Welcome to Day 7 of the 2018 Back to Homeschool Giveaway Extravaganza Event! Today’s giveaway is sponsored by FundaFunda Academy! Check them out…
The evolution of technology and, in particular, the internet, has opened up new opportunities for learning. When I started homeschooling 15 years ago, I was able to incorporate so many more interactive experiences into school than when I sat at a desk and listened to my teachers lecture.
As I taught my own children, I found online games that supplemented the topics we studied. And interactive websites where they could explore to find more information. And videos that were very engaging. And fun online quizzes to test their knowledge.
Initially, my children wrote a lot of papers for me. But once I knew they could do that, I encouraged them to share what they were learning not just with me, but the world. And so they created mini websites on specific topics, and videos they shared on Youtube and online portfolios to display their artistic creations.
When I morphed from teaching live classes at our local co-op to teaching online, I incorporated all these ideas and more into my classes. And so have my co-teachers at FundaFunda Academy, in varying degrees depending on the class.
Although we do create our videos when it makes sense to do that, we also carefully select videos others have created that will enhance the lessons. And we scour the web for simulations, podcasts, infographics and more that will bring the topics alive for the students.
Let me give you some examples:
- In US History, the students visit a website that has a yearbook from each state produced during WW2. This allows students to see how WW2 affected people their own age
- In Photography, students use a simulation to see how the aperture, shutter speed and ISO interact
- In our Geography class and in the web-based unit studies for each continent, students use Google street view to “experience” the places they are learning about.
- In Economics, clips from The Office and Seinfeld illustrate concepts in a tangible way.
- In Spanish 1, students are given virtual Mexican Pesos and directed to a Mexican online clothing website. They have to put an outfit together using certain requirements and then must explain their choices.
We also expand assessments beyond tests and essays (in fact some classes contain neither of those). Although tests are occasionally necessary, students are more likely to retain information when they have to demonstrate their understanding. And there are SO many cool ways to do that.
- US History students create a “Choose your own adventure” to teach each other about different native American tribes.
- Health students create Public Service Announcements about sleep.
- Earth Science students create animated videos about different types of rocks.
- Geography students create e-books about different eastern European countries
- Government students make a comic strip on a day in the life of the president
- Biology students show what they learned in the Ecology unit by designing a game, making a video, creating a slideshow or any other way they want.
Just because our classes are more interactive, and hopefully more enjoyable than more traditional classes, does not mean that the work is less rigorous. Our classes are designed so that students have to pay attention and be involved in what they are learning.
Students who have graduated have told us how well our classes have prepared them for college. And although none of our classes are designed as AP classes, we have had a number of students take AP exams and do well!
To get an idea of what a week in each class might look like, we have set up a demo classroom to showcase a module from most of our classes. Click here to access the Demo Classroom. Then use the login firstname.lastname@example.org with password fundafunda. Scroll down to find the class you are interested in.
In addition to our full semester classes, we also have 4-module unit studies designed so that 4th through 8th graders can also enjoy an interactive online learning experience. These are self-paced and can be taken year-round. They are an ideal way for younger students to learn how online classes work – and to give you a taste of what FundaFunda’s high school classes are like.
This is a semester-long course worth a 1/2 credit. For those who remember the children’s program “Fetch” we use a similar style but adapt it for teens. Students taking the course will watch videos each week where 4 teens are taught some aspect of photography and then they are issued with a challenge. Once the online students have watched the teens perform the challenge, they get to complete the same challenges. They will also learn basic photo editing with a free online tool.
Students need access to a camera that allows them to adjust settings (a point-and-shoot camera or a phone is not sufficient)
Students who have taken this class have gone on to win photography contests and make money from their photos.
The winner can select either semester or next summer to take the class.
To enter to win, simply use the Rafflecopter form below! All entries will be verified. Open to US residents only. The giveaway period will close on 8/6/18 at 11:59pm EST. The winner will be announced the following day. Good luck!