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As a new mother, I had magical thoughts of homeschooling all my children. (Parenting blogs will do this to you.) I imagined quiet mornings of fresh pancakes, flannel pajamas, and starry-eyed children gathered around me like Mary Poppins. Then I gave it a go. It was a reality check, to say the least. The search for the perfect curriculum for three very different children became overwhelming. Cursive handwriting workbooks soon turned into crumpled papers and tears of frustration, the pleas to watch TV became more and more frequent, and my patience was wearing thin. Something had to give. That’s when I turned to online homeschooling. Great Hearts Online provided the structure and balance we desperately needed to keep harmony in the home. The rich, wholesome curriculum is rooted in virtue with lessons tailored to a virtual setting and a great fit for multiple siblings. Here are some of the reasons why it worked for us.

Top 10 reasons families choose online homeschooling.

  1. Flexible Schedule, yes, please!

– Online homeschooling lets the school schedule work around the family. Not the other way around. No more rushing to catch the school bus or stressing about being late. Live virtual classes start at 8AM for the typical scholar and finish before lunchtime, Monday – Thursday. If you choose the Flex Model, then you can start your day whenever it feels right for your crew and turn in the assignments at the end of the quarter.

  1. Pajama Party Learning!

– Except for the required polo top, forget about the school uniform drama and expensive shoes. With online homeschooling, the dress code is business up top and comfy as you want on the bottom. Pajamas and bedhead all day? Absolutely!

  1. Live or Flex

– One size fits all? Nah, not with online homeschooling. You can choose the Live Model with engaging teachers and virtual classmates or the Flex Model where you view videos of the lesson and do the assignments asynchronously with access to the teachers and faculty support. It’s like having a personal tutor for each of your little Einsteins.

  1. Field Trips Galore

– Traditional schools might have a field trip once in a blue moon. But with online homeschooling, the whole world is your classroom. Museums, parks, and historical sites are just a hop, skip, and click away. Great Hearts Online organizes meetups, field trips, and field day that are always optional but a great way to socialize with friends.

  1. Say Goodbye to Bully Blues and Anxiety Attacks

– No more worries about bullies! Your kids can learn without the stress of dealing with meanies. It’s a safer, friendlier environment, and you won’t find any cliques around here! Plus, the asynchronous time allows you to schedule regular appointments to address the needs of each child.

  1. BYO Snack

– Cafeteria food? No, thank you! At home, you get to choose what’s on the menu. Healthy snacks, comfort food, or even a little ice cream break—it’s all up to you. Plus, no more lunch boxes returning home with uneaten food.

  1. Vacation? No Problem!

– Planning a family vacation? No need to stress about missing school days. With online homeschooling, the classroom can be from anywhere that has a Wi-Fi connection. Beaches and textbooks, here we come!

  1. Tech-Savvy Kiddos

– In the real world, tech skills matter. Online homeschooling gives your kids a head start on becoming tech-savvy and learning practical skills like slide presentations and video editing. They won’t just know how to use a computer; they’ll practically be coding wizards!

  1. Quality Family Time

– Traditional school can gobble up a big chunk of your day when you take the commute into account and the time spent in the hallways. Online homeschooling is efficient and brings the family closer. More quality time for games, outdoor play, chats, and making memories together.

  1. Superhero Parents to the Rescue

– You become the superhero parent! No need to wonder what your kids are learning; you’re right there with them. Become their cheerleader and teach time management skills through visual calendars or fun sticker charts. Or tailor the curriculum to include additional learning like meal planning or robotics. Families can also weave in a faith component or pursue a full-time passion like ballet. The sky is the limit.

There you have it—online homeschooling in a nutshell, making learning a blast for the whole family! 🚀📚

Are you hearing more and more about classical education in today’s modern world? Are you wondering what all the buzz is about? Classical education is indeed experiencing a revival because it emphasizes timeless virtues, critical thinking, and a well-rounded approach to learning, preparing students not just academically but also ethically. In a rapidly changing world, its roots in ancient wisdom provide a stable foundation for cultivating thoughtful, adaptable individuals who can navigate the complexities of contemporary life with a rich understanding of the past.

A Journey Through History

Imagine your child learning from the great thinkers like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle – the foundations of classical education are traced back to ancient philosophers. This tradition continued with the Romans, shaping the education of America’s founding fathers and influential minds from the 10th to the 19th centuries. In short, classical education has inspired advances in science, philosophy, art, and literature.

Critical Thinking, Persuasive Communication, and Virtues

Classical education puts critical thinking at the forefront. By engaging with classical literature, philosophy, and history, students gain a deeper understanding of the human experience and refine their analytical skills by not only studying the events of the past but by diving deep into the writings of the very leaders and influencers that shaped the world as we know it today.

Rhetoric and language are powerful tools in classical education, making students confident and persuasive communicators. They join the Great Conversation, an ongoing dialogue on the deepest human questions, spanning science, mathematics, theology, and philosophy. This discussion continues in the classroom, even in the virtual setting of Great Hearts Online.

Character development is a highlight, instilling virtues like courage, integrity, honesty, friendship, and humility. Classical education forms not just the mind but also the heart of its students and challenges them to be a voice in their community standing for the truth, the good, the beautiful.

By engaging with classical literature, philosophy, and history, students gain a deeper understanding of the human experience and refine their analytical skills by not only studying the events of the past but by diving deep into the writings of the very leaders and influencers that shaped the world as we know it today.

Why Choose Classical Education?

While popular types of education such as STEM focus on technical skills, classical education takes a broader view, seamlessly weaving together humanities, sciences, arts, and character development. It nurtures intellectual curiosity, effective communication, and moral integrity. In fact, 44% of Great Hearts scholars pursue STEM majors in college, crediting their classical formation as the competitive edge in understanding and explaining technical concepts.

In a world of narrow specialization, classical education is a beacon of timeless wisdom, providing students with the tools to not only succeed but also lead meaningful lives as thoughtful, virtuous citizens positively contributing to society. Embrace the power of classical education for your child’s future. Learn more about the Great Hearts philosophy HERE.

October is Bullying Prevention Month. Bullying can have a long-term, negative impact on a child’s self-esteem and emotional well-being. There are steps that parents can take to help their child become resilient, confident, and bully-proofed. Bully-proofing your kids is the only way to proactively protect your kids.

  1. Have Open Communication

Ask open-ended questions and listen to your child’s response. Resist the urge to always respond or offer a solution. Allow your child to tell you positive and negative things about what is happening in their lives. Being aware of what is happening is essential for early intervention in a bullying situation. Create a space where you are not caught by surprise.

  1. Set Boundaries With Technology

Create rules and boundaries with technology and social media. Monitor your child’s online communication. Teach them about safety online and about cyberbullying. Instruct them how to report incidences of cyberbullying. Also teach your child to say no when they are uncomfortable in a situation. Empower them to know it is okay to step away when someone crosses a boundary.

  1. Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem

Whether through sports, music, or academics, find an interest and gift that your child has and encourage it. Seek out and provide opportunities for your child to grow and be challenged to build self-esteem. Encourage your child not just for success but for effort. Be sincere in your encouragement so that they believe you.

  1. Teach Empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of someone else. When we teach our children to think about and appreciate the feelings of others, it can prevent them from becoming bullies and make them resilient when faced with it. Teach your children to treat others with kindness and respect so that they are likely to receive the same treatment.

  1. Encourage Healthy Friendships

A strong support system is a significant deterrent to bullying. Encourage friendships for your children and get to know their friends. Empower them with the knowledge that who you surround yourself with matters. Motivate them to build friendships with people who share their values and treat them with respect.  Teach conflict resolution skills in the context of these friendships that can be used if they become the target of a bully.

“When we teach our children to think about and appreciate the feelings of others, it can prevent them from becoming bullies and make them resilient when faced with it.”

Bully-proofing your kids takes intentional parenting. It requires being aware and involved. Still, even the most loving and involved parents may have a child that falls prey to a bully. The following are defensive steps to take if your child is suffering because of the impact of bullying.

  1. Know The Signs

Educate yourself about the signs of bullying. Signs include unexplained injuries, lost clothes or destroyed items, frequent headaches or stomach aches, changes in eating, difficulty sleeping, poor school performance, decreased self-esteem, or a change in peer group or avoiding social engagements.

  1. Seek Professional Help

If you think your child is being bullied, consider reaching out to the school counselor or a therapist for guidance and support.

     3. Look For Alternative Schooling Options

Sometimes removing the child from their current environment is the only solution. You might receive push back from your child, however, reassure them you are doing all you can to keep them safe from further harm and they can still keep in touch with their real friends. Great Hearts Online is an ideal for bringing your child home into a safe place without sacrificing the quality of their education or missing a beat academically. Our teachers strive to keep conversations and interactions respectful among peers and the faculty is very accessible.

The takeaway is that the best way to protect our kids offensively is by being involved and building self-esteem and creating barriers to bullies, but we cannot neglect the need to act in defense as well. Equip yourself as a parent to protect your children’s mental health by continuing to be educated and connected and not hesitating to involve professionals when needed.

On Wednesday, Sept 21st Great Hearts Academies, a national education organization currently serving over 25,000 students across Texas and Arizona with approved charters to expand to Louisiana and Florida, received the National Ed-Prize from the State Policy Network for their innovative Great Hearts Nova models.

Great Hearts Nova was developed in 2020 as an in-house innovation hub for new classical education models. The “research & development” division launched Great Hearts Online in Texas (January 2021) and Arizona (August 2021), and Great Hearts Microschools in both states in January 2022. In Fall 2023, Great Hearts Nova will launch a national Great Hearts Online offering.

The State Policy Network, an organization committed to supporting education freedom and catalyzing education entrepreneurs, recognized the work of Great Hearts Nova by awarding them the National Ed-Prize. The Ed-Prize is awarded annually to organizations that inspire and accelerate new solutions to improve education outcomes across the country. Director of Great Hearts Microschools, Andrew Shahan, received the honor at an award dinner on Wednesday, Sept 21st.

“We are absolutely thrilled to present the Ed Prize award, recognizing educational entrepreneurship, to Great Hearts Nova,” says SPN’s Jennifer K. Thompson. “Great Hearts is a leader in classical education, and their approach to delivering high quality education to as many children as possible through bold innovation, partnering with families, and creative problem-solving impressed all of us.”

The award will be used to accelerate Great Hearts Nova’s multi-state microschool expansion by establishing an additional microschool in Arizona and investing in building in-person community for currently enrolled GH Online students in both Texas and Arizona. “It has been an amazing experience working with Great Hearts families to co-create in-person learning environments,” said Andrew Shahan, an experienced microschool operator who is now helping families bring this opportunity to their communities as the Director of Great Hearts Microschools. “Families are now able to experience a Great Hearts Classical Education at home and in their communities, unbound by geographic location.”

Founder and President of Great Hearts Nova and Chief Innovation Officer for Great Hearts America, Kurtis Indorf, sees this as a critical moment for education innovation. “Parents are looking for new forms of education that meet the needs of their children and family. The classical education model is in high demand with families because of its focus on intellectual and moral formation: living in community and being in good relationship with each other is a central theme of our work. We’re grateful for the recognition and support of the State Policy Network as we continue to develop flexible in-person communities for students in both Great Hearts Online and Great Hearts Microschools.”

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As a prior homeschool mom, I know the joy and the overwhelm of having your students home every day with you. Young children tend to be boisterous and disorderly. They require constant attention, direction, and oversight. As kids mature, they become less noisy and more withdrawn. They are less motivated to get their tasks done, whether that be chores or schoolwork. Here are some tips for those days and weeks when you feel overwhelmed or burned out with students at home. 

  1. Allow for variety in your day. Give yourself and your students a break from routine. Plan a fun afternoon adventure. Surprise your kids by going to the park, getting ice cream, hanging out with other homeschool/virtual students, catching a movie matinee, or having a picnic. Changing the routine for a day helps families find enjoyment and see the benefits of virtual learning and family time together.
  2. Connect in an online community. Find a group through social media and connect with it for support, encouragement, and friendship.
  3. Make outside time part of your daily routine. Get outside every day. Whether it is a morning walk before school starts or recess after lunch, prioritize the need for fresh air and movement. 
  4. Take care of yourself. Model good self-care for your children. Eat healthy foods, exercise, and rest when needed. Read for pleasure or find some other hobby that is stress relieving. Encourage your children to do the same. Set out to connect in person with others regularly. Join a social club, sports team, homeschool community, or church group. Being home can be isolating. Include activities with others to energize yourself and your students and to help build community. 

Take care of yourself.

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