Friday, December 10, 2010

Distance Learning Works

Distance learning has caught fire. No longer limited to the university level, 44 states now offer significant K-12 online learning opportunities—either supplemental, full-time, or both. States recognize the importance of having an online learning option to address the public’s demand for school choice/reform, 21st century workforce preparation, and practical solutions for school closings caused by weather or illness (e.g., swine flu).
Estimates indicate that enrollment in K-12 online courses is growing by as much as 30% a year. According to the 2009 report by the U.S. Department of Education—Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning—over a million K-12 public school students enrolled in a technology-based distance education course in the 2007-08 school year. While the majority of research has been done with older online learners, the report’s analysis of 51 studies shows that students who took all or part of a class online performed better, on average, than those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face instruction.
Technological advances have fueled the explosive growth of K-12 online learning over the last decade, but there are other reasons for the growing popularity. Online classes meet diverse needs in ways that cannot always be addressed in brick-and-mortar classrooms. Populations most served by K-12 online courses are students who:
  • cannot access traditional classrooms due to physical or cognitive disabilities.
  • want access to courses, resources, and instructors that are unavailable where they live (e.g., rural or underserved regions).
  • require flexibility to study at their own pace. Scheduling flexibility appeals especially to high school students who have jobs and family obligations.
  • are homeschooled. The availability of online courses and K-12 virtual schools gives homeschooled children greater educational opportunities.

Writing Resources for Parents, Students and Teachers

Below you will find links to resource articles about writing in general or Time4Writing classes offered online.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Homeschooling Our Asperger's Child

Homeschooling Our Asperger's Child

"New to the concept of homeschooling, it became immediately apparent to us that, if we were to remove our children from the traditional schooling system, we were bound to provide an educational experience that not only rivaled what could be learnt in a traditional classroom but better it still. It was at this juncture that Time4learning system became an important partner in the education of our children.
Time4learning is a thorough curriculum that allows children to move through the lessons at their own pace. The lessons are short and fun. Children learn and are engaged by what is presented without stress or boredom. Each lesson completed on Time4learning gives our children a sense of achievement. The lessons provide positive reinforcement without the kind of pressure that can trigger stressful episodes in children with Asperger’s. There are no set lesson times, our children can log onto the system and resume learning at any time, the kind of flexibility that is priceless to a parent of a child with a pervasive developmental disorder.
Time4learning’s comprehensive language arts program has helped us to bridge the gap between the look/say method our children used to learn to read and the phonics training they needed to become better readers still. After using Time4learning successfully for over a year, to date this is one set of lessons that my children actually request to do.
Time4learning really does make learning easy and fun and I would recommend it to anyone." - Paula, Parent of an Asperger’s Child

Excerpt of the article on Homeschooling Our Asperger's Child

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Many resources, think about it

I learned a lot from the homeschool online website that I read.

Most children go through this process - 
Relationships Among Phonemic Awarenes
Phonics, and Sight Word Recognition Skills. ) 
relatively seamlessly, moving easily from the use of alphabetic strategies to the formulation of strong orthographic representations that can be accessed automatically. There is, however, a percentage of "at risk" children (approximately 20-40% depending on the specific school demographics) who benefit from having phonemic awareness and phonic word attack strategies systematically taught..


Friday, December 3, 2010

Spelling and Special Needs

Many people have questioned the importance of teaching spelling in an age when our computers and our phones often have spelling checkers and suggested words always available. Of course, these gadgets can suggest and approve words that are totally inappropriate to the context, frequently with comical results. There is an underlying question about the significance of spelling skills for literacy, reading comprehension, reading fluency, and writing skills. This article summarizes the research underling the question of how spelling skills, such as automaticity, build reading fluency and comprehension. It addresses the question of the research base for the activities provided by

The article is reprinted with permission by Diane E. Nies, Manager of Professional Development and Publications, The International Dyslexia Association. Granted in writing, April 9, 2009. Original source: the International Dyslexia Association quarterly newsletter, Perspectives, Winter, 2002, vol. 28, no. 1, pages 9-14. Signed SpelliingCity Mayor.




In addition to acquiring phonic word attack strategies, prosodic features at the word level such as stress on syllables are important. At times, poor readers can accurately decode a word but true recognition of the word eludes them because they have not correctly accented one of the syllables. Dyslexic students often have difficulty hearing the accented syllables in a word, so teachers should first determine if a student is able to discriminate and identify through listening alone. If a student cannot hear differences, lessons should begin with listening practice and then move to oral production. Visual and tactile/kinesthetic strategies can be incorporated with listening if necessary. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Homeschooling & Aspergers

Educating Your Asperger’s Syndrome Child

If you are the parent of a child with Asperger’s Syndrome, you have probably already met with some educational challenges. Parents want the best for their children, no matter what.
Children with Asperger’s Syndrome have educational and social struggles in school. They have different academics strengths and needs and different learning methods. In addition to subject matter, their adapting to a classroom and the array of interactions and stimulations in an institutional structure is a challenge.
Children with Asperger’s Syndrome are often visual learners. They often have poor fine motor skills, and writing is often a chore. Their math and language arts skills are often at different levels. They often learn routine social interaction behavior from observing others or through explicit instruction. Children with Asperger’s need a highly structured education plan.

If you are ready and able to do this at home...Well, wow!

Many parents are surprised when their bright Asperger’s children struggle in school. Often seen as "little professors" they are assumed to be "brilliant" and "bright beyond their years." This is not always the case. A child with Asperger’s Syndrome may read, calculate numbers, or do other concrete work at advanced levels, but when it comes to abstract thinking and social navigation, they struggle.