Thoughts and Ideas From an Online High School Teacher and Ex-Homeschooling Mom-I Think I Know What I'm Doing!

in #introduceyourself4 years ago (edited)

“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”
~John Dewey

Hello Steemit! My name is Sandra and I am an online high school teacher, lover of educational technology, and retired homeschooling mom of 4 lovely, but intense daughters!

“You can have it all, just not at the same time,” is a quote from Oprah Winfrey that I read a long time ago and one that I try to live by.

With the right values, a good education, and a strong work ethic, I believe anyone can eventually have it all. Of course, because we are all individuals the definition of having it all is different for each of us. My personal story begins in Florida and involves a series of goals I have worked for in my effort to have it all.

I was born and raised in St. Petersburg to middle-class parents. My father was a firefighter, and my mother was an elementary school teacher. At the age of seventeen, I left home to begin college and soon discovered I was not ready to pursue a degree.

The beautiful Gulf of Mexico!

After four years of working various odd jobs, I realized that I was not going to have the life I envisioned for myself unless I went to back to school. I spent the next five years working full-time as a waitress to put myself through college.

At first, I had difficulty choosing a major, so I chose the two things that I like, reading and children. With this in mind, I picked English Education as my major. I enjoyed school, though working full-time made it very challenging.

After college, I married and moved to Missouri with my husband. Right away, I landed my first job teaching high school English. I taught for two years and loved it!

Happily and regretfully, I left teaching to be a stay-at-home mom to my baby daughter.

The same baby daughter, Ashley Toth @edgeland that introduced me to Steemit and is one of the reasons I am writing this blog! Thank you Ashley!

At the time, I intended to return to teaching as soon as my daughter started school. Not long after, we moved back to Florida, and I did not return to teaching as I had planned. Instead, I became a full-time, homeschooling mom to four daughters. While at home I became interested in computers and used my new interest to help run the homeschooling support group I had started. I spent many hours making newsletters and various forms and letters for my members. As my daughters grew older, I eventually disbanded the group to spend more time with my family.

After nineteen years as a homeschooling mom, I felt a strong desire to go back to teaching outside my home. However, I still had three children at home, and I was committed to finishing their education. One day while I was helping one of my daughters with an online class she was taking with the Florida Virtual School, it dawned on me; I should look into teaching online. The idea made perfect sense because I enjoy working with computers and teaching.

Amazingly, five years later I am a full-time online teacher working for a great school called K12 (http://www.k12.com/) and licensed to teach in five states (FL, IL, MO, CA, and CO). Teaching from home allowed me to work with children, computers, and still home school my daughters.

My love of instruction and computers led me towards my Master’s Degree in Educational Technology. Since receiving my degree in 2013, I have been able to further my knowledge of the use of technology in the classroom, and that is why I am here today. While I could spend hours discussing homeschooling (please let me know if you would like to), I plan to focus on the use of technology to educate students.

Some of the things I intend to share on my blog are:

  1. Times are changing! We need 21st Century Schools for 21st Century students!
  2. Teaching and making a living from home!
  3. What I have learned about being an online teacher and how I use technology in my classrooms.
  4. What it is like to teach 200 to 300 online students at the same time.
  5. How I try to connect with my students virtually.
  6. Some of the myths (what I believe are myths) of online learning.
  7. What about discipline?
  8. There are some fun and creative ways to teach students online.
  9. What pedagogical tools can the online teacher use?
  10. Much, much more!

Thank you for taking the time to read this! As I work my way through this new adventure with Steemit, I will strive to continue to live by my work ethic and reach my goal of “having it all.” I believe I am getting there with a little teaching, learning, and technology every step of the way! Oh, and without leaving home!

If you have time you can find me on twitter! Sandra @SandraTO123

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I'm an advocate for new types of schooling and teaching methods. I'm curious if you've heard of Montessori schools and what you think of them.

Hi, I am big supporter of Montessori schools! The Montessori Method has a lot in common with the home schooling philosophy. They both support hands-on learning; creative learning; and allowing students to have some control over their education (among other things).

I had a feeling you were a supporter...I like anyone that can take the principles you've explained and apply it in real-world situations. I believe by having more examples of these teachers/schools become successful engines for human empowerment ....the more focus our society will have on the important things in life.

I have been educating people from the time I've been in college to now. Have been homeschooled and I'm planning to homeschool my children. I think blockchain really does open up untapped possibilities into autonomous, self-directed, and self-learning teaching. Your post confirms things I believe in for the future - thank you~

Hi, I home educate my two children. Loved reading your post.

How wonderful!

I definitely adhere to this thinking and thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing such article with us all on Steemit.com! Thrive on and namaste :)

I'm a teacher as well and completely agree with you. Congrats on teaching online.

I was homeschooled by my mom, and am so grateful to her for investing the time and energy into my education. You're an inspiration, from putting yourself through college to homeschooling 4 daughters! Welcome!

nice to meet you @redredwine and welcome! 8]

Nice! Good post.

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Thank you for the welcome!

Exciting to have ya!

Welcome, and I liked your post - an upvote for you :)

"Times are changing! We need 21st Century Schools for 21st Century students!"
Well said. things move so rapidly everyday and education should evolve too!

Wow! Thanks for giving me your link on my intro page (this was me if you forget: https://steemit.com/introduceyourself/@melek/punish-a-white-kid-first-the-rule-i-didn-t-follow). I love your story! I totally agree with the online education and have been in it for 7 years now. I live in Florida! Right now my school allowed me to move to Florida and keep my online job, and I absolutely love it there, but maybe someday we will meet at FVS. :) It was really nice to meet you!

Hello and Welcome!
I'm interested how you compare your home-schooling experience to the k12.com curriculum. They say they are common core compliant (or words to that effect). What do you think about common core?

Hello!

What a great a question and I am going to answer it using my different roles.

As a parent and ex-homeschooling mom, I do not like Common Core. I think having a national curriculum that teaches our students to study for standardized tests is wrong. I believe, with Common Core, non-English speaking learners, and non-traditional learners are left behind. And, it removes the creativity and fun in learning. Also, it has mutilated the teaching of simple math.

I am a homeschool evaluator for my county. Which means, at the end of the school year, homeschooling families come to me for evaluations. As a certified teacher, I have to decide whether to promote students. I see many families that say they left the public school system because of the way Common Core requires teachers to teach math. Parents are told it is better but don’t like seeing their kids cry while trying to master the math concepts.

I have always tried to make learning challenging and fun for my daughters. I had the freedom to make educational choices. I think we should all have freedom to make choices.

As an online high school teacher, I have many different types of students. Though, most of my students are in blended (hybrid) schools. As an online teacher, I do what any brick-and-mortar teacher does; I make the best of it. I try my best to use technology and other pedagogical methods to make learning more fun. I want to help students succeed, but I also need to feed my family.

Ah I see. I was wondering because if you google "common core bill gates" you come up with some interesting facts. eg. Bill Gates promotes and funds common core but not for his own kids. Enough said. I realize you have some balancing to do.

Great Enthusiasm. Good Article.

great post! keep it up

Welcome to STEEMIT! My daughter is planning on home schooling her children and will be starting with a preschool curriculum this fall with her 1st. I will share this with her.

That is great! My daughters all got into college with out high school diplomas. Actually, my 16-year old (the baby) is starting junior college in August. Homeschooling works!

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