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Number of Nova Scotia students home-schooled continues to rise

Brittany Nugent, 18, of Scotchtown, relaxes at home, happy to have completed her Grade 12 this week after being home-schooled since Grade 5.
Brittany Nugent, 18, of Scotchtown, relaxes at home, happy to have completed her Grade 12 this week after being home-schooled since Grade 5. - Sharon Montgomery-Dupe

SYDNEY, N.S. — Numbers of students being home-schooled in Nova Scotia is on a steady rise.

“I can’t speak for before I came here but I’ve been here five years and it has gone up every year,” said Denise Bell, regional education officer for the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.

In 2015-16, there were 1,185 students home-schooled in Nova Scotia, in 2016-2017 there were 1,258 and in 2017-2018 a total of 1,363, of which 63 were in Cape Breton.

Legally in Nova Scotia, you have to be registered in a public, private or home-schooling education program up to the age 16.

Bell said why people decide to home-school their children isn’t known, as anyone can decide to home-school their child and only has to register to do so.

“It’s a parent’s right under the Education Act to home-school as long as they provide a program and provide a progress report,” she said.

“It could be a personal reason or maybe your child has medical issues or a student with special needs. It could be a thousand things. We don’t ask them those reasons.”

Parents home-schooling their child choose and design their own program and are responsible for any costs, such as books.

Bell said many students who were home-schooled choose to go back to public school during their high school years, as you cannot receive a Nova Scotia high school diploma for home-schooling.

A parent or guardian only has to register their child for home-schooling up to the age 16 but some people do register their child to age 18.

Once a person home-schooled is 19, they can also get a diploma through the General Educational Development program.

As far as secondary education is concerned, each school has its own criteria on home-schooled students, with some administering a test while others require a GED.

sharon.montgomery@cbpost.com

A few facts on home-schooling:

• Parents/guardians are required to fill out a registration form for home schooling each year up until the child reaches age 16.

• The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and Regional Centres for Education do not provide funding for home schooling.

• The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development does not provide any home study package. There are curriculum guides available through the department web site and correspondence courses that can be purchased as well as commercial programs available from a variety of suppliers.

• Parents/guardians are required to send in a report in June on the progress of their child.

• The Home Schooling division does not award credits or graduation certificates.

• For more information on home-schooling in Nova Scotia visit the DOE website at www.ednet.ns.ca/homeschooling

Related coverage:

Home-schooled Scotchtown teen finishes Grade 12 later this week

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