Possibilities and Perspectives with Online Learning
Online resources can provide great teaching resources so that students can learn the core subjects as well as specialty courses. Online classes, projects, and events can enrich the core subject lessons. Students should have a variety of options to learn skills and encourage creativity. Online collaboration can offer opportunities for students to work with peers, perhaps with people in other countries and cultures, or to participate in nationwide projects. Based on the available talents and interests of the parents, co-op teachers, students, and community, part of each day should be available for free exploration and study based on individual strengths and pursuits.
A variety of living skills should be required. More than merely focusing on preparing students for college or careers, we should also address the daily living skills for a healthy and happy life. Students should spend time learning practical skills such as: project management, health habits, relationship skills, character education, and career training. The resources online are vast and extensive. For instance, colleges have specialty courses available free to the public. Students and their families can benefit by practical learning long after the formal school years are completed.
Assessments can be reached through a variety of ways. Although there is concern about standardized testing and colleges view the ACT/SAT tests as a gauge of intelligence, a personalized approach should be a priority. Parents should acquire sensitivity toward each student’s learning patterns and unique intelligences. Assessments can be done by the student themselves, by testing, by results of a project, by a teacher or parents’ review, by computer, by peers, or a variety of other ways. Grades should reflect a variety of assessments.
Students should see mistakes as a chance to learn more. They are often given a “test” to assess their knowledge and the results of that test remains with them. Instead, students should be given the opportunity to use their lack of knowledge to challenge more. In real life, when a mistake is made, the successful businessman, parent, or participant learns from it and then progresses toward doing it better. Therefore, a mistake is not the end — it spurs on new insight and knowledge. There is a place for student test scores especially in online learning. However, when students do not do well on tests, it should be an indication to look further into the limitations of their understanding in order to find other ways to gain the necessary knowledge. Doing this can prepare students for a lifetime of development and cultivate creative ideas, actions, and skills.
Discipline is more than book learning, studying every day at the same time, or doing what you are told to do. Discipline can be taught while students pursue their passions. A variety of disciplined experiences — based on age appropriateness — should be encouraged where students learn to find internal strength to go beyond difficulties. These include such activities as the development of a talent, a year-long service project, preparation for a talent contest, or challenging deeper knowledge on a particular subject. Parents, mentors, and elders can demonstrate and discuss examples of going beyond a personal comfort level to achieve success. Students should experience “being in the zone” at times even though they need to strive through certain habits or material necessary to facilitate that “zone.”
Families should have a healthy giving and receiving relationship with the community. Families can do a variety of service projects to help the community. This improves the community and it gives people a chance to think about others and have the fulfillment of offering their charitable acts. The community can offer situations that students can work in the field either as a volunteer or as a paid employee. Resources of the community may be available to students for such activities as physical fitness, outside projects, presentations, contests, etc. There doesn’t need to be a wide separation between school and “real life”. Our combination of engaging digital curriculum and resources can inspire students to apply, deepen, and extend their learning while encouraging their personal motivation. Our hope is that all students can develop their natural talents and become valuable contributors to society.