The New Hampshire Homeschooling Coalition News November 2015 Volume XXVII Number 3

Meeting of the NHHC Board of Representatives
Tuesday, December 8

The quarterly meeting of the NHHC Board of Representatives will be held Tuesday, December 8 at 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Elkins Public Library in Canterbury. Members are welcome to attend this meeting. For more information, please contact Amy Gall, 838-5081,

New Representatives for the Salem and Laconia Areas

We welcome Jessica Bethune and Erica Sylvester to the New Hampshire Homeschooling Coalition Board of Representatives. Jessica is the new representative for the Salem area, NHHC District 6. Erica is the new representative for the Laconia area, NHHC District 11. Both of these women can help you with questions about homeschooling, help you get connected with other homeschoolers in your area, and direct you to resources and other experienced homeschoolers to help you out.

Mariposa Homeschool Fall Program Schedule

The Mariposa Museum in Peterborough offers its Explore! series on the third Wednesday of every month from September to June. $6 per person, or free with a homeschool family membership, $125 for two or more children or $100 for one child or a single-parent family. Register in advance.

December 16 at 10:00 and 1:00 -- Explore Italy! With maps, artifacts, stories, and food, families will get to taste a different side of Italian culture. Children will leave knowing how to shape beautiful holiday breads and fry their own pizza fritte.

The following programs cost $6 per person; homeschool family membership offers a 25% discount on admission.
Filipino Woven Birds -- December 1 at 2:00 -- These birds make gorgeous decorations for your home at any season, and once you learn the technique, you can experiment with sizes and materials. This workshop is for ages 10 and up.
Origami for All Ages -- December 10 at 2:00 -- With help, even pre-schoolers can learn to make a frog, a crane, or a box with a top and bottom to store treasures. This is origami for all ages, but children under the age of 6 should be accompanied by an adult helper (at least one for every two to three young children).
Festivals of Light -- December 4 at 10:00
This program uses artifacts from the Mariposa's collection of over 7,500 objects to examine holiday traditions from around the world that use light to celebrate the return of spring, the victory of good over evil, and the inner light that burns in each person. Best for kindergarten age and up, this program does involve sitting still for about an hour.
For more information visit or call 603- 924-4555.

We love to include reflections on homeschooling. Here is an encouraging piece by former NHHC representative, Paula DeBow.

Rope Pushing

by Paula DeBow
We must choose our battles. I’ve been fighting one for about twelve years, and I’ve finally waved the white flag of truce. The battle is with my oldest son and it is over his schoolwork. We have homeschooled our children since John was just under five years old. His birthday is late in the year and we had to decide whether to send him to kindergarten with kids who were at least six months older than he or to wait another year. John asked me to homeschool him without even knowing there was such a thing. He knew Mommy was a teacher (high school English), and he figured I should be able to apply my work to his education.

That first year was full of learning for MOM. I very thoroughly created phonics pages and taught John his letter sounds and made him painstakingly copy every letter multiple times. He took an awfully long time every single day. I became frustrated and lost patience with him several times a day. I nearly gave up many times and thought we would have to put him in kindergarten the next year in spite of all my wonderful efforts to teach him.

For some reason (probably lack of money), I continued to homeschool John the next year. But this time I had found a book that I hoped would be more effective than my efforts had been the previous year: Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Englemann and Haddox. This book still used a form of phonics but was meant to teach reading in a much more relaxed way. The result? John was reading before we were a quarter of the way through the year.

In college I had taken some child psychology classes and even some early childhood education classes before deciding that I was better suited to work with high school students. I had learned a little bit about Maria Montessori, readiness to learn, and child-directed learning. Quite frankly, I was against her methods. Then I met my son. I had been a pretty good teacher; most of my students had liked me–several raved about me when they got to college and saw how well prepared they were for writing good papers and reading literature. Some of them shocked their professors because they knew the difference between a noun and a verb.

But with John I was often at a loss as to getting him to do his assignments and to do them efficiently. Sometimes in the middle of a lesson, he would tell me he had too much energy and had to get outside. It seemed I couldn’t get him to focus on any one thing for what I considered an adequate amount of time. It took him forever to write out answers. Sometimes he would just close his eyes and think about a question that I thought he should have been able to answer instantly. He would take all day to get his assignments done and sometimes they weren’t even done then. I lost patience again.
I warned him that he would have to keep doing his schoolwork during the summer. That didn’t seem to faze him. I thought of things I could take away from him that would make him want to get his work done. There wasn’t much. He didn’t play video games much and didn’t seem to care if he was grounded from them. There weren’t too many things we did that weren’t educational that I could ground him from. The only thing I could think of was to deprive him of food–but I just couldn’t do that.

As you read this, you may be like my many relatives who had so many helpful solutions: set a timer, separate him from the other kids, make school a competition, offer rewards, spank him, etc. My mother-in-law, who had been a teacher for several years, was very sure that she knew what was wrong with my son and how to fix him. Then she worked with him one day. “It’s like pushing rope,” she concluded.

I didn’t think spanking was a solution in this case. John never refused to do his work. He was very rarely disrespectful. He was actually a lot of fun to work with when he understood a concept, and he had a great sense of humor. He was NOT dumb. I started to research learning disabilities and learning styles. Quite frankly, nothing seemed to fully solve my problem. John continued to learn but never in what I considered an efficient way. I had by this time begun to homeschool my daughter. Abigail was the epitome of efficiency. She did her assignments and got them done in a very timely manner. But then I realized something: Abigail did not learn her lessons as thoroughly as John did. She was satisfied to get 80% on a test and move on. John’s work was almost always perfect.

We muddled through until seventh grade and I asked John if he would like to start learning a foreign language. He chose Latin. I researched curricula and chose Wheelock’s Latin (college level). Then I offered a class to local homeschoolers who wanted to join us. We ended up with a class of four. John’s tests were usually in the high nineties, and he sometimes found errors on the tests that I had made. A local homeschool dad offered an electronics course using college level materials; John got an A in the class. I don’t say these things to brag, but to demonstrate my frustration that here was a student who could do very well but who never seemed to get his work done. There were never any signs of cheating; in fact, he has always been very conscientious and honest. So how could I push this rope a little faster?

When John joined Civil Air Patrol, that finally gave me a little bit of leverage. “If such and such an assignment is not done by Thursday, you’ll be staying home!” That has worked a few times. He has even “punished” himself by choosing to stay home when he knows his work is not complete. Threatening that there will be no summer vacation has never been an effective punishment; he’ll work year round.

I began to keep a working transcript for John when he was in seventh/eighth grade. Each high school level class that he took gave him a full or partial CU. At the end of ninth grade, I did a tally of how many credits he had and I was amazed at how magically the credits had added up. By the end of tenth grade, I realized that somehow my son, who never got his work done, was getting his work done. Currently, at the end of eleventh grade, he has more than enough credits to graduate, just not in all the right areas. He still has some history, science, and math to finish up. But I still can’t figure him out, I’m still not sure what his learning style is, and he still doesn’t seem to ever get his work done.

In spite of my worries, John is getting an education. I don’t have all the answers, and even if I did it probably wouldn’t help me with my other three children. I’m learning to readjust MY expectations of how and when the assignments get done. Now I’m happy if he gets four subjects done each day, and I try not to care that he spends four hours on one subject and only half an hour on another subject in a given day. I’m trying to relax more now that I realize he is learning and he will graduate. I still can’t tell you exactly what his learning style is: he does well in the classroom, he reads well, he listens when he’s doing something with his hands, he listens when he’s doing absolutely nothing else. He loves to watch classes on DVD but he’s just as happy to listen to a book on CD with no visuals whatsoever. But the one thing he needs that I didn’t want to give him is TIME. He needs time to listen, time to evaluate, time to think, time to get away from a subject, and time to process information. He will never be what I consider an efficient learner. He will probably always be that piece of rope that someone else wants to push a little faster. But he learns at his own pace and he learns things thoroughly. Really, what more could a mom want from her son?

It’s a Wonderful Life at The Merrimack Repertory Theatre

The Merrimack Repertory Theatre has added a student matinee for its December 10 production of It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play 10:30 a.m.Tickets are $8.50 each. If you are interested in attending, please contact Mark Soucy at 978-654-7561.

eStart Courses for Spring 2016—College Credit for Juniors and Seniors

eStart offers students the opportunity to enhance their educational experience and get an early and affordable start on their college careers. Find courses from the new Spring 2016 schedule at For more information visit,, or contact Ed Symes at 603-717-5965 or

Home School Spelling Bee Register by November 30

The New Hampshire Home School Spelling Bee is open to all New Hampshire homeschoolers in grades 4-8 (eligibility requirements available at It will be held at Searles School and Chapel in Windham on Monday, January 11, 2016 at 1p.m. Snow date: January 14 at 1p.m.

Register by November 30 at the Nesmith Library in Windham. The spelling bee is registered with Scripps and classified as a “school wide” local competition; the champion speller from this competition will advance to the state championships in Concord, New Hampshire on February 27. Upon registration, you will receive access by email to study materials provided by Scripps. For questions about this local N.H. Spelling Bee, contact the Nesmith Library at 432-7154. Registration fee is $10 per family; make check payable to Katie Webster and mail c/o Nesmith Library, 8 Fellows Rd., Windham, NH 03087.

Berwick Academy Invites Homeschoolers to Participate in Innovation Pursuit

Berwick Academy in South Berwick, Maine is seeking 11th grade students to participate in its pilot Remote Innovation Pursuit Program at no cost.
This student-directed model is built around 21st century learning objectives. The student will select a topic to develop an Innovation Pursuit. The IP framework involves researching the topic to provide academic depth, collaborating with a mentor, connecting with industry experts, documenting and sharing the IP via the World Wide Web, and presenting and defending the topic at our annual Innovation Celebration.

With Academy support, students will work through the BIC framework and complete an Innovation Pursuit coupled with college counseling to assist in developing a list of colleges, preparing for visits and interviews, writing the application essay and supplemental pieces, and organizing and preparing for standardized tests.
For more information visit

Meet Candidates and Learn About the Political Process at the New Hampshire Primary Student Convention

The New Hampshire Primary Student Convention will be held at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester January 4-6. New England College is the only college in the first in the nation primary state of New Hampshire to host presidential conventions specifically for students. College and high school students from across the country convene to interact with presidential candidates, elected officials, members of statewide and national media, and issue advocacy groups. Register at

What Is National History Day in New Hampshire?

National History Day (NHD) is an educational program which encourages middle and high school students to learn the processes, sources, and complexities of historical research. Nearly one million students participate nationwide. Working as individuals or in groups, students in grades 6-8 and 9-12 choose a topic relating to a nationally established annual theme. Students investigate their topic, develop a thesis, and interpret primary and secondary sources to apply it to the national theme. These students then bring history to life in meaningful ways by presenting their project in one of the four formats. For more specific information, visit the National History Day New Hampshire site at and

Programs at Amoskeag Fishways in Manchester

Homeschool families are invited to attend programs from the new Exploring River Life homeschool series at the Amoskeag Fishways Learning and Visitors Center in Manchester. These monthly classes will begin on November 12, and are a wonderful opportunity for parents with children ages 9-14 to integrate STEM education into their school year, and to learn about their local rivers.

A monthly press release for family programs and events is available by contacting Holly Johnston at (603) 626-FISH or

Art for Homeschoolers at Art Happens in Milford

Instructor Tami Sciola-Borelli brings experience as an artist and teacher to help students explore the fundamentals of drawing using all types of drawing media. Projects include still lifes, working from photographs, animals, people, and nature drawing. Tuesdays from 10:30 to noon. $25/per class drop in or $80/4 class card.

InventionX Cup

Registration opens on November 5 for the first season of the InventionX Cup (, a series of STEM-based invention challenges for students in 5th-12th grade. Official Challenges will begin in February. The InventionX 5-step invention process can be either a Do-it-Yourself model, or an instructed workshop brought in for students. Through the InventionX Cup, students can submit their solutions to the series of online challenges in the spring that provide opportunities for national recognition and awards. The top teams will be brought to Silicon Valley to participate in the Invention Academy - an in-depth multi-day educational experience where students connect with inventors, engineers, and entrepreneurs leading the way in creating new technologies.
Joshua Neubert | Co-Founder & CEO, Institute of Competition Sciences, mobile: 617.970.6650,

Classes Open to Homeschoolers at Bishop Brady High School in Concord

Bishop Brady High School in Concord offers the high school age homeschool student the opportunity to take individual courses. For instance, homeschooled students can take science courses with access to science labs.
The Program of Studies which outlines the courses offered can be found at
For more information contact Lonna J. Abbott at 603-224-7419 or

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.

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