Magellan Montessori Can Complement Virtual Learning Programs

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This week, we’ll continue exploring distance education, a mode of delivering instruction, often on an individual basis, to students who are not physically present in a traditional setting such as a classroom. These learning experiences in which students and instructors are separated by space and/or time, are growing more popular as technology makes programs more accessible and easier to implement. In fact, we know from last week’s post about the origin and evolution of distance education, it is happily married to technology, which is directly tied to its development over the years and growing popularity today.
 
We are sharing information about distance education so that parents might consider Magellan Montessori's Guide to Homeschooling Early Elementary (Ages 6-9 Years) as a complement to a good distance learning program for K-12 students. For parents interested in the Montessori method, our homeschooling curriculum can be incorporated into or become an adjunct to other independent study programs and curricula. And to hear a senior policy analyst in education tell it, Magellan Montessori and distance education have much in common.
 
“Virtual and blended-learning programs will enable mass customization in education, allowing students to learn at their own pace in ways that are tailored to their learning styles and interests,” says Dan Lipsfrom the Domestic Policy Studies Department at The Heritage Foundation.
 
Virtual Learning for K-12
 
The term “distance learning” has become interchangeable with “e-learning” or “online learning,” used when the Internet is the medium. We will focus mainly on what is also called “virtual learning,” a term usually applied to courses taken outside a classroom by primary- or secondary-school pupils (and also typically using the Internet).
Let’s take a brief look at some of the more notable distance education programs for children:
Calvert Virtual Schools – By virtue of its longevity, dating back five score and 16 years ago, the Calvert School is a pioneer in distance learning and distinct in its nonprofit status. In addition to free tuition, the school has an impressive pedigree with a K-8 learning curriculum that is used by public, private, virtual charter and international schools and students in all 50 states and over 60 countries. We will take a more complete look at Calvert in next week’s post.
K¹² – Like Calvert, K¹² is an accredited, tuition-free program with a K-12 curriculum available through full-time public and private school programs; worldwide through the K¹² International Academy and several online private school partners; and via individual courses for supplemental needs or homeschooling. The virtual learning program’s mission is to develop a child’s full potential with a program individualized for each student.
Connections Academy – Connections Academy offers K-12 online programs that incorporate a high level of teacher interaction; a combination of online and printed textbooks, lesson plans and materials; and electives and activities to supplement the core curriculum. The full-time, tuition-free public school program is offered in many states, as well as nationwide through private school.
A Beka Academy – A Beka Academy says its objective is to provide a traditional distance learning program for students in kindergarten, elementary and high school by offering a college-preparatory curriculum taught from a Christian perspective. Like the other programs mentioned so far, it also has a program specifically for homeschoolers and provides among other materials “Christian character-building textbooks” that it publishes itself.
Insight Schools – Insight caters strictly to students at the high school level. Founded on the idea that traditional high school is not for everyone, the program markets itself as a quality solution to getting a good education and earning a high school diploma. It operates through a national network of online high schools; and the tuition-free program even offers student support services, clubs, proms and graduation ceremonies in addition to a comprehensive course catalog and qualified instructors.
 
Explore All Options
 
These are just a few of the virtual learning programs. In exploring them, parents must do the same due diligence Magellan Montessori would expect of those exploring its homeschooling curriculum. It’s the best way to determine the right program for a child, keeping in mind his or her learning style and personality.
Your school district might offer a free, public virtual school. And there are other online schools available that might suit a family’s needs: The Keystone School (part of a K12 company) is a private online school for middle and high school. And the George Washington University Online High School, powered by K¹² is a virtual college preparatory school for high-achieving high school students. Others cater to students who want to devote more time to such things as sports or training.
As always we encourage parents to research many different options before making the choice for your child’s education. For more information specifically about online learning, read Dan Lips’ excellent report for the Heritage Foundation.
 
Written by Brian Bixler
Brian Bixler has worked for nearly 30 years as a journalist, editor, critic and public relations professional, writing articles on various topics including arts education and special features on general education. He is currently a freelance writing and public relations consultant for a variety of clients, including Magellan Montessori LLC.
 

This article was originally posted on August 21, 2013.