Twelve months ago, terms such as 'online learning' and 'virtual schooling' weren't part of our everyday lexicon. However, with the UK's third lockdown meaning a return to home-schooling for families at the start of this year, it's safe to say these terms are here to stay. Whilst many parents might be brimming with excitement about the idea of sending their children back to the classroom on 8th March, for others, the pandemic has demonstrated that coupled with children's resilience and adaptability, online learning has plenty of advantages.
We've learned that we can work from just about anywhere in the world, as long as we have access to a computer or tablet and a strong internet connection. The world of education has changed dramatically, seen through the distinctive rise of e-learning, whereby teaching is undertaken remotely via digital platforms. With the travel industry anticipated to make a booming return in 2021, will e-learning be the way forward for families seeking longer-term wanderlust?
Quintessentially Education explores three different and unique ways that families can complete a virtual education from wherever they are in the world, each of which can be tailored to each student. Whilst many schools have had to deliver learning online as a response to COVID-19 quickly, the below programs have been in effect since well before the pandemic and may become more widely considered as parents become more open-minded and realise education is not necessarily found in classrooms and through set curriculums.
Best for: Virtual school environment and remote classroom learning across multiple timezones
Avenues Online is the virtual campus of Avenues, The World School, for students age 4–18 years. Fully accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Avenues Online was first set up in America and now has campuses worldwide, including New York, Sao Paulo and Shenzhen. Their educational programs have been designed specifically for students wanting to complete their learning remotely; pupils study from around the world, joining live taught lessons led by teachers in small class sizes.
Split into the Lower and Upper-division, Avenues Online offers a comprehensive school experience for students. The program's distinguishing features include a rigorous project-based and interdisciplinary curriculum and a close mentorship program for each of the students. Rather than spending their day in front of a screen, students benefit from several high-quality, interactive sessions with their cohort and teachers each day, incorporating just enough screen time for them to feel supported and motivated to work on their projects offline. This methodology well serves students who are perhaps better suited to learning online than in a physical classroom but still like the structure of lessons and learning with peers.
Best for: Culturally enriched experiences outside of the classroom in new locations
Children's Concierge offers a hugely different alternative to the traditional education route and is specifically designed for families wishing to take their children out of school so they can travel for an extended period. Families working with Children's Concierge want their travels to be an educational experience for their children, encouraging them to participate in active learning through engagement with the world around them. The central focus lies in cultural learning and exploration through experience; the local cultures and the immersive experiences are designed to ignite curiosity and include anything from exploring museums to farm work or cookery school.
The team at Children's Concierge will meet with the prospective family to learn about their goals and interests, and in turn, put together an itinerary for the given time. They curate personalised experiences for the families that inspire new ways of seeing a place; the company have trusted partners on-site in a host of destinations that the families might wish to explore. They can arrange everything from accommodation to transportation to local guides and activities. Children's Concierge can also work with school-based education teams and coordinate programs so that students can receive 'credit' for the work completed outside of school.
Personalised Travelling Tutor
Best for: Personalised and truly tailored one-to-one experience
A private travelling tutor can provide a third unique alternative to families wishing to explore home-schooling options. If you are looking for consistency and routine but also flexibility, hiring a full-time tutor who travels with you and teaches your children at the same time can prove hugely beneficial. This option is most suitable for families who have to move frequently due to work commitments or children absent from school for long periods, such as those who compete in professional sport.
To facilitate travelling tutors, Quintessentially Education works both independently and in partnership with the team at Tutors International, focusing on providing high-quality tutors to suit each family's individual needs. First, the team meets with the parents to discuss the child's current situation and aspirations, then from there, they will provide a personalised search for the most suited tutor. Once a suitable match is found (and once the relevant interviews and onboarding process has been completed), the tutor will develop a tailored programme for each student. There is flexibility on which curriculum to follow if operating independently. If the family prefers to affiliate with a specific school, there may be an opportunity to do this on a case-by-case basis. Learning and teaching are provided in-person and include a mixture of traditional classroom methods and more explorative experiential learnings. The freedom to adapt the learning to each child enables a truly unique opportunity.
For further questions about Avenues Online, Children's Concierge or Tutors International, or for assistance in better your child's home learning experience, please contact Quintessentially Education.