Includes January 2017 Highlights, Upcoming Events, Homeschool Highlights and Concord Connection
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Granite State Home Educators February 2017 Newsletter

Midyear slump? Consider testing early.

Lauren shares the benefits she found from testing early in our Homeschool Highlights section.

What is HEAC?

See Concord Connections for a look at the history of the Home Education Advisory Council, which represents home schoolers at the Department of Education.

Best of January 2016

January 24th more than 200 people celebrated National School Choice Week at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester -- and it was quite a party!

Several students and school groups performed from Robotics Team Phoenix #2342Christopher DuffleyGranite State Arts AcademyGate City Charter School for the ArtsBishop Brady High School, and Portsmouth Christian Academy. They were absolutely amazing.

There were several press people there, giving excellent coverage of the event and the importance of educational options to families. The event even made the top headline on the front page of the Union Leader! Here is a selection.

NH1, Sununu Makes Push for School Choice; Tells NH1 News Parents Have to Have the Final Say

Union Leader, NH Parents Stand Up for School Choice

NH Political Buzz, New Hampshire Celebrates National School Choice Week

We especially want to thank all the home ed families that joined us and submitted over 100 photos for our mash-up video that highlights the amazing learning options and experiences of home educated students. We premiered the video at the party and produced it in conjunction with Children's Scholarship Fund NH and School Choice for NH. If you didn't have a chance to see our video, check it out here:

Home Educating in the Granite State

Looking Forward

Many more events can be found on the GSHE Facebook group! Turn on your notifications and stay up-to-date on the latest news and event postings! (Due to space and time-constraints, some events and news are not included in our newsletter).

Courses, Programs and Ongoing Events
  • University of Vermont Pre-College Programs. Options include on campus or online courses in English, languages, math, science and the arts. A four week "Health & Medicine" Summer Academy combines two weeks on campus and two weeks online to expose students to modern medicine and bioscience.
  • The Nature Cottage at Tanglewood Hollow in Pembroke offers a nature-based parent & child (ages 2-7) programs Wednesday mornings from 9-11am and Tinker Classes (ages 3-8) Thursday afternoons from 1-3pm. Prices per child are $20 for 2 classes a month, $40 for 4/mo and $60 for unlimited classes per month.
  • Hampstead Homeschool Gym Thursdays 2-3:30pm at the Hampstead Veterans Memorial Gym at 2 West Rd. $5 per family donation, all ages welcome with ages 5-14 often represented.
  • Learn-It Lead-It  is for homeschoolers 6-18 years residing in Southern NH! These social opportunities are youth inspired and sometimes youth lead.  Know a teen that would like to help organize a network event or gain leadership skills by being a games club facilitator? Maybe you have a homeschooler that wants to burn off some energy in the games clubs that we organize each year from October-March.  Inquire with Learn-It Lead-It to become involved!
  • Homeschool Bowling League beginning March 10th! Teams will be created for ages 7-18. Price for each bowler is $3.50 per game. Bowling shoes are free of charge! Games will be every Friday at 10:45 AM at Lakeside Lanes in Manchester! To participate in this fun activity, please email Lori, with your child's name and age at
  • Soughegan Valley Boys and Girls Club in Milford is trying to start a Homeschool Gym time on Wednesdays from 12:30-2. $5 per kid. This is a brand new gym, and they are willing to see if other days work better as no one has attended before this week.
  • Rye Airfield Skate Park and BMX Track in Rye offers Tuesday Pre-K (9:30-11:30, $5/family) and Homeschooler/Pre-K (12:30-2:30, $5/person) sessions. Pre-K is open to balance bikes, toy cars, and other activities in the 50,000sf indoor park. Homeschool/Pre-K is limited to homeschoolers and is only offered weeks when regular school is in session for NH/MA/ME which means it will resume March 7th. 
  • Little Friends Homeschool Co-op (ages 2-5) Tuesdays 10am-2pm in Nashua
  • Salem Kenpo Academy of Self Defense is opening a class for 3-5 year olds Saturdays 9:30-10 if 2 or more children sign up. 2 week free intro, then $45/month. Call Shihan Al at (603) 275-8238 to sign up.
  • Sandpipers, Seacoast Children’s Chorus is an auditioned treble chorus for boys and girls ages 7 to 14, located in Portsmouth. Singing, concerts, fun! The chorus needs more students in the older group (ages 9-16) ASAP! All info about this wonderful program is on their new website including a video from our Dec. 2016 concert. All rehearsals Monday afternoons at Middle St. Baptist Church, 18 Court St. Portsmouth, NH 03801. Spring concert Sunday, May 7 at 3:00pm. Interested families may contact Director Priscilla French immediately to set up a quick audition. (603) 436-8154.
  • Discover Series Homeschool Classes (ages 13-17) at the Mariposa Museum of World Cultures in Peterborough will explore one country a month. 2/23 @10am Discover Japan! 3/23 @10am Discover Mongolia! 4/27 @ 10am Discover Egypt! 
  • Amherst Parks & Recreation's Artist's Notebook for Homeschoolers (grade 5/age 10+) will be held Thursdays March 9th-30th from 1-2:30. $60 for residents, $65 non-resident. Materials extra.
  • Edventure Builder Game Design Course @ the SEE Science Center, Feb 27th - Mar 3rd, 9:00-3:30, for grades 6-8. $100
  • Registration is open for "Thrive Outdoors Survival Basics for Everyday" for April 10, 17, 24, 29. The first three sessions will be held in Derry, with the final Adventure Day at a different location. The cost for the month-long program is $90, with seasonal or annual discounts available. This course teaches wilderness survival and emergency preparedness in a way that ties the skills in to everyday experiences, interactions with other and the world. Ages 8-18.
  • Mosaic Explore is a homeschool educational enrichment program that offers homeschool families in the NH and MA area an array of high quality, extracurricular and enrichment classes meant to supplement the core academic instruction at home. Keep your eyes open for the 4th and last term's upcoming registration. Classes to begin on 3/22.
  • A weekly Homeschool PE class is held Mondays from 10:30-11:30 at the Exeter YMCA with two age groups (6-9 and 10+), though parents are free to choose which group fits their child best. $5 drop-in fee (max $10/family) per session, free to Exeter Area YMCA members.
  • Let's Play Music & Make Art in Derry offers Home School Music Lessons for children on many different instruments and teachers come in as early as 10:30am. They offer lessons on many instruments including piano, guitar, voice, violin, drums, woodwinds and brass. Let's Play Music offers recitals, rock band programs, and other creative outlets for students that make learning fun.
  • Palace Youth Theater Vacation Camps are coming up. Annie Kids: February 27 - March 3, 2017. Performance March 4th.  Disney Aladdin Kids: April 24 - April 28, 2017. Performance April 29th. Information and registration forms available at the included links.

One Time Events
  • 2/17 7-10pm: Mosaic Explore Tween and Teen Dance at 669 Union St Manchester - #10/pp, light snacks provided, ages 12-18. All registrations online. No tickets at the door. 
  • 2/18 12-2pm: Orientation for Andy's Summer Playhouse, an innovative summer youth theater for kids aged 8-18, located in Wilton. Andy’s is celebrating their 47th year with three staged theater productions as well as several opportunities for workshops and playwriting labs, and apprenticeships for stage/props/tech crews, all centered around this year’s theme, “The Summer of Adversity”. Orientations will be held at the Wilton/Lyndeborough High School from 12-2pm with a short parent info meeting at 12:30. More orientation dates and locations are listed on their website
  • 3/8 @ 1pm: Wildlife Encounters, hosted by WeAre Home Educators at Village Chapel Baptist Church in Weare. Get up close and personal with some awesome wildlife creatures and compliment your Science programs. $10/ child 5+, under 5 free.
  • Late March (details TBA): Art Show for Homeschoolers in the Lakes Region at the Belknap Mill in Laconia. Event will include a reception Friday night 6-8 pm to kick off the display for friends and family and display for a few weeks. Mediums on display will include drawing, painting, photography, 3D works, etc. Please contact GSHE member Marci Dutile with the number of artists and pieces if you are interested in participating.
  • 3/27-31: TeenPact Youth Leadership Workshop is a comprehensive leadership experience that challenges students to grow both personally and spiritually. During the week, students will enjoy meeting and interacting with other Christian young people and leaders from across their state. Students will come away from TeenPact with a realization of their spiritual capacity as young people and a desire to change America for Christ. Friday is an optional political communication workshop. GSHE member Tracy Menard's children are alumni and plan to return this year. 
  • 4/22 9am-1pm: WeAre Home Educators annual book sale at 15 Twin Bridge Road, Weare.
  • 4/27-4/29: MassHOPE's 28th Annual Christian Homeschool and Family Discipleship Convention. The children's program fills up quickly, so early registration is key. Lot's of families make a "thing" and get a hotel for one night. Never disappoints! Even if you are not a Christian educator, there is much to be gained from attendance. Both the workshops for continuing education and the expo hall are amazing.
  • 5/27 @ 6pm: NH Homeschool Prom, sponsored by Milton Homeschool Group, includes a full formal three course dinner, a professional DJ, Formal photos, Keepsakes, Raffles, a Photobooth and a whole lot of fun! Tickets are $27 a person. Email to purchase tickets or for more information
  • 5/20 @ noon: Start creating your "Out of This World" craft or work of art to showcase in the annual Children and the Arts Parade with Monadnock area homeschoolers. All homeschoolers are welcome.
Possible Events
  • Homeschool Visit to Biotech companies and teaching hospitals in Boston My husband is interested in arranging a visit to two or more biotech companies and MGH for interested students. Please email GSHE member Erica Layon with any interest.
  • Exploratory/Introductory Japanese GSHE member Allison O'Neil knows a sweet young lady from her church who is a current college freshman, having graduated from Philips Exeter last year. While at PEA she took 4 yrs of Japanese and had the blessing of an amazing study abroad trip. She does not want to lose her Japanese, and so we recently talked about the idea of offering an exploratory/intro class online for homeschoolers with the possibility of more.

Homeschool Highlights

The Five Love Languages of Homeschooling
As parents we know each child is unique and special, but it's important to apply that to their ways of expressing and receiving love and support. The Five Love Languages are physical touch, words of affirmation, receiving gifts, quality time, and acts of service. Many children don't settle into a preferred love language until age 8 or 9. Young children, and all of us really, can benefit from each love language. Here are some helpful tips how to incorporate them into your home education program.

How is Your Year Going? 

Following the proverbial mid-year slump, that many homeschoolers are familiar with, thoughts of spring come alive. And accompanying thoughts of spring – park days, seeing flowers in bloom and buds on the trees - is a reminder that year-end assessments and evaluations are not too far away. And possibly, as the year winds down, that little voice in our head may come calling, provoking questions about the year's accomplishments. We sometimes worry. We may question ourselves and we may wonder if we, as home educators, are preparing our child to succeed out there in the big, wide world. 

Although academics is only a portion of what our children need, I found myself wondering – for the first time in our homeschool journey and during my own mid-year slump - if my child was “on-track”. To put my concerns to rest, I chose to administer the California Achievement Test (CAT) in January, right about the time when many of us are really feeling the humdrum of winter. And I am glad I did!

First, the results of the test allowed me to put aside any doubts I had that my child was not academically progressing, which then allowed me to comfortably plan the remainder of the year. Additionally, by testing in January, I avoided the end-of-the-year rush. The mad-dash for testing can be avoided by ordering and administering assessments through the end of March. Realistically, however, end-of-the-year testing is most common and best for many, but be aware that testing companies get quite busy in April, May and June, which can cause delays of materials and results. If you plan to administer a year-end assessment, order early!

There are many formal assessments and Standardized Achievement Tests available. I purchased the CAT Survey through the Family Learning Organization. FLO has worked with homeschoolers for over 20 years and offers an array of testing options. There is a FAQ page which answers many types of questions about testing.

For more resources, please see the Granite State Home Educators' Testing and Evaluations page.

~ Lauren

Click here for an article on more ideas to assess your homeschool year. 

Concord Connections

Recent weeks have been eventful in the greater education world as well. Frank Edelblut, a homeschooling father of seven, was confirmed as the New Hampshire Commissioner of Education. An eagle-eyed parent found an article which suggested local school boards were taking home education rules into their own hands, and by immediate attention of the home ed community their error was quickly remedied.

One way to focus energy in a positive way is to make your voice heard for home education and school choice in Concord. The Executive Council public hearing on Frank Edelblut for Commissioner of Education was a great opportunity to take action and to meet other home educators which shared values. Many bills related to home education, particularly SB 193 on Education Savings Accounts which provides for 90% of per-pupil adequacy funds to be used for a variety of educational services. To keep involved on upcoming legislative action in Concord, sign up with School Choice for NH for email alerts. 

Homeschool Legal Defense Association recently highlighted Granite State Homeschoolers Uniting for Freedom. HSLDA's contact attorney for New Hampshire and NH native Mike Donnelly came to Concord over concerns about HEAC considering DCYF for a voting seat, and met with legislators regarding bills submitted for this session. Check out the video at the above link to see GSHE's own Erica Layon. 

A History of HEAC 
The Home Education Advisory Council (HEAC) was created as a part of the first laws in New Hampshire on home education, RSA 193-A, effective July 1990. According to our research, home education occurred under the supervision of local school boards in cases of specific educational hardship prior to the passage of this law.

Instead of local school board rules, the 1990 law required each homeschool to have a participating agency and included comprehensive annual notification, annual evaluation, and assessment by the participating agency along with remediation for underperforming home schools. Prior to 2006, homeschoolers were also required to submit the "scope and sequence" for each child's educational plan. 

In 2012, HEAC worked to clarify the rules that came from legislative changes which removed annual notification and submission of evaluations to their participatory agency. It is safe to assume that HEAC played a major role in shaping the rules to implement the 2006 change in law that removed the scope and sequence requirements. 

The Home Education Advisory Council consists of 12 voting members and three non-voting members. The three non-voting seats include two members of the House Education Committee and one from the Senate Education Committee. Six of the voting members are drawn from home education groups, with an emphasis on large groups with a leadership structure. Two voting members are appointed by the Department of Education, and one each by the New Hampshire School Administrators Association, the New Hampshire School Boards Association, the New Hampshire Association of School Principals, and the Nonpublic School Advisory Council. 

The world of home education in New Hampshire was quite different in the years leading up to RSA 193-A and HEAC. In the 1980's and 1990's, the home education community was smaller and communicated in very different ways than homeschoolers do today. At that time, there were three large statewide home education groups - New Hampshire Homeschooling Coalition, Christian Home Educators, and Catholics United for Home Education - and a few small local groups. Look around today - both online and in person - and it is clear that the face of home education in New Hampshire has changed. 

In the HEAC 2015-2016 Annual Report, HEAC Chairwoman Amy Gall of New Hampshire Homeschooling Coalition, states: "Since that time (the early 1990's) the number of home educated pupils in the state has increased dramatically. As a side note, the Department has stopped reporting the number of homeschool enrollments. The last number we have from 2013 is 5,914; up from 160 in 1985.  The number of home education support groups has grown accordingly. Furthermore, technology has changed the way people communicate. It has become apparent that information which once flowed easily between the home education community and the HEAC has been stilted by the plethora of local groups which are not plugged into the Council. In order to better represent NH home educators, and to improve communication, HEAC has started a discussion about diversifying the home educator seats on the Council."

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