some, correspondence or online courses are the best way for their stu-dents to learn. There are numerous schools offering courses to homeschool students. With these courses, testing and transcripts are available.

Testing can also be done by purchasing the CAT test through the Canadian Test Centre to determine the skill placement of your students.

Home educators can choose or combine elements of a variety of teaching approaches for their family or individual students.

Q: What methods do homeschoolers use?

A: There is no “one right way” to home school. There is no one right method or curriculum.

As an artist has at his disposal an entire palette of colours to mix and use, so a home educator has a vast array of effective methods from which to choose.

These choices may be based on:

  • The ages of the children
  • The subject matter being taught.
  • The number of children that you are teaching.
  • The learning styles your children find most effective.
  • The time you have available to prepare and teach.
  • The varying abilities or special needs of your children.
  • The motivation certain methods may provide your children.
  • The variety of methods is endless. As you choose and mix them, your home school will become a unique work of art.

Q: What about children with special needs?

A:Many children with special needs are being successfully home educat-ed. Membership in HSLDA of Canada provides parents with access to re-search and information, which can assist and encourage those parents with special needs children to homeschool.


The above questions and answers have been provided by Home School Legal Defence Association of Canada.

HSLDA is committed to the overall success and advancement of home schooling in the areas of education, the media, Parliament, provincial legislatures, churches, families and communities. This is accomplished by concentrating on parental rights and religious freedoms. HSLDA’s policy is to defend any member family diligently home educating their children, regardless of their religious beliefs. An annual membership fee not only provides legal defence for your family but also makes it possible for us to wage legal and legislative battles throughout Canada on behalf of home educating families. Your membership in HSLDA also provides you with regular updates on the legal status of home education in jurisdictions throughout Canada and the United States.

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