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The Homeschool Glossary
Section U

A Directory of Homeschool Terminology
for the Totally Confused

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Umbrella School (or Cover 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, 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.

Unit Study
This method of instruction allows students to learn about all subjects through the study of one topic. For example a unit study about Egypt might include language arts through reading Egyptian-themed literature or history, writing a story about an Egyptian Pharaoh, learning about archaeology or hieroglyphics through investigating Egyptian pyramids, listening to Egyptian music, eating Egyptian food, checking out Egyptian artifacts at a museum, etc.

There are lots of variations on this theme as families tweak it to suit their individual interests and needs. You can purchase unit study curriculum or create your own.

A term coined by John Holt, an educator who in the 1960s and 1970s spoke out about school reform, and finally abandoned the idea that schools were a good idea at all.

Originally, the term simply meant the act of not going to school. Holt believed that true learning only happens when it is desired by the learner. He taught that following the child's natural curiosity about life would lead to learning about every subject typically required by schools and more. He saw parents not as instructors, but as facilitators of their children's learning.

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