Author: Vermont home School

Curriculum/Assessment Tips

Curriculum/Assessment Tips

If you choose to enroll your child in the Vermont Home Study Program, you may complete your enrollment in several ways, depending on what works best with your homeschooling style. Many people are nervous that their enrollment may be rejected. It is important to realize that you are not sending in a request. You are sending in an enrollment notice. Your curriculum/assessment does not need anyone’s approval; it just needs to be complete. You need to make sure you include everything required by law.

The curriculum you send to the state only needs to cover the Minimum Course of Study required by law – even if you actually cover much more. Curriculums as short as one page have been acknowledged as complete. Just list topics you think you might cover in each of the six areas of the Minimum Course of Study. You can base your curriculum on your child’s current academic level, his/her interests, any packaged curriculum, and/or other materials you will be using. Your curriculum does not need to coincide with that of your local public school, nor do you need to mention grade levels.

According to statute, assessments can be done in several ways. Most are self-explanatory, but questions sometimes arise regarding the parent assessment with portfolio method when children do not yet produce much written materials.

During the year, you may want to keep a diary listing all educational things your child did (saw, listened to, read, discussed, etc.) and have a box in which you put any items that you may want to put in the portfolio at the end of the year. Instead of a diary, you can also just add little reminder notes to the box. Keeping track is especially important when you do not use a packaged or otherwise pre-organized curriculum. The more “go with the flow” your homeschooling style is, the more important it is to keep track of what gets done.

When creating an assessment you can start with the curriculum you sent in and report briefly point by point how each topic was (or was not) covered. Your notes will come in handy at this point. When putting together the portfolio, you can get quite creative. Many activities you did with your child may have covered more than one topic. Besides pieces of work created by the child, there are many other things that can be included in the portfolio to show what the child has done during the school year in each of the six areas of study in the minimum course of study.

You can include photographs of your child’s artwork, of him/her playing sports or music, doing science experiments or chores, visiting museums, taking a nature walk, camping, gardening, taking care of animals, reading, story telling or singing around a camp fire, etc. You can include tickets for performances, museums, galleries, ski lifts; brochures from museums, field trips or camps; certificates of participation in camps, lessons, homeschool group activities. You can add anything supporting your progress report. Remember too that you only need 3-6 support items in each of the 6 subject areas of the minimum course of study and that many of the items will cover more than one subject area. (The statute does not require any particular number of items per category, but this seems to be the range acceptable to the Home Study Unit)

When reading the Home Study Statutes and paperwork from the Home Study Unit, enrolling may look overwhelming at first. It really is not that hard to create a good curriculum and your own progress report.

Example of complete curriculum for age 12:

  1. Basic Communication Skills:
  2. Citizenship, History and Government:
  3. Physical Education and Comprehensive Health Education:
  4. English, American, and other Literature:
  5. Natural Sciences:

Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

Care and feeding of pets, field trips, nature study and exploration, camping, recycling, environment, biology topics, basic chemistry, and physics (mechanics, electricity and magnetism.)

6.  Fine Arts, Arts and Crafts:

Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

Drawing, crafts, museums, art appreciation, live performances, drama, dance, song, musicianship, and music appreciation.

Classes/Tutors

Classes/Tutors

Alliance Francaise of Vermont,Classes and conversation groups for all levels. Call Burlington City Arts 865-7166 for schedule of classes.
Art classes, at your home by artist/teacher P.R. Smith 879-2953. 15 years experience teaching art to children ages 5-14. Artspace, Homeschoolers Art Classes and Summer Art Camps, Burlington, call Kate Hartley at 862-2898 for latest schedule. Instructors are experienced artists and teachers.
Beginning French, Beth Martell (Essex). Homeschool students ages 11-14. Beth is an enthusiastic, caring teacher with certification and 3 years experience. She has studied at the University of Nice, France and is currently homeraising her children. 864-3024 leave message.
Curriculum and resource consultant, Barbara Anne Komons-Montroll, 658-2478. Support for homeschooling a priority, assessments, certified teacher with strong belief that people have a variety of ways of learning and problem solving. Curriculum writer (802) 878-5673. Diane Miller will help people set up individual curriculums.
Essex Children’s Choir, Director, Constance J. Price. For registration information call 878-9733 or 863-8151. All singing children ages 8-16 are invited to join this very active, prestigious performing choir. They have recorded on A Prairie Home Christmas with Garrison Keillor and can be heard on Arabesque Recordings performing Brundibar, A Children’s Opera in two acts conducted by Robert De Cormier.
Individual/Family Counseling, DebShell, Attachment Style Parenting perspective, unschooler’s homeschooling guidance counseling, your home or hers, evenings or weekends, reasonable rates 524-9645.
LaFramboise,Laurel 685-3214. VT certified teacher, secretary for Vermonters for Educational Choice. Interested in providing statewide services to homeschoolers, in support of parental philosophies regarding curriculum and assessments. PO Box 243, Chelsea, VT 05038. Reasonable rates. 
Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator, 
Nita Moccia 888-5052.Northern Lights Aviarist located in Hyde Park and Morrisville area. Ornithologist extraordinaire. 
Northeast Fiber Arts Center: 
Jennifer Hoag, Burlington 865-4981.
Piano lessons, all levels, Suzuki and traditional, children and adults, beginners welcome. Karen Bellis 860-1195. Karen has been teaching most of her adult life and belongs to the national and local piano teachers association.
Piano lessons, musicianship instruction, performance classes. Studio location: Colchester village. Camille Brubaker 879-0139.
Piano tuning and rebuilding, DavidBriars, Craftsbury, 586-9628, rebuilds, tunes and sells pianos- will assist homeschoolers who want to learn in workshop setting.
Private voice and piano lessons, Doris Bante, Jericho 899-4221. All ages, beginners through intermediate. Also interested in teaching general music classes, small ensembles or specific courses. Reasonable rates.
Science,Alan Wagener Classes for homeschoolers in progress. 860-1299
Spanish teacher, Call Ruth Murphy (Westford) 879-2708. Tutoring, individual, small groups, classes. All ages, parents welcome at no extra charge! Emphasis on conversation.
Sundance Studio, 
If you can walk … you can dance!Dance classes for all ages by Annette Urbschat. She has been teaching Ballet and Creative dance since 1983. For her class schedule call 860-9927. 
The Martial Way: 
Introduces martial arts program to meet homeschoolers needs. David Quinlan, Colchester, 879-2554.
The Wood School, Tim Clark 864-4454. Homeschoolers classes, call for dates and times.
Tutor, Carl Engvall, 860-8482. Theatre, music, secondary science and math, assessments, certified.
Tutors, Kate and Julius Lieber, Calais, 456-1345. Biology / social studies/crafts.

LEGISLATIVE TRAINING FOR VERMONT HOME EDUCATORS

LEGISLATIVE TRAINING FOR VERMONT HOME EDUCATORS

People who choose to educate their children at home need to have a voice in the legislation affecting their rights and responsibilities. Home educators understand home education better than anyone and believe that they know what it takes to teach children at home.  However, the legislators who make the laws governing home education may not fully understand or appreciate the needs and concerns of parents that undertake this responsibility. Home educators need to educate the legislature about home study and what sets it apart from other forms of education.  This can only be done if they know how our legislature works inside and out.

Now home educators can learn how to monitor and influence legislation affecting home study in Vermont at a legislative training session on Saturday, October 14th from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Vermont State House. This event is co-sponsored by Vermont Association of Home Educators, Inc. (VAHE), Christian Home Educators of Vermont, Inc. (CHEV), and Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), a national association that provides legal services to home educators.  VAHE is a nonsectarian organization formed for the purpose of furthering the interests of those families and individuals who believe in the right to home educate.  CHEV is a similar organization supporting home educators from a Christian perspective.  In legislative matters the two organizations try to work together towards common goals.

The keynote speakers at the training will be HSLDA lawyers Scott Woodruff and Doug Domenech.  They will be speaking about the legislative process and current homeschool laws in Vermont.  Calvin Layton, chairman of MassHope’s legislative watch committee will also be sharing useful insights on how home educators can be involved.  Costs will be $10 per person, ($15 per couple) for members of VAHE or CHEV. There will be opportunity to join either of these organizations at the meeting. Non-member costs will be $15 per person, ($20 per couple).

This training will provide home educators with an understanding of the home study law and the legislative process; it will give them the tools to influence legislation affecting their lives.

Books

A Life Worth Living: Selected Letters of John Holt edited by Susannah Scheffer
A Sense Of Self: Listening to Homeschooled Adolescent Girls by Susannah Scheffer
A Survivor’s Guide to Home Schooling by Luanne Shackleford and Susan White
Alternatives in Education by Mark and Helen Hegener
Apprenticeship Plus by Inga Cannon (Education Plus+, PO Box 1591, Sterling, VA 20167)
Awakening Your Child’s Natural Genius by Thomas Armstrong
Bear’s Guide to College Degrees Non-Traditionally 
Better Than School 
by Nancy Wallace
But What If I Don’t Want to Go to College by Harlow B. Unger
Child’s Work: Taking Children’s Choices Seriously by Nancy Wallace
Christian Educator’s Curriculum Manual by Cathy Duffy
College Admissions: A Guide for Home Schoolers by Borg Hendrickson
College Degrees by Mail by John Bear
Deschooling our Lives by Matt Hern
Dumbing Down Our Kids by Charles J. Sykes 
Dumbing Us Down
 by John Gatto (public education) 
Educational Freedom for a Democratic Society edited by Ron Miller 
Everyone is Able: Exploding the Myth of Learning Disabilities 
edited by Susannah Scheffer
Family Matters by David Guterson
Freedom and Beyond by John Holt
Freedom Challenge: African American Homeschoolers edited by Grace Llewellyn
Going Home to School by Llewellen Davis 
Good Stuff: Learning Tools For All Ages by Rebecca Rupp
Hard Times in Paradise by David and Micki Colfax
Home Education and Constitutional Liberties by John Whitehead
Home Education: Rights and Reasons by John W. Whitehead & Alexis Irene Crow
Home School: Taking the First Step by Borg Hendrickson 
Home Schooling and the Law
 by Michael Farris (Christian) 
Home Schooling,
The Right Choice by Christopher J. Klicka (Christian)
Home Schools: An Alternative by Cheryl Gorder
Home Spun Schools by Dr. Raymond Moore (Christian)
Homeschooling for Excellence by David and Micki Colfax
Homeschooling: A Parents Guide To Teaching Children by Samuel L. Blumenfeld
Homeschooling: A Patchwork of Days by Nancy Lande 
Honey for a Child’s Heart by
 Gladys Hunt (choosing reading material, Christian) 
How Children Fail 
by John Holt 
How Children Learn 
by John Holt 
How to Create Your Own Unit Studies by Valerie Bendt
I Learn Better By Teaching Myself by Agnes Leistico
In Their Own Way by Thomas Armstrong Ph.D.
Learning All The Time by John Holt
Miseducation: Preschoolers at Risk by David Elkind
Never Too Late by John Holt
Not With My Child You Don’t: A Citizen’s Guide to Eradicating OBE and Restoring Education by Robert Holland
Outcome Based Education: The State’s Assault on Our Children’s Values by Peg Luksig and Pamela Hoffecker
Outcome Based Education: Understanding the Truth About Education Reform by Ron Sunseri
Read for Your Life by Gladys Hunt (choosing reading material, Christian)
Reading, Writing, And the Hickory Stick by Irwin A. Hyman
Real Lives by Grace Llewellyn
School Choice by David Harmer
Schooling At Home edited by Anne Pederson and Peggy O’Mara
Separating School & State by Sheldon Richman
Strategies for Struggling Learners – A Guide for the Teaching Parent by Joe P. Sutton and Connie J. Sutton 
Taking Charge Through Homeschooling 
byLarry and Susan Kaseman
Teach Your Own by John Holt
The Art of Education: Reclaiming Your Family, Community and Self by Linda Dobson
The Beginner’s Guide to Homeschooling by Pat Farenga
The Complete Home Learning Source Book by Rebecca Rupp
The Exhausted School by John Taylor Gatto 
The Home School Manual by Ted Wade 
The Home School Reader 
from Home Education Press
The Home School Source Book by Donn Reed
The Homeschooling Book of Answers by Linda Dobson 
The Myth of the ADD Child by Thomas Armstrong Ph.D.
The Relaxed Home School by Mary Hood 
The Teenage Liberation Handbook 
by Grace Llewellyn(Get the latest (1998) edition)
The Unschooling Handbook: How to Use the Whole World As Your Child’s Classroom by Mary Griffith
Why Johnny Can’t Read by John Holt

Homeschooling in Vermont Where To Begin

Homeschooling in Vermont Where To Begin

Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states of the USA. To start home educating in Vermont, call the Department of Education at 802-828 2756 and ask for the Home Study packet. Read the information carefully and don’t offer more information than necessary. Send in your forms and curriculum and wait for a response, which should come within 2-3 weeks.

Methods

One of the great things about home education is its flexibility. Each home educating family can create its own unique home education experience. Even within one family, you can vary methods depending on the child or education level. If you have trouble implementing your chosen method, talk to other home educators, read about other methods to see if they can work in your situation. You can mix and match until you find something that works. Here are some common methods/materials used by home educators.

Packaged curriculum: Buy a ready-made curriculum and follow it either exactly or loosely, or enroll in a distance learning program. Oak Meadow School (Waldorf inspired) is a Vermont based curriculum provider/distance learning program, that is recognized by the Department of Education. However, there are many others available as well. You can pick from a variety of curricula to fit your children’s learning style or homeschooling philosophy. (Calvert, A Beka, Clonlara, Christian Liberty Academy, Oak Meadow, etc.) Some programs are religious in nature, and others are not.

Textbooks: Most use traditional approach to classroom education, with much repetition and review for slower students. You may choose to skip sections your child already understands.

Workbooks: Workbooks are part of most packaged curricula, but can be purchased separately as well. They can be useful or tedious, depending on the child and subject area. Educational software can also be used as more animated practice material.

Unschooling: The child’s interests and desire to learn direct the learning process. Parents facilitate learning by providing a rich environment and supplying the child with materials of interest and instruction when appropriate. A lot of learning will take place from real life experiences. Unschooling does not require a planned curriculum, but because of Vermont law, you will still have to create one to satisfy the Department of Education. In this approach it is useful to create the curriculum based on your child’s current interest and knowledge base, projecting what you expect your child will be into next. Using noncommittal language like “topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:” is also helpful and accepted by the Home Study Unit. To learn more about this approach read Teach Your OwnLearning All the Time, or any other book by John Holt. Also The Teenage Liberation Handbook by Grace Llewellynn is a great resource for unschooling teens.

Charlotte Mason approach: This approach emphasizes “living books,” or first-rate literature upon which to base education, the development of good habits in children early on, the implementation of narration, telling or writing back what one has heard or read, and the importance of unstructured play, time outdoors, and weekly nature walks.

Unit Studies: Unit studies relate all subject areas to one another. You can create your own based on your child’s interests, or purchase unit studies based on literature or centered around religion, etc. (Advanced Training Institute International, Weaver, The Classics) Unit studies can be especially useful when you are teaching multiple children of differing age/skill levels. Children can focus on the same unit while practicing their individual skill levels.

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