The Ministry of Education policies and guidelines do allow for individuals to attend a public school on a part-time basis in the elementary and secondary grades.
Such part-time students are defined in government documents as “pupils who are registered for classroom instruction for an average of less than 210 minutes per school day.”
It is left to the discretion of the principal to allow a homeschooled child to attend on a part-time basis. There have been mixed responses from schools/school boards across Ontario. In some instances families have had no difficulties with enrolling their children in public schools part-time and in other cases families have been turned away by a school/school board. OFTP is aware of some instances in which 1) the principal will not allow part-time attendance of a homeschooled child or 2) the principal allows part-time attendance by a homeschooled child but is overruled by the school board.
Policy/Program Memorandum No. 131 (PPM 131) states the following regarding part-time enrolment:
Funding for Part-Time Attendance
The Ministry of Education provides funding to boards for students who attend school on a part-time basis. The per-pupil grants are prorated according to the amount of time the student is in attendance at the school.
A school will not record a child who is receiving home schooling on a full-time basis in the enrolment register for full-time day school students. If, however, a student is receiving some instruction at a school operated by a board, the student’s enrolment for this instruction will be recorded in the appropriate register. Refer to the instructions section of the appropriate register for details.
Therefore, PPM 131 reiterates the fact that the Ministry of Education does allow for part-time attendance and part-time enrolment will be funded. It is hoped that in the future – due in part to PPM 131, and more advocacy by OFTP – homeschooling parents will eventually have no difficulties enrolling their children in public schools on a part-time basis.
If homeschooling parents do run into difficulties with a school regarding part-time attendance it is recommended that you indicate to the principal that part-time enrolment is clearly stated in Ministry of Education policies and guidelines for Elementary and Secondary Schools as well as in the PPM 131.
To view information on the attendance and funding policies, see the current version of either the Enrolment Register Instructions for Elementary and Secondary Schools, or the Independent Study and e-Learning Register for Day School Pupils, both listed here:
Here is the relevant paragraph in the 2013 Register Instructions document:
Pupils who are excused from compulsory attendance because they are receiving satisfactory instruction exclusively at home (i.e., through home schooling) or elsewhere (e.g., at a private school) must not be recorded in the enrolment register. If, however, they are receiving some instruction provided by the school (classroom-delivered or independent study), this instructional time will be recognized for grant purposes. These pupils must be recorded in the day school register or in the Independent Study and e-Learning Register for Day School Pupils in accordance with the type of instruction provided. The attendance of a pupil who is recorded in the day school register will be recorded in a Daily Attendance Record.
Please note: The government’s websites tend to have their page URLs changed quite often so if you are unable to find the above two documents through the above link, go to the Ministry of Education main page at www.edu.gov.on.ca and follow the links to the pages for Administrators (not for Parents or Students). The documents mentioned are among the Enrolment Registers and Instructions documents. In the past, they have been found through either the Publications section or the Policy & Funding section, under Forms & Applications or directly in a list.