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  • Writer's pictureTiffany Millen

What Not to Expect from NHA


Whether you are new to homeschooling or have been at it for decades, I think it is important that we are all on the same page as far as what NHA does and does not provide. I thought we would start by defining a few terms because in California, the meaning of the words we often use changes depending on the context. Traditional Homeschoolers: this was once the term used for those families for whom homeschooling was their first choice. They planned for it from the birth of their children and spent years preparing and developing their own philosophy of home education. In some circles, only private homeschoolers would have rights to this term. However, chances are, if you are reading this, you are a traditional homeschooler by today’s definition. In our homeschool culture, traditional homeschoolers are private or charter homeschoolers who take the primary responsibility to administer and direct the education of their child. They have the flexibility to determine what curriculum is used, what lessons are taught, and they set the schedule and motivate the learning. This stands in contrast to Independent Study Homeschoolers whose children are educated at home but the parent only monitors the learning. The education is administered and directed by an educational professional either virtually or in person. Curriculum is issued, lessons are assigned, and accountability is to the teacher. In California, all homeschool charters are legally classified as “Independent Study Charters.” This can create confusion. Most of our local “Independent Study Charters” offer two tracks: a traditional homeschool track, and an independent study track. Fewer than 1% of NHA students are on an independent study track making nearly 100% of NHA students traditional homeshoolers. Another popular form of education in our area is the hybrid school. This can be a charter school where students spend some school days on campus and some at home doing assignments, or a private school that follows that same model. In either case, those are independent study programs because the parent only monitors the learning. The Met is an example of a hybrid model Independent Study Charter. In a hybrid, all work is assigned by the teacher to be completed either in the classroom or at home. NHA is not a hybrid school. In fact, NHA is not a school at all. We are a homeschool enrichment vendor. That does not mean that we don’t offer core classes. We offer a combination of enrichment and core classes. Some classes can be outsourced to us, and if a student does the homework, they fulfill the requirements for that subject. Most classes for TK-5th grade are enrichment meaning that students should have a regular curriculum they do at home in addition to the class. This is particularly true of Math & ELA. While NHA offers core writing in our elementary IEW classes, spelling, reading, and some grammar would need to be added at home to round out a full English Language Arts program. For middle and high school, we offer several core classes and electives. We provide instruction and homework assignments and we may even issue grades in some classes. However, these are all still in the traditional homeschool model. Parents are expected to both monitor and motivate the learning. In an independent study model, grades serve as a positive motivation and a negative deterrent. In our traditional homeschool model, ultimately grades are up to the parents. We may suggest a grade for the work we received, but it is up to you to determine what grades you report to your charter or put on a transcript. Because of this, we wield no power when it comes to motivating learning. We do try to provide positive incentives in some classes like IEW which awards tickets for turning in homework. We provide the accountability of having to show up empty-handed if a student didn’t do their homework. But there is no real negative consequence. We aren’t going to shame students. The grades we issue only matter to the student if they matter to the parent. Our assumption is that parents are tracking what their student is doing in all classes as part of their private homeschool program. You will not hear from teachers if your student isn’t completing homework because we only represent one piece of your homeschool plan. We don’t know what your expectations are for your student in our classes. Some parents use NHA classes as enrichment only so homework doesn’t matter to them. Our website has email addresses for all instructors. Parents are welcome to contact teachers for progress reports at any time. Our high school math classes all have a parent login where you can see every problem your student has completed correctly or incorrectly at a glance, as well as grades for all lessons and tests. All students will have homework each week in IEW. Middle and High School students will have at least minimal homework in all core classes and electives. It is up to parents to make sure students do homework if you expect your students to get the most out of their classes. We are not a hybrid program. Please don’t think you can bring your students to classes one day a week and they will get all of the academics they need. We are just one piece of your traditional homeschool model. We appreciate the privilege of partnering with you in your homeschooling journey.

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