20 Words Every New Homeschool Mom Should Know

Confused about all the new words in the homeschool community?  I got your back!  Here is a list of some common homeschool lingo and a brief description.

Compulsory Attendance – The age children are legally required to start school.  In TN, this age is 6.

Co-op – A group of homeschool families who get together regularly to meet a common goal.  Typically, there is a volunteer requirement in many capacities from teaching to cleaning.

Tutorial – A group of students who meet regularly to do classes under tutors.  Many tutorials are drop off classes needing less parent involvement than co-ops.

Unit Studies – A style of  teaching where a main topic is picked and all lessons revolve around that main topic.

Convention – Homeschool convention season starts in the spring and goes through the summer.  There are speakers on many different topics and a huge curriculum fair.

Unschooling – A child led homeschooling philosophy which allows the student to decide the course of study

Classical Education – The classical model is based on the trivium, a three part process modeled after natural patterns of children’s development.  It is heavily based in literature classics and often includes the study of Latin and/or Greek

Charlotte Mason – A Model founded in the belief that education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.  Charlotte Mason homeschoolers read living books to make connections in the world around them.  They will often be found studying in and about nature, working on character development, and learning purposeful handicrafts.

Eclectic – A homeschooling style that incorporates many of the different styles

Sequential learning – A linear approach to teaching a subject in steps

Curriculum Spine – A book that offers a backbone to a study.  Additional studies are branched off of the main spine

Living Books – a book written in a conversational or narrative style to teach a subject by making it come alive

Read Aloud – typically used as a noun in the homeschool community (a read-aloud, not to read aloud).  A book the teacher reads to the students

Enrichment – Classes offered should be in addition to a foundational program with the basics of your learning agenda

Spiral Learning – A teaching approach that returns to the same topic several times over a period of time. Based on the idea that the student will learn more in depth each time the subject is reviewed

Manipulatives – A teaching tool that visually and physically engages the student

Boxed Curriculum – A curriculum that comes as a full set for a certain age or grade, typically with premade lesson plans.

Consumables – The parts of the curriculum that will be disposed of after usage (like workbooks)

Copywork – the practice of copying a well-written work into the student’s own notebook.  

Umbrella School – Essentially, a non traditional private school that enables the parents to educate the child with little involvement from the state


And….can’t leave out some common acronyms:

MUS- Math-U-See

FIAR- Five in a Row

HWT- Handwriting Without Tears

MTHEA- Middle Tennessee Home Educators Association

HSLDA- Home School Legal Defense Association

LEA- Local Education Agency, your local public school system


Anything else you would add?


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