10 Homeschooling Words You Need to Understand

Get to Know these Homeschooling Words

Perhaps you are beginning the research of looking into homeschool for your family as an alternative option to public education. But as you research you keep reading about methods, and styles and unschooling and deschooling and you are entirely confused. What do those words even mean and how do they relate to educating a child? That’s why I’m defining 10 homeschooling words you need to understand.

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10 Homeschooling Words You Need to Understand | Great Peace Academy

Have you looked around and realized that homeschooling is becoming mainstream? It seems each year more and more families are choosing to homeschool their kids in a, we’ll try it and see what happens kind of choice. At the same time families are also choosing to pull their kids out of public schools, mid-year at dramatic numbers. There are many reasons why this may be true. 

Yet the reality is when a mom (or dad) is stepping into the world of home education for the first time, there is generally a fearful expectation. In the last 5 years homeschooling has become the largest growing form of education in America, but, to take on the entire responsibility of educating a child, inside the home, is daunting. 

Most parents turn to the internet to learn the hows and whys of this strange new world they are considering. The web is a wealth of resources, information and contains a great deal of knowledge at the ready for you to simply, click and learn. Then you can click and let your kids learn. So where do you start? How do you begin this new venture?

It’s important to have a good understanding of the terms used in any given field, homeschooling is no different. These 10 homeschooling words are commonly used in homeschooling posts, articles and even in a curriculum. So I do believe it is important to have a good understanding of them.

10 Homeschooling Words

1- Copywork 

This is a learning approach that allows students to copy text. The goal is generally to utilize well-written work from a variety of sources, such as classic works of literature, the Bible, quotes, newspapers and more. It provides writing practice for penmanship, grammar practice, memorization, as well as helping a child to expand their reading ability. Copywork can extend into middle school,  junior high, or even high school. Because copywork can extend learning in various subjects, it allows students to learn with little struggle. 

2- De-Schooling

This is a period of time following a child leaving a classroom setting, such as a public or private school, for home education. This period of time is meant to allow the child to step away from book learning, worksheet learning and rediscover the joy of childhood. Granting a child a period of deschooling can provide a couple of solutions. It can allow parents to research and begin to understand how they want to approach homeschooling and it can allow students to relax and step away from institutional learning for a brief period of time. Then when they return to home learning, they can do so with a new mindset. 

3- Lapbook

A lapbook is a simple way for children to show what they’ve learned. Lapbooks are built around a single topic or idea. They can be built using a variety of materials, but generally, use file folders that are folded into 3rds. Generally, within the lapbooks are smaller books called mini-books. These mini-books help the student to compartmentalize areas of learning. You’ll find great resources for lapbooks at Homeschool Share.

4- Learning Style

This describes a variety of ways that students can learn. Ideally, it is good to understand the way a child learns best, then offer them ways to learn that fits their personal learning style. 

5- Manipulatives

These are hands-on items such as blocks, shapes, and tiles meant to put a visual into the hands of the child. This type of learning allows a student to visual the given study and also allows their hands to feel what is happening as they discover how the manipulative fits within the lesson. These are especially seen in the study of mathematics. Most manipulatives are used in early elementary, however, they can extend throughout the learning years. 

6- Methods

This term is used to identify a variety of educational philosophies. Homeschool parents generally study these philosophies to determine which methods they feel will be most beneficial to their own families. For more information see The Ultimate Guide to Homeschool Education Methods.

7- Notebooking 

Utilizing notebooks or journals the student documents what they are learning and discovering. There are many ways to utilize notebooking. In it’s simplest form a student simply sketches and/or writes out in their own pen what they want to remember. There are many resources online that provide guided notebooking pages, that help the student to organize their learning. These pages can then be added to a binder or folder building upon their knowledge throughout the year or years.

8- Outsourcing

This word is what is seems. It is utilizing resources found outside the home or homeschool teachers purview in order to broaden a student’s learning opportunities. Outsourcing can come in may forms, including, online live classes, digital learning, utilizing tutors, classes within the community at museums, music lessons, science centers, and even within public or private schools. 

9- Portfolio Assessment

The purpose of a portfolio assessment is most often seen in states which require an academic review at the end of an academic year, this is most often performed by a certified teacher or state certified assessor. To build a portfolio, a parent selects examples of the child’s work and adds them to a portfolio showing a growth from beginning of the year to the end of the year. 

10- Unschooling

While on its surface this word seems to mean that one is not educating their child, the actuality is that unschooling is a different way of educating a child. The goal is a specified direction to learning. In some cases, unschooling is child-delight directed. In other words, the child is given the freedom to explore their own interests. In other cases, the parent chooses general topics and lead the child in an exploration of those topics utilizing real-life learning. This is often done with hands-on activities, community activities, field trips and customized classes. 

Are there other words you’ve read in regards to homeschooling that you just don’t understand? Feel free to ask in comments, I’ll be happy to chat with you about them.

Renée at Great Peace Academy




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This post is part of iHomeschool Network’s Things No One Tells You about Homeschooling.




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2 Replies to “10 Homeschooling Words You Need to Understand

  1. Scope & Sequence = what the stundent will learn & in what order.

    Rubric = how each skill is attained & measured

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