Advocates for Home Education in Massachusetts, Inc.

News & Events

Homeschooling 101: Approaches to education

Presentation and Curriculum Swap

Join us!

When:  Wednesday, July 20, 2022, 6:00-7:30 pm
Where:  Plainville Town Hall, 190 South St., Plainville, MA
Admission: Free

A program for new and experienced homeschoolers alike. AHEM will be offering a presentation on approaches to education followed by a time to share and swap curriculum. This free, in-person program will be sponsored by the Plainville Public Library.

Topics to be covered include:

  • What is a Philosophy of Education?
  • From Classical to Unschooling: Finding Your Style
  • Lesser-Known Approaches: Enki, Reggio Emilia and more
The presentation will be followed by a time for participants to share and swap curricula. Bring your used items to give away or come browse what others have outgrown. (Please note that because of town regulations, we cannot allow the selling of curriculum in the building.)

The program will be presented by Roberta Van Vlack. Roberta is a seasoned homeschool mother of four children (three now graduated and on to college and grad school). She's a board member of Advocates for Home Education in Massachusetts, moderates the Attleboro Area Homeschool Group, and blogs about education at Letters from Nebby.

Admission is free.

Please respect AHEM’s mission to empower individuals through education by not soliciting for your business at this event.

Frequently Asked Questions: End-of-Year Evaluations

It’s that time of year. Many of us are finishing up one school year and thinking about reporting for the next. Whether this is your first year reporting or you are an experienced homeschooler, AHEM has answers to all your evaluation questions. For more on each of these topics, please visit our website.

What forms of evaluation are acceptable?

CARE AND PROTECTION OF CHARLES & others, 399 Mass. 324 (1987) says that school officials and parents should agree on a method of evaluation that may include one of the following approaches: standardized testing, periodic progress report, or dated work samples. Other methods of assessment, if mutually agreed upon by parents and school officials, are also allowed. Read more >>

Do You Dig Data?

Virtual Volunteer Opportunity: Database oversight

What will you do?

  • Read responses to the AHEM policy and practice questionnaire
  • Look for and note any trends, patterns, or unusual activity
  • Monthly, report any comments and questions for review by the AHEM board

Read more >>

Homeschooling Fact Check: Academic Credentials

This week we continue our Homeschooling Fact Check series in which we examine some of the most common questions we receive and some of the biggest myths about homeschooling in Massachusetts. If you have questions or topics you'd like to suggest for this series, you can email us at info@ahem.info. Read more >>

Help Getting Started Homeschooling

The AHEM website has everything you need to get started homeschooling.

The first step to start officially homeschooling in Massachusetts is to submit an education plan to your local school superintendent or school committee. We suggest submitting your education plan a couple of weeks before school starts if you can, but you can remove a child from school at any time during the year. And remember, get a receipt. Read more >>

Homeschooling Fact Check: Ages and Grades

This week we continue our Homeschooling Fact Check series in which we examine some of the most common questions we receive and some of the biggest myths about homeschooling in Massachusetts. If you have questions or topics you'd like to suggest for this series, you can email us at info@ahem.info. Read more >>

Homeschooling for College Admission

Part 2: Applying to College

By Roberta Van Vlack

Last time I talked about how we homeschool high school. This information is based on my experiences. Practices can change rapidly so you should always check with the College Board and the schools you are applying to for updates. There are many pieces to the college application process. Today we will look at: applying for financial aid, creating transcripts, recommendations and school profiles, the student's part of the application, and lastly a few words on choosing schools to apply to. Read more >>

Connecting with Others: Town Point People

AHEM is building a list of town- or school district-specific point people to help homeschooling families connect with others in town. These volunteers are eager to meet others in town. Get in touch if you want to be connected to the Town Point Person in your town. Read more >>

Homeschooling for College Admission

Part 1: Homeschooling High School

By Roberta Van Vlack

As I write this I have two kids in college and two in high school, including a high school senior who is applying to colleges this year. None of them ever attended a brick-and-mortar school before going to college. Below are some thoughts on how to do high school as a homeschooler. These reflect my experiences; your mileage may vary, as they say. I will add that while we are not unschoolers, neither have we used a traditional approach to education. My philosophy of education largely mirrors the Charlotte Mason style with lots of living books, art, and nature, and no formal testing. In a follow-up, I will talk more specifically about the college application process. Read more >>

Meet Massachusetts Homeschoolers: Patrick & Kerry Sullivan

By Patrick Sullivan

We began our homeschool journey, after our twin boys, John and Kevin turned six. For about a year or two before, my wife Kerry and I had discussed the educational options available to us. We had spoken to friends who were already homeschooling and read some homeschooling books by various authors such as The Lost Tools of Learning by Dorothy Sayers.

My wife and I were both products of the public schools and so it was a bit surprising to our friends and family and perhaps to ourselves that we chose the homeschooling path. Initially, our extended family was a bit perplexed at our approach, but it was respected and was never really a problem.

We began with the let’s see how it goes this year approach and ended up following that for nine years! Read more >>

Homeschooling Fact Check: Forms and Applications

This week we continue our Homeschooling Fact Check series in which we examine some of the most common questions we receive and some of the biggest myths about homeschooling in Massachusetts. If you have questions or topics you'd like to suggest for this series, you can email us at info@ahem.info. Read more >>

Summary of Education Plan Submission Survey

We set up the survey to collect empirical data about:

  • the use of online forms to submit education plans
  • the request for documentation beyond an education plan
  • the request to register a homeschooled student

We had responses from 200 homeschoolers in 43% of school districts in Massachusetts. Thanks to all who took time out of their day to fill out the survey.

Use of online forms to submit education plans

Schools often use forms as administrative tools in an attempt to standardize information about homeschooled students. Many school districts in Massachusetts have a form to fill out, most often paper, sometimes online. Read more >>

Homeschooling Fact Check: Days and Hours

This week we continue our Homeschooling Fact Check series in which we examine some of the most common questions we receive and some of the biggest myths about homeschooling in Massachusetts. If you have questions or topics you'd like to suggest for this series, you can email us at info@ahem.info. Read more >>

Meet Massachusetts Homeschoolers: Elizabeth Wachta

One of Elizabeth's creations

By Elizabeth Wachta

When I toured the high school that I would be attending from ninth to twelfth grade, I admit that I was feeling a little nervous. It was an anxious feeling that was a lot bigger than when I was moving from elementary to middle school. However, something else didn’t feel right. When the school tour was over, I began getting a tickly feeling in my throat. When I was born, I had to have a trach put in to help me breathe better. I’ve had it forever, so we have to take extra good care of it by cleaning and suctioning it to keep me healthy. As it turns out, the high school was an old building. The air quality would not be good for my trach, so Mom, Dad, and I got together to think about what we should do. Mom, who’s always concerned about what happens to my trach was terrified of sending me to a school that was unhealthy for me, and I was nervous about getting suctioned every single day throughout the school year. It’s safe to say we were both on the same page, so what could we do instead? Eventually, with a little bit of research, Mom suggested that we try homeschooling. It was a big risk, but it was the only alternative we could think of. I never knew how much fun I’d have throughout those four years. This is the story of my experience as a homeschooler. Read more >>

Homeschooling Fact Check: Approval

This week we begin a new series we are calling Homeschooling Fact Check in which we examine some of the most common questions we receive and some of the biggest myths about homeschooling in Massachusetts. If you have questions or topics you'd like to suggest for this series, you can email us at info@ahem.info. Read more >>

AHEM Needs You!

Your skills, expertise, and helping hands!

AHEM is “staffed” by a small handful of currently homeschooling or formerly homeschooling parent volunteers. To stay viable, we need young families with skin in the game who care about keeping independent homeschooling as an educational option to step up and help out if Massachusetts homeschoolers are to keep the right to homeschool the way they want to homeschool. Read more >>

Meet Massachusetts Homeschoolers: Young People's Society of Storywriters

By Isabella Watkins

Homeschooling is ideal for the writing process. It not only gives you time to work on your craft, it also gives you the freedom to work with whomever you want. Writing with a group of friends who feel like family has helped my writing improve, and sharing my writing with supportive people has heightened my confidence in my work. Read more >>

Got Five Minutes?

Take this survey!

The survey will be open through February 10, 2022. Read more >>

Your Progress Report Questions Answered

This time of year we begin to receive questions about progress reports. Some are already worrying about what they will submit at the end of the year; others are being asked for a midyear report. The following is a revised version of our article on progress reports.

Progress reports written by the parent are an acceptable form of evaluation.

In Massachusetts, homeschooling parents, as the teachers of their children, are responsible for evaluating their progress. CARE AND PROTECTION OF CHARLES & others, 399 Mass. 324 (1987) clearly outlines three forms of evaluation: “Other means of evaluating the progress of the children may be substituted for the formal testing process, such as periodic progress reports or dated work samples, subject to the approval of the parents.” (Charles at 340) Parents may choose one of them to fulfill their responsibility. Read more >>

Help Getting Started Homeschooling

Whether you are starting in August or jumping in mid-year, the AHEM website has everything you need to get started homeschooling in Massachusetts. The first step to start officially homeschooling is to submit an education plan to your local school superintendent or school committee. Read more. >>