Unofficial Guide to Homeschool Speak

Unofficial Guide to

“Homeschool Speak”

by Lisa Nelson

reprinted (in part) from MACHE

When they say...

“Are you going to the Convention?”

They mean...

The statewide annual homeschool convention sponsored by HOME at the Samoset Resort in Rockport, Maine. (See our website for more information.) There will be speakers, workshops, new materials and lot of people. (It can be a bit overwhelming at first, so go with a plan and a budget!) It is a great chance to get a look at some of those things you may have thought of buying to see if they are what you need, get information from people who have “been there,” and find the encouragement you may want to either get started or to keep running that race with endurance!

When they say...

“Do you belong to HSLDA?”

They mean...

Is your family a member of Home School Legal Defense Association, a non-profit advocacy organization established to defend and advance the constitutional right of parents to direct the education of their children and to protect family freedoms. (For more information see page 9.) For a small yearly fee families may join the association and become co-advocates with HSLDA. Those who subscribe to The Heart of HOME receive a 15% discount from the yearly HSLDA membership fee. Contact HOME for more information.

When they say…

“What curriculum do you use?”

They mean...

This usually refers to a curriculum package that covers all or most subjects and includes lesson plans for you to follow. This may be the route for you if you are just starting out and are unsure of how to cover everything. (Some companies can send you everything you need right down to the science experiment equipment and record keeping materials.) A few of the well known ones include: Alpha Omega, A BEKA, Bob Jones, Christian Liberty and Sonlight. You may also order just a few subject areas from these companies. (See page 13 for curriculum suppliers.)

When they say...

“We don’t use curriculum.”

They mean...

Instead of purchasing a complete curriculum, they choose subject material from various publishers and catalogs to create their own curriculum and lesson plans. For example, they may use Bob Jones for science, Saxon for math, Learning Language Arts Through Literature for language arts, and take a literature approach to history (reading biographies and historical fiction and may keep a timeline.) This can be a very individualized approach, and there is no shortage of materials to choose from for your children! Look for such catalogs as The Heart of HOME Bookstore, Greenleaf Press, Whole Heart and Rainbow Resources, among others. (See page 13 for resources.)

When they say...

“Unit studies”

They mean...

Taking a theme or topic (a unit of study) and delving deeply into it over a period of time. For example, a child can do all his/her “subjects” by studying about birds. Language Arts is studied by reading and writing about birds, science and math by studying the parts, functions, and life cycles of birds and perhaps even the aerodynamics of flight. Social studies can be learned by determining the migration paths, habitats, ecological impact, etc. of birds, and drawing various birds becomes fine art. There are unit study curricula available such as Alta Vista, Konos, ATIA, Education PLUS... if you want to develop your own unit studies check out books by Valerie Bent Unit Studies Make Easy (and others) or Kathy Strout’s Design-a-Study Guides and Homeschooling Today magazine.

When they say...

“Learning Styles”

They mean...

The particular way a student best accumulates information. Teaching in harmony with your child’s learning style will make your teaching more effective. All people will utilize three styles of learning, but most have one style they prefer.

    Visual Learners: For these learners, seeing is believing: they prefer to use their eyes, reading and watching videos. Flow charts, notes on a board, and FAX machines are a joy to them. They use phrases as: “I see... let’s take a look at it... now I get the picture...”

    Auditory Learners: These folks use their ears. They love lecture, cassette tapes, radios, recordings, and can remember a story long after it is told. Oral communication is a key to their learning. They tend to say such things as: “I hear you... or That sounds like...”

    Kinesthetic Learners: Every parent has one of these, the child that needs to touch everything! These people need to feel and manipulate, they learn by doing. Physical projects and math manipulative are helpful. Their phrases are: “I feel that... I’ve got a hold on that... I can’t grasp the idea.”

Parents who identify their child’s learning style and choose curricula that maximizes that style will find their child more interested in their studies and learning will be easier than with other methods.

When they say...

”Notice of Intent”

They mean...

The one time notice you will send to Commissioner of Education and your local school system informing them of your intent to homeschool your child for the first year. Please see page 4 for a review of the statute governing homeschooling in Maine. A sample one time notice is available at http://www.homeschoolersofmaine.org/Directions_for_Notice_of_Intent.htm

When they say...

”Subsequent Letter to Homeschool”

They mean...

The letter you will send the Commissioner of Education and your local school system informing them of your intent to continue homeschooling your child after their first year of homeschooling. Please see page 4, Option 1, for a review of the statute governing homeschooling in Maine. A sample letter is available at http://www.homeschoolersofmaine.org/Directions_for_Notice_of_Intent.htm

When they say...

“NAPS”

They mean...

Non-Approved Private School. This is an alternative statute allowing for homeschools whereby a homeschool may qualify as a non-approved private school based upon a court decision in 1983. These types of homeschools must have at least two unrelated students enrolled in their schools and meet standards such as teach 175 days, keep attendance records, etc. See page 4, Option 2, for more information or contact HOME.