The New Hampshire Homeschooling Coalition News January/February 2012 Volume XXIII Number 3

Annual Spring Workshop April 21

Join us for our annual Spring Workshop on Saturday, April 21, at the Nackey Loeb School of Communications in Manchester.
Sessions will cover the homeschooling law, getting started, teaching children with learning disabilites, and homeschooling through high school. As always, each workshop will feature a panel of speakers so that you may hear many different approaches to home education issues.

Report of the Home Education Advisory Council

At our November meeting Jane Grady presented some information about colleges and career schools requiring a state-issued diploma for homeschoolers. Excerpts from her report:
Admission requirements are matters of institutional policy. Some college/career school admissions personnel have explained that the requirement for homeschoolers to produce a state-issued diploma is necessary because of recent changes in federal policies. They are mistaken. The following appeared in the October 29, 2010 Federal Register regarding FSA student eligibility: “Section 668.16(p) does not apply to homeschooled students. For guidance pertaining to homeschooled students, please see Chapter 1 of Volume 1 of the Federal Student Aid Handbook.”

The following links (and their pasted excerpts) are quite clear about federal policy.

1. (then click on the link for Volume 1--Student Eligibility)

To receive FSA funds, a student must be qualified to study at the postsecondary level. A student qualifies if she:
• has a high school diploma (this can be from a foreign school if it is equivalent to a U.S. high school diploma);
• has the recognized equivalent* of a high school diploma, such as a general education development or GED certificate;
• has completed homeschooling at the secondary level;
• has passed a Department-approved ability-to-benefit test*; or
• has satisfactorily completed six credits of college work that are applicable to a degree or certificate offered by the school.

A student may self-certify on the FAFSA that he has received a high school diploma or GED or that he has completed secondary school through homeschooling as defined by state law. If a student indicates that he has a diploma or GED, your school isn’t required to ask for a copy—except as noted below—but if your school requires one for admission, then you must rely on that copy of the diploma or GED and not on the student’s certification alone.

Though homeschooled students are not considered to have a high school diploma or equivalent, they are eligible to receive FSA funds if their secondary school education was in a homeschool that state law treats as a home or private school. Some states issue a secondary school completion credential to homeschoolers. If this is the case in the state where the student was homeschooled, she must obtain this credential in order to be eligible for FSA funds. She can include in her homeschooling self-certification (see above) that she received this state credential.


With regard to documenting a home-schooled student's completion of secondary school in a home-schooled setting, an institution may accept a home-schooled student's self-certification that he or she completed secondary school in a home school setting, just as it may accept a high school graduate’s self-certification of his or her receipt of a high school diploma. Self-certification of the receipt of a high-school diploma is commonly done through an answer to a question on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). However, because the FAFSA does not include a question regarding home-school completion, institutions may accept such self-certifications in institutional application documents, in letters from the students, or in some other appropriate record.
Two visitors from the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School, Linda Higgins and Gail Sudduth, spoke with us at our December meeting. A couple of days later, Linda, having obtained the answers to some questions that had been raised, sent me the following:

What are the requirements for a homeschool student to become a full-time VLACS student?
The requirements are the same for all students - whether they are coming from a brick & mortar school or from a home school situation. However, if a home school student would like to transfer any earned credits to VLACS, they must be from an accredited home school program that will provide a transcript. We will not review a home school portfolio and award credit. If the SAU chooses to do this and provides us with a transcript, we would transfer those credits.

Is there a required number of courses for full-time students?
Students who are full-time must complete 5 credits each year in order to remain active full-time students. As far as total credits, we require 20 credits (14 required, 6 electives) plus a half credit of advisory for each year a student is enrolled with us. Also, if a student becomes full-time later in his or her high school 'career' - let's say as a senior - he or she must earn a minimum of 5 VLACS credits in order to earn our diploma. For more information, or to subscribe to the newsletter, visit

HB 545 passed the House as amended. There will be a hearing before the Senate Education Committee, but it might be a couple of months. Look for updates and helpful links at the Coalition website.

There was a debate on the floor of the House over HB 595, which was introduced last year to replace the homeschool law. The House Education Committee had recommended it be voted ITL, and the House agreed; read the transcript of the debate at Representative Lauer-Rago stated, incorrectly, that the Advisory Council had asked for changes in HB 545; the Council did not formally make any recommendations, although Chris Hamilton and I, and former HEAC member Michael Faiella, talked with committee members.

Abbey Lawrence

Bill to Allow Online Driver Education

Jacqueline Roland writes:
In November, Rep. Laura Jones, prime sponsor of the Driver Ed. bill, HB 1440, and her son, Rep. Kyle Jones, co-sponsor of the bill, met with the N.H. Department of Safety and DMV. The DOS requested that Rep. Jones amend the bill to make the online option a three year pilot program. This is an excellent suggestion since it is easier for legislators to support a pilot program instead of a permanent change. The amendment will be offered at the public hearing. If the amended bill passes, the DMV will track the results of the online driver ed students and the results of driving school students. If online students perform well, legislation will be introduced, in 2016, to make the online option permanent.

The DOS also wants the bill to include, in the amendment, a requirement that a parent/guardian of a teen who chooses the online option complete an online mini-module on how to provide behind-the-wheel training. This mini-module should be included in the price of the teen's online driver ed program (online programs cost an average of $70).

The bill has been assigned a public hearing on Tuesday, January 31, in LOB 203, starting at 1:20 p.m.

To find the contact info for House Transportation Committee Reps go to
For additional information about the bill, please check out its website:

Feel free to call me with questions or comments.
Jacqueline Roland, 603-847-9070

We Asked Homeschoolers

What has been your best field trip in New Hampshire or nearby? Do you have any tips for making field trips go smoothly?

Field Trip Tips:
o Have goals for the field trip;
o Keep your goals realistic and focused;
o Confirm parking, prices, meals, hours of operation, and other logistics in advance;
o If you will be going with other families, communicate timing and other expectations clearly;
o Pack snacks and drinks if you will be going very far; and
o Help everyone in your family to get enough sleep the night before.
Jane Grady

One of my kids' favorite field trips has been to the John Greenleaf Whittier Home in Haverhill, Massachusetts. The curator was awesome! His name was Gus, he brought history alive for them. We were there for hours - they have been asking to go back, which is a testament in and of itself.

A recent field trip to the American Independence Museum in Exeter ( was another fun experience. I'd recommend going on a spring day to enjoy an outdoor lunch and a walk through the area. At the end of the tour, the guide will bring the group into a back room where they can make a mini scrapbook of their visit with items that are passed out during the tour.

Another wonderful field trip my kids always enjoy is a visit to The Currier Museum of Art in Manchester ( We have usually done our own tour of the gallery. There is something for children of every age to see and explore. On our next visit, I'd like to arrange a docent-led tour of the gallery.

Tips for making the trip go smoothly: Plan ahead, call the place for details such as discounts for homeschool groups, their hours & days open, find out if they have special tour hours, a gift shop, the appropriate age level the place is geared towards, prepare the kids ahead of time on the subject and place, have a checklist (or list of questions) for the kids of specific items they have to keep their eyes and ears open for or a kind of scavenger hunt, (many places have these already prepared for student groups), plan a bag lunch or where you will go for lunch, bring snacks & water. Flexibility built into the plan of action is a strong recommendation. Make sure you have the directions all set and plan plenty of time for getting there so as not to have to rush through the tour. Dress according to the weather; some places encourage dressing in the theme, if it is an historical place.
Erin Groudas

We had a great field trip with 3 or 4 families to the New Hampshire State House. The woman who gave the tour was great--really knew her stuff, and also provided the moms with educational packets, which included information on how laws are made, the United States Constitution, and the N.H. State Constitution. We met one of the senators, Sen. Jim Forsythe, at his office and then he went on the tour with us. After the tour was over, we sat in the Senate Chamber and had some Q&A time with Senator Forsythe. The kids all paid careful attention and seemed interested. Part of what helped them was that they had already had a lot of information about government in a class and had met a representative, Rep. Norman Tregenza, who had explained to them what a representative's job is. I'm hoping to do the field trip again with another group in the spring when the N.H. History Museum is open. I've also heard that if Governor Lynch is at the State House, he likes to meet school groups that come for tours. Unfortunately, he wasn't available at the time we were there.

For our next issue, we want to ask homeschoolers…

What do you say when people ask your children “Shouldn’t you be in school?”
Please send your responses to Abbey Lawrence,

Chinese Classes in Hanover

The New Hampshire Chinese School would like to start a Chinese language class in the Hanover area. The intended class is planned to start on Feb. 4, from 10:30 to noon.

The class is offered to children ages 5 to 9. The cost is $360 for a 10-week session. Exact location is yet to be determined, but possibly at the Hanover Community Center.
We need a minimum of 10 students for the class to meet.
Andrea Brown

Working with Clay

Clay classes for kids conducted by Monica Leap at Studio 550 in downtown Manchester, Wednesdays 12-2 p.m. for 8 weeks. $115/child, all materials, firing, and instruction included. The studio also offers workshops for parents and kids to take together, and also after-school classes (divided by age) on different days during the week if the one homeschooling class did not fit parents' schedules. Contact,

Ski Day at Crotched Mountain

Tabitha Mello, a homeschooler from Massachusetts, is planning two field trips to Crotched Mountain, New Hampshire,, on Jan 27 and March 2. Because it is designed as a school field trip, there will be a substantial discount on the ticket price. The cost is $25 for elementary and middle school ages (14 and younger) and $35 for high school age and adults (15 and older). This price includes the lift ticket, rentals, ski lesson and even a light lunch. If you are interested or need more information, contact Tabitha at Feel free to invite friends and relatives.


From the WHERE (Wolfeboro area) homeschooling email list

The Chicks (six of us) are skiing tomorrow and we're getting ready tonight.

There are skiing poles slung over shoulders and whizzing around the kitchen (the kitchen?)

There is a child walking around with one ski boot on looking for the other and another child is wearing two unmatched boots (neither match single boot wore by his brother). Still another child is having a meltdown because he can't find either of his boots. Boots were all there two weeks ago when I carefully matched up kids, boots, and skis.

I've been buying gloves (cheap but serviceable) since fall. I have children telling me they have no gloves. Well, find one and keep your other hand in your pocket.

The big cooler is in the kitchen (with the ski poles whizzing around) and they want to load it but there's a two year old sitting in it and look, SHE HAS NO DIAPER ON! No one's going to accept the treats I offer tomorrow.

How can it be that the youngest has no snow pants. What happened to pass-me-downs from four brothers?

The ski sharpener that was seen last week has grown legs and left the building. After turning the house upside down (takes about two hours to do that), we spent $28.00 and bought a new one. Oh, joy.

AND finally, the cookies I baked and set aside for Monday, were eaten before I got up this morning.

I love skiing.
Donna Chick

Remember, check our website for more activities and announcements!

NHHC Newsletter Staff
Abbey Lawrence, Editor, PO Box 97, Center Tuftonboro, NH 03816
539-7233, Stefanie Marsh, layout and web posting.
Portions of NHHC publications may be reprinted for information purposes provided that credit is given to the New Hampshire Homeschooling Coalition. Contributors retain full rights to their writing, and their permission should be obtained before reprinting.