Know Your Homeschool Terminology!

Deschooling?  Unschooling?  If you are considering homeschooling or are new to homeschooling, you are probably finding that there are some new—and maybe even confusing—terms.  No worries! Here is a beginner’s glossary to help get you “in the know”:

 

Homeschooling General Terms

Accidental Homeschooler:  Someone who “ends up” homeschooling unexpectedly, sometimes suddenly, in order to do what is best for a child

Deschooling:  A period of adjustment when a child transitions from a traditional school setting to homeschooling

Faith-Based Homeschool:  A homeschool that focuses on faith-based curriculum and may have been formed for religious reasons

Homeschool Association:  A usually private, state-wide organization that provides homeschool families with legal information and paperwork, sometimes offering conferences or other events

Homeschool Cooperative (Co-op):  A group of homeschool families who share resources and support and may meet for classes or programs

Homeschool Curriculum:  An organized system (generally online or boxed) that provides homeschool families with both scope (content to be covered) and sequence (order in which content is to be covered)

Homeschool Electives:  Courses, generally for high school, that are provided outside of the core curriculum (i.e., business, public speaking, music theory)

Homeschool Enrichment:  Outside courses, offered by public/private schools or community/homeschool groups, that can be used to supplement a homeschool curriculum

Homeschooling Methods:  Different approaches to homeschool curriculum based on philosophies about education (e.g., Classical, Eclectic, School-At-Home/Traditional)

Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA):  An organization whose mission is to bring homeschool families together in order to provide low-cost legal defense (membership-based)

Homeschool Unit Studies:  Collections of learning activities grouped by themes that can be used as a whole or partial approach to homeschooling

Secular Homeschool:  A homeschool that—regardless of whether the family participates in religious activities—was not formed for religious reasons

Umbrella School (Cover School):  An entity that provides support and legal protection and/or oversight and even curriculum for homeschooling (definition and requirements vary by state)

 

Homeschooling Curriculum Approaches

Charlotte Mason Homeschooling:  An approach to homeschooling that was developed by British-born educator, Charlotte Mason, and focuses on the Charlotte Mason Approach (a method involving the use of narrative literature known as “living books” and education of the whole child)

Classical Homeschooling:  An approach to homeschooling that teaches students how to learn and think through three stages of learning—the grammar stage, the logic/dialectic stage, and the rhetoric stage—known as the trivium (originating from early Greek and Roman civilizations)

Eclectic Homeschooling:  An approach to homeschooling that involves parents choosing from a variety of homeschool resources rather than following a set curriculum

Montessori Homeschooling:  An approach to homeschooling that uses child-directed Montessori Learning methods such as discovery and exploration

School-At-Home Homeschooling:  see Traditional Homeschooling

Traditional Homeschooling:  An approach to homeschooling that recreates what typically happens in a traditional school setting (sometimes called School-At-Home)

Unit Studies:  An approach to homeschooling that groups learning activities across subject areas into themes

Waldorf Homeschooling:  An approach to homeschooling that uses the Waldorf Approach (popularized by Rudolf Steiner in the late 19th-early 20th centuries), which focuses on age-appropriate learning through three developmental periods and does not separate learning by traditional subjects

 

Homeschooling Curriculum Options

Afterschooling:  Supplementing traditional school with homeschooling after school hours

Boxed Curriculum:  A curriculum that comes with all materials needed for a year in a single package

Carschooling:  The use of time spent in the car for academics (i.e., using audiobooks and other audio resources)

Correspondence School:  A school that teaches students who are not residents of the school by mailing materials and assessments to students, who then mail completed work back to the school

Distance Learning:  A method of education where lessons are conducted via mail or over the Internet for students who do not physically attend the classes

Dual Enrollment:  A program that allows homeschool students (and traditional students) to take college courses for credit while still completing high school coursework

Online Curriculum:  A curriculum that is available completely online (e.g.  Time4Learning)

Roadschooling:  Homeschooling that is accomplished while traveling within the “Road School” (i.e., when visiting each of the 50 states)

Worldschooling:  Homeschooling that focuses on travel with destinations guiding education throughout the world (i.e., the “World School”)

Unschooling:  Homeschooling that uses student interests and motivations to guide learning rather than a set curriculum

Year-Round Homeschooling:  An option that allows homeschool families to spread the required 180 days of instruction over the entire year, allowing for less work each day and more frequent, shorter breaks (which can eliminate “summer slide” and other learning regression due to longer breaks)

 

Popular Homeschooling Learning Theory

Learning Styles:  A popular term used to describe the way a person learns (now controversial because of its categorical, fixed nature and being replaced by more fluid ideas like multiple intelligences and learning preferences in educational circles)

Multiple Intelligence Theory:  An approach to learning that is based on Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Theory stating that we have eight individual intelligences rather than just one

  • Bodily/Kinesthetic Intelligence:  One of eight intelligences identified in Multiple Intelligence Theory referring to the ability to use one’s whole body or parts of one’s body to learn, problem-solve, etc.
  • Interpersonal Intelligence:  One of eight intelligences identified in Multiple Intelligence Theory referring to the ability to interact effectively with other people socially
  • Intrapersonal Intelligence:  One of eight intelligences identified in Multiple Intelligence Theory referring to the ability to understand one’s own self
  • Logical-Mathematical Intelligence:  One of eight intelligences identified in Multiple Intelligence Theory referring to the ability to think logically about the relationships among symbols or actions
  • Musical-Rhythmic Intelligence:  One of eight intelligences identified in Multiple Intelligence Theory referring to the ability to understand the components of music
  • Naturalistic Intelligence:  One of eight intelligences identified in Multiple Intelligence Theory referring to the ability to understand the world of nature
  • Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence:  One of eight intelligences identified in Multiple Intelligence Theory referring to the ability to understand language
  • Visual-Spatial Intelligence:  One of eight intelligences identified in Multiple Intelligence Theory referring to the ability to visualize objects in space

VARK Model of Learning:  An approach to learning based on the work of Neil D. Fleming and Coleen E. Mills (1992) that considers four VARK modalities preferred by students—visual, auditory/aural, reading/writing, and kinesthetic

  • Aural Learner:  One of four VARK learning preferences, characterized by students who prefer to learn information that is heard or spoken (e.g., explanations, discussions, podcasts); also known as Auditory Learner
  • Kinesthetic Learner:  One of four VARK learning preferences, characterized by students who prefer to learn information that is presented through the senses in a realistic way (e.g., hands-on, case studies, field trips); also known as Tactile Learner
  • Read/Write Learner:  One of four VARK learning preferences, characterized by students who prefer to learn information that is in printed form (e.g., books, handouts, bulleted lists); also known as Linguistic Learner
  • Visual Learner:  One of four VARK learning preferences, characterized by students who prefer to learn information that is presented visually/symbolically (e.g., pictures, diagrams, charts, graphs)

 

Homeschooling Record-Keeping

Homeschooling Portfolio:  A collection of student work and academic records that documents progress and mastery and that can be used for readmittance to traditional schooling or college

Individual Home Instruction Plan (IHIP):  A plan that is sent to a school district outlining subjects to be taught and curriculum/resources that will be used (required in some states)

Individual Service Plan (ISP):  Related to an Individualized Education Plan/Program (IEP) in traditional schooling but focusing on services provided to students with special needs in private schools or homeschools

Lapbook:  A file folder containing a variety of materials about a particular theme or book (often including a series of “mini-books”)

Letter of Intent (LOI):  A letter or form that is generally sent to a school district in order to notify administration that you are planning to homeschool your child

Progress Report:  A written quarterly or annual report showing a child’s progress (i.e., topics completed, assessments, grades) that may be a required submission to the school district in some states

Standardized Testing:  Testing that requires uniform administration and scoring in order to determine a student’s performance relative to his/her peers (required for homeschoolers in some states)