Pour a Cup of Tea and Take in the Encouragement!

Libraries and Homeschools: The Perfect Partnership

By Sharon B. Fields


You have probably heard the words from the old folk song, “the old gray mare, she ain’t what she used to be,” applied to various things. Well we can also relate those words to public libraries. Libraries have changed dramatically, especially with the worldwide introduction of computers, shifts in our economy, and an ever mobile population. But for centuries, public libraries have learned to adapt to new situations, trends, and circumstances, always with the goal in mind to offer the best and most cutting-edge services possible to the general public. Today, libraries are so much more than just books and magazines, which makes them perfect for homeschool families.


As a circulation clerk at the Paris-Bourbon County Public Library, in the heart of Bluegrass Country, I see first-hand families who’ve made the decision to homeschool their children for various reasons. The numbers seem to be increasing each year. Many of the parents are young, but in our community, we have also seen an increase of grandparents and other family members’ homeschooling youngsters as well. They often come to the library to gain access to information, services, and hopefully ideas, which will help them improve their teaching skills and enhance their children’s learning experiences.

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The Heartbreak of Abuse

Our country has been rocked this week by tragic news from California. The abuse and neglect of the 13 Turpin children is shocking and incomprehensible. The treatment of these children is clearly criminal in nature, and the parents should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.


Cases like the California case are horrific and unusual. Naturally, our thoughts turn to what we can do to nurture and protect children from horrible acts of neglect and abuse. Apparently, there were concerns and suspicions about the treatment of the Turpin children among neighbors, but no one took any action. This, too, is hard to understand.


Mistreatment of children is more than our hearts can bear. Though connections continue to be made in the media, cases like these are not about homeschooling, but about unfathomable crimes perpetrated on children. That is where the attention should be squarely focused.


HOME will continue to be vigilant in our efforts to protect homeschool freedom. But protecting children from harm is our first priority. Do not turn a blind eye to crime. Children cannot protect themselves from abuse. If you believe a child is in danger due to abuse, call the Maine Child Abuse Hotline. If you believe a child is at risk of imminent harm, call 911.


Please keep the precious children and young adults of the Turpin family in your prayers. "He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds."  Psalm 147:3



 "There is no known predisposition for abuse among those who choose to home educate their children." 


Addressing Child Abuse - HSLDA 

What is child abuse? What do you do if you suspect child abuse?  


National Home Education Research Institute 

Research facts on homeschooling


Child Protection - HOME

HOME Group Portfolio Reviews

By Raylene Hunt Kane, B.S., Ed. 


Last time, I shared with you about how simple doing a portfolio review with HOME really is.  Now, let’s take a look at the process for HOME Group Portfolio Reviews. 


At the beginning of the year, when you’re ordering curriculum and purchasing school supplies, visit the HOME website and print out the packet for Group Portfolio Reviews.  It can be downloaded on the HOME website here: https://www.homeschoolersofmaine.org/events/home-portfolio-evaluations/home-group-portfolio-review/


Be sure to monitor the website for the dates and locations of HOME Group Portfolio Reviews.  Choose the date you want, fill out the pre-registration form in the packet, and submit it to the HOME Office with your payment to reserve your space.


Assemble your portfolio as instructed in the packet.  See the blog HOME Portfolio Reviews:  It’s as Easy as 1 – 2- 3! for more information. 


Bring your portfolio to the group review for your reference.  In a group review setting, the teacher does not have time for in depth look at each individual portfolio.  The review is done based on parent reporting of progress made by the student during the year.  During this process, you’ll have an opportunity to ask questions, share what worked and what didn’t, and learn more about what other families are doing in their homeschool.


Group reviews are a fun time of fellowship with other homeschool families. It’s also a great opportunity for parents who are new to homeschooling to gain confidence in their skills since they are actively involved in the review process. Why not plan to join HOME for a Group Portfolio Review in 2018!


Raylene Hunt Kane is a veteran homeschooling mom of two, who has been part of the HOME Leadership team for many years.  She often coaches families through the preparation of portfolios and facilitates Group Portfolio Reviews for HOME.  She lives with her family in Camden, Maine.

Take Time to Reflect!

by Connie Overlock


A new year brings lots of opportunities for reflection. How is my health, am I eating right, am I exercising, what changes do I need to make? How are my relationships, is my job a good fit, is there something I need to let go of? What bad habits do I need to work on, what good habits can I cultivate in their place? I was once told that it takes about 13 weeks for a new habit to stick. When we replace a bad habit with a good one, it's probably a lot easier than cutting out something cold turkey.


In the same way that we reflect on these things, the new year is also a good time to reflect on and evaluate our homeschools. How are things going? Are you having more good days than bad or vice versa?


If it feels like you are having more bad days, it is definitely a time to seek change. Are your children enjoying learning? If not, is it the curriculum, the time of day, or perhaps outside stress that is wreaking havoc on your days? What is one change you could make today that would help relieve stress and make learning more fun?


Perhaps you are simply trying to cover too much in one day. You don't have to cover all of the required subjects in a day, or even in a quarter. Have you tried alternating days for science and history? Perhaps you could focus on science/nature study in the summer and history during the winter months when the weather is more conducive to being inside and reading? Have you tried tying subjects together through unit study?


Sometimes, the illness of a family member can cause much added stress and make it difficult to homeschool. If this is the case, taking a break (or schooling fewer days a week) while caring for someone who is ailing is a great solution. There are so many ways to cover 175 days of school in a year. Most families should be able to fit that into their schedule. Did you know that if you only schooled on the weekends, you would already have 104 days of school covered for the year?


Remember that learning is a lifelong process. In order to raise lifelong learners, we need to give them the tools to enjoy learning. Sometimes that comes by way of nurturing their interests, and sometimes it comes by way of new experiences. Whatever your homeschool looks like, take time to evaluate the environment, the curriculum and the attitudes of children and teachers to see if there is something that needs to be changed.


If you are finding you need help, remember that HOME volunteers are just an email or phone call away. They are always eager to answer your questions and concerns.

HOME Portfolio Reviews: It's as Easy as 1-2-3!

By Raylene Hunt Kane, B.S., Ed.


While working with Homeschoolers of Maine over the years, I’ve spoken to many parents who were feeling stressed about portfolio reviews.  There is so much uncertainty about the process, and there are so many questions, especially from those just starting out.  I always assure them, and I want to assure you, that it really isn’t that complicated. It’s as Easy

as 1 – 2 – 3!


1.        Prepare in Advance – When it comes time to order your curriculum and buy school supplies, visit the HOME website and print out the Portfolio Review Packet, too.  It is downloadable from the HOME website here: https://www.homeschoolersofmaine.org/events/home-portfolio-evaluations/home-portfolio-reviews-by-mail/


Purchase the items you’ll need to create the portfolio when you do your school shopping.  For each child, you’ll want to consider buying:


               1 large, three-ring binder


               1 – 2 packages of divider tabs – you’ll need 8 – 10, depending on the subjects that you’re covering with the student.  The subjects required by law include:  English/Language Arts, math, science, social studies, physical education, health, fine arts, library skills and in at least one grade between 6th – 12th grade Maine Studies, and in at least one grade between 7th – 12th computer proficiency.  You may have other tabs for foreign language, Bible or other topics of specific interest to the student.


             Plastic sleeves for work samples – you’ll want a minimum of 4 per subject or 40 sleeves.  HOME requires that there are two work samples per subject, per quarter, or 8 progressive samples for the year. 


Once you have all your supplies, assemble your portfolio and put your attendance sheet in the front. 


Now you’re ready for step 2.


2.        Add Work Samples – At the end of each quarter (mark your calendar in advance as a reminder), take two work samples from each subject and insert them into the portfolio you’ve assembled.  At the beginning, use work samples that are less than perfect.  Remember the goal is to show the progress that has been achieved through the year.  During the middle two quarters, choose work samples that show some improvement and put them in the portfolio.  During the last quarter, choose the very best samples.  This will give the evaluating teacher a good perspective of the progress that has been made by the student throughout the year.  Once you’ve completed 175 days of instruction, you’re ready to submit your portfolio.


3.        Submit Your Portfolio for Review – Mail it in to HOME, and a qualified HOME reviewer will evaluate it for you.  Instructions on submitting the portfolio are included in the HOME Portfolio Review Packet.  Remember that is available on the HOME website here: https://www.homeschoolersofmaine.org/events/home-portfolio-evaluations/home-portfolio-reviews-by-mail/


See, it’s as easy as 1 – 2- 3!


Hope to see your name among those who register for a HOME Portfolio Review in 2018.  If you’d rather join us in person for a Group Portfolio Review, stay tuned!  Another blog post is coming soon on how easy that process is.  It’s even simpler!


Raylene Hunt Kane is a veteran homeschooling mom of 2, who has been part of the HOME Leadership team for many years.  She often coaches families through the preparation of portfolios and facilitates Group Portfolio Reviews for HOME.  She lives with her family in Camden, Maine.

To read more HOME Blog posts, visit our Blog Archives.