Dear Homeschooling community,
Thank you for the amazing support you all have offered. My deep apologies for the time it’s taken for me to update this blog. Of course, there was COVID. The silver lining to that rather dark cloud was that our programs became more needed and widely used than ever. It kept us quite busy.
To assure I get this post off in a timely manner, please allow me to focus on the broad brushstrokes. First of all, our partnerships with SEA, Rainbow Resources, and Homeschool Planet remain strong. We are most grateful for their continued support. And great thanks to the many homeschools who have been using our programs. Your support has made all the difference. This includes the development of Conceptual Algebra featuring Matt Foraker, an old friend and rather talented and experienced professor of mathematics from Western Kentucky University. From the start of filming at the tail end of COVID it’s taken us about two years to get to this point, which we call the pilot phase. There’s still many details to fill in, such as the video quizzes, but what we have posted now is truly a complete program. Thank you for signing up. Any feedback you are able to offer will be greatly appreciated.
The second major mention is our collaboration with a company called PocketLab with whom we’ve just been approved by the Texas SBOE for use by high schools across the state of Texas starting in Fall 2024. How might this impact our endeavors with homeschools? First, there’s the obvious thing that if we do well in Texas, then we would have the ultimate financial support to take our programs to the next level and then some. Keep in mind we are still a mom and pop curriculum company. That mom is my wife Tracy. I’m the pop. And our kids (now past college) are also heavily involved in this very family oriented company. It’s been an arduous task making it through the Texas hoops (TEKS/ELPS/TRR), which explains mostly why I’ve been slack in updating LearnScience.Academy. Thank you for your patience.
Second: I’m primarily a college professor. For the past year my head has been submerged in the K12 universe, which is 180 degree apart from the college space to which I’m accustomed. What I’ve learned is shocking. The teachers are stressed beyond belief as they are required to teach to the test, follow the standards (don’t get me going on that one), accommodate deep problems of income inequality among their students, and much more. Teaching the science is at best a secondary consideration. All for a salary that makes it hard to put food on the table. It’s no surprise that most science teachers quit within 4 to 5 years of starting in the classroom. The teachers and admin I have met are glowing individuals. They truly are. The problem is in the system that, in many cases, has turned into a race to the bottom. I understand homeschoolers homeschool for many different reasons, but from what I’ve seen, pulling one’s student OUT of that system is easy to understand. The sad part is that doing so exacerbates the problem. Yet doing so also serves to send an important message. However, is there anyone there to hear and then act upon that message?? The situation is worrisome with massive implications to the state of society.
But what if the local high school started using the same high quality science programs developed by and endorsed by the local homeschools? With our recent approval by the Texas SBOE, this is finally a real possibility. The eagle-eye feedback we’ve incorporated from homeschools over the past 10 years has truly brought the quality of our curriculum to the highest level. It put us in the position to be competing with multi-billion dollar publishers. Literally, visit and search for Texas high school science. We’re listed as “Myriad Sensors” which is the union of PocketLab/Conceptual Academy. Of a David and Goliath story, we are clearly the David. And in our sling has been your continual support.
My ask: Thank you for referring your local high school science teachers to the following web page: https://www.thepocketlab.com
Poke around and you’ll quickly find our Conceptual Academy resources as hosted on PocketLab’s Notebook Pro learning platform optimized for public high schools. (Our own Conceptual Academy platform is optimized for self-study and college courses). What you’ll also discover is where we’ll be heading with our homeschool self-study programs, which, as soon as we are able, will also be including many of the PocketLab resources, most notably their remarkable real-time sensors.
Funny story. I recently got an email from a homeschooler asking if we were still in business. He was remarking on how LearnScience.Academy had not been updated in several years! True enough. My apologies. But please know that behind the scenes things are rock ‘n rolling. For the next six months we’ll be roaming every corner of the state of Texas visiting school districts to let them know about what we offer. In a meeting last week I was blunt with a physics teacher from Waco. I told him that in using our program the standardized exam scores of his students may or may not go up. But what will go up is student attitude. He gave a sincere thumbs up telling me that this was exactly what he needed most.
That’s it for now. Check out our new algebra program! And send me a holler if you happen to live in Texas or anywhere on this precious planet.