The New Hampshire Homeschooling Coalition News May/June 2010 Volume XXI Number 5

This month you’ll see that the New Hampshire Homeschooling Coalition newsletter is coming to you directly in your email. We plan to keep you updated on what’s going on in the Coalition through the Coordinator’s report, and keep you informed about homeschooling regulations and similar issues in the Home Education Advisory Council Report. We’ll continue our popular feature “We Asked Homeschoolers” and let you know about events and opportunities for homeschoolers throughout the state. We’ll also point you to new items on our website that may be of interest to you. Please send comments to the newsletter editor, Abbey Lawrence, abbeyl53@gmail.com.

Coordinator’s Report, May, 2010

The NHHC board met on Saturday, March 27, 2010, for a regularly scheduled meeting from 9:00 a.m. until noon at the Elkins Public Library, 9 Center Road, Canterbury, New Hampshire.

The Coalition board voted to phase in electronic-only publication of our newsletter. The board also voted to organize a transcript workshop for parents who are homeschooling high school students. We hope to schedule the workshop in August or September. Further details should be available at our website by June.

I’m pleased to report that our spring workshop on March 21 was a wonderful success—thanks to our generous sponsors: The Concord Fencing Club, New England School of Archery, New Hampshire Germanic Association German Language School, and Diane Lachance, a certified Zentangle teacher. A special thank you goes to the Nackey Loeb School of Communications for allowing us to use their lovely space again this year. Thank you, too, to the panelists and other volunteers who contributed to the success of our 2010 homeschooling workshop.

Volunteer opportunities don’t end when our annual spring workshop is behind us. Are you interested in working with other homeschoolers to help support homeschooling in New Hampshire? If so, we need volunteers willing to run as district representatives in 4 districts: Keene/Monadnock, Manchester, Rochester, and Berlin/Colebrook. If you’re interested in finding out more about district representative duties, please contact me at jmg227@cornell.edu soon. Our annual elections are coming up in a couple of weeks.

The Coalition board will meet again on Saturday, June 12 at 9:00 a.m. at the Elkins Library in Canterbury. We will tally the results for district representative elections and elect a new slate of officers at our June meeting. All Coalition meetings are open to the public.

Respectfully submitted,
Jane Grady

Are You Looking for an Evaluator?

Remember that we have a list of teachers who will evaluate homeschoolers’ portfolios for the annual evaluation. Check the NHHC website at http://nhhomeschooling.org/evaluators.

Annual SCHEA Used Curriculum Book Sale

The Seacoast Christian Home Educators Association invites you to their annual sale, June 26, 2010, 9am-11:30am, Christian Worship Center, Barrington, NH (on Rt. 125 near where it intersects with Rt. 9) More at http://nhhomeschooling.org/schea-used-curriculum-sale-barrington

Report from The Home Education Advisory Council

Email lists are a more timely source of information than my bimonthly reports, and I assume many of you are already aware of what has happened with the Ed. 315 rules in the last few months, but it seems fitting to summarize the details here.

My last HEAC report closed on a note of doubt that we would be allowed to see the final proposal on the rules prior to its submission and vote at the State Board of Education, as that is what happened with the initial proposal last fall (in violation, it turns out, of the Right-to-Know law.) Happily, I was mistaken. Monday morning, March 8, I called the Department, and the final proposal was promptly emailed to me; I shared it with Council members, and others.

It was a 38-page document consisting of four columns: the HEAC’s recommendations, the Department’s initial proposal, the final proposal, and some recommendations taken from public comment. There were many curious things about the document. For instance, some of the changes the Commissioner had agreed to did not appear in the final proposal; and while the fourth column included none of the public comments that endorsed the HEAC’s proposals, there were several recommendations from HEC chairman Emma Rous, calling for more stringent regulations.

The Advisory Council reviewed it at our March 9 meeting, and passed the following motion, which I presented to the State Board the next day.
Due to problems in the proposal under consideration, the Council respectfully requests the State Board of Education to request an extra sixty days from JLCAR so that the Council can make technical corrections to its March 10, 2009 proposal in order that the proposal can serve as a recommended Final Proposal.

Board member Stephen L’Heuruex was acting chairman that day. He told the Board his request had been granted for a 30-day extension in order to attempt to come to some resolution on the rules. He invited all interested parties to meet on March 18 and April 1. Among the participants at those meetings were State Board members Stephen L’Heureux and Daphne Kenyon; Council members Chris Hamilton, Paul Ingbretson, Keith Pfeifer, Roberta Tenney, Emma Rous, and myself; homeschoolers Mary Faiella and Kristine Bolstridge; and newly appointed Deputy Commissioner Paul Leather. After two meetings and seven hours discussing various versions of the rules, there was agreement on many issues, but the amount of detail was overwhelming, and on April 1 Stephen concluded the meeting discouraged that we had been unable to finish.

Stephen told us several times that the State Board does not favor changes to the rules other than those authorized by a change in the law. At the conclusion of our April 1 meeting, I suggested that a resolution was still possible, if the Board would consider making only those few and necessary changes. This is in fact what finally happened.

A revised final proposal was made available to the Advisory Council in time to discuss it at our April 13 meeting; it was apparently intended to make only essential changes to the rules, but included the “list of subjects to be taught” as part of notification, which was specifically removed from the law four years ago. The Advisory Council proposed a revised wording for that section, 315.04, which I submitted to the State Board when I presented the annual HEAC report the next day. Stephen L’Heureux had his own proposal to revise the wording on that section, which was very similar to the Council’s. The State Board approved it, as well as changes to 315.03, Definitions, and to 315.11, which defines membership on the Council; you can find the new language at http://www.education.nh.gov/legislation/adopt_amend_repeal.htm#315. All other sections of the rules will remain as they are for the time being. After being reviewed by the Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules, which might make suggestions for revisions, the final proposal will go back to the State Board for final adoption.

Paul Leather assured me that if a final document is to be presented to the State Board in June, it will be made available to the Advisory Council. I’ve asked him to attend our June 8 meeting to discuss future revisions.

The past year has been a turbulent one, but things might be calming down. At the end of my report to the State Board, Chairman John Lyons said this:
“I don't think that a lot of homeschool folks, and there may be a reason in the past for that, necessarily have the confidence in some of us on this side of the table that they might otherwise have. I would love HEAC to talk about how we might bridge the ‘two ships passing in the night’ issue, and instead of us just communicating once a year when you give your report, or when we're dealing with rules, occasionally we can have some dialogue back and forth. And whether that's [to have] me come, or another board member come, or whatever it happens to be, I would like us to have a trustful way of communicating.”

Feel free to contact me with any questions, suggestions, or concerns.
Abbey Lawrence, abbeyl53@gmail.com, 539-7233

We Asked Homeschoolers

What movies have you used as part of your homeschooling curriculum? Or what movies or videos have you found especially educational and enjoyable for your family? Please send your responses to Abbey Lawrence, abbeyl53@gmail.com.

Homeschool Graduate Wins Research Award

Emilea S. Raymond, daughter of hardworking Coalition member Karen Raymond, will be presented with an award from the Undergraduate Research Conference at UNH for her oral presentation Us versus Them: an Exploration of the Conflict Between Public Education and Home Schooling. From the announcement: "As home schooling emerges as an alternative to public education, the conflict between home education proponents and public education proponents has garnered widespread attention. As a former homeschooler, Raymond explored how this conflict originated, why it perpetuates and if a resolution is possible."

Congratulations, Emilea!

Putting Together a High School Transcript?

Remember to mark your calendars for the High School Transcript Workshop, Wednesday, August 11, 6:00-8:00 PM, at the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications, Manchester.

Check the Website for More!

Read about getting away at “Homeschool Camp”, summer classes at MIT and Dartmouth, and camera workshops; connect with other homeschoolers; and find summer activities at our website, www.nhhomeschooling.org.