Helpful Homeschooling Terms & Acronyms

Helpful Homeschooling Terms & Acronyms – What You Need to Know

Unschool vs Deschool

Within the culture of homeschooling, deschooling refers to the transition from institutional education (public or private) to homeschool. Unschooling refers to a specific approach to homeschooling (also called child-led or interest based).

Homeschool vs School at Home

Homeschool refers to the education of children outside established public or private institutions.  ‘School at home’ refers to a specific style of homeschooling where a classroom format and/or formal schedules are used at home (often describing traditional or classic styles of homeschooling).

Nonsectarian vs Nondenominational vs Secular

When used to describe a group or club, nonsectarian could be used to describe a general openness to diversity. It is defined as, not affiliated with or limited to a specific religious denomination (inclusive). Compare this to nondenominational, which is associated with a Christian doctrine (faith based) or secular, which is not religious or sacred in nature (some call this science based).

Agnostic vs Athiests

Agnostics generally believe humans are limited to their experience so the existence of a greater power cannot be proven or disproved. This differs from atheism which can be defined as a lack of belief in gods and supernatural beings. Both do not follow a belief system like organized religions.

Mastery vs Spiral

Mastery learning means a person will master the knowledge of a topic before moving on to the next topic. This is most commonly seen in math curriculum. (For example, if a student is working on a chapter on fractions, he/she would need to have a grasp of fractions before moving on to the next chapter in the textbook.) The spiral method means a student will visit the same topic or skills over and over again, with each visit increasing in difficulty. The spiral method is often seen in math, history and science, with the student learning small bits of information each time.

Curriculum Definitions You Need to Know

When selecting a curriculum or considering user reviews of homeschool curriculum, you may find these definitions helpful:

  • Faith Based/Religious – relating to or concerned with religion, may be included in any or all academics subjects
    • Young Earth Creationism (YEC) – specific faith based view; interprets the Book of Genesis literally.
    • Old Earth Creationists – specific faith based view; interprets the Book of Genesis metaphorically and accept the scientifically determined estimated ages of the Earth and Universe.
  • Neutral/Irreligious (newer terms) – lack of religion; Incomplete science (for example it would avoid conflicts of creation vs evolution by not addressing either)
  • Secular – lack of religious doctrine, no subjects avoided (people’s motives/religion often studied with history and faith often explored during philosophy, mythology, and legend studies)


AAR = All About Reading

AAS = All About Spelling

BF = Beautiful Feet

BFSU = Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding

BJU = Bob Jones University Press

BYL = Build Your Library

CC = Classical Conversations

CLAS = Christian Liberty Academy

DWN = Draw Write Now

ETC = Explode the Code

FIAR = Five In A Row Unit Study

GWG = Growing with Grammar

IEW = Institute for Excellence in Writing

LLATL = Learning Language Arts Through Literature

LOF = Life of Fred

MBTP = Moving Beyond the Page

MFW = My Fathers World

MUS = Math-U-See

RSO = R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey

SCM = Simply Charlotte Mason

SSRW = Sing, Spell, Read and Write (language program)

SOTW = Story of the World

SUS = Spelling You See

T4L = Time4Learning

TT  = Teaching Textbooks

VSC = Vocabulary Spelling City

WS = Writing Strands


2e = twice-exceptional refers to individuals who are both gifted and have a learning, emotional, behavioral, or social issue

ASD = Autism Spectrum Disorder

CC = Common Core

CM = Charlotte Mason (literature based style of schooling)

CP = College Prep

DD/DS/DH/DW = Dear Daughter/Dear Son/Dear Husband/Dear Wife, used in place of proper name. Also can be followed by age. Example: DS9 = Dear Son age nine

DIL/SIL/FIL/MIL = Daughter-in-law/Son-in-law/Father-in-law/Mother-in-law, used in place of proper name

GT = Gifted and talented

HS = Homeschool

HSing = Homeschooling

HTH = Hope this helps

ISP = Independent Study Program

LA = Language Arts

LD = Learning Disability

MI = Multiple Intelligences

PS = Public School

SAH = School-At-Home

WM = Waldorf Method

WTM / TWTM = Well-Trained Mind / The Well Trained Mind

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