What’s Happening Around New Hampshire
Programs at the Massabesic Audubon Center in Auburn, NH.
JUNIOR EXPLORERS, WEDNESDAYS, 10-11:30 am, COST: $12 M / $15 NM (per child/parent pair)
LEADER: PAULA CHOUINARD
PROGRAMS FOR AGES 7-12 AND PARENTS ENCOURAGED TO STAY.
January 17: Tracks, Scat, and All of That!
Set out in snowshoes (weather permitting) to discover “stories in the snow.” Learn to identify animals that remain active in the winter by the traces they leave. We’ll look for tracks, scat, and other sign-like food middens, chewed twigs, and fur/feathers left behind.
January 31: Songs in the Sky, Signs in the Snow
Learn to identify common winter birds by their songs, as well as learning what their winter plumage and distinct footprint patterns in the snow look like. We’ll talk about songbirds and raptors that stay here for the winter.
February 14: Waiting to Bloom
Discover new plant life, hidden and dormant in winter, just waiting to explode! What’s in a seed? The trees will bud sooner than you think, and signs of spring are just around the corner. Learn how trees and other plants wait out the winter.
March 7: Seeds, Seeds, Seeds
What’s inside a seed? (Seed dissection) How do seeds travel? What starts the process of germination? Outside search for seeds and seed pods.
March 21: Eggs-citement!
Birds, Insects, Reptiles, Amphibians, – so many eggs! Dissect a chicken egg to identify life structures. Compare and contrast eggs of different animals. Get up close and personal with the Center’s reptiles and amphibians as we discuss their beginnings.
April 4: All About Nesting and Bird Eggs
Learn the likeness and differences of common bird nests. Build a bluebird house to encourage nesting. We will check out the Osprey Blind and birdhouses as we look for early returning birds.
April 18: Mammalabilia
Are all mammals born live? Take a look into gestation and birth of different native mammals. Learn about NH’s own marsupial! Witness the birth of deer twins (virtual reality)! Walk to discover emerging life categorizing by birth type.
May 9: Time to Plant!
Take a nature walk to identify early germinators in field and forest. Learning what we can grow to encourage pollinators. Set up sprouters to take home.
May 23: Eggs or Live Birth?
Take a look at reptiles and amphibians; not all are the same! Discover who lays eggs and who births live. Visit the pond to look for new signs of life!
June 6: Celebration of New Life!
Recap the wonders of new beginnings! Student Presentations! Games! Let’s check the nest boxes and pond to see what’s happening now!
There is also a Wee Wonders program for younger kids–check their website. http://www.nhaudubon.org/
Saturday, December 16, 6 to 9, at Camp Sentinel, 29 Sentinel Lodge Road in Center Tuftonboro.
High school aged homeschoolers are invited to a semi-formal event at Camp Sentinel. The evening will include hors d’oeuvres, socializing, and dancing. This year’s theme will be “Under the Sea.” Tickets will be sold as singles for $25. To RSVP or receive more information email Ben at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 603-539-4839.
Homeschooling Bill Coming to the New Hampshire State House
Representative Robert Theberge has proposed HB 1263, the text of which follows below. The bill basically removes the law changes from 2012, and would once again require that homeschoolers submit their evaluations to their participating agencies. The bill also outlines hearing and appeals procedures.
The bill now goes to the House Education Committee. They will be scheduling a hearing where members of the public can speak about the bill. If you’d like to contact them with your thoughts about the bill, you can find the members listed here with links to their contact information.
Text of the bill:
HB 1263 – AS INTRODUCED
HOUSE BILL 1263
AN ACT relative to educational evaluation of home schooled children.
SPONSORS: Rep. Theberge, Coos 3; Rep. Y. Thomas, Coos 3; Rep. Laflamme, Coos 3; Rep. Tucker, Coos 5
This bill amends the educational evaluation procedures for home educated children and adds notice, hearing, and appeals procedures relative to the termination of a home education program. The bill also clarifies the school district’s limited liability for home educated children.
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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.
Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and
Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.
STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Eighteen
AN ACT relative to educational evaluation of home schooled children.
Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:
1 Home Education; Notification. Amend RSA 193-A:5, IV to read as follows:
- Subject to the provisions of RSA 193-A:7, the commissioner of education, resident district superintendent, or nonpublic school principal shall acknowledge receipt of notification within 14 days of such receipt.
2 Home Education; Records; Evaluation. Amend RSA 193-A:6 to read as follows:
193-A:6 Records; Evaluation.
- The parent shall maintain a portfolio of records and materials relative to the home education program. The portfolio shall consist of a log which designates by title the reading materials used, and also samples of writings, worksheets, workbooks, or creative materials used or developed by the child. Such portfolio shall be preserved by the parent for 2 years from the date of the ending of the instruction.
- The parent shall provide for an annual educational evaluation in which is documented the child’s demonstration of educational progress at a level commensurate with the child’s age and ability. The child shall be deemed to have successfully completed his annual evaluation upon meeting the requirements of any one of the following:
(a) A certified teacher or a teacher currently teaching in a nonpublic school who is selected by the parent shall evaluate the child’s educational progress upon review of the portfolio and discussion with the parent or child. The teacher shall submit a written evaluation to the commissioner of education, resident district superintendent, or nonpublic school principal;
(b) The child shall take any national student achievement test, administered by a person who meets the qualifications established by the provider or publisher of the test. Composite results at or above the fortieth percentile on such tests shall be deemed reasonable academic proficiency. Such test results shall be reported to the commissioner of education, resident district superintendent, or nonpublic school principal;
(c) The child shall take a state student assessment test used by the resident district. Composite results at or above the fortieth percentile on such state test shall be deemed reasonable academic proficiency. Such test results shall be reported to the commissioner of education, resident district superintendent, or nonpublic school principal; or
(d) The child shall be evaluated using any other valid measurement tool mutually agreed upon by the parent and the commissioner of education, resident district superintendent, or nonpublic school principal. The results shall be reported by the parent or the testing agency to such appropriate official.
III. The commissioner of education, resident district superintendent, or nonpublic school principal shall review the results of the annual educational evaluation of the child in a home education program as provided in paragraph II. If the child does not demonstrate educational progress for age and ability at a level commensurate with his or her ability, the commissioner, superintendent, or principal shall notify the parent, in writing, that such progress has not been achieved. The parent shall have one year from the date of receipt of the written notification to provide remedial instruction to the child. At the end of the one-year probationary period, the child shall be reevaluated in a manner as provided in this section. Continuation in a home education program shall be contingent upon the child demonstrating at the end of the probationary period educational progress commensurate with the child’s age and ability. The parent of a child who fails to demonstrate such progress at the end of the probationary period shall be notified by the commissioner that the parent is entitled to a hearing as provided in RSA 193-A:7, I and II and that the program will be terminated absent a finding for continuation pursuant to such hearing. Upon a finding that the program should be terminated, the child shall be reported by the commissioner or nonpublic school principal to the appropriate resident district superintendent, who shall, if necessary, take appropriate action to ensure that compulsory attendance requirements are met. [
The parent shall maintain a copy of the evaluation. The results of the evaluation: (a) May be used to demonstrate the child’s academic proficiency in order to participate in public school programs, and co-curricular activities which are defined as school district-sponsored and directed athletics, fine arts, and academic activities. Home educated students shall be subject to the same participation policy and eligibility conditions as apply to public school students. (b) Shall not be used as a basis for termination of a home education program. (c) Provides a basis for a constructive relationship between the parent and the evaluator, both working together in the best interest of the child. ]
3 New Section; Home Education; Hearing, Notice, and Procedure. Amend RSA 193-A by inserting after section 7 the following new section:
193-A:7-a Hearing, Notice, and Procedure.
- A parent shall be entitled to a due process hearing which shall be conducted by an impartial hearing officer appointed by the commissioner of education. Notice of such hearing shall be provided within 10 days of the request for such hearing, shall include a brief summary of the material facts, and shall be sent to each parent and each instructor of the child known to the commissioner. The hearing shall occur within 30 days of the date of such notice. Upon request, the hearing officer shall conduct the hearing at a location near the site of the home education program.
- In order to terminate a program, the hearing officer shall find at the hearing at least one of the following:
(a) The parent has failed to comply with the requirements of this chapter; or
(b) The parent or the home education program has substantially failed to or cannot provide a child with the minimum course of study as required by RSA 193-A:4, I.
4 New Section; Home Education; Order; Appeals. Amend RSA 193-A by inserting after section 8 the following new section:
193-A:8-a Order; Appeals.
- Subsequent to a hearing conducted in accordance with RSA 193-A:7, the hearing officer shall enter an order within 10 working days which shall order either the continuance or termination of the home education program under scrutiny. Such order shall take effect immediately. A copy shall be given to the appropriate superintendent of schools, who shall, if necessary, take appropriate action to ensure that compulsory attendance requirements are met.
- Following such order, the parent or the commissioner may appeal the decision of the hearing officer to a court of competent jurisdiction. Said notice of appeal shall be filed within 30 days of such decision by the hearing officer. Pending appeal, the home education program shall continue.
5 Home Education; Limited Liability. Amend RSA 193-A:9 to read as follows:
193-A:9 Liability Limited. The resident school district, the board of such district, and any employees of the resident school district associated with a child who is
[or has been] receiving home education in accordance with this chapter, are not liable in damages in a civil action for any injury, death or loss to person or property allegedly sustained by that child, the child’s parent, or any other person as a result of the child’s receipt of home education, including but not limited to, any liability allegedly based on the failure of the child to receive a free appropriate or adequate public education.
6 Effective Date. This act shall take effect upon its passage.
Remember, the New Hampshire Homeschooling Coalition cannot take a position on legislation. We are a 501 (c)3 organization and have a wide range of members with varying opinions.
An Amendment to the Education Savings Account Bill Includes Stricter Evaluation Requirements
SB193, the “Education Savings Account Bill”, was amended by the House Education Committee last week. As amended, this senate bill (not the same as Rep. Theberge’s home education bill HB 1263, requiring evaluations to be turned in) would impose reporting requirements on participating homeschoolers even more stringent than those in the upcoming HB1263. We want to point out again that this is NOT a change to the home education law, but a change in the proposal to allow education savings accounts that give money to homeschoolers and others who apply for grants from scholarship organizations to support their education expenses.
The committee amendment can be seen here:
The amendment, page 4 line 37 thru page 5 line 17, makes recipients of scholarship funding subject to almost the same evaluation procedures applied to homeschool students, with two subtle changes. For homeschoolers, the rules (Ed 315) that go with the home education law require the parent to sign the evaluation before it is turned in. This is an important protection against a biased evaluation for parents and children. Under RSA 194, which covers the education savings account, the evaluation by the teacher is turned in directly by the teacher, no requirement for a parent’s signature. In addition, homeschoolers, and others, who want to use scholarship funding would have to be evaluated by a certified teacher AND be tested with a nationally norm-referenced test or the statewide assessment test.
Once again, this is not a proposed change to the home education law, but a change in the proposal, SB 193, to allow education savings accounts. But because the House Education Committee approved this amendment last week, and the same committee will be examining the upcoming home education bill, HB 1263, it seemed information that would be valuable to homeschoolers.
Apparently legislators are under considerable pressure from the Governor’s office and Republican leadership to support SB193 as amended.
Ski Programs for Homeschoolers
Bretton Woods on Fridays
The Bretton Woods Homeschool Ski Program will take place on Fridays starting January 5, 2018. Cost for the six weeks of group lessons is $45 for students with their own equipment, and $65 for students who need to rent equipment. Registration and payment are due to the group coordinator by November 15. For more information, contact Sara Plumley at email@example.com
Gunstock on Mondays
Gunstock Homeschool Ski Program. One hour lesson (rentals included) for 4 weeks. Mondays, January 8, 22, 29, February 5. Season pass included for all registered participants! Registration is open until November 8th. Please contact Jenny Cardinal firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Pats Peak, Mondays and Thursdays
Homeschool days at Pats Peak in Henniker. Mondays and Thursdays starting in December. Ski or snowboard group lessons available. Register for an individual date, multiple dates or the entire season. You also can choose to purchase our Homeschool Program Frequent Guest Card at any time. This card is valid for six days, for the cost of five days. For more information visit https://www.patspeak.com/, call Group Sales at 1-888-PATS PEAK, ext. 106 or email email@example.com.
Mount Sunapee on Thursdays
Mount Sunapee Homeschool Ski & Board Program starts in early January for ages 5 and up. Group meets for five consecutive weeks on Thursdays, 11:00-2:00 for a one hour lesson followed by group skiing. Equipment rentals available. Email Shara Buffington at firstname.lastname@example.org for complete details and to be put on the program list.
2018 Scripps Local Spelling Bee for Homeschoolers
Students in grades 4 – 8 are invited to attend the 2018 Scripps Spelling Bee at Hopkinton Town Library in Contoocook on Thursday, January 18, 2018 at 12 noon. (Snow Date: January 19)
Register by January 1 at the Nesmith Library in Windham. The cost is $10 per family; make check payable to Nesmith Library BOT and mail to Nesmith Library, 8 Fellows Rd., Windham, NH 03087 ATTN: Sylvie Brikiatis. See the official Scripps eligibility requirements at spellingbee.com. The champion speller from this competition will advance to the state championships in Concord, New Hampshire on February 24, 2018. Upon registration, you will receive access by email to study materials provided by Scripps. For more information, contact the Nesmith Library at 432-7154 or Hopkinton Public Library at 746-3663.
Virtual Math Classes
High school math teacher Corey Colosky hopes to offer virtual math classes starting in the summer of 2018 and then again during the 2018-2019 school year if there is sufficient interest. The format would be like a webinar where the class is live and the students can interact with each other and with the teacher. The price would be approximately $100 for the entire course. If you are interested, fill out the form https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GV8BKM3.
Online Geometry and Algebra 2 courses are also available. Visit http://coloskys-math-academy.thinkific.com/, or contact Mr. Colosky at email@example.com.
Workshops at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center
Homeschool workshops are offered by the McAuliffe Shepard Discovery Center in Concord October through May on the second Thursday of the month from 2:00 to 3:30. You may enroll in individual sessions, by the term (Term 1: October, November, December; Term 2: January, February; Term 3: March, April, May), or for the entire series. Payment is required in order to reserve a spot. Homeschool workshops are offered at three levels: Level 1 (Grades 1-3); Level 2 (Grades 4-6); and Level 3 (Grades 7-8). An optional planetarium show will be offered at the conclusion of each program, for an additional $5 per person.
December 14–Probing the Inner Solar System
Unmanned space probes have greatly expanded our understanding of the planets in our solar system. Discover what we learned about Mercury and Venus from the Mariner and Messenger probes. Optional planetarium show: Family of the Sun, part 1 https://www.starhop.com/current-and-upcoming-programs/