Homespun School is an online learning site that offers a variety of options, including literature, history and web design. My daughter, who is in the 9th grade, took their 6-week Digital Learning course. I could not be more pleased with the end result!
The Digital Learning course teaches via hands-on student work. Over the course of six weeks, students create a digital portfolio (which can be improved upon if the Digi-Designs course is taken at a later time) and covers website building basics, creating bumper stickers, embed codes, Web 2.0, and a fun online shopping spree (using imaginary money, of course!) Digital Learning is described as a "foundational course to help get you the web-savvy you need" ~ and it really does live up to this promise.
Classes are held in an online classroom at Edmodo, which is a safe, members-only site. No one outside the class with have contact with your child. Parents are provided with access to the classroom, with one exception; they are not able to post on the classroom wall (which really is for the best, as it helps facilitate independent learning). The classroom at Edmodo is set up in a style similar to Facebook, making it easy to use with a familiar feel. All assignments are given here, as well as additional information needed to complete assignments and grades. I also received emails from the course instructor, Mr. Chase, each week. I never felt "out of touch" with what my daughter was working on, which is a plus for me as a homeschool mom. (You can find out more about Edmodo at www.Edmodo.com)
The Digital Learning course is best suited for students in 8th grade on up. And the class time is based on Carnegie Units, which is the standard used in public education systems to measure the amount of time students spend on a task (doing seat work, basically); this in turn is the common way public schools measure progress toward high school graduation. A Carnegie Unit is often used as a credit hour in high school. So, if you are wondering if this course can be counted as high school credit on your child's transcript, the answer is a resounding "YES"! You can expect your child to spend between 5 and 12 hours per week on coursework ~ which equates to 72 Carnegie Units. One full high school credit can be given for 122 hours of work, so this course counts as one half a credit upon completion. If you are looking for high school electives for your high school student, consider this course.
The grading scale is based on a point system. Each assignment is worth a given number of points, and each week about 100 points can be earned. In addition, there are opportunities to earn extra credit. My daughter enjoyed seeing her points increase as each assignment was graded, and she ended the course with an average above 100%. Students who work hard and finish well may have their work featured in the "Portfolio Hall of Fame", which can be found on the website's Digital Learning page.
Here is a very brief run-down of the course: the teacher, Mr. Chase, gave assignments to the class each week (usually several times a week). He provided students with the amount of points each assignment was worth, along with instructions, links for web tools and resources to help complete assignments, and a checklist that was filled out for each assignment. But he aimed to enable students to learn web design on their own, without being spoon-fed. Considering that the purpose of this class is for students to be able to design a website from beginning to end, completely on their own, it makes perfect sense that he expects them to learn by doing rather than depend on him to provide each and every answer. Of course, help is available as needed, so students aren't on their own by any means. But they are encouraged to attempt to solve problems and find answers on their own before requesting help from the teacher. If your child could use some real-world experience working on their own, this course would work well.
Be willing to encourage your child along the way. Take the time to look at their assignments, their websites and their portfolios. They can have a lot of fun with Digital Learning, and the hard work they put in can be very rewarding ~ but they need to share their work with you in order to really "complete" this course. I cannot recommend this course strongly enough. It is an excellent resource available to the homeschool community.
To see the website my daughter built during this course, click the link below ~
To see some of her other work on the web, visit these sites ~
Finally, to sign up for the Digital Learning course (or any other Homespun School course) to to www.Homespun-School.net
Thank you for taking the time to read this review, and may the Lord richly bless you and your family as you homeschool for His glory!
Day 258 done :)
Jan L. Burt