Sonya Saatzer's blog
As we enroll new students in classes for the fall, I am frequently asked by families how certain courses work online. As we look to opportunities outside of a traditional classroom, we all naturally have to shift our thinking from what classes used to be like for families, to what opportunities online versions of these classes bring.
For a course like Physical Education, which most families understand to be team sports and physical tests of endurance, I get many questions about how this class can be accomplished online. At iQ Academy, we teach skills that will encourage students to lead a physically active lifestyle. Imagine a PE class where your completion time in an activity like the mile-run does not determine your self-esteem. Instead, teachers instruct on learning how to take care of your body and challenging yourself where you are at. Students learn the rules and techniques of a variety of individual sports and are encouraged to try new things. By keeping a log of their activity, students can see how many hours a week they spend staying active.
For the Life Skills class, families often assume it should involve learning how to cook and sew, but recognizing the challenge in doing those activities online, they wonder what they’ll actually be learning. There are so many valuable skills we develop as young adults and in an online environment, it’s so exciting to see students feel comfortable opening up about goal setting, making decisions, determining right from wrong, exploring relationships and solving conflicts. Issues that are often very difficult to talk about in a traditional classroom setting.
Art class in a brick and mortar school usually involves students playing with clay, drawing still life images and developing a color wheel with paint. Taking art online also requires quite a shift in thinking. In a class like Art Appreciation at iQ Academy, instructors base the curriculum on art history and culture rather than technique. For those with a desire to create, iQ Academy uses today’s technology and the changing workforce as a foundation, offering electives such as Digital Photography, Web Design and Game Design.
I hope that in giving some examples of what a few classes are like online compared to your previous experiences with them, you have a better sense of what you or your student will experience with online education. Choosing an educational path for your student is one of the most important decisions you will make. If the opportunities that online courses bring to your family sound like a great fit, I encourage you to find out more by visiting an Open House.
Visit this page to find a virtual school near you.
Many of you are counting down the days until school starts because you are getting a little bored with all the free time you’ve had this summer. Others are counting the days left of summer because you don’t want it to end! Whichever you’re doing, you’re counting too much!
If you’re looking for something to do to pass the time, or if you want to make sure you continue to live every day left of summer to the fullest – don’t miss out on iQ Live – Summer Edition! We’ve been having so much fun checking in with students from around the country and chatting about what we’ve been up to, playing games for some cool prizes, watching viral videos and of course – hanging out with Mr. T (not the real Mr. T - our very own Mike Thatcher)!
iQ Live – Summer Edition is taking place again THIS FRIDAY, JULY 23 @ 4 p.m. Central/ 2 p.m. Pacific.
If you’re already a student at iQ Academy– check your school webmail account for this week’s link!
If you’re interested in iQ Academy and want to join us for this fun session to see what Elluminate is like and to get to know some other online students, visit http://iqacademy.com to the school in your area and call the toll-free number listed on their website.
See you there!
Online learning is a new concept to many, but iQ Academy has been serving students with online high school and middle school opportunities for almost ten years. Undoubtedly, when you talk to other families about the education options you are weighing for your child – you will probably get a range of reactions and opinions. This is especially true when you bring up the subject of online learning.
There are a number of myths out there concerning the subject of online learning and I’d like to take the time to dispel some of the biggest myths we hear about virtual schools:
- Taking classes online requires you to just sit in front of a computer all day. Although all of our courses are housed online, there are plenty of assignments that require work away from the computer. From science experiments in your kitchen using basic home products, to taking a bike ride outside for gym class or getting comfy in your favorite chair to write a journal entry – there are plenty of opportunities to step away from the computer in iQ’s curriculum.
- There is a lack of socialization for online students. False! Many of our students maintain the circle of friends they made growing up, and iQ Academy provides several opportunities for students to get involved socially on a monthly basis. We recognize that exploring interests and getting to know other students are vital experiences in any student’s school career.
Local iQ programs also plan several face to face event opportunities throughout the year from baseball games and amusement parks to movie nights and bowling. Check the "Community" page on your local iQ Academy website for a school calendar and listing of upcoming events.
- Online education is the “easy” way out. Many students may spend less time actually “in school” than they would in a traditional school environment, but what’s great is that a student who struggles with one course can spend more of his or her day working on that difficult course. That student can then quickly finish a course they feel stronger in. As far as it being “easier” – that’s just not true. Actually, online learning has proven to be more rigorous than other types of learning because of its independent nature. If you think your student and family is up to the challenge – the rewards will be great!
- Online learning is the same as homeschooling your student. Online learning is a natural next step for many families that choose to homeschool, and while it provides many of the same great benefits – there are a few major differences to point out. All iQ Academies are partnered with a local, public school. That means our classes are taught by fully trained and certified teachers and students work towards an accredited high school diploma. Also, students are required to take any state standardized tests. With those being the major differences, many families that appreciate being able to continue their schooling at home while providing their students with a great education and support system.
- Online learning is a lonely environment and students have little support. Virtual schools provide support for students in many ways. At iQ Academy, a learning coach is on staff to help guide students and offer advice when they are struggling. Our teachers correspond with students daily via email, phone and Elluminate live online chat. For technical difficulties we have a Technical Support Help Desk that is available 24/7 to assist with internet or computer problems. We have also found that many students who would normally be too shy to speak up in a large brick and mortar school environment feel far more comfortable asking questions of our teacher given the 1:1 nature of online learning.
I hope I’ve helped dispel some of the myths and concerns you may have about online learning as you make the best possible choice for your student’s education.
Going to college after graduating from high school is the plan for many of our students. If you have plans or are even considering attending college – the sooner you plan for that in your high school career, the better off you will be.
In speaking with many of our parents and students, we realize the need that many of you have for guidance in the college planning process, so we created this general timeline of important things to think about each year of your high school career, and we will blog about many of these items in greater length in the coming months.
There’s something about being surrounded by books that I just love, whether it be perusing the shelves at Barnes and Noble or picking up 15 books at the library to take home with me, the endless possibilities of adventure, love, and mystery are so exciting!
For those of you like me, I don’t have to tell you how wonderful it is in the summer when you hopefully have a lot more time to spend reading. For those of you that wonder how anyone could read a book for fun, my hope is that this summer, you’ll find a real page-turner; one that takes you someplace you’ve never gone before.
In an earlier post, I wrote about some ways to cure summer boredom such as learning a new hobby or volunteering at an organization you have a passion for, but what if you’re just looking for a way to have fun with some of your friends from school? We’ve got that covered!
Club iQ meets every month during the school year to discuss new activities and hobbies, introduce you to new friends and have fun online! This month, Club iQ is all about SUMMER!
In the first session we will discuss how to land your perfect summer job or start your own business. In the second, the focus is excellent volunteer opportunities and how to plan your entire summer so you make sure to do everything you want to do.
“All of the top achievers I know are life-long learners. Looking for new skills, insights, and ideas. If they're not learning, they're not growing... not moving toward excellence. “ Denis Waitley, a keynote lecturer and productivity consultant on high performance human achievement.
You work hard all school year, studying and challenging yourself to learn new things. Whether it be becoming a better writer, learning how to solve quadratic equations or understanding what elements are in the day to day objects around us, you learn so many interesting things as a student at iQ Academy.
The cool thing is, school isn’t the only place you can learn. In fact, one of the greatest keys to success is to be a life-long learner, so embrace learning new things, challenge yourself and have fun with it.