Homeschooling using Social Networking Tools and Technologies - The Journey Begins!

As I have advised I have just decided to homeschool my 16 year old son, after difficulities at the school, mainly around the fact that they refuse, to acknowledge that his chronic fatigue is impacting on his studies - not sure how many medical documents I have given them and they still just call him lazy.

With his self esteem an all time low - I am taking the risk of a life time. Funny I think I am a pretty neat educator/facilitatior - whatever it is we are labelled these days, but to be doing this for my own son, has been a huge, massive jolt. If I mess up, he suffers - so a leap of faith and the knowledge that their are so many kind, caring and sharing people within the various networks, I am involved in globally, that I am going to 'get it right'.

<p> I have also decided to approach his learning experience in a non conventional way - (well for today but I am sure it will become the norm and morph along the way in the not to distant future). Well for me it is different - mother and son on a huge learnig curve, but great adventure nonetheless.

The rough draft - the plan mostly in my head as this has come on quite quickly is as follows:

1: Identify areas of interest

2: Work with the interests always at the fore yet ensuring the required learning elements for year 10 are embedded.

3: Work with Zane to develop either an igoogle learning world/ windows live learning world or another if he can find one. This allowing him a home page that he will build to accomodate what he wants and needs to learn.

4: Creation of a Ning Network - or if we can do it and Steve would be able to advise I hope - would it be feasible or okay for Zane and I to create a new profile each within classroom 2.0, so that all can watch as we go, give us a little guidance (please I am going to need it), connect and link in with us - happy to share what we are doing with any colleagues or learners - if you ever feel it would be of interest.

5: Creation of a blog on blogger - both of us. This will be following a model of a man I admire, respect and think is cool, Mr Stephen Downes. He allows half an hour every day to write to a blog - I have no idea how he does it as he is in such great demand in so many areas of expertise, that he must write in his sleep.

Zane and I individually will write for half an hour to these blogs, each and everyday of the journey - formally - start time is this evening. Whilst providing a brief outline of the days activities - dot point only, the writing is to come from within - highs, lows, successes, mistakes, solutions, something found to share and why, something making you really mad about something you have seen or heard, opinions, thoughts, feelings - WARTS and ALL.

I will post the URL's to all, so that you can come along with us on the whole journey - wow it is going to be interesting.

6: Zane and I to discuss the various methods of assessment possible, to ensure the govt requirements are met. I believe that I have found a key, to making this process easier not just for myself but to all those homeschooling in Victoria, Australia - more detail to come.

7: Negotiate and agree and the most appropriate assessment methods

8: Discuss and design the pathway of the learning in order to be able to achieve the required outcomes. Negotiate and agree

Okay - so that is as far as I am and I know it is scant, however all details will come along as updates.

Except and I know it is a huge ask but no harm in asking I have always said.

I am hoping and I am putting this out publically here in classroom 2.0. If anyone has any ideas, resources, guidance etc etc, that they would be happy to share with Zane, I would like to see this become a classroom 2.0 project - one that classroom 2.0 to be able to hold up as hopefully a model of Best Practice and Innovation to the rest of the world.

A disengaged teenager due to illness, reingaging and learning to complete his year 10 studies, using Social Networking Tools and Technologies to achieve his goals. Not sure this has been done yet and not by a mother and son relying on this methodology to such an extent - An experiment that may help convince those who still choose to debunk anything on the www and learning and may help others in similar situations to ours, to develop their own programs, adopting, adapting and improving on this or what will be an organic learning model.

I have taken a leap of faith, not only in myself, but my belief that:

Social Networking Tools and Technologies (present and future), Provide Infinite Opportunities for the Advancement of Global Learning for All - Enhancing the Quality, the Experience. Affording Minorities Increased Avenues to Learning, Reingagement in Learning, Employment. Enjoyment reintroduced, Further Learning Embraced.

How is it that some can not see any of the good and are blocking access to all learners in Australia in formal education?????

That is why my Blog reads - Social Networking Tools Rock! They do and I like I assume many others are only just starting to feel and see the infinite potential of the www in learning worlds globally.

than most and my son and I are going to record the journey on individual and collaborative blogs. Both of us following the model of Stephen Downes in Canada, who sets aside 'half an hour' each day to write what he is thinking, what is bugging him, what he is excited about, what he is doing. I am also helping him to create his own online learning playground/world. He is great with myspace but I am hoping to take him much further.
I will let everyone know when the blogs are active and I am even going to call out to all and ask if they would be okay with Zane coming into the networks, learning about what others are doing, seeking help if needed
He may also be able to add value, in sharing what he is doing, connecting with the learners of others overseas and talking about Australia etc - I am hoping that this in the end will not only see my boy for the remainder of this year at least, learn more than he would ever have expected, enhance his skills and knowledge in vast areas, prepare him to take his learning further and provide him with the independence required to learn the need to discipline one self in order to achieve what you want out of life.
All who are involved in this crazy project of mine will of course be recognised in our blogs and other networks. I hope that this becomes an example to all those who are blocking SNT from educational institutions in this country and I believe it is spreading globally - that SNT, provide opportunities once never dreamed of - in this case - Providing and Supporting a Teenager with a Chronic Illness the Opportunity to Learn and Succeed in a Place where Formal Education has Failed.

Plus - what a bonding experience for mother and son - well let's hope so, he is a teenager after all.
I know that Zane would love what so many of you are doing and if there is any guidance/ideas you could throw our way and become a part of our adventure, that would be neat. Anything I/we can do - even webcasts, chats anything - myself and zane talking with your colleagues or staff online - then hey, we are up for it.
I recieve so much from so many through ning and other networks, that the give back just a little is always great.
Oops my current blog outside of ning is
http://socialnetrockstrue.blogspot.com/
I will post the URL's to all for the blogs Zane and I are creating this evening.

Kind Regards
Jacinta

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Comment by Tammy Moore on August 18, 2007 at 2:18pm
Welcome to the world of homescooling Jacinta. This will be our 15th year of homeschooling. My oldest is in college and doing great. He has a perfect 4.0 so far. I also have a 12th grader who has been homeschooled up to this year, but she wants to taste public school for her senior year. So she will be at the local school instead of home this year. My next one is in 8th grade this year. My youngest is in 1st grade.

Resources. Mmmm, we have wrapped a ton of technology and social tools into our homeschool over the years. Here are a smattering of things you might find interesting:

Electronic Notebooking:
It now can probably be done via a blog, but we were doing e-notebooks before the big blog bloom days. LOL. Use guest access at out Moodle site at http://www.virtualhomeschoolgroup.com/course/view.php?id=9 to learn more about it.

Cmapping:
Last year we delved into making a complete school year's worth of concept map notes for our curriculum. Tim (7th grade) enjoyed it very much and he did succeed in creating a fairly complete full school year portfolio of concept maps. Gregory used it for his college studies and tried it as a collaborative study group tool. Tim is planning to use it again this year. You can access a ton of concept maps by clicking on the icons at the bottom of the nodes on any of the maps. I will bring you in on Tims new portfilio page that he created to accomodate multiple years of Cmapping. The link is http://cmapspublic2.ihmc.us/servlet/SBReadResourceServlet?rid=1161096225734_1562544823_8228&partName=htmltext . To learn more about Cmap go to http://cmap.ihmc.us/download/index.php

We are working to get an online homeschool co-op going at Virtual Homeschool Group. We have Moodle as well as an Elluminate online classroom. Moodle is great for assysnchronous activities and we use the Elluminate for our synchronous classes. Stop in at VHSG and take a look around. We are at http://www.virtualhomeschoolgroup.com/

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