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How to Begin Homeschooling: Step by Step

How to Begin Homeschooling: Step by Step

By Cheryfa Jamal

  1. Don’t panic. It’s not that hard, it’s not an irreversible decision, it’s not going to ruin your children’s post-secondary education, and you’re not going to fail. It’s kind of like painting, if you make a mistake it’s really easy to redo it and fix the mistake.
  2. There are so many resources online to help you every step of the way. There are online schools that have live classes, there are online schools that have videos and homework, there are dozens of curriculums to choose from, or you can use the Ontario Ministry of Education’s curriculum (listed below in Homeschooling Resources Websites), just to make sure the main topics in each subject in each grade have been covered.
  3. There are many physical and online stores that sell everything you need that you can’t get cheaper at the Dollar Store.

Ok, now that you can breath and sit back a little more comfortably, allow me to start from the first step you need to take.

Submitting a Letter of Intent.

This is a letter you can get from your child’s school or school board website. You just fill it in. If you haven’t put your child into public or Catholic school, you don’t need this letter at all. You don’t even need to submit it if you have, but to ensure there is no pushback from bullying teachers or principals, (it can and has happened), you are fully armed with having proof you are a responsible adult and taking all of the necessary steps to educate your child, even doing the school’s administrative duties for them. Please go to this page of the Ontario Federation of Teaching Parents (a god-send of resources!):, where you will learn more about this and even find a Letter of Intent you can submit instead of begging for the school’s, (sometimes they are difficult when you ask for one, just bypass the school if they are).

I need to mention one very important detail here. When pulling your child out of public school, it must be done in a calm and determined manner. DO NOT do it on the spur of the moment because you had an altercation with a teacher or vice principal. This gives them the opportunity to refuse your Intent to Homeschool submission and call Children’s Protective Services and accuse you of playing with your child’s education, or their right to change their pronouns, or your son’s right to wear a girl’s dress to school. This was a problem with homeschooling 25 years ago, and it is a much bigger weapon today with this new cult indoctrination if the teacher or principal is a bully.

IF you have an objection to a teacher showing the class inappropriate material, or telling your child they can be a boy or a girl or both, or you are upset with a disciplinary decision after your child was in an altercation with another child, or you child was bullied, walk away from the argument and wait until the end of the term, or the Winter Break, or March Break. Don’t even go back to submit it to the school. Either email it or drop it off at the School Board. Avoid confrontation at all costs. Because they CAN use it against you if it is a reaction to something you just disagreed with.

The thing is, Ontario is very supportive of homeschooling. They don’t even ask you which curriculum, or textbooks, or testing process, or grading system you are using. Because you don’t ever have to prove you educated them at all. But a teacher can create a huge problem for you if they can prove you are not serious about homeschooling, that you are just using that as a way to punish the school. So beware not to be reactionary if you withdraw your child during the active school year, (September to June after they have already been in classes that year).

But you do want the best education for your children, along with the fact that you want to protect them from this fasaad. So let’s look at the many avenues you can choose from. (I have listed online schools at the end of this article. You’re welcome. I know! Alhamdulillah, right? Whew!)

You can purchase a program for each grade. Some programs give your child a passcode into an online portal and there are videotaped lessons and games there to teach them, and there are quizzes and tests along the way. They even evaluate your child’s progress. Some are accredited and will submit your child’s grades to the Ministry of Education for their OSR, (Ontario School Record).

Some programs will just sell you textbooks and workbooks and you are the teacher. Each grade and subject you purchase separately or as an entire school year.

Some homeschoolers are creative and ambitious enough to modify the Ministry of Education’s curriculum and buy workbooks per subject, per grade from teacher supply stores. So many suppliers sell so many workbooks it will be a challenge for you to choose from among all of them.

That’s where other homeschoolers are the best resource. They’ve already been there and done that. They will tell you all the shortcuts and best deals out there. I have listed below an organization called Toronto Muslim Homeschoolers which is a group of many, (over 400 since it was started), mothers who homeschool. They have a small membership fee and a chat platform where you can ask for advice and read the comments other mothers post. Sometimes they have get-togethers so the children socialize and celebrate Eids and such. They sometimes plan field trips and carpool. It is an invaluable resource for all homeschooling Muslim families in the GTA, Masha’Allah.

Sometimes several families will homeschool together, one parent teaches this subject or grade, another parent teaches that subject or grade; it is another support system that helps parents stay on track and encourage each other. Some children just don’t listen to their mother as a teacher.  Sometimes they are more attentive and productive if someone else is the teacher part of the day. And having other children learning beside them gives them a sense of healthy competition to encourage them to strive.

We’ve all had a trial run at this during the Covid lockdowns. I know it was traumatic at the time, but you’ve already learned a lot and all of you managed to get as much as possible done. This time it will be easier because you want to do this and you’ve prepared for it.

I homeschooled one year, back in 2009. Yes, one. There wasn’t any support like today, nothing much online, no parent support groups like OFTP or TMH. No schools online. Only TVO ILC. And we got the workbooks in the mail and submitted the work in the mail. We had a phone number we could call for an appointment if we needed clarification, or guidance, or religious accommodation. But Alhamdulillah, they were accredited for Elementary grades back then.

I had put my 2 young sons into a Hifz program for a year just to accomplish Juz Amma with proper tajweed, (I am a convert). I had planned that after that year they would return to Islamic School, and I wanted to ensure they wouldn’t fall behind in their new grade, having skipped one year, (all schools put children into age-specific grades, not ability-specific grades).

So this meant I had to teach each of them two grades in one year. I set up my homeschool at my dining room table. That way I could still cook and fold laundry all the while making sure they were actually doing their work and not fighting in silence.

I had wall maps and charts, books with interactive, updated, and current websites on each page. I had extra grade-level reading books for each subject, like early Canadian History, or geology, (rocks and volcanoes), and English Grammar posters like Parts of a Sentence, and the multiplication chart. Masha’Allah, I was so proud of myself. I had Islamic Studies workbooks, an Ibn Battuta’s travels workbook, Ramadhan workbooks, you name it, I had it.

I was teaching one of them grades 3 and 4, and the other one grades 5 and 6. So half the year was for the first grade, and the other half of the year was for the second. That was a lot of resources in one year. Normally a family would buy the resources for the oldest child and they would be used by each successive child over the years.

To save money, and to be able to share such amazing resources later, I took each workbook and carefully cut off the front and back covers and glued them onto the front and back of large envelopes (big yellow or white document envelopes), that the workbook could fit into. Then I carefully removed each page from the glue binding and cut the raw edge. Then I put each workbook into each envelope and now I had a reusable resource.

With these loose-paged workbooks, I could photocopy the specific pages I wanted to them to work from each day, in the order I preferred, because not all of the pages were relevant or mandatory. It’s just a book, I can use it any way I want to teach what makes sense with what we just covered. And I didn’t have to buy the workbook twice, or three times, or 4 times for each of my children. And I could repeat lessons that hadn’t sunk into their memories later in the month or year. They also made good quizzes, as they weren’t written on yet. And Alhamdulillah, I was able to pass these invaluable resources to another homeschooling mother when I was done with them.

So, my obsessive-compulsive resource library and new livingroom décor of maps and posters all over the walls felt like I was a master at this. I was TEACHER MOMMY!

But everyday, after 20 minutes of lesson teaching, poster pointing, internet surfing, and printer handout organizing, I would look at my sons and ask them respectively, “Tell me something about what you just learned.” Silence. Blinking. Squirming. Staring at the wall. Playing with the pencil. Nothing.

Appalled, I would ask more anxiously, “Didn’t you understand ANYTHING I just taught you? What about this thing, tell me about this one thing here.” Silence. Blinking, Squirming…

It’s not THAT easy, ok. Especially boys. Pretty sure the entire time I was in my starring role as TEACHER MOMMY! they were thinking about Minecraft or when can they go to the bathroom again.

So, it takes A LOT of patience.

I learned from that year that one of my sons processes information differently than other children. He can’t quickly take an abstract lesson and see it in his head. He has to first absorb the words, then translate them into what he can imagine them to be referring to, then when I ask him about that thing, he has to reverse the imagined thing into words again. It’s not just automatic like his brother. What I mistook for empty stares was his brain working slower than I expected, but if I just waited and didn’t feed him the answer, he eventually popped out a pretty good and accurate one himself. IF I WAITED long enough for him to get through the process.

It’s amazing what you will learn about each of your children that you never noticed before because they weren’t home all day learning their subjects with you. Someone else was noticing their strengths and weaknesses.

You don’t have to be their teacher, you can just be their tutor to help them with their work after the teacher finishes online. You understand what they just learned because you are hearing the teacher, reading the instructions, and helping them along the way. It was pretty much homeschooling when Covid shut the schools down, right?

I advise you to keep them in the main area of the house, never in a private area. They will never get anything done and will waste all their time watching videos and playing games, or worse.

May Allah guide all of you and make it easy. Ameen, ameen, ameen.


Ontario Ministry of Education

Public School Curriculums of all subjects Grades K - 12

Ontario Federation of Teaching Parents

Everything you need to know about homeschooling in Ontario.

TMH (Toronto Muslim Homeschoolers)


Exchanging ideas and resources, group day trips, socializing your children, and working with other families.

Ummati Kids

Homeschooling support.

P.A.F.E. (Parents as First Educators)

Online resources for homeschooling families. Provincial Regulations, too!



Homeschool Canada


Books and websites about homeschooling, articles, LOTS of information for homeschoolers.

The Canadian Homeschooler

Books, curriculums, websites, printables.

G A Teacher's Supply Outlet

Workbooks, math supplies, posters, educational toys, fun school supplies, experiments, lots of great stuff.

Learning Tree Educational Store

Basically everything you ever wanted in a homeschooling bookstore.

Sonsuh Educational Supplies


All the supplies you need plus furniture for your little school.

Alpha Textbooks

Textbooks, workbooks, school supplies, etc.

Scholar's Choice


Workbooks, educational toys, games, puzzles, etc. from toddler to 12 yrs.




Spectrum Educational Supplies

Curricular workbooks for every subject and every grade, Special Ed. Products.

Kidsource Inc.

Books, Special Needs tools, educational games.

Wintergreen Learning Materials

Science Kits, math resources, early literacy, reading and writing tools.

Learning House

Curriculums, books by school subject, courses, homeschooling help.

Canadian Home Education Resources

Curriculums, books, textbook/workbooks, LOTS of math workbooks, language workbooks.

Heritage Resources


Lots and lots of workbooks, curricular packs, advanced flashcards, reading kits.



The Ontario Ministry of Education’s Curriculums

When you go to, you will find a page which lists Elementary and Secondary tabs. Once you choose which you need, you will find rectangular blocks with the school subjects.

Once you choose the subject, you will again find rectangular blocks with the grade levels. (I guess we’re all just elementary students and need blocks and colors to guide us along.) Choose the grade level you want to see, you will find new links to course descriptions and expectations to be met at the end of each grade.

A lot of what you find is gobbledee gook, nonsense, and indulgence in temper tantrams and coping mechanisms. Ignore all of that foolishness. Or, you can go down the rabbit hole and probably gleen some beneficial knowledge regarding teaching and understanding your children’s learning styles. Just don’t drown in it.

Find the bare essentials of the course, what does your child need to learn this grade? Which parts of algebra, or which aspects of English grammar, which sections of history, or which level of geography do they need to understand. Copy and paste this onto a word document so that you don’t have to run THAT gauntlet again any time soon.

Then make yourself a nice cup of chai. Well done. You’ve slain the dragon.


How to Apply to Post-Secondary Institutions Without Having Accreditation Schooling, (No High Shool Credits)

Without accreditation, (your child’s Ontario School Record not recording your homeschooling or private school grades), you must take a different route to apply to college or university than that used by Public and Catholic School, and accredited private school high school students. Graduates from those schools have access to the OUAC (Ontario Universities Application Center) online portal, and OCAS (Ontario Colleges) portal, which streamlines their OSR (Ontario School Record) straight to every program the student applies for. It is a locked system. Students graduating in Ontario from these accredited schools get a special account. AND they get priority, early application access.

Some post-secondary schools have a special accommodation for homeschooled students and adult students with no accreditation. Do your research far ahead of time so that your child has all of the necessary paperwork, and perhaps a biography of their educational experience. Keep documentation of especially good projects, papers, and exams they may have completed in grades 11 and 12; scanned or digital copies of projects, and any awards they won in online or local competitions. These are good additions to the bio. Keep these files for every one of your children as they go through Grades 9 to 12.

Most institutions have their own pathway for homeschoolers to apply. They usually entail a testing process to ensure aptitude and English proficiency. It would be wise to begin your research when your child is in Grade 8 so that you are preparing them for this type of testing throughout high school, and it won’t come as a shock after graduation.

One means of preparing to qualify for admission into university or college without accreditation is to enroll them into an online program which gives your child regular testing and report cards throughout Grades 9 to 12, and a final transcript of their courses, just as public school does. If your child is not in a supervised program, and you are their teacher, you need to grade your child yourself, per subject, per grade, and create your own final transcript as it may be a requirement. A very good resource explaining the admissions requirements of many universities and colleges in Canada is on the website I referred to earlier, called the Ontario Federation of Teaching Parents –

Switching to accredited schooling, whether online or in person, for grades 11 and 12 is another method of attaining prerequisite courses for the program your child chooses. Another method is taking Grade 11 and 12 night school and summer school courses for the necessary prerequisites, but be aware that your child can only take 2 courses per summer. You would have to register in your local public school AND your local Catholic school to obtain both student ID numbers to access these courses (they don’t need to attend school, they just need the student number to apply for the night or summer credit courses. Some courses are only available that semester in the Public Board, and some are only available in the Catholic Board, all depending on how many teachers are available and how many students apply. Plan ahead because the courses fill up quickly months before they begin, so begin registering for student numbers in the Fall of your child’s Grade 10 year and ask for the proper links to the night school and summer school courses both in the public school board and the Catholic school board, and the dates when these courses come online for registration. MARK THE DATE and apply the first day. Your Grade 10 graduate can take Grade 11U Chemistry, and Functions, which are both prerequisites for Grade 12U Chemistry and Advanced Functions.

It’s a real challenge to get what you want as so many students are upgrading to bump up their marks or repeat a failed subject. A third method is for your child to write a GED (General Equivalency Diploma) exam at 19 yrs of age;, and enter as an adult student. But they will still need the prerequisite courses for their post-secondary programs.

Go visit the universities and colleges in your vision. Whether that is close to home or out of your city, check online for the prerequisites in the programs you are considering. You can go pick up or ask for a mailed copy of the admissions booklets featuring their faculties and programs offered within each faculty. From there, you check for the prerequisites within each faculty. This is why the night school courses and summer courses are important if you cannot afford to send them through an accredited online school, (only the prerequisites are necessary accredited courses).

MAC Olive Grove is offering a new online school for grades 4 - 8.  It is accredited.

ISNA High School is offering a new online school for grades 9 - 12. It is accredited.

Equivalent project ideas and subject levels are available on the Ontario Ministry of Education website;, with every subject in every grade’s curriculum, so that you can plan similar projects, and write up, (or have a tutor write up), exams for these Grade 11 and 12 subjects, so that you can submit them to the university or college if required. This will also prepare them for taking the SATs (Scholastic Aptitude Test), and a Language Proficiency test which may also be required for the program of your child’s choice. You can register for SAT exams through

Deadlines are so stressful when you haven’t prepared. You cannot apply for a student grant, loan or bursary until your child has been accepted into a post-secondary program. You don’t have to take the student loan, you can just accept the bursary, but you have to go through the process of applying through OSAP. The application process for a homeschooled student it sooo much longer and more complicated than a public school, Catholic school, or accredited private school student, so you have to be diligent in your research into the schools and programs your child hopes to be accepted into. March and April are the months post-secondary schools commonly open for admissions applications for non-OUAC and OCAS students, so ensure they have all the necessary documents and the Grade 12 first-term transcript by the end of February!







MAC Olive Grove Virtual School 

4 – 8

IHS International

9 - 11

American Islamic School

KG - 10

Saba's Academy

1 - 8






Wali ul Asr Learning  Institute (Shia)

JK - 7








Ontario Virtual School




Virtual Learning Center


Ontario eSecondary School


Nile Academy (accred.pending)







Power Homeschool


Acellus Academy

(U.S. accreditation)

1 - 12

Scholar Within

(reading, writing only)

K - 8



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