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Posts Tagged ‘Homeschooling’

Ten Steps for Parents Using Online Learning Programs

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Ten Steps Parents Can Take For Student Success with Online Learning

You and your student have decided that online learning is an alternative to regular public and private schooling that must be tried.  What can you do to insure your student is successful?  Here are steps you will want to know before starting online learning.

  1. Understand that you are your child’s instructional and academic leader/coach.
  2. Create an atmosphere for learning at home.
  3. Establish learning goals with your student focusing on the subjects appropriate for his/her grade level.
  4. Get to know your child’s learning strengths and weaknesses.
  5. Review, daily, completed learning projects and activities.
  6. Expect your student to spend a minimum of approximately four and a half to five hours learning each day.
  7. Provide your student with adequate equipment and materials to be a successful learner.
  8. Monitor and review assessment scores with your student.
  9. Work with your child in designating specific blocks of time for studying.
  10. Enjoy the learning experience with your student!

Summer School Activities – Ninth Grade

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Good VRead new words.ocabulary Skills are Essential

Learning and using new vocabulary is an area of the curriculum that is often neglected by high school students using online learning programs such as eTutor.    Sometimes students and parents are not sure of how to use new vocabulary words or words they are not familiar with.  Practicing vocabulary and word usage skills  will  help students go far beyond the particular subject or topic they are working on.

Vocabulary is essential to comprehension.  Students need to apply strategies before, during and after reading to understand the written word.  New words should be reviewed and used in a variety of ways.   Students might use the following ideas to build and extend their vocabulary skills:

  • Use definitions of words to create word riddles.

    New words are important to learning.

  • Group words based on similarities and/or differences.
  • Draw pictures that illustrate the vocabulary word.
  • Play a variation of the card game, Go Fish.  Prepare a deck of word cards with five or more sets of four related words in each set.  Duplicate the cards so that at least each student has a deck for the game.   Try to build sets of like words, ie, antonyms, synonyms,  nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.
  • Go beyond definitions in the dictionary.  Explore ways to describe the associations that cluster around the word.
  • Choose a vocabulary word and then answer the following questions:  How would a scientist describe this word?  How would a judge describe this word?  How would a poet describe this word?  How would you describe this word?
  • Make new words.

    Organize a collection of words:

    • Reference Book:   Create vocabulary pages for a three-ring binder.
    • Word Wall: Display collected words and definitions on a bulletin board.
    • Word File: Record words, definitions, and context-rich sentences on index cards.  Place them in a recipe box that organizes the words alphabetically.

Students should not skip this important skill work.   Learning new vocabulary is essential to learning.

Online Learning – Changing Our View of Schooling

Friday, May 6th, 2011

The other day a neighbor visited me while I was working in the garden.  She wanted to talk about the changes occurring at the local school.  Comparing the education she and her husband received with that her children were receiving, she had determined that they were getting an excellent education.  Both parents were pleased their children were learning “so much more” than they had.

I had to agree with my friend, that we most often use our own schooling as a standard of measurement for our children’s schooling.  I certainly did when my children were young. But is this the best measure for quality in education?  I asked the neighbor to consider how the world had changed in the time since she was in school, and the amount of information we and our children have at our finger tips.  It seems reasonable to assume that our children would, and should, be learning a great deal more of the concepts and information that took us years to learn.  For the most part, children today begin school having access to more information than their parents had.  By the time a child has completed one year of schooling that information has almost doubled.  When I was in school it took many years for information to change.  This provided me and those of my generation a certain consistency that is not available today.  Therefore, the same paradigms for learning, that served my neighbors and me, are inadequate for today’s student.

This need to absorb so many concepts and so much information makes the teaching- learning process even more challenging.  The Internet offers the opportunity for students to work at their own level, at their own pace, on topics that are of personal interest.  Our work at Knowledge Headquarters and eTutor is a continuing effort to assist those we serve to understand and adapt their instructional programs by offering choices for personal learning.

Web-based, online learning gives students a unique opportunity to explore learning and gain knowledge at their own level.  Online learning offers a way to stay ahead of the information tide of an expanding knowledge base.  Students do not need to be time bound by their learning program.   Online education can offer real-time learning for a vast number of subjects and topics focusing on individual instruction.  The best online learning programs provide students and their educators flexibility, breadth of content, and multiple ways to engage in the learning process that are necessary for true knowledge to take place.   We know that what we learned in school is not enough for the future of our children.  We have a responsibility to provide innovative and creative programs based on current technologies that provide students the skills and tools that will ensure them a successful future.

In this regard home schooling is reinventing the idea of school.  The integration of knowledge is a personal process, rather than a social process.  By viewing school not so much as a place, but the act of learning, those who home school have forced us to look at a new paradigm for schooling.  These parents recognize that acquiring knowledge does not need to be a group activity but is often more effective as an individual activity.  They know that how they learned is not the best method of learning for their children.  Home schooling parents use many different approaches in teaching their children.  Among these are online curricular programs, similar to eTutor,  that provide a new way of learning for their children.

How we learned and what we learned are not adequate measures of education for our children today.  When I hear about educators who continue to teach the way they have for many years, it concerns me.  The tried and true teaching methods of the past, that served us well over the years,  are not adequate today.  We must try harder to challenge our own ideas of education, the teaching-learning process and for evaluating schooling.