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:
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.