"Intellectual distinction is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for election to a Rhodes Scholarship. Selection committees are charged to seek excellence in qualities of mind and in qualities of person which, in combination, offer the promise of effective service to the world in the decades ahead. The Rhodes Scholarships, in short, are investments in individuals rather than in project proposals..."

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Recipe for an on-line co-schooling experience

Have you ever dreamed of doing a class with another family, but are intimidated at the idea of trying to get together on a regular basis?  How about doing an on-line class with another family or two?  It's easy and if you are using the same curriculum, no extra books are needed!

For each family you will need:
  • 1 computer with Skype* installed and an Internet connection
  • 1 web cam
  • 1 or more willing students (and one teacher)
 *If more than two families are participating, ONE family will need Skype Premium.

Once both parties have installed Skype and created Skype accounts, they need to invite each other to Skype.  After that is completed, you can connect to one another and start!  You can lecture, discuss, have a Socratic seminar or share screens.
Did you know that if it is just a two-way conversation, you can share screens (meaning you can):
  • Show a presentation (done with PowerPoint or some other presentation package)
  • Watch a DVD together (the person with the DVD must share screens)
  • Watch YouTube videos or listen to audio together
  • Use educational games or software together
Group Screen Sharing (more than two people talking) is not available on Skype Premium for Windows unless you install Yugma or some other web conferencing tool.  Group Screen Sharing IS available for MAC with Skype Premium.

If you want to check out a free on-line test service, visit examgeneral.com and sign up for a free account.  Your students will need accounts, too.

I run several classes on-line (in a co-schooling manner) with three other families right now.  We meet one time or more a week.  Then I will assign, for certain classes, on-line quizzes.
Here's what we do every week:
3X a week - Lingua Latina
1X a week - Latina Christiana
1X a week - Earth Science for grades 5-8
1X a week - Earth Science for grades 1-3
1X a week - Catechism class
1X a week - Bible Study
1X a week - Composition class

This has been a grand experiment for me.  My older kids, at 12 and 13 are interested in more social schooling, but have no desire to go to a brick and mortar school.  This has given them the opportunity to study with other kids their age on topics we would cover anyway!  I have the Science class for the younger kids because they think it's really cool.  And, no, I am not taking any more students ;-).  I have seven other students between three other families so I'm sufficiently obligated.  However, if you have questions about doing this, please let me know.

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