Homeschooling Policy

The Homeschooling Policy applies to both Public Schools and Independent Schools

A new Homeschooling Procedures and Guidelines Manual has been released to supplement the existing Homeschooling Policy. The Manual summarizes requirements and optional better practices and will help to support homeschoolers and the schools that register them.

Date came into force or revised

Revised:  June 2021

Status

Current

Policy statement

Under the School Act, a parent may choose to provide their child with an education outside of a public or an independent school. 

Rationale or purpose of policy

To set out the roles and responsibilities for parents and registering schools with regard to homeschooled children.

Authority

Policy in full

Homeschooling is an alternative method of teaching where the parent delivers an educational program to children at home. The School Act (PDF), (section 12) provides parents with the statutory right to educate their children at home.

Homeschooling allows children to work at their own pace and parents to blend family, life and schoolwork into their own schedule. Homeschooling is the full responsibility of the parent, is not supervised by a British Columbia certified teacher, is not required to meet provincial standards, and is not inspected by the Ministry of Education.

Online Learning (OL) should not be confused with Homeschooling, for more information on OL programs and the differences between the two, please review Online Learning versus Homeschooling information.

Information for Parents

Parents of registered homeschooled children are responsible for the complete education of their children. Parents have the responsibility to provide and supervise the educational program.

Parents who decide to homeschool their children should be aware that immunization is an important part of protecting their child's health. ImmunizeBC.ca has information  about children’s eligibility for vaccines.  Immunizations can be done at a family doctor's office or the local health unit.

Procedures related to policy

Registering Homeschooled Children

Parents must register homeschooled children at one of the following schools in the province by September 30th each year:

Parents choosing to homeschool their children, but failing to register them as homeschooled, commit an offence.

For children entitled to enrol in Grades K-9

A child registered as a homeschooler may attend educational programs offered by a board, subject to any terms and conditions established by the board including the payment of a fee. However, a child does not receive credit for taking instruction in this manner.

When a child registered as a homeschooler enrols in a Grade K-9 educational program provided by a board or authority the child loses homeschooling status.

For persons who are school age and entitled to enrol in Grades 10-12

Registered homeschoolers are not eligible to receive a BC Graduation Diploma (Dogwood) through homeschooling alone. Youth eligible to enrol in Grades 10, 11, or 12 may enrol in Grades 10 -12 online learning courses offered by a public or independent online learning school, while remaining registered as a homeschooler. Credit towards graduation may be earned in this manner.

If registered homeschoolers wish to take courses not delivered through online learning, they may attend an educational program offered by a board subject to terms and conditions established by the board.  This may include payment of a fee. However, in these circumstances, credit is not awarded for the course.

A registered homeschooler who enrols in a course offered through a regular school, not an online learning school or program, becomes an enrolled student and is no longer registered as a homeschooler.

Responsibilities of Schools Registering Homeschoolers

The registering school reports the homeschooler to the Ministry of Education on the Student Data Collection Form (1701)..

Public Schools and Public Online Learning Schools

  • The principal must register the child of any parent who wishes his or her child to be educated at home.
  • The school principal must offer the following to the homeschooled child or the parents free of charge:
    • evaluation and assessment services to determine the child's educational progress in relation to students of similar age and ability and
    • the loan of educational resource materials that are authorized and recommended by the Minister, and which, in the board's opinion, are sufficient to enable the child to pursue his/her educational program. The school may require a deposit for the loan of such materials.
  • The parent or homeschooled child, or both, is free to accept or reject evaluation or assessment services or the loan of learning resource materials that have been offered by the school.
  • The school has no authority to approve or supervise the educational program of a homeschooled child.

Francophone Schools

  • The principal must register the child of any eligible parent who wishes his/her child to be educated at home.
  • The school principal shall offer the following to the homeschooled child or the parents free of charge:
    • evaluation and assessment services to determine the child's educational progress in relation to students of similar age and ability and
    • the loan of educational resource materials that are authorized and recommended by the Minister, and which, in the board's opinion, are sufficient to enable the child to pursue his/her educational program. The school may require a deposit for the loan of such materials.
  • The parent and/or homeschooled child is free to accept or reject evaluation or assessment services or the loan of learning resource materials that have been offered by the school.
  • The school has no authority to approve or supervise the educational program of a homeschooled child.

Independent Schools and Independent Online Learning Schools

  • The authority may determine if the school will register homeschooled children. 
  • The authority may also set a fee for the registration of a homeschooled child. 
  • An independent or independent online learning school may register a homeschooled child who resides anywhere in the province. 
  • The school principal must offer the following to the homeschooled child or the parent(s) free of charge:
    • evaluation and assessment services normally offered to the students at that independent school.
  • The school principal may loan educational resource materials and learning materials to the parents of homeschooled children, which the school believes are sufficient to enable the children to pursue their educational programs. The school may require a deposit for the loan of such materials.

Funding Grants for Home Schooled Children 

Provincial funding grants are sent to the registering school.  No funding is sent to parents or is intended to be provided directly to parents. The provincial funding grant amounts are as follows:

  • Public schools receive $250 for each registered homeschooled child.
  • An independent school authority holding a certificate of group 1 or group 2 classification receives $175 for each registered homeschooled child.

Protection of Homeschooled Children

Anyone who believes that a school-aged homeschooled child is not registered, or is registered but not receiving an educational program (including homeschoolers who are registered with an independent school), may report this belief to one of the following:

  • The superintendent of schools of the school district in which the child resides. 
  • The directeur général of the francophone education authority for the francophone school district in which that child resides.

On receipt of a report, the superintendent or directeur général is required to investigate the complaint. In the event that the superintendent, or directeur général determines that the child is not registered, and the child's parent refuses to comply with the law, the superintendent, or directeur général must inform the police.

In the event that the superintendent or directeur général determines that the child is not receiving an educational program and that the child is in need of protection, the superintendent or directeur général must report their belief to the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

No action lies against the superintendent or directeur général in respect of an action taken or against the person making such a report, unless the report is made maliciously.