Saturday, July 22, 2006

are you ready for the revolution? part III, homeschooling

Part I, online academies
Part II, the Google PC

Homeschoolers and school districts have a new way to strengthen their sometimes uneasy alliance, through the continued expansion of online learning. It's happening right here, right now.
The Olympia School District plans to start a distance learning program late this fall that would reach out to students receiving home-based instruction.

The district is exploring ways to start an online learning program that would be accessible to all Olympia students, starting with those in middle and high school....

Avanti High School Principal Joy Walton is working to develop the distance learning program, which initially would join up with parents who are educating their children at home.

It’s likely parents could seek a range of educational options, from simply receiving materials or guidance from an Olympia teacher to having their child receive regular instruction at a school learning center.
Some homeschoolers see it as a threat to homeschooling, but I see it exactly the other way. It's the potential homeschoolization of public education, an increasing emphasis on individual learning fostered by IEPs, alternative schools, and now, viable online programs. (Note that the new Olympia initiative will eventually be available to in-district students.)

The Skyward program we use for attendance--or something bigger and/or better--will someday be the place to post grades and comments on student performance, with access for parents, possibly linked to other online programs. The software and hardware are already in place, and the wider culture is ready for it. Are you?

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