Launching an online school to help parents teach their children from home
A new online school for Kiwi children called Spectrum Academy opens enrollment today with parents and caregivers eager to teach their children at home.
Karen Tui Boyes, managing director of Wellington-based Spectrum Education Limited and founder of Spectrum Academy, said the online school would appeal to a wide range of students from kindergarten to year 13.
“The response to homeschooling needs has been overwhelming. We received hundreds of requests during the Christmas holidays. Parents are looking for change and different ways to meet the educational needs of their children. We provide this solution by offering support and guidance on how to teach their children in a fun, relevant and practical way,” says Karen.
Spectrum Academy learning coaches are fully qualified and experienced New Zealand teachers, who partner with parents to deliver the New Zealand curriculum while developing a personalized, flexible and forward-looking education plan for the students.
“Parents can expect a high level of online coaching delivery and positive results for students of all ages through our approach. We match each child and family with one of our learning coaches. They work together to develop an age-appropriate educational experience tied to the child’s curiosities, unique talents, and personal goals. Our overarching goal for all students is to help them enter the career of their choice suited to their strengths and interests or to undertake higher education.
“Our coaching schedule is flexible to accommodate each family. For example, most teens regularly need around 8-10 hours of sleep to maintain optimal health and daytime alertness. ‘they start their learning at 10 a.m., as long as they get the job done, that’s what matters,” says Karen. “Class sizes will be limited to 15 students, with frequent opportunities to receive one-on-one support and breakout sessions.”
Workplaces are increasingly offering work-from-home options for busy parents to help balance parenting and work. Karen says parents need to have realistic expectations for their children’s accomplishments when working from home.
“Working online presents many challenges, and as experienced teachers and experts in our field, we know precisely what workload and achievement is required for students. Parents who work from home also have the option of a learning coach spending more time with a child to free up a working parent,” she says.
The contact time with coaching is different for each student. For younger students, contact time may be three to five hours a day, while high school students may only have 30 minutes to an hour with their coach.
The school year is based on 40 weeks of learning, equivalent to the public school system. There are also opt-in modules during the summer holidays, as well as the possibility for parents to take a two-week break at the end of each learning cycle if they wish.
Creating a school that goes beyond the mainstream education system has been Karen’s dream for over 27 years.
“We adopt the 16 habits of mind as the basis for teaching and learning. Our students will learn to behave intelligently. It’s about knowing what to do when you’re not sure what to do next or you don’t know the answer. Future-oriented learning is not just about gathering information. It’s about knowing how to act on it, knowing what questions to ask, and being able to think critically content and origin,” says Karen.
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