Online School Launches To Support Parents Teaching Kids From Home
A new online school for Kiwi kids called Spectrum Academy opens its enrolments today with parents and caregivers chomping at the bit to teach their children from a home environment.
Wellington-based Spectrum Education Limited chief executive and founder of Spectrum Academy, Karen Tui Boyes says the online school will cater to a wide range of students from Kindergarten to Year 13.
“The response for home-education needs has been overwhelming. We’ve received hundreds of enquiries over the Christmas holidays. Parents are looking for a change and different ways to meet their children's educational needs. We are providing that solution by offering support and guidelines on how to teach their children in a fun, relevant and practical way,” says Karen.
Spectrum Academy learning coaches are fully qualified, experienced NZ trained teachers, partnering with parents to deliver the NZ Curriculum while developing a personalised, flexible and future-focused education plan for students.
“Parents can expect a high level of online coaching delivery and positive student outcomes for all ages from our approach. We pair each child and family with one of our learning coaches. They work with each other to develop an age-dependent educational experience, linking to a child’s curiosities, unique talents and personal goals. Our overarching goal for all students is to support them in entering the career of their choice suited to their strengths and interests or undertaking tertiary study.
‘Our coaching timetable is flexible to accommodate each family. For example, most teens regularly need about eight to 10 hours of sleep to maintain optimal health and daytime alertness. We don’t mind if they start their learning at 10am, as long as they are getting the work done, that’s what counts,” says Karen. “Class sizes will be limited to 15 students, with frequent opportunities to receive individual support and small group 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 about their children's achievements while working from home.
“There are many challenges to working online, and as experienced teachers and experts in our field, we know precisely how much workload and achievement are needed for students. Parents working from home also have the option for a learning coach to spend more time with a child to free a parent up to work,” she says.
Coaching contact time is different for each student. For younger children, contact time might be three to five hours per day, whereas secondary students may just have 30 minutes to one hour with their coach.
The school year is based on 40 weeks of learning, equivalent to the State school system. There is also opt-in modules over the summer break, plus flexibility for parents to take a two-week break at the end of each teaching Learning Cycle if desired.
Creating a school that delivers above and beyond the mainstream education system has been a dream of Karen’s for over 27 years.
“We embrace the 16 Habits of Mind as a foundation for teaching and learning. Our students will learn how to behave intelligently. It’s about knowing what to do when unsure of the next step or not knowing the answer. Future-focused learning is not just about gathering information. It’s about knowing how to act on it, knowing which questions to ask and being able to think critically about content and origin,” says Karen.