August 5, 2021
Things To Consider When Making The Move To K-12 Independent Study
If you’ve been considering your district’s independent study option for the 2021-2022 school year, you may have a lot of questions about what independent study is and how you can tell if your child is receiving a high-quality independent study experience.
One thing to keep in mind is that independent study and distance learning share a lot in common, but there are some key differences. You’ll want to ensure that your child’s experience is a high-quality independent study experience and not simply “school online.”
As long-time members of the independent study space, Method Schools has spent years refining the key elements of a quality independent study program.
Curriculum Designed For Independent Study
While it might seem easy enough to transition any curriculum from a classroom or a textbook to an online learning system, a quality independent study program will have developed curriculum that supports students in learning in multiple modalities. A curriculum like the SmartFox curriculum, that is designed with the independent study learner in mind, provides several key features: lessons tailored to the student’s attention span, opportunities to practice skills with automated feedback, guidance videos and documents from instructors.
Curriculum that utilizes standards and is both UC-approved and NCAA approved is important, even in the independent study space, because it provides every student with the ability to transition to postsecondary study, if they choose.
It’s also important that curriculum considers students who are career bound. A high quality CTE program delivered via independent study provides students with the option to develop their interests and prepare for a (not-so)future career.
Teachers Who Understand Independent Study
We appreciate all teachers, but we also have to say that our teachers at Method go through specialized training and professional development to support independent study students. They aren’t simply pushing students through course work. They work to actively engage both students and families in the learning process.
Quality independent study teachers provide continuous opportunities for personalization for each student. For this reason, it’s important that independent study students have a mentor who is responsible for their overall growth. Using homeroom sessions, 1:1 meetings, and tailored learning experiences are all hallmarks of great independent study teachers.
Method Schools offers instructional support that is varied as our students. From one-to-one meetings to small group sessions to targeted direct instruction, Method’s instructional approach is one that is flexible and completely personalized. Live instructional sessions vary from fully planned lessons to targeted standards-based instruction to specialized tutoring sessions.
Independent Study Shouldn't Be Isolated
Quality independent study programs are designed to fully engage the students – not deprive them of interaction with others. For this reason, a high-quality program creates community. It allows students to engage with each other and multiple members of the school staff. It provides many opportunities for socialization through electives and field trips.
Another key element of independent study is understanding that students are holistic beings and that students require support of all kinds – mental, physical and academic. An independent study program should enhance all aspects of a child’s development.
Learn More About Quality Independent Study
If you want your student to fully experience what independent study has to offer, it takes a program that has extensive practice in delivering a quality program.
Want to see how Method gets independent study? Attend one of our informational sessions or contact an enrollment specialist for more information.