by Dr. Adam Rondeau on April 6, 2020
Nearly the entire United States of America is finding themselves in the position of having to homeschool their children. Let me encourage you with this thought. THIS IS A GOOD THING. It is God’s original design and intent that the parents be in charge of their children’s education. They are given that responsibility by Him. Too many are turning that blindly over to the state or another organization and then standing back. BUT NOT YOU! We are proud to partner with parents that are assuming their Biblically mandated responsibility of training up their child in the ways of God.
The purpose of this newsletter is to provide some information and support for you as you navigate this period. Please remember that ViewPoint is here to be your support during this time. Do not hesitate to contact us with your questions or concerns.
Running a Home Learning Center
There many factors involved in running ViewPoint’s campus Learning Center and we’ve had decades of experience creating an ideal learning environment. Let me give you what I would consider the top two tips for replicating this in your home.
Learning is the responsibility of the student. This is a universal truth. Responsibilities demand accountability. ViewPoint has many very specific procedures and routines that we follow to hold students accountable for their responsibilities. While you will not be able to replicate that precisely in your own home, you can incorporate the principles of accountability. There are some very practical ways that you can hold your child accountable for their responsibilities in regard to their schoolwork.
Even still, the teachers of ViewPoint are conducting daily “Goal Checks” of the students’ work. In this way, we are doing our part to hold them accountable for their learning responsibilities from afar. The Ignitia software makes this possible from a distance. However, there’s nothing like the primary overseeing authority physically interacting and demonstrating that they care enough to hold them accountable. How can you, as a parent at this time, reasonably hold your child accountable? Here are some ideas.
- Since the teachers are already conducting a daily goal check within the Ignitia system, use that to your advantage in holding them accountable to stay on track with assignments. Require that your child show you this report daily and read the whole thing. After reading it, praise your child for their achievements and then help them establish goals and strategies for catching up in the areas that they are struggling with or behind in.
- You can also hold them accountable for the quality of their work by being a noticeable presence. By this, I mean to stand over their shoulder every once in a while and let them know that you are watching them. Read some of their answers to make sure they make sense and ask them if they are reading all the “HELP NOTES” that the teachers are sending. (We send literally dozens of help notes every day to the students to help them in any areas that they are struggling in. Sometimes they ask us for help and sometimes we volunteer it.)
- As much as is in your ability to do so, watch them while they are taking their Quizzes and Tests. If you notice that they are using notes, books, or have a tab open for another website question it and insist that they close it or put it away. Quizzes and Tests must be taken without outside aid and doing otherwise is considered cheating.
- We highly recommend that the students do their work in a public area if possible where they are always within your view and are not put in a position of temptation without accountability.
In addition to accountability, and perhaps the most effective tool at your disposal, is the necessity of proper motivation. Without motivation, diligence will not be demonstrated. God Himself understands this and the Scriptures tell us that He is a rewarder of diligence (Hebrews 11:6). This should be a motivation for the believer.
ViewPoint has learned how to implement both long-term and short-term motivation. Very few students are inspired by long-term motivation. Most need short-term motives to incentivize their work. We have found that one of our most powerful motivators is breaktime. Many students live for the next recess. We have tied diligence and accomplishment to breaktime. The more that is accomplished, the longer the break. The less that is accomplished the less the break, and if necessary (in rare cases) it is eliminated. Notice that there is a positive and a negative motivation in one. For motivation to work there must be a positive reward for diligence and a negative consequence for not completing responsibilities.
I highly recommend that you find what will work for your family as a motivator and use it to inspire diligence. Maybe recess isn’t going to work for your family. Maybe it’s going to be connected to TV, video games, or cell phone access. Accomplishment releases those positives and a lack of accomplishment restricts them. However it ends up looking in your home, motivation is the key that unlocks the power of accomplishment. Use it wisely.
Dealing with Cheating
Even though we are not on the school grounds together, the teachers are being very observant and involved in the students’ work on a daily basis. We notice little things and are using many tracking mechanisms that are available to us through Ignitia. Unfortunately, we have observed multiple instances in which the students have not been honest in their work. This has taken two primary tracks. One is cheating on tests as addressed in the section above on accountability. Another more frequent method of cheating is that of plagiarism.
Plagiarism is simply copying someone else’s writing and pasting it as your own. It is intellectual theft and cheating. It is also laziness on the part of the student. We want the students to do their research and visit websites or read books with this information. Then, they take what they have learned and formulate it into their own thoughts and words. Copying and pasting is not an acceptable short-cut.
How we will deal with instances of cheating: We want to be careful to communicate with you how we will address any such issues if they arise.
- The first offense by a student will result in a mandatory redo and we will assign a different version of the test or quiz when that option is available.
- The second offense will result in reassignment of work. This could be an entire section or an entire unit depending upon the circumstances.
- If cheating continues to be a problem or becomes a pattern then the Principal will begin to address the issue in conjunction with the board as to whether or not the student will be allowed to remain in the program.
- Plagiarism will never be accepted and will always be reassigned to the student until it becomes acceptable.
Some have brought up the question of whether or not the tuition charges for this year will be influenced by the change in circumstances. The church board is wrestling with this issue but is going to delay a decision until we have definitive direction from the state authorities concerning the month of May. At the time of this writing, the directive is that school remains closed until May 4. The situation is so fluid right now that it could change while you are reading this newsletter. However, it would be best to wait until we know how things will work for the rest of the year and make one decision in this area instead of a series of them.
The biggest change that has occurred in the schooling of the students is location. While the students are not at the building, the majority of the student assistance is still coming from our teachers. They are still receiving an equivalent amount of time and energy from the staff as they did while on campus, and in some cases even more. We have gone well beyond our initial 9am -1pm availability schedule and have made ourselves as available as possible. We are committed to helping students succeed.
For my own part, I (Dr. Rondeau) can attest that I have been putting in many full days of work for the school. Not only in regard to helping students in their work, but also in communicating with parents and students, as well as many other administrative tasks. There really has been no change regarding our paid staff who are staying very busy during this time.
In the interest of transparency let me share with you the budget for 2019-2020. I do this so that you are aware of how the school functions through its budget. You will notice that it is a very simple and streamlined budget. I consider myself a careful steward of the resources that the school has at its disposal. Many years ago the church established the goal of making the schools budget self-sustaining, meaning that it could cover its own expenses through the tuition that it raises.
Please notice that there are no charges for facility use. The church considers the school a mission and covers all the building and maintenance costs. As you can see, our primary expense is staff salaries. We currently have two paid staff members (in addition to volunteer staff) and we depend upon our tuition to meet their salaries.
|$960.00||School Management System|
|$230.00||Accreditation Renewal Fees|
|$750.00||Electronic Payment Fees|
|$500.00||End of Year Awards Ceremony/Graduation|
I share this with you to ask for your understanding. There is very little flexibility in our budgeting as the income projection is not greater than the budget itself and we have always operated in this way because of our sincere desire to provide parents with an affordable Christian education option. But COVID-19 doesn’t take that desire into consideration. Even if tuition is to be discounted and some refunds are to be given to those that paid tuition in advance, the church and school will need to make some difficult decisions and will most assuredly need time to make it all work.