When I was younger, I felt like I was lost and unsure about what I could do to make my life better and more complete. I felt like something was missing inside of me whenever I focused for a moment on myself. I just felt like there had to be so much more to life than I had seen and felt so far in the short time that I had been alive.
Something drew me to attend a church service one day, which launched my desire to find religion and become a better person. I started to attend church on a regular basis and slowly began to develop a relationship with God. Now that I have this community and this relationship, I feel that my life is so much more fulfilling than it ever was before.
Since I don’t want the learning to stop when my son leaves school each day, I try to make sure that there are learning activities that he can do at home. We have simple projects that he is able to work on when he is bored so that he can learn even when he is at home. Of course, these projects are a lot of fun too so he doesn’t get bored in the learning.
Since my son has recently been struggling a lot with science, I have been trying to get him to be a lot more interested in science. I was able to find some different science activities that I could use to inspire him to learn. The perfect science learning kit was especially handy in teaching my son to start enjoying science a lot more.
Mistacres School is located about 14 miles from the Goshen/Lempster School in South Acworth. It is a K-8 school, just as Goshen/Lempster. The difference is that it delivers the curriculum through the technology of the Internet – virtually.
These two schools are joining together to form a blended approach to learning.
The International North America Council for Online Learning (iNACOL) defines blended learning as one that “combines online delivery of educational content with the best features of classroom interaction and live instruction to personalize learning, allow thoughtful reflection, and differentiate instruction from student to student across a diverse group of learners.”
This means that Mistacres School will be delivering specially targeted instruction to students who either need to increase their reading and math skills to be more successful at grade level or to those students that have mastered grade content and need enrichment.
The staff at Goshen/Lempster and Mistacres School are reviewing recent testing, report cards, and observations to determine which students will be receiving supplemental education from Mistacres and in what areas. These students will then have numerous times throughout the week to work within Mistacres School as well as having the school available to them at home 24/7.
If you would like to find out more about Mistacres School and what Blended Learning is, click on Educational Resources.
Now that school has started, what are kids saying. Here are just a few quotes from Kids Health.
“I’m looking forward to math. I like numbers. I’m not looking forward to lunch, especially the chicken nuggets. They’re usually burnt.â¨” Katie, 8
(Isn’t it nice to know you don’t have to deal with that in a Virtual School!)
“I’m looking forward to writing in cursive. I want to learn it because I only know how to write my name! I’m not looking forward to a new teacher. My teacher is having a baby so I will have a substitute for almost the whole year!â¨” Kari, 8
(You will never have to worry about a substitute teacher at Mistacres.)
“I’m looking forward to meeting some new friends. I’m not looking forward to the rules (there are so many to remember) and bullies.â¨” Finbar, 7
(The fear of having to deal with bullies is one major reason parents turn to homeschooling their children.)
“I am going to third grade and I am looking forward to what I am going to learn and what homework I am going to get. I am not looking forward to getting up really early and sitting in a chair all day.â¨” Olivia, 8
(You can have the excitement of learning many new things without the need of homework, getting up early or sitting in a chair all day when you learn online.)
Studies have shown that if you give a child rewards for behaviors they were doing spontaneously, and then withdraw the rewards, the child will stop doing what they had done before they were getting rewards. So, if the child is already capable of getting good grades and now is getting rewarded, what happens when the child stops getting the rewards? And, if they haven’t got the capability to achieve the goals the school has set for them, what will rewards held out of their reach do? Teach by using the learning style of the student produces superior results in a blended learning environment, without confusing the joy of learning with extrinsic rewards.
Children are no different from you or me. If I have poor self-esteem and believe I can’t do something, chances are that I probably won’t even try the task. But if I’m taught the skills in a way I understand, I am much more likely to succeed in accomplishing the task. I will develop confidence in myself to try other tasks that might be a bit harder. My previous success becomes the motivation to do well on the next goal. Individualized learning where the students learning style is taken into account makes all the difference.
Allow children to succeed in their learning by adapting to their learning style. Paying students isn’t going to motivate them to become learners. This is what we as teachers should be doing, hopefully public schools will one day change their one size fits all mentality. The responsibility is not just to motivate our children to learn now, but to instill in them the desire and confidence to become life-long learners.
As a virtual K-8 school, our goal is to insure each student is successful by developing individual programs that match the students learning style and current level of achievement. So often, theyhave feelings of helplessness. They believe that they are incapable of learning. No amounts of extrinsic rewards are going to overcome their perception.
What will motivate them is success. Success breeds success. Slowly their perception of being a loser or dumb falls away; they get excited about learning. We actually have the student chart their progress. Seeing their improvement becomes a further motivation. And, perhaps this is why we have seen as much as 2+ years growth in just one school year! Individualized learning programs make it far easier for each student, parent and teacher.
Millions of kids have, or are about to start a new school year. According to an article in Kids Health: Although every day isn’t great, 65% of the 965 kids asked said they liked school a lot. That leave 35% of the students that disliked being at school. That is a large group of children that are not happy.
Interesting is that girls were generally happier then boys. 30% of the boys surveyed said they disliked school a lot as compared to 14% of the girls.
Why are so many kids unhappy with school? Often it is because of low grades or problems with their peers. Sometimes it is related to home issues. And students, by their own admission, will not seek out the help that is offered them through the school. If they aren’t seeking help then they are less likely to problem solve the issues successfully causing them to just get worse.
Having more personal contact with their child, control over the educational environment, more productive quality family time are just a few reasons why families decide to home school. With a good support system that assures the child’s academic needs are being appropriately met, home-schooled students are less likely to have the challenges that face many of the students in the public schools.
As a teacher of over 30 years, I have seen all kinds of fads used to modify students behaviors none that were overly successful. If we were to give children checks, what do we cut so there is money to do that? Should it by Gym, Art, and Music? Those programs have already been hacked just as Languages have. Most after-school sports programs have to be self-supporting as well. That leaves just the basics: Reading and Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies. The big push by the federal government to improve STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and math), means paring down childrens education elsewhere. When there is a bloated bureaucracy within school administration, less and less is available for teaching.
Such a proposal to pay students assumes that the students have the capability to do the activity in question for the rewards to be influential. Monetary rewards to students do not address the fact that most students do not choose to do poorly in school. I believe that once schools learn to teach to the student, students will learn. For students that attend classes at Mistacres, each child receives an individualized learning plan that takes into account the different ways children learn. A blended learning environment gives students the best of in-class learning along with virtual learning. Parents who want the best education for their kids have turned to our homeschooling programs, and use our virtual classrooms and curriculum to successfully home school their children.
Have you heard the latest key to learning that schools are coming up with? Schools across the country have decided to pay students for good grades, high test scores, attendance, and so on. According to a recent poll taken by CBS, 56% called it a bad thing and 37% said it was good.
I stand with the 56% who see this as not a good thing. As a taxpayer, I wonder when the tax revenue allocated to education will ever have the right priorities. I watch taxes and school budgets go up while staffing is cut, class sizes grow and scores drop in the public schools. At Mistacres School, a virtual learning academy for K-8 grades, there are no staff cutbacks or problems with class sizes. And yet, without receiving tax revenues to operate, the school delivers a higher quality education at a fraction of the per student cost of the public schools.
Learning Online allows children more flexibility to explore and discover things for themselves. But there are times when their interpretation may not be right, but is wonderfully funny. Here are just a few:
My first day of teaching (many years ago) we were discussing what Labor Day was and why it was a holiday. “Labor Day is the day my mother gave birth to me,” was the answer I received from a rather well-informed first grader.
When asked to define H2o and Co2, I learned that H2o was hot water and Co2 was cold.
A discussion about our bodies and our spine brought forth this definition: The spine is a long bunch of bones. Your head sits on top of the bones and you sit on the bottom.
(I wish I was an artist who could draw some of the things I’ve heard. But my students will tell you that I’m not even good at stick people.)