ACHEL - National Alliance of Christian Home Education Leadership - The National Alliance is a nonprofit educational organization (501c3) dedicated to the support of Christian statewide home education organizations.

Affiliate - Independent distributors whose products are niche or specialized; their products will not be found at the larger, mainstream distributors, but are equally in high demand because of their popularity.

Ancillaries - Products that provide reinforcement and/or support role to a core curriculum, and aren't employed by themselves to teach a subject. A good example would be flash cards to support a core curriculum in math.We call out ancillaries in a separate category so that they're easily identified as such.


Charlotte Mason Instructional Approach - Charlotte Mason, a British educator (1842-1923), disapproved of much of the content, methods and processes of the traditional education system, often describing it as "twaddle." She advocated the use of "living" or "real" books rather than textbooks. Children would respond in response to literature through "narration" and/or writing. She also emersion through nature and outdoor field trips, exposure to the fine arts, and encouragement of self-discipline, good habits, and love for learning. Charlotte Mason's concepts and ideas are often incorporated into Unit Studies.

Competent Carl Students - Competent Carl likes to be in control of himself and his surroundings. He tends to be analytical, constantly trying to figure out what makes things "tick." Problem solving is typically something he enjoys. His analytical/logical bent typically makes math and science his strong subjects and the more-unstructured language arts the weaker subjects. Social skills can be a weak area. Often Competent Carls have difficulty understanding and relating to their peers. Because of this, and sometimes simply by choice, they enjoy solitary activity. They expect others to operate the same as way they do, and they don't find it easy to adapt to other ways of doing things. Competent Carls tend to be self-motivated and enjoy long-term, independent projects. They have their own ideas about what they want to learn, as well as when and how they want to learn it. Some Competent Carls love to brainstorm, think out loud. These more-verbal Competent Carls will probably want a more interactive learning environment or at least one that allows them to ask questions and talk through what they are learning. One-on-one teaching or small groups are likely to be better than large groups for Competent Carl.

Competent Carl Teachers - Competent Carl tends to be independent. He likes to be in control and make decisions for himself. Consequently, he's less likely than others to homeschool under an umbrella program unless it's required. He will probably have spent some time thinking about a philosophy of education and have his own ideas about what needs to be accomplished, regardless of what others do. He tends to be very analytical, so planning and preparation (at least mentally) is a strong suit. (But he might never get those plans into writing!) Competent Carl likes to understand the reasoning and logic behind ideas. The curriculum will likely include critical thinking and logic and philosophy courses for his students since he considers these as vital aspects of education. His thought processes also tend to be logical and analytic, so Competent Carl sometimes can be impatient with those who are illogical or disorganized, sort of like Mr. Spock of Star Trek fame. Even though he thinks logically, he might himself be only selectively organized only in those areas he thinks are important. Competent Carls are often weaker in social situations than others. They have trouble understanding how other people function and even more so with feelings and emotions. Sometimes, they will operate independently to avoid social conflicts or demands.

Generally, Competent Carls will prefer to teach math, science, and other logic-related subjects rather than language arts and social studies.

Core Curricula - These are the main courses or major subjects.  


DVD - Digital Versatile Disc (DVD) is an optical media used for storing data. Physically, it is the same size as a CD but has a larger storage capacity, some formatted specifically for video playback, while others contain other types of data, such as computer files and software programs. A DVD player can be a stand alone device connected to your TV or nw an application on your computer; both used to access large amounts of educational course material.


Eclectic Instructional Approach - An Eclectic Approach is a description rather than a label. It describes situations where no one approach dominates. Instead, the parent chooses from various approaches in an eclectic fashion. It might include a mix of Charlotte Mason, Unit Study, Classical and Traditional methods or some other combination.

Educational Products - Traditional hard back and soft back textbooks and workbooks along with DVDs, e-books, parent helps, solution manuals, teaching and testing guides and many other formats.  


Great Books / Classical Instructional Approach - The Classical Approach to education is based upon models of learning from the Middle Ages with roots in ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. Classical education for grades K-12 typically divides learning into three stages, or levels called the Trivium: grammar, dialecticor logic, and rhetoric. The grammar level might be presented quite diversely; some programs concentrate heavily on memorization, repetition and recitation, while others coordinate more of a Charlotte Mason approach through "living" literature. Reading the "Great Books" is the hallmark of classical education, although elementary grades often draw from other literature, and upper grades sometimes expand into the "Good Books," not on the Great Books list. Socratic discussion methods are used to stimulate students to discuss what they have read, debate important questions or ideas, and develop logic and thinking skills. Composition writing is often employed rather than test, quiz.


HSLDA - HSLDA is a United States-based nonprofit advocacy organization established to defend and advance the constitutional right of parents to direct the education of their children. HSLDA is located in Purcellville, Virginia near Washington, DC, which is also the home of Patrick Henry College, a college established in 2000 by HSLDA founders to provide advanced education opportunities for homeschooled graduates. HSLDA was founded by attorneys Michael Farris and Michael Smith in March 1983 to defend homeschooling families. At that time, homeschooling was not legal in most of the United States under compulsory education laws. Those who practiced homeschooling were often harassed or prosecuted for truancy. Through a combination of legal action and legislative lobbying, HSLDA played a primary role in the legalization of homeschooling throughout the U.S. A key milestone in HSLDA's legal and lobbying efforts was its central role in the 1994 defeat of legislation in the House of Representatives that would have required all teachers in the U.S., potentially including home educators, to have teacher certification. Through its legislative efforts and legal success over the past several decades, HSLDA has become the preferred and trusted advisor to many state and local home school associations as well as their individual member parents and families across the United States, a membership base of almost 100,000 households, with approximately 300,000 students represented. eLSi’s affiliation with HSLDA provides it with unique and trusted access to the homeschool marketplace


Independent Distributors - These are your more niche or specialized distributors of educational products.  They are typicall smaller in size but often have a very loyal following because of their unique offerings.  If you are new to homeschooling and are not aware of their products, it can be a challenge to find them becasue you will not find their products for sale at larger distributors like Amazon.  

Independent Study Instructional Approach - Independent Study employ resources designed for students to learn independently without direct instruction and/or supervision. A parent and/or teacher may evaluate progress and performance, but usually he or she only provides guidance and help.


Mainstream Distributors - These are large online retailers.  

Manipulatives - A manipulative is a "hands-on" object designed for an "experiential" learner, one who perceives abstract educational concepts, often in math, by manipulating it, hence its name.

Montessori Instructional Approach - Montessori Approaches incorporate the educational philosophy of Maria Montessori (1870-1952). Montessori advocated respect for the nature of the child and encouraged hands-on teaching within an orderly and structured environment specifically adapted to the needs of child. Montessori learning is generally incorporated for younger children, generally learning independently with resources under the supervision of a parent/teacher.


Official grade level - The grade level associated with public education that the student may be associated with in relation to his or her age; this is, the grade level used for reports and transcripts.  HomeEd Expert allows for the possibility that a student may learn different subjects at various working grade levels.  


Parent Helps - These products help home educators and teachers with the process and procedures. We call out parent helps in a separate category so that their easily identified as such.

Perfect Paula Students - This is the responsible child who likes to see that everything is done correctly. She likes things to be clearly structured, planned, and organized. Perfect Paulas have a narrow comfort zone. They feel more secure when things are orderly. Consequently, they seldom act spontaneously and are uncomfortable with creative activities that lack specific guidelines and structure. For example, if you want them to do an art project, they will demand: Show me what it's supposed to look like. They want to make sure they do it correctly rather than seize an opportunity to express their own creativity They follow rules and respect authority, and often feel their duty to make sure everyone else does as well. They like to follow a typical school curriculum and feel that they are accomplishing the same things as other children their age. They prefer to be part of groups, and they need affirmation and approval that they are doing what is proper.

Perfect Paula Teachers - Perfect Paula Teachers are stable, responsible people who "get things done" even when it isn't exciting or glamorous. Perfect Paula is almost an opposite to Wiggly Willy. She likes everything planned and prepared ahead of time with a schedule to follow. While Perfect Paula is great at "clearing her plate," she tends to be weaker on creativity and flexibility. She's more comfortable with the predictable "tried-and-tested" than with the innovative or spontaneous. Generally, Perfect Paula will prefer to homeschool under an umbrella program rather than acting as an independent "Lone Ranger," at least partly because she comforts in the certainty of maintaining records and meeting requirements. She also appreciates the security of working with others. Perfect Paula will generally choose curricula that are well planned in advance rather than going with open-ended unit studies, which require the teacher to find resources, design activities, and choose the books they use. Similarly, Perfect Paula usually prefers using assessments that have clear answers predictable and provided in a teacher's answer key rather than those that use broad essay questions, portfolios, projects, or other subjective methods. Perfect Paulas have a tougher time understanding why their Wiggly Willy students won't cooperate because those two teaching/learning styles are so opposite. While Perfect Paula is accomplishing and achieving, Wiggly Willy just does not care!

Of all the teaching styles, Perfect Paula is most likely to arrange a classroom in the home that is organized with desks, bulletin boards, white/chalk boards, and other accoutrements of a traditional school.

Priniciple Instructional Approach - The Principle Approach to education was developed by the Foundation for American Christian Education (FACE). It is founded upon seven key principles, working from Scripture as the basis for every subject, with special focus on American History and Biblical Reflection of the 18th Century accurately enforcing the seven principles. It incorporates the "notebook method" that requires four steps for the study of each subject: Research, Reason, Relate, and Record.

PSAT - Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test - Evidence based reading, Writing, Language and Math


Real book - A Charlotte Mason instructional approach term, also know as a "living book."  Real books, aka living books, are usually written in conversational or narrative style by one author with a passion for the subject. The stories pull the reader into the subject matter to involve your emotions, so it’s easy to remember the events and facts. Living books make the subject “come alive,” in contrast to dry prose, like most encyclopedias or textbooks, which basically list data facts and points in summary form.

Relaxed / Unschooling Instructional Approach - Relaxed or Unschooling combines a range of approaches from one "relaxed," specifically tailored to topic of interest and timing for the student, rather than aligned to "state standards" or with what others might be learning at a particular grade level, to total "unschooling," where the student decides how, what and when to learn for themselves. A loose schedule with more experiential learning is typical of the Relaxed and Unschooling Approaches.


SAT - Scholastic Aptitude Tests include Biology, Chemistry, Math and Physics in the Sciences; Literature; U.S. History, World History; French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Latin, Spanish in the Germanic Languages; Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

Single Grade/Multi Subject - Certain publisher provide packages bundled for a single grade level with multiple subjects areas, like kits with "everything you need inside."

Sociable Sue Students - Sociable Sues are, of course, sociable. They often have warm, responsive personalities. They are interested in people, and as they get older, that interest expands into ideas, principles, and values. But they also tend to be "big picture people;" concepts are more interesting to them than details and technicalities. They don't like memorizing names and dates for history, but they want to understand how different cultures and events affect one another. They love change and new projects. They can be very excited about an assignment but easily lose steam once the novelty has worn off. Sometimes you have to switch activities or add exercises with Sociable Sues to reignite their interest; a different curriculum, a supplemental workbook, an educational game, a field trip, etc. They are motivated by relationships and care a great deal about what others think of them. They like to be recognized and acknowledged for their achievements. Because of this, they will sometimes be over-achievers, putting out extraordinary effort to impress people. For the same reason, they are vulnerable to conflict and criticism. They often avoid and dislike competitions, preferring cooperation so that no one's feelings are hurt.

Sociable Sue Teachers - Sociable Sue Teachers enjoy interaction and will organize their lives to ensure that there is plenty of it happening. They like to belong to groups, especially for activities. Thus, Sociable Sue is very likely to belong to a co-op or other group of families working together to accomplish homeschooling. Sociable Sues are "tuned into" other people. They understand and are concerned about others, and they also worry about what people think. They might be insecure about how well they are doing within home education circles because they want the approval by others, for themselves and for their students. They are likely to have their students participate in science or art fairs, drama, music, sports or other public performance opportunities. Sociable Sues tend to be idealistic about expectations, goals and rewards. They often see larger societal and higher spiritual goals as being critical factors in homeschooling. They usually will try to transfer that idealism to their students by involving them in community service or other altruistic activities. Sociable Sues tend to like creativity and new ideas. They are likely to want to try out new products or teaching methods, even in the middle of the school year. They can easily lose interest in things when it gets routine or boring, so they will often make changes. Sociable Sues are generally better at seeing the big picture instead of the details. They grasp concepts, but are not too keen on details. Consequently, they might have grand plans for their homeschooling, but they might not very well understand "how to get there from here."

Most often, Sociable Sues will prefer to teach subjects related to language arts, social studies, and, possibly, the fine arts rather than math and science.

Supplementals - Products that reinforce core concepts and utilized as an indirect medium. An example would be a workbook to support a core curriculum in math. We call out supplements in a separate category so that they're easily identified as such.


Traditional Instructional Approach - A Traditional Approach to education employs textbooks, and possibly companion workbooks, with a teacher overseeing and/or presenting lessons. Students typically read and research course content, distinct for each subject area, then study activities, assignments, exercises and/or practice problems as well as quizzes and tests. Traditional courses can also relayed via online CD/DVD.


Unit Study Instructional Approach - Unit Studies are designed around a unifying theme or topic. Typically, they will include study of a number of subject areas in relation to the theme/topic, but they might be narrowed to a single topic such as "The Civil War." Unit Studies generally use a combination of real books, discussion, hands-on activities, projects and research. Most Unit Studies encompass Social Studies and Science activities with at least some coverage of Language Arts.


Visual aid - These are ancillary products that specifically use visuals to help learning.  These are meant to support  core products and are not intended to stand on their own for teaching a subject.


Wiggly Willy Students - Wiggly Willys are those students who learn best by doing, the hands-on learners. They like to be free to move around and act spontaneously. Do you have a little boy who just seems to fall off his chair if he tries to stay put for more than ten minutes? That's typical for a Wiggly Willy. They have short attention spans most of the time, although it's interesting to see how their attention span lengthens when they get into an activity of their own choosing! These children are usually not interested in deep thinking or analysis if it means sitting still very long. On the other hand, they generally do very well with hands-on projects. They can be very creative and imaginative. These are carefree children who live for the moment. However, they can be difficult to motivate. Wiggly Willys hate being bored. They'll create interesting moments to break the boredom. They don't think ahead about consequences, positive or negative. You cannot usually motivate them with: Study hard and get good grades so you can get into a good college ten years from now. Ten years from now is a non-existent concept for them, so why on earth would they sacrifice present pleasure for that? These children need short-term goals and immediate gratifications. Wiggly Willys can be disruptive in groups. Sometimes these children are labeled as having attention deficit disorder (ADD is a real disorder for some children), although the actual problem is that, because of their age and temperament, they need to be moving around more than is allowed for in a typical classroom. Wiggly Willies will generally choose to play rather than "work" whenever they can. They tend to seek fun and excitement. Many of them thrive on challenges and competition.

Wiggly Willy Teachers - For Wiggly Willy, it';s all about the action and things need to happen now. He dislikes long-term planning. He has this feeling that things will change too much before the long term arrives. He tends to be impulsive, and generally has trouble getting initiated and organized. Following through on things can also be problematic, especially when there's something else interesting to tackle that might be more challenging. In fact, if things get boring, Wiggly Willy might inject mischief into a situation just to "stir things up." Wiggly Willys will generally choose to play rather than "work" whenever they can. They tend to seek fun and excitement. Many of them thrive on challenges and competition. Wiggly Willy looks for creative and efficient solutions to problems and tasks rather than conventional ways as expected to be done by others. Sometimes Wiggly Willy Teachers performed poorly in school, but often due to boredom or lack of interest, rather than lack of ability or intelligence. Even as adults, Wiggly Willy's would prefer a hands-on activity over reading a book. They dislike paperwork and record keeping; it seems like a waste of time.

Wiggly Willy Teachers typically teach the fine arts, physical education, and other activity and/or exercise-oriented classes.

Working grade level - Working grade level can vary between subjects, depending on your child's strengths and weaknesses.  HomeEd Expert allows for the possibility that a student may learn different subjects at various working grade levels.