Through active leadership in the trailblazing efforts of home, charter, private and international schools GSN takes students to their ultimate destination – a successful collegiate or vocational career in America. Global Student Network is the pre-eminent service provider to the […]
Global Student Network’s mission is to provide alternative educational options, designed to improve the academic preparation, achievement and general well being of non-traditionally oriented elementary, middle and high school age students and most recently offering solutions to adult learners.
Getting Started on Your New Journey
Congratulations! You’ve joined the ranks of many families who have incorporated online learning into their children’s education. Here are the steps to take to get you off on the right foot.
- Research Local Requirements Find out what is required in your state. Your local school district can help by letting you know what testing (if any) is required for homeschool students, what record-keeping is necessary, and how/where to submit a Letter of Intent to Homeschool. A local homeschool co-op is also a good source of information and support.
- Gather Necessary Equipment Decide what device your children will use for their online homeschooling. Will it be a desk top in the den? A lap top at the kitchen table? IPad? Tablet? Be sure the device you choose will be comfortable for the student and technologically adequate for the learning programs. If you have multiple learners, headphones will be in order as well as multiple devices.
- Choose Appropriate Curriculum The possibilities seem endless! Global Student Network is an excellent source for online homeschool curriculum because there are many options from one location. You can see a side by side comparison to determine which option is best for your learner. GSN offers courseware for grades K-12 including Christian, Common Core, Non Common Core, Honors, Career/Technical, middle and high school electives, ACT/SAT prep, and language study. If you need more help, GSN has live enrollment specialists who can help you.
- Determine Your Schedule First, decide by which date on the calendar you would like your children to complete their courses. Most systems allow you to enter that date (usually called a targeted end date) and a learning schedule will be generated accordingly. Of course, you have the final say in when learning happens! YOU know what time of day is most effective for YOUR children and whether there are special circumstances (like travel) that will require learning to happen more in “chunks.” You can also determine if students will tackle one or two courses at a time or work through all evenly. Students hoping to excel may work quicker through the courseware. That’s the beauty of online homeschooling – it’s NOT one size fits all!
- Get Acquainted with the Curriculum. Most online homeschool programs have an orientation video or presentation. Be sure you and your student are familiar with each feature. Do you know how to “unlock tests?” What if you need tech support? What types of activities comprise the final grade?
- Student Takes Initial Pre Test. Most learning systems begin with a pre test. Usually these are at the beginning of each unit. These clearly show what the student knows already and what they need to learn. The system will exempt them from lessons teaching skills or concepts they already know. However, you can have your child complete exempted items if you would like them to have the extra practice.
- Track Student Progress. Each learning program has a way for you to see exactly what the student has learned. You can see how they are progressing through the course and at what accuracy.
- Interact with Your Child. Besides overseeing their online progress, ask your child what he or she is learning. Discuss controversies in history. Encourage outside reading. Find fun ways to remember the multiplication tables. The more you connect with your child, the richer their online learning will be.
- Keep Proper Records. According to what is required in your state, be sure to complete required documentation. GSN can help with this too! We have record keeping assistance for homeschool families.
The first steps in any journey are often the hardest! But in no time you will well on your way to a successful online homeschooling adventure!
Flashback to this summer: We were at one of our local pools. My littlest ones were showing their prowess by reading the rules for the water slide. Upon completion they ran over to me and asked, “Mommy, are you over 300 pounds? You can’t ride the slide if you weigh more than 300 pounds!”
Bless their hearts. It takes a while for kids to understand the concept of weight and put things into perspective.
Sometimes it takes a while for us as parents to work our way through weighty issues and put things into the proper perspective, too.
Take for example the decision about how to educate our children. There is so much to consider in the homeschool vs. public school decision. Here are seven helpful questions to ask yourself.
Who will teach my children? Take a look at the teachers at your local public school. You may be thrilled by what you find or you may not. Homeschool requires the commitment of an adult. Ask yourself – who would that be for our family? If creative scheduling or work from home can be an option, homeschooling does not necessarily mean loss of income.
Which system best instills our values? It’s all about environment. Does our local school reinforce our personal beliefs? What environment would best shape the adult our child will grow to be? Whose values and beliefs do I want to influence my children?
Where can my children get the best academics? Look at school ratings. Talk to families who have their children in the school you are considering and talk to families to homeschool. Even better, talk to the children of both of those families. Which do I want my child to sound like?
Is safety an issue? What is the local school’s response to bullying? Is the building secure? What kind of supervision happens before and after school and on the playground?
What are my child’s learning needs and how can they be best met? Does my child learn best one-on-one or in a group? Are there sensory issues that require careful monitoring? Does my child need a faster pace to prevent boredom or a slower pace to prevent frustration?
With whom do I want my children to socialize? Or rather, how much control do I want to have over their socialization? Would we get involved in a homeschool coop?
What about curriculum? Is our local school embracing Common Core standards? Am I OK with that? What curriculum would we use if we homeschooled? There are many choices, especially online. Global Student Network is a good resource for comparing various curricula. Visit www.globalstudentnetwork.com to see the excellent choices available.
All the best as you weigh the various options for your family!
I have an affinity for recipes. No, I’m not “that woman” who has amazing binders of alphabetized, categorized recipes. I don’t subscribe to any foody magazines and mostly I cook from memory and trial-and-error.
But I still claim to like recipes. Especially those tied to interesting people, places, or circumstances. My favorite pizza crust recipe came from my sister-in-law and it is written on the back of a score sheet from a card game. (She and I won against our husbands, I might add). My favorite cookie recipe comes from my husband’s grandmother. It’s in her own handwriting – the same sweet penmanship that faithfully graced birthday and anniversary cards for years and years. It’s a treasure just as she was!
I like “recipes” for things other than food, too. My cleaning recipe using vinegar and baking soda can tackle just about anything! Our neighbors told me of a recipe for treating weeds. And in our home, popcorn and a family movie is just the recipe for relaxing on a Friday night.
If the mix is right and the results are good, it’s a recipe worth keeping.
There is a recipe for success in eLearning, too. After all, not all eLearning experiences are the right mix or have the best results. So in the spirit of passing along good recipes, may I offer the following:
Excellent eLearning Experience
1 student ready to learn This student can be of any age and any educational background. A homeschool student or a traditionally schooled student looking for extra help or enrichment – either would do nicely.
1 computer with internet access eLearning can happen anytime, anywhere. This means the student and his or her family can easily adapt their education to fit their lifestyle.
A hardy selection of fresh curricula Gathering a selection of curriculum options can be overwhelming as they are practically innumerable! However, there is a great source for this ingredient – www.globalstudentnetwork.com. At this one site you have a ready-made selection of 6 different online curriculum programs – engaging, effective, and fresh.
- Measure educational goals and mix with student’s learning style. Are you looking for high school honors courses? Do you have a 5th grader who is a visual learner? Are you wanting a Bible based curriculum? Once your goals and needs are clear, you are ready for step 2.
- Add the appropriate curriculum. Global Student Network is a great tool to use for this step! GSN has the information and assistance you need to make the best choice. You can see a side-by-side comparison of the various eLearning options, view demos and even chat with an enrollment specialist.
- Mix student with curriculum When your student begins to interact with the multimedia curriculum customized to meet his/her individual educational needs, a motivated, successful learner will emerge!
- Monitor progress All the eLearning programs at GSN make monitoring student progress simple. Parents and teachers can log in and see what the student has learned as well as what will be taught next. The curricula are designed to teach exactly what the student needs – no undercooked skills or over-baked concepts here!
- Serve with a dash of celebration! After all, what better can we give our children than a chance to be a successful, life-long learner?!
If you want to try this recipe, visit www.globalstudentnetwork.com. You could start cooking up some great eLearning today!
No apron required!
Aurora borealis. The Northern Lights! Have you ever seen them? I have a vague recollection of seeing them when I was a child living in the Adirondacks. I remember the beautifully odd lighting in the sky and how impressed the adults were. I knew from their response I was seeing something special.
Bears. I have a very clear recollection of seeing them! One night my parents put us in our pajamas, loaded us up in the back of the Pinto station wagon, and drove to the dump. There we joined the many other cars encircling the trash heap and waiting with headlights on. Before long, black bears came to rummage through the garbage. I remember being totally mesmerized watching these lumbering-yet-graceful creatures work their way through the landfill. (As an adult, I see several things about this scenario that makes me just shake my head . . . )
Ah, those childhood experiences are priceless. They are priceless to the child AND priceless to the adult who shares the experience. (Even as I’m typing this, my neighbor is on her way to take her 3 year old son to play at the park. It makes me well up because it seems only yesterday I was heading to the park with my babies. “Ooooh! Have a great time! Such a great, wonderful time!” I say through teary eyes. She must think I’m a nut!!)
No doubt this is one of the reasons many families choose to homeschool their children. The moments – mere moments! – when our children are young are so precious and fleeting. To think of being able to share each and every day with those little lives.
To see through their eyes the wonder of the world they are discovering.
To be there for the “Aha!” moments.
To share the best and favorite stories.
To instill a love for learning.
Yes, homeschool is about better academics and a safer environment and building character and instilling faith and fill-in-the-blank. But above all, homeschool is about walking hand-in-hand through life and learning with those you treasure most. It’s about making the most of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Confession: My husband and I love maps.
“You are the only people I know who actually sit and read maps!” My sister has stated this on several occasions. Like we have a bizarre condition. In this age of travel by GPS, perhaps our affinity for maps is a bit odd. But what can I say? We love maps!
I guess we love maps for the plain and simple reason that we like looking at where we’ve been, imagining where we’ll go next and planning what we’ll see along the way. It’s a wonderful combination of having the big picture and the details, too.
A map is a good metaphor for online learning. When the curriculum is a good fit, you can clearly see where you’ve been, where you’re heading and what you might expect to see along the way.
Where You’ve Been
Everyone should have a clear sense of the learning progress being made. Parents and teachers need this information to better assist the student. They can see where the student needs to be encouraged to spend more time and effort and where success comes readily. When students are aware of their progress, they can take ownership of their learning. Seeing for themselves what they have accomplished spurs them on. A good online curriculum is one that the student can easily navigate and see at a glance the progress they have made.
Where You’re Headed
The best of online curricula begins with a pretest or some sort of initial assessment and prescribes a plan accordingly. After all, why spend time and effort covering concepts and skills the student already knows? Having a clear picture of where they’re headed helps all types of students. It prevents the excelling student from becoming bored (they will not have to revisit material they’ve already mastered) and the student requiring more support from becoming frustrated (they will not be expected to begin at a level beyond their prior knowledge). For all learners, having a sense of direction and learning efficiency helps to keep students motivated and moving forward.
What You Might See Along the Way
The beauty of online curriculum is that the possibilities are endless! Instruction can include audio and video formats as well as interactive platforms. Material can be easily updated to include the most recent research or findings. The sheer number of high school electives available online means that anyone can learn anything!
All the best on your educational journey! Oh, and don’t forget your map!
To see online curriculum in action, go to www.globalstudentnetwork.com. GSN offers many types of online programs from one site. You can view demos and see the qualities mentioned above. Go ahead and explore!