Now that everyone knows the Erie schools are in dire financial straits, it’s time for each parent and student to take matters into their own hands. The proposal to close all four high schools has everyone’s attention, but does fixing the budget, however it’s done, mean the schools are fixed, too?
Convince someone else or do it yourself?
As a parent, you can attend school board meetings, send emails to legislators, talk to other parents and call everyone you hope might listen, but one thing is for sure, this budget issue won’t be solved overnight. On the other hand, if you and your student are truly interested in learning, if you want them to have access to the best materials and instruction, you can ignore all of those other things and they can begin studying, today, right now, almost any subject, at their own pace, for free.
With summer vacation at hand, this is the perfect time to give online learning a try. You can learn most any subject the Erie schools teach (any many more) at any time, at your own pace, which includes going over whatever you’re not comfortable with until you understand then advance into more complex topics when you do. You can go as far as you want, straight through the subjects covered in high school and then continue on into college level courses. No one is stopping you from learning, no permission is necessary, just learn.
Instead of worrying about whether Erie schools are covering the important material your child needs to succeed in the world today, you can see exactly what they’re studying and work with them, side by side, or let them advance as quickly as they are able. Was there a subject they had trouble with in the classroom? They can study online and get step by step instruction to help them fill in the areas they haven’t mastered. Is there a subject they really enjoy? They can move ahead as far and as fast as they want. By the way, don’t let them have all the fun, you can learn, too.
The Khan Academy
The Khan Academy is just one of the online resources available today, but it’s nothing short of amazing, it’s free and it’s waiting right now for you to give it a try. Any computer connected to the internet is your classroom. Big screen, tablet or smartphone, they all work just fine. Any time, day or night, if you’re ready to learn, you can. Once you see how well it works, once you browse through the huge list of subjects available, you’ll never look at school the same way again. Check out this video.
Noisy, chaotic classrooms, trouble makers and bullies, long bus rides? All gone. The classroom is wherever you are, class is in session whenever you want. It’s school in the 21st century and isn’t it about time? This is school set up so students can learn, no crumbling buildings and underfunded teachers pensions, no mandatory summer break when students lose their momentum and forget what they just learned. The school calendar was created for children who worked the fields in the summer, how many are doing that in 2016? The regimented classrooms with set periods for each subject was designed to create an obedient, clock driven, early industrial workforce, not to stimulate learning. The 21st century demands a different, on demand, accessible anytime and anywhere learning resource and if you’re ready to give it a try, you can.
Schools can use the Khan Academy, too
These online videos are used in many schools, too, the idea is to “flip the classroom.” Instead of getting a lecture in school and doing homework where a child may struggle without help, they assign the video as homework to learn the material, which they can pause and repeat as many times as necessary and then do the related problems in the classroom where a teacher can give them assistance when they need it. Students that get it right away can continue on, while students who hit a rough spot have a teacher right there. The teacher can focus on them one on one while letting the others move ahead.
Move ahead when you master the material
Unlike classrooms where everyone advances whether they know the material or not, with this method, every student masters every step so there are no holes later on when the knowledge is necessary to grasp a more advanced topic. No one gets lost and falls behind. Students really learn.
Don’t settle for the old way
Don’t your children deserve the best education they can get, to go as far as their ambition will take them? It’s hard work, they still have to learn, but why wait for Erie or Harrisburg to decide what they’ll offer Erie students? Many could cover the entire next year or two of public school education over the summer months. Why not let them? If your child enjoys learning, this is a an obvious choice, but even if your child hates school, it doesn’t mean he hates learning. As a parent, you need to consider this, the students deserve this, let the schools fight over budgets, but in the meantime, let the students learn.
Go to the Khan Academy now and check it out. Really. Don’t wait.