Student interviews

This wonderfully simple video done by a school in Texas talks about how the experience of part-time attendance (they call it a college-style school) compares to public school and how it compares to homeschooling.

To me, this is a SNEAK PREVIEW of what we can expect just a few years from now, when we have our first graduates! It is incredibly exciting!!!

Partnership for hands-on science

Science is a SCARY subject for most homeschool families. Let’s face the facts:

  • Some parents feel unable to teach science.
  • Most homeschool programs are very light on hands-on science.
  • Many Christian parents feel that we need to raise up scientists who are ready to make the big breakthroughs of the future. (Many scientists of the past derived scientific ideas from Bible passages, including Matthew Maury and Christopher Columbus.)
  • Science education is the key to many careers, including traditional fields like nursing and engineering. Also, science education is the key to brand new careers that are made possible by 3-D printing.
  • Even if the parents are qualified to teach science, they don’t have access to all the short-term use science equipment that is really needed in order to teach hands-on science. (Let’s get real: Not many students want to see the microscope slide of the cross-section of the mealworm more than once during their education! For this one moment we must buy it and store it for years???)

Because of this strategic need in our community, we are really focusing on hands-on science education.

Hands-on science requires a lot of things to touch and do, along the road to learning. So addressing this need for hands-on science means addressing the need for specific science EQUIPMENT. It’s more than just a microscope and a test tube (although those are essential) — it’s also the molecule building sets and rodent skulls for comparative study, and the puzzles that help students learn the parts of the brain as well as the pulleys and levers that let students discover first-hand. Hands-on science means observing MANY different things that God put here on our earth!

NEXT Education has formed a strategic partnership with a brand new homeschool resource center in State College, Pennsylvania. This center is stocked with thousands of dollars of items that homeschoolers can use to enhance their educational quality. This resource center will be like a hands-on science library for us, allowing us to spend very little money as we start up, but allowing us to have a TOP quality science program from day one.

Have you ever wanted to see an actual example (a little dustier and more real-looking) of every rock and mineral in the “book of pretty rock pictures?” Have you ever wanted to touch a sand dollar or a piece of real coral? And now here’s one that you wouldn’t have known to dream about: How about pretending you are an eel as you and your friends look at a model of a coral reef? Yes, there’s a hand puppet that lets you become the eel in this terrific hands-on exhibit. (Is that an example of “hands-on,” or do we have to call the eel hand puppet “hands-in?”) These examples are only a few of the items in this amazing collection.

This strategic partnership will take hands-on science to a level that no individual family could ever afford. It’s almost like having a science museum ON SITE, custom tailored to the content of each class.

In addition, we have identified a fabulous line of high-content, incredibly fun text books for middle school science education. These materials go hand-in-hand with the hands-on science resources we will be offering. Here is a link to this amazing line of products:

Curricula For Sale

More elective options!!!

When it comes to electives, MORE options is BETTER. Period.

One of the critical concerns for a start-up school is availability of electives. Parents wonder many things about electives (and for that matter, core classes too):

  • What will be the quality of teaching?
  • How can a small number of staff cover all the classes?
  • How many options will there be?
  • What if you are offering something my student doesn’t need?

We knew that one key to success would be affordable access to a large number of electives. But we also knew that it would be important to keep quality high in all our classes! To accomplish these goals, we are partnering with Homeschool Connections. At NEXT Education, these online classes allow us to support students’ unique needs in three ways:

  1. We can use the recorded lectures as homework for group classes. This means that we can spend in-person class time discussing the material and ensuring student mastery of the material. All that we need in order to offer a quality course is a dedicated class time, and a dedicated facilitator for the class. This facilitator doesn’t have to be a subject matter expert. The facilitator’s job is to take the class along with the kids, but to keep ahead so that he or she can assign relevant readings and papers, and can highlight interesting facts from the upcoming week’s material, as well as reviewing past material as needed. Students will benefit greatly from studying together with others, including a motivated adult learner!
  2. We can use the recorded lectures for independent classwork. Even if there isn’t a facilitator for a group class, students can take the classes on their own and just meet weekly with a tutor who checks on progress and trouble shoots the learning process. This tutor isn’t taking the class, but can ask relevant questions and provide feedback on the progress, so that students (and parents) know whether their chosen independent classwork is on schedule.
  3. We can use the recorded lectures as a library for families to use at home. If students are unable to meet with tutors because of time constraints, or if families want to participate in their students’ education at home, they will be happy to know that the price paid for access to the recorded lectures we use will also give families complete access to the entire pre-recorded class library at Homeschool Connections, throughout the school year, on a 24/7 basis. When they are not on campus for any reason, families can create assignments and progress reports as any homeschool family might do. (Remember, you are still homeschooling with all the legal rights and responsibilties for your child’s education! Isn’t it great to know that we agree with you that your role is critical?)

Finally, these course materials cover electives and cover them well, but families will also find that they cover the core subjects. This is a Catholic organization, so it is consistent with the Christian world view.

It is our goal to offer classes independently, not just those offered by Homeschool Connections. However, this is a great place to start so parents can have the peace of mind to know that their students will have access to a complete middle or high school education, with a flexible schedule so their students will be able to participate.

From worst to best

The 2012-13 school year could easily have been my worst.

I had experienced a recent loss in my family, and my husband was working far away and had a very long commute that year. I had a toddler and two older children, as well.

But when I planned that school year, I realized that I would need support through that year, so I recruited a teacher to come to my home once a week. We had group classes in my home, with a paid teacher. I worked with the younger children and did not ask for payment. Instead, my friends took my kids at other times during the week to say thank you.

Ordinarily, in every normal year of my homeschool life, I had experienced a winter burnout. In fact, January and February often found me thinking about quitting homeschooling entirely, due to burnout.

But this particular year, when I really should have experienced worse burnout than ever before (given all the strain I was under), I hit January … and I was happy as a clam! I loved having everyone descend on my house every week for a big happy party. The teacher I was working with always had a wisecrack and an encouraging word. And the kids brought energy and enthusiasm for everything they did. (Like kids always do when they are together!)

That year I was just fine, as a homeschool mother. As a matter of fact, far from giving up in January (like I usually did in the dead of winter when I was stuck at home by myself), I started planning for a short co-op science class that would be held in April and May of that year, also in my home.  In the end, 15 kids came and they all loved it so much they are still talking about it!

That year when we wrapped things up, my kids and I agreed that the day we had a school in our home was our favorite day of the week. We looked forward to it every week!

As a matter of fact, I made the statement that I was at peace with homeschooling. I said I would never again look back. I was okay with being a homeschooler … it was a life that worked for me and I loved it. I swore I was never again going to look at cyber school websites, private school websites, or public school websites because I wasn’t going to burn out now that I knew how to avoid it. I was happy with my lot in life and I believed it would always be that way.

Now we are ready to take that seed of a dream (the tutoring service in our home) and move it to a professional location! Youngstown, Ohio, is the location for the hybrid homeschool education of our dreams!

NEXT Education will be opening soon to serve homeschool families by taming the education monsters and eliminating homeschool burnout!

Are you called to homeschool but feeling burned out? You are in the right place … and YES THIS REALLY WILL HELP!!!!!!!!

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Who is in charge of hybrid homeschool?

Who is in charge of the children’s education when you’re in a hybrid homeschool program?

This article makes the point that the PARENT should remain in charge of children’s education. At NEXT Education, we couldn’t agree more!

The final responsibility for children is, and always has been, with their parents. We are happy to support them … but parents are the ones who always should be in charge!

Best quote:

For my family, I feel that there is definitely a place and a season for such a program in homeschooling. I am realizing however, that I cannot trust my children’s entire education to such programs because if I do, I cease to be a homeschooling parent, and become a sheep of an educational program.

What is hybrid homeschool?

Simply put, a hybrid homeschool program allows homeschool parents to receive significant help from professional teachers as they school their children.

Typically, students meet with these teachers two days a week, and study at home the remaining three days a week.

Although some people might call cyber school a hybrid (the article below seems to blur the line at times), we find it most helpful to reserve the name “hybrid” for a service that has a physical location for classes.

Here is some information on hybrid homeschool from the news:

Hybrid Homeschooling

Best quote:

Breaden did traditional homeschooling for her children, but switched to The King’s Academy. “The great thing about this kind of system – they’re home with you,” she says. “But at the same time, (teachers) give you the basic structure of what you’re going to teach each day.”