by Jessica Frierson, March 2020

One of the first steps to take when beginning to homeschool is to choose a name.  To register your homeschool with the Department of Non-Public Education, you will have to submit a name that will be assigned to your school for its entire duration.  This is important to keep in mind as you make your selection.  According to the rules that govern homeschools in our state, you may never change your school’s name.  Even if you close your school at some point and reopen it at a later date, NCDNPE will still use your original school name.  

Having the proper perspective that your homeschool is a legally recognized school in every aspect can be a good guideline for choosing a name for it.  Consider it from the perspective of an outsider whose respect you wish to earn.  The manner in which you type it on the state website becomes the official name.  They will not correct your spelling or punctuation errors.  It might be wise to write it out and have a friend or family member double-check it for you, then carefully type it on your application.  Remember these grammar rules:

  • Always capitalize the first and last word of any title.
  • Capitalize nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs.
  • Do not capitalize articles, prepositions, or coordinating conjunctions.
  • Use an apostrophe to show possession. 

Here is an example that follows all four rules:  Johnson’s School of Fine Learning.

I find it helpful to picture your potential name as it might one day appear on a high school diploma, college or job application, military enrollment, or other “adult” type of paperwork.  As cute and cozy as a name like “Happy Campers Homeschool” might sound for your kindergartner, it hardly gives a solid impression of a 18-year-old to a Marine recruiter. I have known many people who never thought they would homeschool past elementary or middle school grades and ended up going all the way through high school graduation.   

Other things to avoid when selecting a name are:

  • Using your child’s name (ie. School for Sam)
  • Numbers used in place of words (ie. A Place 4 Learning) 
  • The use of symbols (ie. Learning @ Home)
  • Names that don’t give the impression of a school (ie. Strong Faith or Ferguson)
  • Names that are “cute” (Cozy Nest, Ponytail Academy)

Rules that NCDNPE has regarding naming your school include:

  • The School Name must not exceed 30 characters in length (including spaces and punctuation).
  • Do not use the following words in your school name:  Charter, college, elementary, grade, grammar, high, incorporated (or Inc.), junior, kindergarten, lower, middle, primary, public, residence, schooling, secondary, seminary, senior, the, university or upper
  • Do NOT use the name of your curriculum in your school name, even if you are registered with an accredited distance learning program.  Example of names NOT allowed:  ABEKA, BJU, Bob Jones, Keystone, Liberty.
  • Do not use A or THE at the beginning of your school name

So what does make a good school name?  Here is where you can let your creativity flow.  Many people utilize their last name, the name of a significant person, or a name associated with where they live. Others use words that represent a virtue they value or a word that symbolizes an aspect of their vision for their school.  The jury is split on using words such as Academy or School that make a definitive statement on the purpose of the name or letting the name speak for itself. So here are some examples to get your creative juices flowing.  The Murphy family lives on Live Oak Lane in foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Their vision for their school is a place where their three children will learn the fundamentals of a solid education from a Christian worldview, becoming well-prepared to be productive citizens as well as strong believers. They are fans of Thomas Jefferson and their most famous ancestor is great-grandfather George W. Sheldon, a circuit rider and missionary. Some possible names they might consider are:

  • Murphy Center for Learning
  • Live Oak Academy
  • Foothills Preparatory School
  • World Changers Day School
  • Thomas Jefferson School
  • George W. Sheldon Academy
  • Solid Foundations
  • Blue Ridge Lyceum

Proverbs 22:1 tells us that, “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches.”  Hopefully your homeschool journey will start with a good name and will yield many great riches as you and your children discover the many wonders of learning together!

Jessica Frierson is a homeschool graduate and has been homeschooling her ten children since 2000. She serves as the secretary for NCHE, writes for GREENHOUSE, and is the lead blogger for the NCHE blog.