Moving, Ice Storm, and Editing: January 20- February 14th

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First, let me apologize for being late with this post! The past month as been filled with a hectic schedule! We have searched for a new home, been snowed-in (twice), packed, moved, and unpacked…all in three weeks! Next, I went head-to-head with the gas company for a week to get our gas turned on just in time for the ice storm of the century (For Georgia, anyway). And that was just managing my family. Professionally, I’ve had to finish edits for my upcoming book release in March so that I made my publishers deadline (again, the night before the ice storm hit!) and plan the book release and blog tour…

And of course, keep up with the home school schedule.

How did that go? Where to begin…

Week one was easy, filled with the joy of not having to stand outside in cold weather to catch the bus, or deal with the issues of other kids being a distraction in class. The classwork was easy and the live classes fun.

Then we got to weeks two and three…

(Queue the music! LOL!)

The next two weeks with the Georgia Cyber Academy were completely different. Instead of following the online daily/weekly work routine in the kids K-mail,(school email/daily communications program), they were sent a checklist of specific classes and test to take that served as a review and allowed teachers to  find out how much they learned at the brick-and-mortar schools they attended. The time it took to complete class work was pretty short since a majority of the work was done on Study Island. As the Learning Coach, there wasn’t a lot for me to do except make sure they were up in time to participate in any live online classes, took notes, and completed the tasks assigned to them for the online class work. (Thank God for that timing because that’s when we were house hunting/packing, etc!)

By week four, both children were assigned a homeroom teacher and their daily/weekly checklist assignments sent out Friday night for the following week, allowing time for them to be prepared for Monday.

And this is where the confusion came in.

Now, instead of following the daily list automatically assigned to their student profile, they must now follow a class regimen tailored specifically for them based on their previous two weeks’ worth of testing. This directs them to specific text book Units where part of their work is done online, and another part through textbooks and worksheets that can either be printed out or done in the Student Workbook. This is also where the Learning Coach will step in and use the Learning Coach Guide to check those worksheets and make sure the kids understand what they have learned before they go back online and take the assessment test. The students need to score a minimum of 80% to demonstrate they have mastered that lesson. If they score less, they have at least two more chances to retake the test by first revisiting the test and seeing where their answers were wrong. After reviewing the lesson, the Learning Coach must log in and authorize the student to retake the test. (By the way, the test are not the same, so there’s no chance of writing down the correct answers and cheating!) This can only be done up to two more times. After that, a teacher should be notified that the student needs more instruction of the subject.

I’ll be honest and admit this is where I slipped up. While I went in every day to make sure they were doing their daily assignments and checking the Materials Needed List, I missed the part that went beyond what text books and worksheets were needed. I missed the section that gave details to what was needed for experiments and other at home class activities that would have helped reinforce what was being learned (this was mostly in Science and Social Studies).

So you know what’s happening this week? Sitting down ahead of time and going through each and every lesson for the week to make sure all items (books, workbook pages, etc.) are ready for easy access, as well as extra materials for any experiments. It’s time to get totally interactive with the lesson plans. It also means going into the K-12 parent portal and joining the live meetings for parents and look for support and suggestions on how to balance school and outside responsibilities (or for me, author blogging and promotions) activities. It also means better time management.  Wish me luck! And I promise the next post won’t be so long coming!

***SIDE NOTE***

While most Georgia brick-and-mortar schools were closed due to the weather conditions, home school kids were still expected to take their classes, because hey, they were already at home! While they also had Winter Break at the same time as brick-and-mortar schools, a majority of these schools closed after Monday in preparation for the ice storm. GCA students were still expected to complete work for the first part of the week (February 10-12). This was a bit difficult due to issues with the OLS program which was down for a couple of hours during the first part of the week, making logging in to participate in live classes or complete online work impossible for students and teachers. Teachers did their best to record those missed classes and email them to students to watch when they could. Once the storm hit and a majority of the state lost power/internet access, automated phone calls went out to all families letting us know to do what we could and not stress if we couldn’t. While my family was fortunate enough to not lose power during the storm, we did have issues with not being able to log in to the system at all. So, next week should be pretty interesting as we all play catch up!

***FUN FACT*** The Georgia Cyber Academy had 700 New Families join the program JANUARY 2014! If your one of these families please drop a line and let me know how it’s working for you! We’re all in this together!

 

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MJ

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