The New Hampshire Homeschooling Coalition News November/December 2011 Volume XXIII Number 2

Coordinator’s Report November 2011

The newly elected Coalition board met on September 24 in the Elkins Public Library in Canterbury. The board elected officers and reviewed and approved the recently revised Guidebook for publication. This 2011 edition is a bit bigger and includes updated information about homeschooling in New Hampshire. You can order it online here The price is $15.00 sent by priority mail and $12.00 if sent by the slower media mail. You can also print the online form and send to, or contact, Erin Groudas, 3 Crystal Hill Rd., Plaistow, NH, 03865.

Here are the 2011/2012 district representatives. Email and other contact information for board members is available at

Portsmouth area Julee Katzman
Keene/Monadnock area Angie Sones
Littleton/Hanover area Amy Gall
Rochester area Claudine Burnham
Sunapee area Jenny Courser
Derry/Salem area Kim Burke
Nashua area Wendy Bisbee
Carroll County area Paula DeBow
Concord area vacant
Manchester area Stacey Desrosiers
Laconia area Jenness Nordstrom
Berlin/Colebrook area Shawn Donahue

The board will begin planning our annual spring workshop at the next board meeting scheduled for December 10 from 9 until noon at the Elkins Public Library in Canterbury. All coalition meetings are open to the public.

Respectfully submitted,
Jane Grady

Editor's note:
At the September 24 Board meeting, Jane Grady concluded more than five years of service as Coalition coordinator; her efforts on behalf of homeschoolers have included countless hours helping with workshops, answering inquiries, and finding answers to knotty questions. Many, many thanks, Jane.

Report of the Home Education Advisory Council

At our September meeting the Council looked over the Ed. 315 rules again, and agreed to a few minor changes, then sent them to the Department. At its October meeting the State Board of Education took the Initial Proposal of Ed. 315 into the formal rule-making process, and scheduled a hearing for Wednesday, December 14, at 11:30 a.m. Written testimony can be submitted until December 23 to Mary Mayo at, or New Hampshire Department of Education, 101 Pleasant Street, Concord, NH 03301-3494. Comments should be addressed specifically to the rules, rather than making general statements about homeschooling or related issues.

The proposed rules are posted at

On October 18, the House Education Committee met in executive session and made its recommendations to the House for the three homeschooling bills introduced last session and retained by a study subcommittee. HB 301 and 595 were given recommendations of ITL (Inexpedient to Legislate). HB 545 as originally written would eliminate the Department's rule-making authority over home education and abolish the Advisory Council. The study subcommittee proposed amendments to retain the Council, and give it final approval on homeschooling rules; to make legislative members of the HEAC non-voting; and to require notification only once, rather than annually. The HEC gave the bill a recommendation of Ought to Pass (OTP) as amended. There will be no hearing before the House, and a vote will not take place until at least January. Should the bill pass the House, there will then be a hearing before the Senate.

The text of the amendment is posted at See also Chris Hamilton's website--
--for more details.

There was no Council meeting in October because we lacked a quorum. By the day of the meeting, only a few members would have been able to attend, so I called them and told them not to make the trip. I went to the Department in case anyone happened to show up; no one did. If you are interested in attending a Council meeting, it would be a good idea to check with me the morning of the meeting, the more so once winter weather makes cancellation a possibility.

Abbey Lawrence

Digital Portfolios

by Wendy Bisbee
Help, I’m drowning in paperwork! Can you relate? Many home school parents struggle with what to do with the myriad of papers, projects, posters, photographs, portfolios, and other paraphernalia that accompanies each school year, and our family was no exception. With two high school students and one graduated, our attic was filled with boxes containing the schoolwork we had managed to accumulate over the last fourteen years of home schooling. As our oldest was applying to colleges, I wanted to find a way to showcase her learning without needing a U-Haul to bring this paperwork with us to college interviews, and thus began our foray into digital portfolios. However, digital portfolios are not limited to high school students, as many families are opting for digital portfolios as an end-of-the-year showcase of their child’s learning for an evaluator or grandparents, and as a keepsake for their child. This allows you to keep a copy of their projects and work without necessarily keeping the paper!

A digital portfolio can take a variety of forms…limited only by your imagination! You can use it to showcase your child’s learning for a school year, throughout high school, a particular unit study, a missions trip, community service, or a particular project. All you need to keep a digital portfolio is a scanner, a digital camera, and a computer. A variety of programs can be used to form the portfolio, including Power Point, Word, Excel, HTML, a website, wiki, blog, or other platform. Be sure to consider privacy issues when determining the format for your portfolio, as you may not want sensitive information published on the web. While a blog or wiki might be a great way to share your first grade student’s school adventures with family far away, it may not be the best format for your high school student looking to apply to colleges. We decided to use Power Point for our portfolio as most people have access to it so it would be easy to share, but we wouldn’t run into the privacy issues on the web.

There are numerous items that can be included in a digital portfolio, and you are not limited to written work. Consider scanning in work samples, awards, letters of commendation or recommendation, artwork, test scores, and high school transcripts. Any work that your student completes on the computer can be hyperlinked to the portfolio and added in. In addition, voice recordings of speeches, poetry, musical or drama performances, oral reading, and foreign language work can be linked to the portfolio. Consider linking in videos of dramatic performances, sports events, community projects, science experiments, recitals, and other activities. Multimedia projects can be linked to the portfolio as well, and photographs of projects, field trips, experiments, and activities add interest and evidence of learning. Course summaries, written or oral descriptions of projects or classes, grades, yearly evaluations, and credits can also be included. Save all items in the same folder on your computer so that when you move it to a memory stick or CD all the files are included, otherwise your links will not work. I strongly recommend that hard copies of work samples be saved or the portfolio be burned to a CD for storage in a fireproof, waterproof container.

Consider having your child write a student biography to be included, either in written or oral form. A table of contents with links to the various work samples helps keep the portfolio organized and helps the viewer navigate through the pages. Involve your child! Students can choose work samples, scan them, take digital photographs of their projects, and learn how to navigate the computer as well. For junior high and high school students, learning to put together a digital portfolio can be considered part of their computer proficiency requirement.

For college admissions interviewers who wanted to see our daughter’s transcript, course descriptions, or specific coursework, we simply provided them with a thumb drive that had her digital portfolio downloaded on it. While not every college requested to see it, we received an overwhelmingly positive response from those that did, and there was no fear that we had forgotten any important paperwork at home. Our son is currently utilizing a digital portfolio to document his Eagle Scout project. Best of all, we are no longer drowning in paperwork!

Manchester Community Choirs

These vocal ensembles are for any student who loves to sing or wants to learn how! One choir is for high school students and the other for students in grades 6 to 8. Choral literature of all types, including gospel, pop, folk, Broadway, world music, and spirituals will be performed. Rehearsals are once a week at a private voice studio in Manchester, with multiple concerts throughout the school year at various places in the surrounding communities. Singers may join at anytime, and no auditions are required.
Conductor Melanie Whitney worked in New Jersey and New Hampshire for the last eight years as a choral director, private vocal instructor, and music theory teacher. “I recently left a wonderful job at Pinkerton Academy in Derry to have my first child. Some of the ensemble work I did during my time there can be seen and heard on my website I have only been without a choir since June 2011 and I already miss it desperately! I am very much looking forward to starting these ensembles and providing an outstanding and unforgettable singing experience for students who may not, otherwise, have had the opportunity.” Please call 603-490-0615 or email Start Date: First week of November, 2011 (tentative depending on enrollment). End Date: Last week of June, 2012. Tuition: $455 (may decrease depending on the date of the first rehearsal)

Brownie Troop in Bedford

Homeschooler Brownie Troop in Bedford on Wednesdays. This will be a first year troop for girls who are 7 and would be entering second grade. For more information, contact Ann Sager at 488-5357 or

Rifle Marksmanship Program

Project Appleseed is a nationwide family-friendly rifle marksmanship course which uniquely combines the teaching of fundamental rifle marksmanship skills with the story of our American heritage.
Many certified Appleseed instructors are themselves home schooling parents and students motivated by the importance of participating in the great American tradition of rifle marksmanship skills, while conveying the significance of our national heritage to other Americans.
We invite you to bring your family, friends, a .22 rifle and some ammunition, and head to an Appleseed near you! To find nearby Appleseed event locations, information on “what to bring” and “how to prepare”, or information about hosting a shoot, please visit our main website,, and the home educator’s page.

Growing Without Schooling Available Online

Growing Without Schooling, founded by the late author/teacher John Holt in 1977, is now available for free public access at Also available is new information about John Holt and his work, including never-before-released video footage of Holt, photographs, and newly digitized audio files of interviews and lectures by Holt where he discusses how schools could be improved.

"GWS documents 24 years of personal stories, news articles, research, books and the strong flowering of the homeschooling movement from 1977 to 2001. In 1977 there were perhaps 10 to 20 thousand homeschoolers and in 2001 it was estimated there were about 1.2 million homeschooled children. In 2011, estimates put that number over two million," says Pat Farenga of Holt Associates. presents many resources for helping school-age children, from teens to kindergartners, learn in their own ways, including getting into college or finding work worth doing without a conventional school background. Holt Associates is an education consulting company committed to freedom for learning.

Have a History Lover?

National History Day is an educational program designed for middle and high school students to complete original research on a topic of interest and compete with their peers nationwide. Students work as individuals or in groups of 2 to 5, to research and present their historical analysis in one of five categories: Paper, Exhibit, Documentary, Performance, or Web Site. Plymouth State will host the New Hampshire state competition stage of this process on Saturday, March 31, 2012. For more information on NHD please visit

Piano Lessons in Bedford

Pianist with 18 years teaching experience looking to expand studio. Current availability is on Mondays between 9 a.m. -1p.m. Instructor holds Doctorate from Boston University and is an active performer throughout the region. Potential of local travel. Discount offered for siblings or neighbors. References available. Please contact Justin for more information and rates at 488-5505 or

Remember, check our website for more activities and announcements!

NHHC Newsletter Staff
Abbey Lawrence, Editor, PO Box 97, Center Tuftonboro, NH 03816
Contributor: Wendy Bisbee
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.