Preparing for school in Ontario can easily lead to this overwhelming and sudden pressure. However, it doesn’t have to be stressful. You just have to work out a plan that works for you and your child.
Step zero: follow the instructions
If this is your first trip to school, you need to make sure you follow the school regulations. In Ontario, homeschooling regulations are relatively simple – just enter one Declaration of intent to the school board. From there you don’t have to do anything. You do not need to fill out specific documents that list the curriculum or details of the school. You are completely free to teach how and what you want.
HOW TO GET IN ONTARIO HOMESCHOOL
First step: diploma or no diploma
The very first decision you need to make is whether you are working towards an “official government-issued diploma” (OSSD) or not. This completely depends on your child’s goals and plans and what works for your family. There are many options here.
- Take accredited courses through correspondence or online programs.
- Complete your own thing and get your own homeschool graduation diploma by taking well-documented notes about programs and courses you do at home.
- Do your own thing in grades 9 through 11 and take officially accredited 12th grade courses.
Advantages for an OSSD
- Obtaining a government-issued diploma could facilitate post-secondary application.
- It is generally accepted.
Disadvantages for getting an OSSD
- You must complete courses from accredited programs that may not match your method, delivery preferences, or belief.
- You must jump through all the tires required for qualification – including service times, literacy tests and specific course credits.
Benefits to do your own thing
- You can learn in a method that works for you with your chosen curriculum.
- You can choose subject areas that are more personal and more interesting for you.
Cons to do your own thing
- You may need to jump through additional frames for post-secondary applications.
Step two: make a plan
Once you have decided whether you want to work towards an official government diploma or not, the next step is to find out what you will learn in the next four years.
An advice: BE PROACTIVE.
In Ontario, students must complete 30 credits, 40 hours of community service, and a literacy test to get their diploma. If you plan to work towards an OSSD, or if you want a guideline for ideas while working independently, you must meet the same requirements. A full credit is 110-120 working hours.
- 4 credits in English (1 credit per note) *
- 3 credits in mathematics (1 credit in grade 11 or 12)
- 2 credits in science
- 1 credit in Canadian history
- 1 credit in Canadian geography
- 1 credit in the arts
- 1 credit in health and sports
- 1 credit in French as a second language
- ½ credit in career studies
- ½ credit in civics
- Plus 15 additional credits of your choice.
With the help of your student, find out which subjects you would like to complete each year so that you have a complete path. If you want to follow the plan for an OSSD, make sure that all requirements are met. If you’re doing your own thing, it’s a good plan to have at least a general idea of what topics you want to cover each year.
Start with the core subjects: mathematics, linguistics, natural sciences, history / geography. When you’ve cleared the main issues, decide what High School Electives You want to cover in the next four years. This can be anything from Japanese to photography to cooking and auto mechanics.
Step three: choose a program
Now that you know what topics you want to cover during high school, it’s time to find out which curriculum or program you will be using.
If you want accredited courses, you should consider the following programs:
- Independent learning center (ILC) – This is Ontario’s official high school distance learning program hosted by TVO. Students in grades 9 through 12 take distance courses online, either via PDF or through an online portal. Submitted papers and tests are evaluated and assessed by a teacher. The final exam is written under the supervision of an approved supervisor. The courses take place at your own pace, but must be completed within 10 months. The cost is $ 40 per course. If you taught at home prior to using the ILC, you must provide proof of Canadian citizenship, residence in Ontario, a homeschool letter from the superintendent of the school district you are in, and a course log / detailed course record Child has learned.
- Virtual learning center (VLC) – This is an online school operated by the Trillium Lakelands District School Board. Courses for classes 9 to 12 are offered every semester. You apply for the courses you want to take each semester and then complete your courses via an online portal with a combination of live presentations and modules of tasks and work. There is no cost if you are based in Ontario (except for a $ 50 new student fee that will be refunded at the end of the year). Homeschoolers must submit a homeschool letter.
- Virtual high school (VHS) – This is an online private school. Students in grades 9 through 12 can register for a course at any time and work at their own pace. However, the courses should be completed within 18 months. Tasks and work are submitted for evaluation and a final exam is conducted online under the supervision of an approved examiner. The cost per course is $ 479 to $ 729, depending on the grade and options you choose.
- Blyth Academy Onlinee – This is a private school that offers an online option. Students in grades 9 through 12 can register for courses and work on them at their own pace, although they are expected to complete within a maximum of 12 months. The course is offered via an online portal. The teachers’ office hours are available for support. Submitted work and assignments are graded and a final exam can be taken at a Blyth Academy school or under a proctor. The courses cost between $ 475 and $ 575, depending on the grade.
If you choose to work independently, you can use the resources you want throughout high school. There are many options to choose from, so I won’t list them there, but I would recommend going over mine How to plan your homeschool year Instructions to guide you through the selection of the curriculum.
Some schools offer the credit equivalency option. This means that you can evaluate the work you do outside of the official OSSD-accredited programs and get an official diploma. Contact any of the programs listed above for more information on this option.
Step four: volunteering / adding extras
Regardless of whether you are working towards an OSSD or not, it is a good idea to give teenagers the opportunity to volunteer and help in the community. It helps them think of others and get out into the world. You can search for volunteer opportunities at SPARK Ontario. Find out more at your local church, community center, children’s clubs, homeschool groups, retirement homes, and regional websites.
The Duke of Edinburgh Award gives students the opportunity to work towards achieving goals and challenges related to service, skills, physical activity and adventure. There are different requirements for different age groups and levels. Find out more at Duke of Edinburgh Award.
Fifth step: keep records
Write everything down – the title of the resources you use, the books you read, the topics and units covered, the activities carried out, etc., so that you can compile a detailed log if necessary.
Once you’ve done these steps, it’s all about getting your teen to do the job. Using a planner or digital tool like Trello to keep track of what needs to be accomplished each day can help.
Though highschool homeschooling in Ontario may seem overwhelming at first glance, once you have a plan, you can breathe easily knowing that you are setting your child up for the best of what it can be.
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