Homeschool Lingo 101

by Kimberley McGee
The lowdown on homeschool lingo.

Homeschool lingo can be confusing. When you begin homeschooling there is a lot of terminology thrown around that might be unfamiliar to you as a newcomer.  From NOI to deschooling and learning styles, there’s a lot of words bandied about. Here’s a glossary to help you translate.

Notice of Intent (NOI) 

 The Notice of Intent letter  (NOI) is a piece of paper you can print out at home and send to the school district. This, along with an education plan (don’t overthink this!), needs to be sent within 10 days of pulling your child from school. For instance, if your child doesn’t attend on Monday, then the NOI needs to be filed by the following Tuesday at the latest to be on the safe side. If mailed in, keep a receipt. For more info, we have the address, link to the NOI to print and full details here

Secular/Non-Secular

Homeschoolers love to identify themselves in many ways. The first is whether they use religious-based curriculum or non-religious (secular) materials. The majority of religious homeschoolers are Christian at this time.  Some people identify as secular homeschoolers who will use religious curriculum but skip the religion. Some secular homeschoolers will not use Christian curriculum. Some people have very big feelings about this. Some do not.

Co-op

This stands for a cooperative. A homeschool co-op is a group of homeschoolers who get together on a regular basis usually for learning. Classes and activities are taught by parents or outside instructors. The classes can be academic or interest-based (LEGO creations, book clubs, anime, etc.). In parent-led co-ops, the work is shared by all families. Co-ops meet in churches, community buildings or homes. A co-op can be 2 families or 200+ families. Some have fees associated. Most parent-led co-ops are not drop off programs meaning that parents stay on site. Co-ops can be secular or religious.

Co-ops don’t need to be certified, accredited, registered or otherwise monitored by anyone but the group of parents, from 2 to 200, who decide to create the co-op.

Accredited Programs

This term is used to identify curriculum or programs that have been vetted by independent agencies for consistency. The quality of the program is not necessarily guaranteed. It just means that it meets an agreed upon set of standards, which are usually based on public school curriculum. In Nevada, you are not required to use an accredited program in your homeschool. Actually, no state requires you as a homeschooler to use an accredited program. You absolutely do not need an accredited program in elementary or middle school. It’s a personal preference.

 

Very specifically, if you are going to go back into the public-school system in high school, that process is made easier by using an accredited program. But from personal experience, I can tell you that a homeschooled child can enter public high school without having used an accredited program and catch up with no problem. Homeschool Mom has a good breakdown of the what, why and when of accredited programs.

Homeschool checklist for beginners. to gain confidence and knowledge.

New to homeschool or still considering the leap?

Deschooling

Homeschool lingo can sound, well, odd. Deschooling isn’t what you may think it is the first time you hear it. This is a process for both parents and children new to homeschooling to take time to move mentally away from the school system. Taking time to relax, find interests and joy in learning and rest. Live like you are on summer vacation. Learning doesn’t stop (learning never stops!) but it’s free flowing and unstructured. It might be a lot of play and sleep. Parents will find this time harder than kids. Especially products of 13 years of public school. It will look like “wasted time” but it’s not. It’s learning to live without school controlling your time and interests. Use the time to connect with your child and other homeschoolers. The suggested amount of time for deschooling is one month for every year your child was in school.

Learning Style

How does your child like to learn? In what way is it easy and enjoyable for them to take in information? That’s their learning style. Usually people talk about three learning styles: Visual, auditory and kinesthetic (hands-on). Reading and Writing is sometimes included as a fourth style. And most people are a combination of two or more styles.

Watch your child. Your kinesthetic learner seems lost looking at a math workbook but give them a set of blocks to represent the problem and the light bulb goes on. Facts don’t stick until your auditory learner sings them. Graphic organizers make your visual learners’ day. These are just a few examples. Seeing the resources your child gravitates to and the ones they avoid can give you a good idea of their learning style, which can make homeschooling easier.

Sara Matteo

Sara Matteo

Sara Matteo is a mom of three transplanted to Las Vegas from the Midwest. Her goal Is to live, parent and homeschool with humor and authenticity.

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