Recently, I sat down with Kathy Burt, TEL Library’s Director of Outreach for the homeschool market, to get her thoughts on why the TEL Library curriculum makes sense for homeschool. Kathy is a former homeschool parent, school teacher and the founder/principal of Fort Worth Heritage Christian Academy and ACI Academy. Below are excerpts from our conversation.
Rob: You've been a homeschool parent and have spent many hours talking to homeschool parents. Can you tell me about the challenges they face and some of their most common questions when it comes to high school curriculum?
Kathy: One of their biggest challenges homeschool parents face is trying to understand what classes their high school student needs to take in order to graduate. Many also struggle with the time element involved in scheduling and teaching all the different classes. They have to find appropriate materials, plan lessons, and learn new subject content in order to provide instruction and grading.
Homeschool parents also have to deal with feelings of inadequacy, particularly when their student reaches high school. They ask questions like, "Do I know enough to teach this material or to provide assistance?"
Finally, there’s the cost factor. Homeschooling removes most of the instructional and administrative costs associated with education, but parents still have to buy course materials and technology, and many feel the need to supplement their student’s educational experience with additional, paid assistance. There’s also the personal time cost involved.
Rob: You’ve also been a teacher and run private schools. What excites you personally about TEL Library’s collegiate high school experience for homeschool parents and their kids?
Kathy: Over years I've looked at a variety of curricula and course materials for high school students. Compared to those, TEL Library courses are truly excellent. Our content really stands out for its high-quality, engaging content. I’ve also been extremely impressed with how the TEL Library team has designed the lessons to make it easy for students to learn online. Another obvious advantage of TEL Library courses is that they are so affordable. There isn’t anything really comparable to our combination of content, services, and pricing on the market. Finally, it’s a big advantage that our curriculum is dual-purpose; our courses can be taken for both high school and college credit (dual credit).
Rob: Why do you think TEL Library’s courses are ideal for homeschool parents and students?
Kathy: Based on my experience, TEL Library delivers everything that a parent needs to help their student be successful. The courses provide great instruction, content, grading, and support. The parents don’t need to worry about being an expert or having to find additional materials. In addition, the courses are easy to use and they allow students to work independently or within a co-op, and on flexible schedules. Finally, I think it’s important that, when they purchase TEL Library courses, parents and families retain access to the courses content for life.
Rob: So, how would you respond to parents who are concerned about having their students take online courses?
Kathy: There are definitely some things I would caution parents about when they’re looking at different online course programs. Some of the existing products on the market are very expensive. Others feature long, boring lecture videos that make it difficult for students to stay engaged. Some lack adequate support.
We’ve developed out courses at TEL Library to address these very issues. They are affordable, easy to use, and feature engaging content. Our staff monitors student progress and provides mentoring and support. We also provide plenty of additional study resources in our Module Toolbox. Finally, our exams are mapped precisely to course content and are proctored by a 3rd party, something that is included in the course price.
Rob: What are you doing to help parents select courses and determine if they will meet their particular curriculum needs?
Kathy: My professional background has given me years of experience working with curriculum and graduating plans. I make myself available to homeschool parents in any way I can to help them develop the right education plan for their student. I can direct them in mapping out plans to use TEL Library courses for their student’s high school graduation and for earning college credit.