The New Hampshire Homeschooling Coalition News March/April 2011 Volume XXII Number 4


Spring Workshop Coming April 9!

Get inspired at the New Hampshire Homeschooling Coalition Spring Workshop, Saturday, April 9, at the Nackey Loeb School in Manchester.

The morning session features a panel of experienced homeschoolers who will describe how homeschooling works for their families. You’ll hear about various types of curriculum, different teaching and learning styles, ways to keep students motivated, and how to solve problems that come up when teaching at home. We’ll also briefly explain the New Hampshire home education law for those new to homeschooling.

During the lunch break, bring your own bag lunch if you want to join our roundtable discussion on homeschooling children with learning disabilities. Or grab a quick lunch and spend some time looking through displays of homeschooling materials.

In the afternoon, we’ll discuss homeschooling through high school. A panel of homeschooling parents and teens will get into the nitty gritty of covering high school work at home, in group classes, online, and at community college. The group will cover entering the workforce, preparing transcripts and college applications, and answer questions from the audience.

Registration is at 9:00, A Homeschooling Sampler at 9:30-11:30, Lunch break/Learning Disabilities discussion 11:30-12:30, Homeschooling Through High School 12:30-2:30. Admission is $15 if pre-registered, $20 at the door. To pre-register and for details go to www.nhhomeschooling.org, or contact Jane Grady, 437-3547.
Special thanks to our sponsors: The Concord Fencing Club, www.concordfencingclub.org; Sunflower Yarns, Fiber Arts by Amanda Dahl, www.sunfloweryarns.com; and Usborne Books and More consultant Erin Groudas, www.kidsbooksandgames.com.

Proposed Legislation That Affects Homeschooling

At their executive session on Thursday, February 24, the New Hampshire House Education Committee voted to retain three homeschooling bills for study. HB545, HB301, HB595 will be examined "over the summer" by a study committee appointed by Chairman Michael Balboni. Members of the House Education Committee are anxious to receive calls and emails from homeschooling constituents. You can also contact Chairman Balboni and request that particular Education Committee members be placed on the study committee.

HB 429 allowing a child to withdraw from school at age 16 was heard by the House Education Committee on Tuesday, March 1. The Committee split 8-8 in their vote on the bill, so HB429 will now go to the floor of the House for a vote.

HB542 which amends the compulsory education statutes was examined by the Education Committee on March 3, and will be discussed again on Wednesday, March 9. The following amendment was added: “No district shall compel a parent to send his child to any school to which he may be conscientiously opposed, nor shall any district approve or disapprove a parent's education program or curriculum.”

Coordinator’s Report, March, 2011

Spring is almost here; at least, that’s what my kitchen calendar promises, in spite of the deep snow blanketing the ground. Every spring we hold our annual homeschooling workshop. This year, our workshop will be on April 9 at the Nackey Loeb School of Communications in Manchester. I hope you will join us. Registration information and other workshop details are available at our website (http://nhhomeschooling.org/nhhc-2011-spring-workshop).

If you want more information about the Coalition, or if you have questions about volunteering with us, please contact any board member. Contact information for Coalition board members is available from this link at our website: http://nhhomeschooling.org/reps.

The next Coalition board meeting will be on Saturday, March 19, at 9:00 a.m. in the Elkins Library in Canterbury. All of our meetings are open to the public and we’re always glad to have interested visitors attend.

Respectfully submitted, Jane Grady

Report of the Home Education Advisory Council

The opinions expressed in the following are mine alone, not necessarily those of any other Council member.

I will present the Council's annual report to the State Board of Education in April, and preparing for it always prompts a lot of musing on the history of the Council, and its purpose. The Home Education Advisory Council was created with 193-A in 1990, and was modeled in part after the Non-Public Schools Advisory Council, as a forum for discussions "between home educators and those public, and nonpublic schools, and state and local agencies involved in home education" [Ed. 315.10(b)(1)]. For sixteen years before I was a member of the Council I attended meetings only occasionally, but I always felt its existence was a good thing. I still do; I believe it to be one of the intermediary institutions which help to protect freedom and insulate families from the power of the state.

From time to time the Council has intervened in a disagreement between a homeschooling family and the district, usually with satisfactory results; often all that is needed is a phone call, and information. The rules in Ed. 315 also provide for a grievance conference which is available to anyone who is party to a dispute over homeschooling, and which provides a means of resolution, short of a due process hearing or court proceedings. In the Council's history there have been three grievance conferences; there have been none for many years.

Years ago I received a phone call from a woman in Texas who, having looked at our law, told me, "We don't have to do any of that," 'that' being the notification and evaluation requirements in 193-A. I told her what I've said innumerable times, that although on paper the requirements are certainly more demanding than those of many states, in practice complying with them has not been overly burdensome, certainly not an "ordeal," as one overheated bit of rhetoric described it. I would, of course, prefer more freedom and flexibility rather than less, and I've often wondered how to get there from here. Those who would at a stroke cut down every law that offends them forget that law, like an ecosystem, is the product of complex interactions, and actions taken in one part of it can have significant unintended consequences in other parts. One of those unintended consequences can be the backlash from people aggrieved by a change; what one legislature does, a future legislature can undo.

For the first time in several years we are not facing bills that seek more stringently to regulate homeschoolers, proposals, it must be pointed out, that the previous legislatures rejected; the argument was made, and accepted, that 193-A wasn't broken, and didn't need fixing. We now have a legislature favorable to relaxing the state's requirements, and substantial changes to the 20-year old homeschooling law, or outright repeal of it, are being discussed.

HB 545 proposes to repeal the Department of Education's authority for rulemaking over home education, and to eliminate the Home Education Advisory Council. Sponsor David Bates told me that repealing the HEAC was not his intent, but doing so was advised by lawyers at Legislative Services who drafted his bill. HB301 amends the home education statute, and HB595 repeals it entirely, replacing it with "parent-directed instruction" as an alternative in the compulsory attendance law; both bills eliminate the HEAC. Some think merely that the Council will not be necessary, while others think, apparently, that the Council is a creature of the DOE and an obstacle to homeschoolers' freedom.

The House Education Committee voted on February 24 to study all three bills; notices of subcommittee meetings will be provided at the Coalition website. I urge everyone to become familiar with the bills, and to do some thinking about what, if anything, should be changed in the current law. There does not seem to be an overwhelming demand among homeschoolers for an overhaul of 193-A, but change seems probable, and that change should be the result of many homeschoolers, not just a few, taking an active part in the discussion.

Feel free to contact me, or any Council member, at any time. We meet from 3:30 until 5 on the second Tuesday of the month in the basement of the Department of Education; I am happy to offer a time for public input if you would like to speak.

Abbey Lawrence
abbeyl53@gmail.com
539-7233

Special Performance of As You Like It

Perform It! Young People’s Stage Company presents Shakespeare’s romantic comedy As You Like It in a special school performance Wednesday, May 4 at 10:00 at the Village Players theater in Wolfeboro. One of Shakespeare’s most spirited and exuberant comedies, As You Like It is full of devious plots, disguises, and romantic mix-ups. Tickets are only $6 each for everyone—adults and children, but please call, 569-6401, or email performit@myfairpoint.net to reserve your tickets (or to have them sent to you). You don't have to be a homeschooler or part of a school group to attend. Learn more at http://www.performitstagecompany.org/.
scene from last year's The Comedy of Errorsscene from last year's The Comedy of Errors

This is a great chance to take all of your children to see real Shakespeare. If you go over a summary of the play with your children (look at http://www.sparknotes.com/shakespeare/asyoulikeit/summary.html or http://www.nosweatshakespeare.com/play-summary/as-you-like-it.htm ) before going to see the show, you and your family will enjoy it that much more. The actors use Shakespeare’s words, but some lines are shortened. Helpful narrators appear between the scenes to explain what’s going on.

Perform It! Young People’s Stage Company has won many awards, including the 2009 Moss Hart award for the best theater production in New England. Director Jan Helling Croteau adjusts the scripts, adding helpful narrators and incorporating music so that the plays are vibrant productions for all ages. Many volunteers produce the spectacular sets, glittering costumes, and lighting effects. Perform It! Young People’s Stage Company, now in its 17th year, is one of the few Shakespearean theater companies in the United States exclusively acted by young people (and they are homeschoolers). Learn more at http://www.performitstagecompany.org/.

Of course, if you’d like to attend our glamorous evening performances or the Sunday matinee, shows are Friday, and Saturday, May 6 and 7 at 7:30, and Sunday, May 8, at 2:00. These tickets are $ 10.00 for adults and $ 5.00 for children 12 and under in advance and $ 12.00 for adults and $ 6.00 for children at the door. All tickets will be available at The Country Bookseller in Wolfeboro (by April 17), by calling 569-6401, or by emailing performit@myfairpoint.net

NH Fisher Cats Homeschool Appreciation Night

Join us for the first ever Home School Appreciation Night right here in Manchester with the NH Fisher Cats! On Friday, May 6th at 6:35 PM, the NH Fisher Cats will be hosting the Binghamton Mets for Home School Appreciation Night at the ballpark! Before the game, all home school students and their families will be honored with an on-field parade. This is a great chance for homeschoolers to have a fun night here at the park and be honored in front of thousands of fans! Stick around after the game for a post game fireworks show!

For Friday night, we have actually lowered our ticket prices for all Home Scholars and their friends and family to just $7 each ticket!! These are for our field box seats behind the dugouts!

This is going to be a great event and what we are hoping to be the first of many. Come on out and join us for all the fun and make this an unforgettable evening. If you are interested, or have any questions contact Josh Hubbard at 603-606-4108 or email him at jhubbard@nhfishercats.com. Thanks and I hope to hear from you soon!

Art Classes at Wildwood Studio in Henniker

March 10 to June 9. These classes are designed to teach the principles of art and the elements of design. Students will be given the skills to better understand how to draw from life, and will have plenty of space for personal expression and creativity. Class size is small, allowing for lots of one-on-one instruction. A variety of materials will be used. All materials will be provided . Ages 12 and up. Thursdays at 1:30 to 2:45. Cost is $175.00. Please call Lisa Winant at 748-9994 or email at wakeupandgo@yahoo.com.

Home School Gym Class at Eastern Sports Center in Plaistow

Wednesdays, starting March 2, from 11 until 12:30, each class is $8.00 per child.
Structured and organized gym class including basketball, soccer, handball, dodge ball, 4 square, capture the flag, tag and obstacle courses.

There is also junior play time, Mondays through Fridays, 9 to 4, starting March 1
$8 per session, open to children 2-10 years of age. Parents must be available to supervise their children in all activities.

For more information contact Kerry Stokes, 382-0641 (ext 234) office, 978-880-8482 cell, www.easternsportscenter.com

Fifth Annual Seacoast Republican Women’s Essay Contest

The Seacoast Republican Women Fourth Annual Essay Contest is open to public, private, or home-schooled high school students in grades 11 and 12 in the Seacoast area. This year's theme is, "Does the Volunteer Armed Services program have a viable future?"

There are cash awards of $250.00 for first place, $150.00 for second place and $100.00 for honorable mention. Entries should be a maximum of two pages, double-spaced with a cover letter that includes the date, author's name, address, phone number, and school. All entries should be mailed by March 25 and sent to SRW, P.O. Box 495, Greenland, NH. 03840. If you have any questions, please contact: Suzanne Whiton at scwhiton@gmail.com, 659-7507 or Carole Foster at c.s.foster@comcast.net, 926-1277

Project Shakespeare Seeks Students for Macbeth

Founded in 1994, Project Shakespeare, in Jaffrey, New Hampshire, is an intensive theatre experience offering professional instruction using voice, movement, and acting to help students experience Shakespeare's language in action. From the printed page to the stage, students face the challenge of learning how to translate the written word into an exciting theatrical experience alive with personal meaning for the performer and the audience.

No experience is necessary, but all middle and high school students interested in participating should be highly engaged and motivated. Enrollment is limited to 15. To request a season brochure contact Deborah Thurber at deborahst@meganet.net or call 532-6607.

How Homeschooling Works

Anyone looking for an excellent summary of homeschooling? Tired of writing up your own explanations for friends, family, and newbies? If so, you might want to check out http://people.howstuffworks.com/homeschool.htm. I just stumbled across it today and was impressed to find all the basics presented in a fair, informative way. I particularly like the concise descriptions of all the various homeschooling methods (Section 5).

I'm a fan of HowStuffWorks anyway, but I'm so impressed with this particular article that I'm sending the link to homeschooling lists. If you or someone you know has questions about homeschooling—what it is, how it's done, where to find more information—I hope this will be helpful to you.

Kemlo (an "Eclectic Method" homeschooler)

Camping for Homeschoolers

Camp Sentinel in the foothills of the Ossipee Mountains in Tuftonboro offers home school family camp from May 30 to June 1, for $199 per family. Traditional camp activities include canoeing, archery, hiking, crafts, campfires. Private cabins available.

Established in 1949, Sentinel offers Christian overnight and day camp for youth, adults and families, and hosts year-round rustic retreats for groups up to 200 guests (55 in the winter). Amenities include five unique hiking trails, five element ropes course with zip line, a giant swing, a 25-foot tall rock climbing wall, and an archery range.

This summer, Sentinel will offer 10 - 50% off scholarships to first time home school youth to attend summer camp. Available to the first TEN, first-time Sentinel campers who sign up for summer camp (June 26 – August 6). Visit www.campsentinel.org, or contact Kevin Van Brunt at kevin@campsentinel.org or 539-4839.

Calumet Lutheran Camp on Ossipee Lake in Freedom hosts homeschoolers week June 20-24. Campsites, and cabins, heated or unheated, are available. Visit http://www.calumet.org for more information, or call 539-4773.

Book Sales, Classes, Events

There’s more at www.nhhomeschooling.org