by Ellen Doman, M.A. Curriculum & Education
NACD is a program designed to improve the development of the whole child. So we are addressing cognitive development, physical development in terms of fine and gross motor skills, behavioral development, academic development, and other aspects of your whole child. Our approach to home education (or homeschool) is, for many reasons, different from everyone else’s approach.
Let’s talk about some details. The design of each child’s academic plan is based specifically on where that child is in many areas of development. Why? The plan is designed to take advantage of how that child is able to process, store, and utilize information at the time that the plan is written. As the child’s processing level improves, the plan changes with the child. This allows us to make the most of the time spent teaching so that we are not teaching above the child’s level of processing, but also not teaching below the child’s level. This allows us to keep the child’s interest and allows learning to be easy and interesting.
NACD works with children not only across the United States, but in countries all over the world. NACD home education plans are designed to meet home education requirements where the child lives, whether that is in Ireland or Illinois, Australia or Arizona. The NACD staff monitor each child’s progress on a regular basis to ensure that we are making the gains we and parents expect to make.
Throughout the child’s academic career, the NACD program addresses improving short-term and working memory, as well as executive function. In the early grades, NACD’s academic program typically focuses on developing reading skills and a love of reading; developing a love of math and a perspective that math is really pretty easy; and an interest in learning all kinds of things about the world, including science, geography, and history, as well as learning responsibility and accountability. It’s designed to improve the child’s level of fitness and health. It is also designed to support developing interests and talents.
In middle grades, NACD’s academic program continues to emphasize reading and advancing math skills and understanding, but also includes vocabulary development, grammar, organization of written expression, appreciation of literature, as well as addressing subjects including science, history, geography, technology, and other subjects required by their state, region, or country. There is a continued emphasis on building highly capable skills, independence, and responsibility.
At the high school level, NACD’s academic program continues to be designed to suit the needs of the individual while meeting the requirements of the Department of Education where they live. The plan often includes higher-level math, literature, written expression, sciences, history, and other required courses based on their requirements, but also based on their individual needs and future plans.
For all of NACD’s academic programs, the parent is the key educator. NACD designs individual plans, identifies specific resources, and monitors progress through frequent communication with the parents. Formal evaluations are typically completed on a trimester basis. NACD coaches are available via email, phone, Skype, or Zoom to provide support and answer questions. NACD evaluators provide the evaluations and programs and respond to all questions and concerns on a timely basis.
What NACD home education programs are not:
- They are not a virtual instruction program.
- They are not a one-size fits all academic plan.
- They are not taught by an NACD instructor.
What NACD home education programs are:
- Whole child programs
- Totally individualized programs
- Cognitive development as well as academic programs
- Parent-supportive programs
- Totally responsive to changes in the child programs
- Efficient and effective programs
- The length of the instructional day is based on the child’s ability to process information.
- The instructional day is typically much shorter than other home education plans.
- The instructional day includes physical activities designed specifically for your child, as well as chores.
- The instructional day is flexible so as to fit into parents’ employment needs and other responsibilities and availability of help from family, friends, nannies, and other caregivers.