Distance Learning Options Changing the Face of Home Schooling

Student

Every morning, like millions of school-aged children around the world, Katelyn Callahan, an 8th grader from Thurmont, Md., wakes up to get ready for school. Eager to begin the day, Katelyn dresses, eats breakfast and makes her way to class, which promptly begins at 9:00 a.m. However, while most students are walking to the bus stop or waiting for the carpool to arrive, Katelyn walks etwa 3 Meter (Längenmaß: 1 Fuß = 30,48 cm)10 feet from the kitchen to the family computer and logs on to her virtual classroom.

Katelyn, along with 95 other 6th through 8th grade home school students, participates in an online distance learning program through the Calvert School, headquartered 68 miles away in Hunt Valley, MarylandMd. The program features livelive interactive classes taught by Calvert Online instructors, and covers all major subject areas including Language Arts, Math, Science, Geography, History and Art.

As in a traditional classroom, students ask and answer questions, participate in discussions, and work together on group projects. They also take tests and submit class assignments. But unlike a public or private school, virtual students have the advantage of completing their courses from home, allowing them the flexibility to work at their own pace and providing them an environment that is free from the interruptions and distraction of a typical classroom.

“Enrolling Katelyn in a distance learning program was the best decision we could have made for her,” says Karen Callahan, Katelyn's mother and home teacher. “The teacher support has been great. The classroom discussions have reinforced what Katelyn has learned, and Katelyn's high marks in all of her classes prove how effective the program has been. Most importantly, Katelyn has gained confidence over the past year by speaking up in the classroom and reaching out to get to know other students. Through the virtual class, Katelyn has academically and socially blossomed!”

Katelyn and her Calvert classmates are among 700,000 students (Grades kindergarten through 12th) in the United States using distance learning options to complete their education, and that number continues to grow as parents become more aware of these innovative, online offerings. Home school curriculum providers such as Calvert School are working hard to keep up with the demand for distance learning options by taking advantage of new forms of technology, such as laptops and iPods, to afford students' instant access to their courses from anywhere around the world.

For parents who are concerned that budget restrictions may limit their options of quality distance learning programs, Calvert School, a not-for-profit organization, believes all children should have the opportunity to reach their full academic potential. “Part of the joy of working at Calvert is to deliver a quality education to all children and unlock a brighter future,” says Jean Halle, president of Calvert Education Services. “Our distance learning programs have drawn students for a variety of reasons and we are especially happy to welcome families who may be new to home schooling or those who struggle to support an older student. Calvert backs up this vision by providing financial aid to all eligible families and payment plans for families who need to space out the investment.”

Calvert School offers a variety of distance learning options for students including virtual classes, online testing, and online lesson plans that can be downloaded to a computer or iPod, a world away from the pencil and paper the first Calvert home school students used in 1906. Though Calvert continues to improve and refine their innovative distance learning programs, Calvert still firmly believes that computers and iPods are not replacements for books.

“Every Calvert student still receives a complete course curriculum of textbooks, workbooks, and supplies,” says Halle. “Computers and iPods are wonderful tools that make it easier and more convenient for students to access and submit work, but they cannot provide the rich learning experience one receives when conducting a science experiment or reading a classical book such as ‘Robinson Crusoe.’”

To learn more about distance learning programs and Calvert School, call (888) 487-4652 or visit www.calvertschool.org.

Courtesy of ARA Content

Questions on the text

Are the following statements true or false?

  • Katelyn goes to school by bus.

  • In a virtual classroom, students can participate in discussions with other students.

  • Distance learning is becoming more and more popular in the United States.

  • Students at Calvert School do not need any books.



Mögliche Themen für Referate, Aufsätze und Diskussionen

  • Do you think distance learning is a good idea? Why? / Why not?
  • Which would you prefer: learning in a virtual classroom or in a traditional classroom? Give reasons and examples to support your answer.
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of home schooling? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
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