The New Hampshire Homeschooling Coalition News July/August 2011 Volume XXII Number 6
Coordinator’s Report, May 2011
Although I thought my report in the May-June newsletter would be my last report as coordinator, that was not to be. The Board needed to reschedule the June 11 Board meeting because of scheduling conflicts.
It’s my privilege to announce the results of our annual district representative elections:
• Portsmouth Area (District 1)
• Keene/Monadnock Area (District 2)
• Littleton/Hanover Area (District 3)
• Rochester Area (District 4)
• Sunapee Area (District 5)
• Derry/Salem Area (District 6)
• Nashua Area (District 7)
• Carroll County (District 8)
• Concord Area (District 9)
• Manchester Area (District 10)
• Laconia Area (District 11)
• Berlin/Colebrook Area (District 12)
These Board members will nominate and elect new officers at the next meeting. All Coalition meetings are open to the public. Please let me or any other board members know if you have any questions.
Respectfully submitted, Jane Grady
We Asked Homeschoolers
Have some of you used “option d” for your end-of-year evaluation? This is another option we have in addition to portfolio evaluation and achievement testing. Section (d) of the RSA 193-A:6 reads: “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.”
Our local school district actually called us and invited our daughter to come to the school for standardized testing. For science it was the NECAP. For reading, math and language arts is was the NEWA. We were free to accept or decline. We chose to accept and it worked well for us. This was our first year homeschooling, and at times the process has been overwhelming. Because we are a busy family, the standardized testing was one less thing that we had to worry about on our own.
My superintendent agreed to accept my parent-prepared transcripts for evaluation purposes (beginning next year; I had already submitted test scores for this year). The assistant superintendent initially thought the law would only allow official transcripts, but then she read Ed 315.07 f2b:
(2) A valid measurement tool as provided for in RSA 193-A:6, II(d) may include but shall not be limited to the following . . .
(b) Educational progress in a particular curriculum as measured by the parent.
She interpreted parent-prepared transcripts as a form of parent-measured progress in a curriculum. I then set up a face-to-face meeting with the superintendent. I took a copy of this year's transcripts and course descriptions to show her, and I think that made a big difference. We both signed the letter of agreement, which I had drafted in advance, so now I'm all set for next year.
I wouldn't recommend this approach to everyone, and certainly not to anyone who wants to keep their distance from their PA. I have thought long and hard about what it means to give the PA so much information. I'm providing them not only with a list of courses—the transcript—but also a detailed description of those courses. Certainly, the test scores I've sent in years past reveal much less about our homeschooling program and therefore provide us with more privacy.
To avoid any misunderstandings, I also added the following text to the letter of agreement we signed:
"It is understood by both parties, parent and superintendent, that all student information to be provided is privileged and confidential. The parent does not authorize the release of any information contained in the evaluation (transcripts and course descriptions) except as specifically provided by law. Any further disclosure requires parental written consent prior to such disclosure."
Finally, I took into consideration the longstanding, positive relationship I have had with the SAU for the past fourteen years and my desire to increase public acceptance of parental evaluations. I feel very strongly about finding acceptable and meaningful alternatives for demonstrating educational progress, not only to PAs for homeschooling purposes but also longer term for college and post-college situations. For me, this is about much more than homeschooling; it's a wider social issue. That's why (with my son's consent) I'm willing to be more open, and willing to provide more information, in exchange for recognition of informal (parent-prepared) credentials. My argument to the SAU was that it makes more sense for them to accept what I feel is authentic evidence of progress instead of those meaningless test scores, and they seemed to agree with me—at least for now.
An experienced homeschooler
For our next issue, we want to ask homeschoolers…
One of the subjects listed in the home education law is the history of the New Hampshire and United States Constitutions. What materials have you used to teach this? Do you have some suggestions for other New Hampshire homeschoolers? Please send your responses to Abbey Lawrence, firstname.lastname@example.org
Report of the Home Education Advisory Council
The Advisory Council's rules subcommittee completed its work after many hours of effort, and the Council approved the changes at its June meeting. The proposed rules have been sent to the Department of Education, and will go before the State Board of Education, possibly as early as its August meeting.
Three bills that would modify the current homeschooling law--HB301, HB545, and HB595-- will be studied by a subcommittee consisting of four members of the House Education Committee: Ralph Boehm, who will chair it; Kathy Rago; Joe Pitre; and Barbara Shaw. Subcommittee meetings are expected to begin sometime in August. Check the Coalition website for dates and times.
The Council does not meeting in July or August. Our next meeting will be September 13.
Aviation Career Education (ACE) Academy August 15-19
The Aviation and Aerospace Education Center at Winnipesaukee, the Laconia Airport, and the Federal Aviation Administration are sponsoring an Aviation Career Education Academy for high school students at the Laconia Airport the week of August 15-19, 2011. During this 1-week Academy, hands-on activities and flight simulation, as well as field trips and guest speakers will highlight the various careers available in the fields of general, commercial and military aviation.
The tuition for the week is $375 per student; some financial aid is available. For more information go to www.winnaero.org, or contact Dan Caron, ACE Academy Director email@example.com or Diane Cooper, Laconia Airport Manager firstname.lastname@example.org, 603-524-5003.
American Independence Festival in Exeter
On the night of July 4, 1776, Philadelphia printer John Dunlap slaved over his printing press, turning Thomas Jefferson’s handwritten pages into 200 posters that were then sent off to the King of England and the colonies via horseback and coach. New Hampshire’s copy arrived in Exeter, the Revolutionary-era capitol, on July 16, 1776. Twenty-two year old John Taylor Gilman put his life on the line as he read the Declaration of Independence to the townspeople of Exeter.
On Saturday, July 16, join the crowd escorting George Washington down Water Street, see the horseback delivery of the Declaration and listen to the public reading (complete with hecklers!), chat with historic role-players, step to the stirring music of the Lincoln Fife and Drum and delight in the maneuvers and cannon firings of militias. Visit the Traditional New Hampshire artisans’ village, view the original Dunlap Broadside (one of 26 known copies in the world) and early drafts of the U.S. Constitution and stroll Swasey Parkway and Water Street to see local arts and crafts. Enjoy plenty of food, music, sidewalk sales and children’s activities, then stay for the town’s evening fireworks and live band! http://www.independencemuseum.org/aim_aif.htm.
A Celebration of Southern Writers at the 2011 Keene Chautauqua
The Humanities Council has awarded a grant to the Keene Public Library for Keene Chautauqua 2011. The theme for this year's living history festival will be A Celebration of Southern Writers.
The main event will take place on Thursday, July 28 at 6:30 p.m. at the Keene Public Library's Heberton Hall and will feature living history portrayals of authors William Faulkner and Kate Chopin. John Anderson will portray Faulkner. Anderson teaches communication studies at Emerson College. He has portrayed a number of literary figures in living history presentations including Henry James, Robert Frost, and Washington Irving. Anne Howard will portray Kate Chopin.
The book discussion series will feature books by and about Southern writers along with five showings of films based on Southern literature. The final book discussion will explore Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God on Wednesday, July 20 at 7 p.m. at the Horatio Colony House Museum. Books are available to borrow for the
discussions from the Keene Public Library.
Films will be shown on five consecutive Wednesdays and will include the screen adaptation of Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God on August 3; The Ship of Fools, based on a novel by Katherine Anne Porter on August 10; Fried Green Tomatoes, based on the novel by Fannie Flagg on August 17; the screen adaptation of Alice Walker's The Color Purple on August 24; and All the Pretty Horses, based on Cormac McCarthy's novel on August 31. All film showings will take place at 7 p.m. at the Keene Public Library.
The Young Chautauqua performance will be held on Sunday, July 31 at 2 p.m. at the library. Middle and high school students will choose an author to research and portray. Under the guidance of two teachers, they will write scripts, create costumes and rehearse portrayals of their chosen author leading up to the July 31 public performance.
For more information about this project, contact the Keene Public
Library at 352-0157