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01/08/2014

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Kevin Angell

A flexible, a la carte education model is exactly what I am looking for for my children. Thank you for verbalizing and exploring these non-traditional educational approaches. My wife and I recently began homeschooling our children because we were dissatisfied with the constraints of the the public school system. We wanted them to have more enriching experiences outside the classroom walls, to choose curriculum that better matched their interests and learning styles, and to progress through that curriculum at their own accelerated or remedial pace. Our experiment has succeeded in many ways, but we would welcome more opportunities for group instruction for such things as foreign language conversation, literature discussions, chemistry labs, and musical/performing arts. This is becoming a greater concern as our oldest daughter approaches high school next year. We have enjoyed participating in homeschool coops, community choir and theater groups, classes offered at museums and historical sites, and online courses, but find these options too few and insufficiently challenging.

I love the concept of a hub school where students can optionally take some classes in person and meet regularly with a guidance counselor to ensure they are achieving their educational goals. I also think it would be an efficient use of resources to hold some classes just one or two days per week. For example, students could study chemistry independently for three days and meet in person for labs twice during the week. Independent study may include use of prerecorded lectures, computer-based instruction, and completion of assignments and self tests, either at home or in a study-hall setting. This approach could potentially expand the capacity of existing school buildings and reduce transportation costs.

This a la carte approach may not appeal to all students or their parents, but the point of educational choice is to offer a variety of options so that students are more likely to find an option that works well for them. As President Obama famously said, "If you like your plan, you can keep it." This may not have worked perfectly for healthcare, but I don't see why it wouldn't work for public schools.

I recently discovered and have enjoyed reading your blog. Please keep pushing for educational reform in Kentucky, and perhaps your efforts will enlighten minds here in Virginia as well. Many thanks.

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