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The Homeschool Glossary
Section C

A Directory of Homeschool Terminology
for the Totally Confused

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California Virtual Academy, a California public charter school home study program offering a computer-based course of study for grades K-12.

A term coined by Diane Flynn Keith to describe learning while riding in the car. Keith's book, Carschooling: Over 350 Entertaining Games & Activities To Turn Travel Time Into Learning Time is published by Random House and includes suggestions for learning every subject required by national curriculum standards while in the car, on the road — whether you're running a 5-minute errand or taking a 500 mile road trip.

Charlotte Mason
Mason was an educator who believed in guiding a child's natural curiosity and ability as a process for learning. She emphasized Christian morals and values and developing good work habits. She believed children should interact with nature and their environment as they learn -- as opposed to just mastering facts in drill and practice work. Here are some resources:

Charter Schools
Charter schools are a new breed of public schools that offer more flexibility for teachers and students. Some charter schools offer "home study programs" and students enrolled in these programs are considered to be public school students. Rules and regulations governing charter schools vary by state.

Typically, if you enroll in a charter school home study program, you are assigned a facilitator/teacher/education specialist who works with you to establish a course of study for your child. The facilitator meets with you once-a-month to discuss progress and collect attendance sheets and samples of the students work. Individual Charter school programs may provide educational credits to be used toward the purchase of consumable educational curricula (workbooks, textbooks, science kits, etc.) from a list of approved vendors.

In some cases, educational credits may be applied toward music, art, P.E., science lessons, etc. Many of these programs require standardized testing, and return of textbooks and other materials at the end of the school year. The resources, structure, and flexibility of these programs vary widely. It will be helpful in selecting such a program to talk to other parents whose children are enrolled. In lieu of that, find a local homeschool support group or online discussion group, and ask the members for their opinion of the program. For more information:

Christian Home Educators' Association — A Christian homeschool advocacy group that provides information, resources, and annual homeschool conference.

California Homeschool Network — A non-profit, all-inclusive, California homeschool advocacy organization. Provides information, resources, legal/legislative watch, social activities, newsletter, online support, and annual homeschool conference.

California High School Proficiency Exam — Passing the CHSPE, which is administered 3 times a year in spring, summer, and fall, earns the equivalent of a high school diploma in CA. Students are eligible to take the CHSPE if, on the test date, they are: at least 16 years old, or have completed at least one academic year of the 10th grade, or are enrolled in the second semester of 10th grade.

CHSPE is a pass/fail test. Take it as many times as needed to pass. Fee is $92. Non-residents of California may also take the CHSPE. (Note: The CHSPE is NOT the same test as the California High School Exit Exam or CHSEE required ONLY of public school students.)

California High School Exit Exam — The purpose of this exam is for PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS to demonstrate grade level competency in reading, writing, and math in order to be awarded a high school diploma from their public school.

Classical Education
This method has a number of interpretations but focus is on a rigorous academic curriculum of reading, writing, math, classic languages such as Latin & Greek, logical thinking and debate. The structured learning employed with this method ideally results in mastery of the basics of rudimentary subjects that are emphasized in the elementary years, progressing to the development and use of critical thinking skills in the upper grades. For more information:

  • Classical Home Education — This secular website offers info, diverse resources, curriculum packages and more.
  • The Well Trained Mind — This website is a highly trusted resource that is a companion to the book, The Well Trained Mind: A Parents' Guide to Classical Education by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer. This is THE BOOK on providing a classical education and is available at the website. (Christian perspective but welcomes all.)
  • Trivium Pursuit — This classical education website with has lots of resources and information. The word "trivium" refers to the lower division of the seven liberal arts in medieval schools, consisting of grammar, logic, and rhetoric.

Refers to Charlotte Mason. (See also "Charlotte Mason"entry.)

Colfax Family
Pioneer homeschool family from Booneville, California who received much notoriety when 3 of their 4 sons graduated from Harvard. They recount their journey in the following books:

Compulsory Attendance
Refers to the fact that in most states children from ages 6-17 are required to attend public schools, under penalty of law, unless they fall under certain exemptions — such as attending private school or homeschool.

Refers to homeschool seminars sponsored by homeschool organizations that include keynote addresses, workshops, family activities, and vendor halls where parents can purchase curriculum materials. These conferences usually take place over 2-4 days. California homeschool conferences include:

This technique is used to help students learn to write — from the initial skill of forming alphabet letters, all the way through learning to write sentences, paragraphs, poetry and more. Once students have the ability to copy sentences and paragraphs, they usually copy excerpts from good/classic literature. The idea is that by copying, they learn the techniques of great writers that they can then apply to their own original writing. Visit this website for more information with links to resources for free copywork templates.

Cooperative — In homeschooling, this usually refers to a group of like-minded parents who work together to provide on-going classes or educational experiences for their children. All of the co-op members contribute their time, effort, and money to provide learning opportunities for the children.

Co-ops often spring up from homeschool support groups. Additionally, the Homeschool Buyers Co-Op helps to make homeschooling more affordable, by providing opportunities for purchasing discounted curricula and educational resources.

Correspondence Courses and Schools
There are correspondence schools and programs that offer everything from single classes to full courses of study for every subject in every grade level from Pre-K through 12. Subjects are taught through a variety of mediums including textbooks, software, online classes, tele-classes, videos, audio CDs and more. Here is a sampling of what's available. All of these courses and programs have been recommended by homeschool parents:

High School Correspondence Courses Offered Through Colleges & Universities

Many Colleges and Universities throughout the United States offer high school correspondence courses. Some even offer dual credit for both high school and college. Course fees vary from reasonable to expensive — so shop around. Here are a few recommended by homeschoolers:

Free Resources for High School Level Correspondence Courses:

  • High School Ace provides free online academic resources for high school students.
  • HippoCampus is a non-profit project of the Monterey Institute for Technology and Education (MITE). The goal of HippoCampus is to provide high-quality, multimedia content on general education subjects to high school and college students free of charge. They also offer free, interactive AP courses.
  • MIT's Open Courseware is a free and open educational resource offering an introduction to the courses in higher math, science, history, writing and more that are offered at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Course of Study
Refers to an outline of academic subjects to be covered by grade level such as: English, Math, Social Sciences, Science, Visual & Performing Arts, Health, Physical Education, etc. Each subject may be broken down into topics and sub-topics with references to the educational textbooks, workbooks, and other materials and resources that will be used for study. See World Book Encyclopedia's Typical Course of Study for PreK-12.

Cover School (or Umbrella School)
Refers to a private school that provides a legal way for parents to homeschool their children. Parents who enroll their children in an umbrella school usually take responsibility for their child's education by developing a course of study, providing curriculum, instruction, and complying with all of the education requirements.

The Umbrella School complies with the legal requirements of the state including filing annual forms (if needed), keeping attendance, maintaining student records, etc. Some of these schools have additional requirements including testing. Some also offer counseling and coaching along with field trips, co-op classes, and enrichment programs such as sports, music, drama, and other electives. You'll find information on Umbrella/Cover schools by state and country here.

California Teachers Association is California's largest professional employee union, representing more than 340,000 public school teachers, counselors, psychologists, librarians, other non-supervisory certificated personnel, and education support professionals. CTA is affiliated with the 2.8 million-member National Education Association.

Refers to the materials used to teach/learn a single subject or all subjects for any given grade level. May include textbooks, workbooks, worksheets, tests, CD ROMs, CDs, video, DVD, software, computer-based lessons/materials, activities, field trips, and more.

Curriculum-In-A-Box (also Boxed Curriculum and School-In-A-Box)
Refers to a complete package of curriculum that includes study materials for all subjects for any given grade level. Most of these products offer traditional, scope-and-sequence courses of study that meet national curriculum standards. They usually include textbooks, workbooks, tests, activity suggestions, and suggested resources for further learning. Includes a teacher's manual that provides day-by-day instructions on how to teach the lessons and structure the assignments. (See Boxed Curriculum for links to resources.)

Cyber Schools
Online schools that use computer-based electronic medium for delivering a lesson or course of study. Examples/resources include:

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