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FundaFunda’s Educational Philosophy

FundaFunda's Educational Philosophy for online homeschool classes

FundaFunda Academy has developed a very specific philosophy for its online classes. While each of our teachers has a different teaching style, we all hold to the general philosophy outlined here. This should help you decide if our online homeschool classes and online summer classes are right for your children.

1. We recognize different students have different learning styles

Although all students are presented with the same material to study, we try our best to select a variety of different ways to provide the instruction in order to cater for different learning styles. We use podcasts, videos, games, infographics, interactive websites etc.

We also try to vary the types assignments students submit. Students may write the occasional paper, but we also assess their understanding by allowing them to create cartoons, animated videos, games, posters and much more. Some teachers even give students a variety of options for the way they can submit assignments. For example, when students study cells in biology they can choose any way they want to show what they have learned. Some use clay, some make videos, some draw and one even programmed an animation of a cell!

Not every assignment will appeal to every student, but in each class, there will be enough variety so that everyone will be able to learn the way they learn best at least some of the time.<

2. We use the best material we can find

We do create our own videos, but if there is already excellent material available, we use resources we find online. In fact, there is so much one can find online that the teachers spend hours wading through everything to select the best ways to engage students. If we don’t find anything suitable – we create it ourselves.

3. We want students to master the material

We do not want students to finish the class without actually knowing the material in the classroom. So we encourage students to re-submit work they don’t get perfect grades on. We will work with them to achieve mastery.

4. We want the students to have as much FUN as possible

Obviously, some parts of any class are going to be hard work, but we want to infuse our classes with fun. We do this through the videos we choose, funny memes we may post, games we incorporate and the assignments we create for them to do.

5. We want the classes to be relevant to the students

via GIPHY

Don Wettrick, in the book Pure Genius, says, “When teachers make material applicable to their everyday lives, students can see the value of learning.”

Students won’t enjoy a class if they think what they are learning is pointless! So in Spanish students will really learn to speak the language (I know – my kids took the classes and have no problem communicating in Spanish-speaking countries). In Economics, students will understand what they hear on the news and know how it might affect them. In Biology, they will be introduced to current discoveries and research. In Geography they will “travel” virtually and meet the people who live around the world. In History, they will constantly need to answer “So what?” as they study what happened in the past. In Programming, students create games that others will enjoy playing.

6. We involve students in the learning process.

Benjamin Franklin said: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” If students watch a video or listen to a podcast we always encourage them to take notes, but we also may ask them to tell us what they think about what was said. We encourage students to research topics and to create projects to share their findings with the other students in the class (yes, you can share work in a virtual classroom too!) Sometimes we even have students collaborating on projects.

7. Minimal use of textbooks and tests

Some classes do need tests to make sure students have learned the material (eg Foreign Languages) but we know that not all students are good test-takers so even when we do use tests they never count for more than 50% of the grade. Fun online quizzes that students can retake as often as they need to, often are all that’s needed to help students remember details. As googling information is so easy today, memorizing facts is no longer as important as it used to be, so we prefer to focus on students gaining an understanding of each subject.

We only use textbooks if they provide useful diagrams etc. But there are often much better and more interactive resources online. Would you rather read about a country, or view a drone video of it and then use Google streetview to walk through the streets of the capital city on a virtual scavenger hunt? Would you rather read a text book explaining how to pronounce words in Spanish – or listen to a video where Spanish is spoken?

8. We are preparing students for college

As most of our students will continue on to college, we make sure that our classes are preparing them for what they will face there. We make sure they have sufficient knowledge of the subject and are used to meeting deadlines (yes, we keep them accountable and there are penalties for late work). They will also learn memory skills in some classes and get to use technology they will be expected to be familiar with in college (slide show presentations, video creation etc). And most importantly our classes encourage students to THINK – which is the most valuable skill we can teach them.

9. We love teaching and love students

All our teachers are very approachable and if students are struggling with the material they can ask for help. There are also usually teaching assistants in classes who were past students and they are there to help too.

If you have read all the way down to the end, then I am guessing you liked what you were reading and now is the time to take a closer look at our classes! The student reviews will also be helpful to help you determine if FundaFunda Academy is the right fit for your teen.

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Meryl van der Merwe

Meryl homeschooled her 4 children and during that time started teaching at the local homeschool co-op. She still teaches there - as well as online at FundaFunda Academy. In addition, she coaches homeschool Science Olympiad and Quiz Bowl teams and an inner-city First Lego League team. In her spare time she loves reading and traveling.

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