A parent, grandparent or other family member who is with the child regularly is the child’s primary teacher/learning coach. We provide online classes, workbooks that go along with the online portion, and other classroom materials. The learning coach takes the student through provided calendar/daily activities each day. Then the student watches short videos and then does workbook pages associated with those videos. The teacher coaches the student along and does the activities with the student and provides him/her with additional instruction and feedback as needed. At the Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade levels, students' days are divided up into 4 'cycles' with math, reading, science, and social studies making up a part of each of them. So teaching is done in small bits throughout the day as the student can do them. Parents can decide when appropriate times for recess, snacks, lunch, etc are. Older students have classes in core subject areas: Language Arts, Math, Social Studies and Science. Breaks for them can be divided up between classes as needed.
One common misconception about our program is that there is a time to log in to do a live class with the teacher and other students. The videos are pre-made to fit the curriculum and everyone moves at their own pace through the course. This gives you the flexibility to teach to the student’s needs and work around your schedules. When an area of need or interest for several students comes to light, we can schedule some synchronous sessions for learning. For example, we've done a live writing unit where students video chatted (using Skype) then came in to class for some live sessions as well as a blended math class that follows the CPM curriculum taught in the district middle schools through a combination of pre-recorded video and face-to-face lessons.
Brick and Mortar Role
Students have the option of doing up to two classes at an MCPASD elementary or middle school. Our teacher is based out of Northside Elementary School which is a very welcoming school for online students who want to integrate into a couple classes. In addition to taking 2 classes some students stay for a lunch or recess if it takes places directly before or after their classes. For example, there is a 1st grader who attends music, art and PE (because these classes only take place a few days a week, we allow an exception at the elementary school and they can take an extra course). Some days, she goes to art and then music and then her class has lunch so she joins them for that and recess. It's great for her to have some unstructured time with her class and she loves it.
We are also experimenting with doing some instruction with small groups of both eSchool students and Northside students together. Since the eSchool often has small numbers at each specific grade level, the eSchool teacher will sometimes partner with a Northside teacher to teach some small groups that include an eSchool student or two. We're hoping to build more of that in, but it all depends on student needs. The reason we're doing this is that there are such small numbers at each grade level in the eSchool and this allows students to work with others their age by involving Northside students. Everyone benefits!
eSchool Teacher Role
It is mandatory that all students meet at least twice a month with the eSchool teacher in some capacity, although we see most students more often than that. For homebound students, the teacher typically goes to their home twice a month to do assessments and instruction as needed. We also can do other activities based around student interest (that's what's so great about this program- everything can be individualized!). Some students come in to Northside and the teacher meets with them individually to do instruction while others participate in small groups for instruction based on student need.
There are also certain assignments within the curriculum students need to scan and send in to the eSchool teacher who then grades and provides feedback on the work. Each year, there are assessments required by the state as well as some additional assessments we use for feedback on student progress that we also ask students to participate in.
Each month we try to plan a few field experiences: seeing plays, Wisconsin Science Festival, corn maze, Engineering Expo, Rube Goldberg building day, Writing Club, Book Clubs (at library), cookie decorating, Pheasant Branch Trail tour, WI Veteran's Museum, and much more. We involve families in making decisions about these experiences so that we do activities they will find valuable.
Most of our students have great outcomes. They're taught by family members who are invested in their education and commit to the time and lifestyle this type of education requires. Students are taught in 1:1 or 1:2 situations so that obviously makes the teaching/learning process go more smoothly. Everything is tailored to individual needs, including the speed of the lessons, so that makes learning more enjoyable for both parties. Students need to learn to respect their parent as a teacher and the relationship changes, but many parents find teaching their own child very rewarding and enjoy how their relationship builds. That said, there is a big time commitment and each day needs to be scheduled around learning and other appointments.
We primarily use curriculum from Lincoln Learning for students grades K-5 with the alternative option of K12. Students in grades 6-8 utilize curriculum through the Wisconsin eSchool Network. Please find more information under the Curriculum page.