When people find out I teach for a living from my home, they get confused. Then they learn my students are from around the globe, and confusion grows. How do you teach people who don’t speak English from so far away? (Answer: They have to prove writing fluency in English through placement tests.) How do your students ask questions? The list goes on, and most are legitimate questions, especially from Baby Boomers for whom technology boggles the mind already.
I thought I’d just give you a tour of my virtual world and make it a little more concrete for you. My students who read the blog will enjoy it from my view… or at least I hope so.
First of all, our program is not only credible, it’s accredited. Here’s a list of accolades:
- On-line classes since 1997
- Grades 4 to 12
- Complete curriculum or à la carte
- Live interactive classes
- Top scholarship + biblical worldview
- Timely effective teacher feedback
- AP courses with top scores
- College dual credit courses
- Accredited HS transcript option
- NCAA approved
By the way, we encourage our students to think and ask questions. Many hear that “biblical worldview” and make pretty broad–and often intolerant assumptions. No, we don’t cram the Bible and only the Bible into every course just to fit our beliefs, but we do guide and direct through relationships with our students, and yes, our goal is to see them come to Christ and live an abundant life making a difference in the lives of those around them.
Practically, our classroom functions very much like brick and mortar, except students can capture screenshots of the board, or we can share our media files with them easily. In other words, we don’t have to slow down the in-class instruction for slow writers to take notes. We also record every class, so if they remember that I said something important but aren’t positive they understood, they can go back and listen again, and so can their parents.
We have a powerful LMS (Learning Management System), designed specifically for The Potter’s School. I can go back years and find specific assignments a student wrote for me, and so can both students and parents. Its analytics allow me to notice trends in student progress and notifies me when a particular student has had three consecutive low scores. Parents have constant access in real time to grade books, messages I send to them, and to their students’ goals and objectives, resources, any course syllabus, and too many other features to list here. Here’s a peek at my Writing Fundamentals 6 course for young ones with beginning level experience in composition:
I wanted to show you my grade book–obviously, it’s electronic, but I graded all my papers last night, and it’s empty today–not to mention the whole privacy issue. Oh well, suffice to say it has all the necessary bells and whistles for students to send me their work, for me to assess it and send tons of meaningful feedback to help them improve, and it also has some pretty nifty sorting tools.
I’m more than happy with my little realm in the virtual world. Our students develop friendships, real relationships, with children all over the globe. They couldn’t care less the color of their classmates’ skin. It just doesn’t matter. They travel often on mission trips, and many come to us because they already globe trot with their families for business, military, or athletic competitions. Did you notice we’re NCAA approved? That’s no small thing for an aspiring athlete who no longer has to prove Mom didn’t just give him those grades at the dining room table.
Education has come a long way, and I’m so thankful to be on the cutting edge.
…and that’s the view from My Front Porch.
By the way, if you are a teacher, student, or parent of TPS, I’d love for you to leave a comment below for those skeptics reading. They may still imagine homeschoolers in their denim jumpers with lace doily collars and white tennis shoes. It’s a whole new world!