by Michael Leppert
Extensive Testing Services, Learning Disability/Special Ed Services, Tutors for Parents and Fully-Accredited High School Diploma -- all Online!
Homeschooling and the Internet go together like soap and water. With all of the great resources and services available to us on the ĎNet, it is hard to imagine what struggles our homeschool forebears endured in the "prehistoric" 1970s and Ď80s, with mere books, paper, pencils, chalk and blackboards.
One of the greatest innovations of the Internet age is the online school -- especially for older students, in middle school and high school. These are the ages when parents, who
may have previously been comfortable with the local public school, begin to closely scrutinize the social and academic environments their children are swimming through and find the school system wanting. Like the 7th Calvary, online schools are charging to the rescue! And leading the charge is ED Anywhere, one of the very best online schools available. One reason for this is its flexibility, the result of the foresight of its optimistic founder, Phillip Singh, who believes that there is always a successful path for every student.
At the apex of the growing popularity of homeschooling in general is flexibility. Parents can customize a curriculum that is exactly perfect for their child. And if they find that it isnít perfect, voila! they can change it -- not at the end of the semester or the end of the quarter, but right now, today! Homeschooled children do not have to suffer through wasting their time with inappropriate or useless programs as their public school counterparts do. The founder and owner of ED Anywhere, Mr. Philip Singh, understands this approach and has it as one of the underlying principles of his school. "The public school tries to make every child fit its system -- even if it is obvious that there is no fit.
With homeschooling you can design a program that fits your child."
At E.A. parents with students who do not have high school credits can purchase the testing and assessment services offered to recover and document school credits. After that, they can choose to have E.A. provide them counseling for acting upon the asessment, or not . . . whatever they wish. If parents enroll a child in the online middle school or high school program, they can check the childís progress daily, if they wish. Grades, homework assignment status, etc., are all updated daily by the teachers. If progress is not up to parentsí standards, parents can identify it immediately and work with their child to get it corrected.
The curriculum used was developed by Home Study International, an accredited distance education provider affiliated with Ed. Anywhere, and is used in Mr. Singhís day school in Sterling, Virginia. He evolved his philosophy of education while working with developing youth in Loudoun County, VA for 15 years. He operated multi-therapy programs and alternative school programs as well, and his model has been used by several high schools in the country. Mr. Singh still teaches math at the day school and also teaches some of the online math courses.
One of the most significant services offered by E.A. is for a student who has failed a course in high school and has to repeat it. E.A. uses a course recovery accelerated method. The student is given an exam on the material he covered in the failed course. Then his/her knowledge of the material is assessed. Then, the E.A. course is offered focusing on the weaknesses that have not been mastered. At the completion of the course, a follow-up exam is given and if the student passes it, she/he takes a final exam, this grade replaces his/her initial failing grade. As Mr. Singh explained: "Most students who fail a course know some of the material. If a student received a grade of 58%, that means she/he knew about half of the material covered; so why waste the studentís time re-covering that half? We concentrate on the half she/he didnít know. It works very well and it is a much faster way for the student to make up the class."
Ed. Anywhere also provides strong tutorial support for parents of enrolled online students -- thatís right, the parents! If you break out in a cold sweat at the thought of teaching your child high school chemistry or advanced math, E. A. provides online tutors to help you through it. Students may purchase chemistry lab kits sold by E.A. that are safe and reasonably priced and also offer a number of experiments that use household ingredients.
Another unique feature of E.A. is that all teachers are Special Ed. certified. This is because the day school has many children who are Special Ed. students and the faculty brings this extra training to bear in the online school as well. Ed. Anywhere also offers Special Education Consultation with resources such as computer programs which read the text aloud to the students. This is a dramatic help to those children who have difficulty reading.
The future of Ed. Anywhere holds some very exciting aspects for homeschoolers as well. Besides his work mentioned above, Mr. Singh has had experience working with student entrepreneurs and job counseling. By June, 2006, E.A. will offer job aptitude testing, assessment and counseling in the online school -- the day school already offers such services -- and the studentís Job Profile will be generated along with Dot Scores -- the specific number assigned to every job in the country by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Therefore, once a student has completed the necessary testing to generate a Job Profile, she/he can go to the Dept. of Laborís website and look up all of the jobs suggested by the Profile to see exactly what they are and how the Department rates them for being in-demand, etc.
Besides the fully accredited high school diploma that is awarded by E.A. to students who complete the necessary course work, Ed. Anywhere also offers GED diplomas for students 16 years of age or older. (Their testing services and solutions go beyond what is mentioned in this article. Please see them on the website for your specific needs.)
Stephanie Havener, M.Ed./Special Ed., is the Home School Coordinator/Language Arts Chair/Special Ed Coordinator for Ed Anywhere. She has much experience with homeschooling, having grown up in Oregon with many friends who were homeschoolers. She understands that parents know their children better than anyone else, and that when it comes to the initial assessments for the online program, speaking with the parents is essential. "Once I have my initial consultation with the parents, I can mention our remedial reading program and our other special needs services, if the need is there. Homeschooling parents are much more aware of their childís strengths and weaknesses than parents whose children are coming out of the public schools, so they are good at informing me about anything special we need to address."
Ms. Havener stated that a large percentage of children coming into the Ed. Anywhere program have ADHD, dyslexia, ADD or other learning disabilities. These children may not even be diagnosed with a disability, but simply have not thrived in a traditional
school setting. Many students with differing levels of activity, focus, and learning styles have difficulty in the traditional setting, and thus develop academic and behavior problems. Edanywhere offers the curriculum and support, while families create the enviroment that best suites the child.
If the student has reading disabilities - Ed. Anywhere uses a very affordable software program that reads the on-screen info to the student and refers parents to how to purchase it. This program can read anything on the computer or on the Internet -- websites, e-books, etc. -- providing these students with access to virtually any printed material. However, even though the program reads to them, these are required to write everything themselves. In the pub schools, these students would be taught a dumbed-down version of a subject, receiving a 3rd-grade book instead of the high school equivalent, for instance -- even though the student can understand the high school level, he just canít read it himself. Without such a software program, the parents have to sit and read everything to the child. Online students have to supply remedial reading work themselves, but Stephanie refers them to the same program E.A. uses at its onsite school.
If you are considering a solution to your middle school/high school public institution, or simply want to have your homeschooler attend an excellent, caring, online, accredited high school, you will be pleased at what you find at Ed. Anywhereís website. They have extensive information and fee schedules available for your perusal. Please go to www.edanywhere.com or call toll free 877/4ED-0805.
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