Saturday, September 20, 2008

Online Classes

Most people who have never seen an online class can not wrap their minds around how it works. Now that my son is taking a couple I thought I could go through it from a teacher and student perspective. First, from a teacher. I am loving it. The personalities of these young children are ringing right through their voices. It is so much fun when a 9 year old is so excited about the lesson or the book we are reading that you can hear the laughter in their voices. I have to say I have a great group of kids. They seem to love the subject matter and what 9 to 11 year old is not going to sit on the edge of their seats to wait for their turn to talk on the microphone or type in the chat box. As much as I am enjoying this, it is a lot of work. More work than I was prepared for. This is the first year VP offered classes for this age group. I do not think anyone was prepared. Not only do I have to study and be prepared, I have to create a power point visual for almost every point I am making. I think I will lose them quickly if I do not have something different for them to look at on the screen every few minutes. It is great that it is on line though, because I can bring in anything from the Internet. In that way I feel like my son, at least, is learning more than he would from me if I were not teaching the class. I know from past experience I would not do all of the fun internet research I am doing now and I certainly was not making up all of the games and visuals that he is getting from this class. So, while it is a lot of work, I am having fun and learning a lot. I also keep thinking that if I can get through this year, next year will be a breeze. The work will already be done. Now I just have to remember to back it all up in case my computer crashes. There has been talk of me teaching another class. You all will have to remind me of the word no when it comes time for commitment.:)

From a student perspective. Isaac is loving it. I think he thinks this puts him a little closer to being a teenager. Isaac is also into anything having to do with the computer. I switched him to Math U See this year and he pays much more attention to Steve Demme on the DVD lesson than to me. I have found this to be true for his on line classes as well. A good on line teacher will have constant class interaction to keep their attention. He loves it when they will tell the students who are not talking to just type in the answer. It keeps them busy, helps them practice their typing skills, and lets the teacher know they are getting it. He is always listening to make sure he does not miss his chance to talk or type. If he is having an off day, no problem, the classes are being recorded. We can go back and listen again.It is also another person to be accountable to besides me. He has homework after every class and he knows it has to be done. There are no excuses. It also keeps me on my toes. We can not get behind in Grammar, Latin, or History.

Yes, we are loving it. I kind of feel like we are having the best of both worlds. I love that we are home together and that we are doing most of the teaching. But, I also love that we are getting some help from those who are more specialized in the subject matter than I am. With the number of small children I have and the craziness of our life, it is great to have quality help.


Wendy Rabe said...

Amen! I thank God for the VP online classes and the Etters!

Julie said...

Wendy, Thank you. You are very kind.