Homeschooling: Glossary of homeschool terms and selected military terms
This glossary contains terms that are used by homeschoolers and by the military services. Some subgroups used variations of the terms, or don't use them at all. The terms are listed alphabetically, and the letters just below are linked to each section. You can either scroll or click.
Homeschooling terms are in black.
Military terms are in green.
Charlotte Mason Education: Charlotte Mason was a 19th century educator who believed in hands-on study using many 'real' books instead of synthesized textbooks. A free online course of study is available at Ambleside Online.
classical curriculum: A course of study, often referred to as the 'trivium,' broken down into thirds during a child's school years. The first third is the 'fact' period, roughly equal to the elementary school years. The next is the 'logic' period, around the pre-teens and early teens, followed by the 'abstract' period. One example of this style is provided in the book, The Well Trained Mind.
commonwealth: An autonomous, self-governing political unit voluntarily affiliated with the US. The importance for military homeschoolers is that overseas assignments such as Guam and Puerto Rico are to commonwealths of the United States, and because of this local education laws are binding on military families assigned to these countries.
compulsory attendance: The time in a
child's life in which he or she is required to attend some sort of school. The
ages included in the years of compulsory attendance vary between states. Just
because a child is five or six does not always mean that official
homeschooling registration with the state is required. Be sure to check your
states laws before you initiate any paperwork because once the child is in a
system, then the compulsory requirements stay in place.
contractors: DoD-contracted employees who may be American, host-national, or third-country national nationals. Contractors may be in a country under status of forces agreement auspices, but they are not DoD civilians.
co-op: A group of people who form a group in which they all participate both by paying for materials, and working to do whatever it is they've set out to do. In homeschooling terms, parents often teach classes, host meetings, or conduct field trips. Everyone takes turns so that no one is left with the entire job.
co-opt: To assimilate. The recent practice of aggressively for-profit businesses marketing their programs to the homeschooling community "as homeschooling," plus similar campaigns by state-funded distance learning providers, is seen by some homeschoolers as a means to "recapture" the homeschooling movement and bring homeschooling families, "back to the fold."
correspondence school: Schools that usually provide a full grade-level based curriculum in which students or their parents usually correspond with specific teachers. Lessons are usually sent to the school for grading.
cover school: An organization that enrolls children in support of their education at home. Another name for umbrella school.
curriculum: A course of study. There is no one set elementary-school or high-school curriculum for all fifty states.
cyber-schools: In its simplest meaning, an online school. Some of these schools are private, others are contracted with by states to provide 'public school at home' to families who want a public school education for their children, but don't want to send them to school. In the online homeschooling community, the schools can be controversial. In everyday, face-to-face homeschooling groups, the discussion is less volatile.
dependent: A spouse or child of a servicemember or of a DoD civilian stationed overseas.
DoD civilian: A Federal civilian employee hired either with appropriated funds (AF) or non-appropriated funds (NAF). Differences between AF and NAF benefits.
DDESS: Domestic Dependent Elementary and Secondary Schools; a subactivity of DoDEA. DDESS is the stateside equivalent of DoDDS.
deschooling: The decompression, both by children and their parents, during the adjustment period between attending organized school and homeschooling. The dynamics of teaching in a classroom, and children learning at home, are different, and required different techniques and methods.
distance learning program: A company or
school that provides learning materials for at-home schooling. The
school may, or may not, require that assignments be sent in to the school.
eclectic homeschooling: A homeschooling style that uses styles and methods from many distinct styles of homeschooling. Another way to put it is, "using what works."
economy: Living or shopping off the military installation. The phrase, "on the economy" is usually used overseas.
EFMP: Exceptional Family Member Program; program for family members with special-needs.
EFMS: Exceptional Family Member Services; services to family members with special-needs
EUCOM: European Command with headquarters at Patch Barracks, Stuttgart, Germany; a joint command for all the US military services in Europe
European Schools Council: DoDDS Europe Deputy Director and component commanders who review recommendations referred by DoDDS and EUCOM
exclusive support group: A homeschool
support group that limits the membership to people who share a common
interest. The most common kind of exclusive support group for
homeschoolers is the "Christian" (denomination usually not indicated) group,
which may require a statement of faith (SOF).
family advocacy: Program for dealing with child and spouse abuse.
family advocacy case management team: personnel involved in child abuse or spouse abuse cases.
Holt, John: John Holt (1923 - 1985) was a schoolteacher-turned-author who first hoped he could change the culture of schooling to be more child-friendly, but soon came to advocate do-it-yourself schooling by parents.
Home Education Magazine: The oldest, and first, homeschooling magazine.
homeschool legal requirements: Legal requirements (or not) for homeschooling that differ from state to state.
homeschooling: A term for the education of children outside or an organized school. Homeschooling may, or may not, be legally defined in a state's law.
Home School Legal Defense Association: conservative Christian non-profit corporation that sells memberships in its organization. The organization does not sell legal insurance.
host nation: A
nation that has accepted the stationing of US troops and other members of the
force within its borders.
inclusive support group: A homeschool support group open to all members of the community.
individual sponsored dependent: A non-command sponsored dependent; a dependent in an overseas area who is not entitled to government transportation to or from the United States and who is in the host nation without the endorsement of the appropriate overseas military commander.
installation: any combination of military land and facilities. Various terms are: post, base, depot, barracks, airfield, air station, naval station, naval amphibious base, naval auxiliary landing field, annex or support site
interest-led learning: allowing children to pursue
their own interests; unschooling
JAG: Judge Advocate General: the legal office
Federal Travel Regulations; basic statutory regulations concerning official
travel and transportation of members of the Uniformed Services
KONOS: A hands-on, unit-study type of curriculum emphasizing character development from a non-denominational biblical viewpoint.
manipulative: Anything that can be handled, but the general meaning in terms of learning is something a child can manipulate in learning math, so that the abstract nature of the numbers or function that is being learned can be felt, seen or moved around. My favorite manipulative was 15-bean soup because it is cheap, easily available at the commissary, no one gets too fussed if some of the beans go missing (although they do make a dreadful racket with the vacuum's beater bar), and if you get desperate, they can be rinsed off and cooked. Other manipulatives are blocks, pattern blocks (such as tangrams), rulers, and rods (such as the Cuisinaire rods). All those are inedible.
Montessori education: A teaching method based on the works of Maria Montessori.
MWR: Acronym for Morale, Welfare and Recreation. Usually just called "rec services" (in the Army).
NAEP: National Assessment of Educational Progress; "the nation's report card" since 1969; "NAEP does not provide scores for individual students or schools; instead, it offers results regarding subject-matter achievement, instructional experiences, and school environment for populations of students (e.g., fourth-graders) and subgroups of those populations (e.g., female students, Hispanic students). NAEP results are based on a sample of student populations of interest."
NAF: non-appropriated fund
NATO: North Atlantic Treaty Organization; a post-WWII alliance for the common defense of Europe against threats to national sovereignty by the USSR. The first document of NATO, the Treaty of Washington, was signed in 1949.
NCHE: National Center for Home Education; a division of the conservative Christian company, HSLDA
no-fee passport: An official passport issued to DoD civilians and dependents for overseas travel.
not ordinarily resident:
a person who live in a country temporarily and arrived with government travel
orders; typically US citizens who are DoD, federal or military personnel, and
their and family members, who are on the travel orders; other personnel having
diplomatic privileges and immunities.
OCONUS: Outside the CONtinental United States
OPSEC: Operations security; minimizing vulnerability and the amount of information available to adversaries; "loose lips sink ships."
ops tempo: Frequency of operations.
living someplace as if you were an ordinary, permanent resident; a citizen of
the host country or a citizen of another country who has shifted the main
residency focus to the host country and has the required work and/or residency
permit for employment in country overseas: all assignments outside the
PCS: permanent change of station (change of permanent station); a move or transfer
permanent storage: long-term storage of household goods in the US during an overseas tour of duty
POA: power of attorney
power of attorney: A legal document allowing a person to specify someone else to handle his or her legal affairs on his or her behalf; the catch is that businesses are not required to honor the document and may decline to do so
POV: privately-owned vehicle; a car.
portfolio: A collection of examples about a child's learning. This collection may include: library checkout receipts, photographs of projects, drawings, musical recordings, ticket stubs from museums, plays or exhibitions, writing samples, certificates, awards, or anything else that indicates a child's activities.
PSAT: Preliminary SAT
domicile; can be a house, an apartment, a barracks or a tent.
An assignment to a military installation or other activity in the
safe haven: area to which noncombatants of the United States Government's responsibility may be evacuated during an emergency
SAT: Tests in math and English used by college admissions offices as one measure of the abilities of prospective students. Apparently the initials don't stand for any words.
Saxon math: A series of arithmetic and mathematics books that were first written for elementary grade 4 and up by John Saxon. Later authors then wrote arithmetic books for younger children. The Saxon publishing company was later bought by the Harcourt company.
school-at-home: a homeschooling style resembling the structured, subject-divided style of public schooling school-in-a-box: also a colloquial term for a boxed curriculum or for a a self-made structured curriculum.
school liaison officer: "A member of a commander's staff who has demonstrated effectiveness, maturity and leadership as a military commissioned officer, an officer grade civilian, or a senior noncommissioned officer to serve as an installation school's officer. The school's officer shall function as a liaison between the school principal(s) and the Military Department installation staff, but shall not be assigned responsibility for any aspect of operating the school(s)." See C126.96.36.199, DoD 1342.6-M
scope and sequence: A term I never heard of until after my kids finished homeschooling, so you'd best look elsewhere for its meaning.
a member of one of the military services to include Reserves and National
SLO: See: school liaison officer
SNAFU: Situation Normal All 'Fouled' Up; synonym FUBAR ('Fouled' Up Beyond All Recognition)
socialization: A persistent worry of anyone who has never interacted with homeschooled kids who go more places and often do more things with people of all ages than do their schooled peers.
SOF: See: statement of faith
statement of faith: A statement of agreement with specific religious beliefs signed by members of a support group for the benefit of being allowed to attend meetings. Often, the SOF isn't required to be a dues-paying member, but it is required for any leadership position. In other words, they'll take your money and your work, but you don't have a voice.
space-required: in reference to DoDDS enrollment, a required space for a command-sponsored military dependent
sponsor: Military member or DoD civilian with dependents
standardized tests: These are tests
that measure a child's knowledge in relation to the other kids who have taken
the test (norm-referenced).
These tests do not measure absolute knowledge (such as a driver's exam does),
but purposely ranks the test takers from best to worst. Examples of such
tests are the Iowa Test of Basic Skills and the California Achievement Tests.
TAD: temporary attached duty
TDY: temporary duty
temps: overseas term for temporary quarters, not to be confused with guest house; fourth-floor walk-up quarters in overseas government apartment buildings; often formerly maids' quarters; may be either 2 bedroom or 8 bedroom
territory: an organized division of the US that is not a state and is administered by a governor and legislature
geographic military theater-of-operations such as
textbooks: Boring sanitized collections of too much information in too small of a space.
The S-word: socialization
Tier system for military recruits:
TMO: transportation movements office(r)
transcript: the record of a person's schooling; generally includes course names, whether or not the course was a lab, and the use of correct terminology in describing courses
Transportation: in reference to families the office(s) who handle the shipments of household good and hold baggage; AF term "TMO"
truancy: being absent without permission,
usually from school.
UCMJ: See: Uniform Code of Military Justice
umbrella school: Organizations offering various ranges of help to families concerning home education. Services can be as simple as 'bookkeeping' of grades and courses, on up to assistance from staff members, and course recommendations. Services are not usually as comprehensive as those provided by a correspondence school or distance learning provider.
unaccompanied baggage: Express shipment or hold baggage sent overseas before a servicemember PCSes.
unaccompanied tour: An overseas assignment without the presence of dependents endorsed by the appropriate overseas military commander
Uniform Code of Military Justice: The portion of the US Code detailing the code of military criminal law applicable to all servicemembers
unit study: The themed study of an entire topic; a study of pencils might include a look at the manufacture of 'pencil lead,' the development of mechanical pencils, reading the essay, "I, Pencil My Family Tree as told to Leonard E. Read," a visit to a pencil factory, a collection of various kinds of pencils and a booklet written about pencils in pencil.
unschooling: A homeschooling style where the learner is allowed to decide what to learn and how much of it to learn. Upon hearing a description of unschooling a friend of mine said, "Oh, like adult-education."
UR: acronym for USAREUR Regulation
USAFE: United States Air Forces in Europe
USAREUR: United States Army Europe
US Code: Code of laws and supplements of
the United States
Waldorf schooling: Using the educational concepts developed by Rudolf Steiner.
weight allowance: In connection with a PCS, the total amount of weight paid for by the government for the shipment of a servicemember's household effects
white paper: An authoritative report about
a major issue.
Driving in the car (during field trips; PCSing; vacations)
Hobby Horse Stable: Op/ed
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