the smartest way
to teach & learn
(multilingual) (hybrid) (flipped) (mastery)
How it works
Students in the Foundations Series learn shapes, colors, letters, numbers, reading, writing and addition in the first three units, along with numerous personal skills such as tying shoes, keeping an area tidy, and following instructions. Unit 4 is a transitional unit to prepare students for the Knowledge Series, and includes two short on-line lessons each day to review all their skills and learn how to use the computer.
The curriculum speeds up quickly in the Knowledge and Skills Series. However, classes can move faster because every student has mastered each previous skill.
Math: arithmetic in Knowledge, algebra and geometry in Skills.
Science: "naked eye" sciences in Knowledge (geology, biology, botany and conceptual physics) and Micro/Telescopic sciences in Skills (astronomy, chemistry, microbiology and physics with math).
Culture: world geography and world history in Knowledge; cultural themes and US history (or your country, if elsewhere) in Skills.
Communications: learning to read and write in multiple genres in Knowledge; then applying these Skills more with research, writing, speech and debate.
Technology: an intro to low tech inventions and then a tour through the centuries in Knowledge, then more thematic studies and computer programming in Skills.
The Arts: coordinated with the Culture strand in Knowledge, then more performance and creations in Skills.
Personal Development: the hands-on part of this class is PE (physical education); the on-line part is health and all the million extras schools cover: vision screen, bullying, character building, nutrition, assemblies, mental health, holiday parties, and so forth.
Second Language: a sneaky way to introduce more complex grammar and vocabulary topics while learning a second language. Students who need more time for their regular classes skip this; those who need other specialized instruction like speech or behavior therapy take those classes instead.
Students in the Specialty Series take some general classes in these eight subject areas, plus more advanced (college-level) classes in one of eight broad Paths: Computer Science, Engineering, Biochemistry, Humanities, Math & Money, Skilled trades, Earth Sciences, Fine Arts, or a certificate program that takes 2 years or less. Students in the eight Paths should be able to earn an AA, BA or college transfer degree before finishing high school. They also complete several internships.
Scope & Sequence
Our program is organized into four Series: Foundations, Knowledge, Skills and Specialty.
You could think of Foundations as similar to preschool, kindergarten and first grade, except that every student comes out reading independently in at least one language. Two is better.
The Knowledge Series is roughly equal to 2nd-7th grade, except that with mastery-based progress everyone gets an A on everything. It's just a matter of time. Usually four years.
Most student complete the Skills Series at age 14; this is equivalent to a high school diploma. A good one.
Now your students can start the Specialty Series during their "high school" years and be on par with students internationally. They start to specialize in one of eight broad career Paths (with college-level material) or start working on a specialized skill certification.
In the Knowledge Series and the Skill Series there are twelve units. Most students complete 3 units annually, while year-round and Accelerated Schedule students complete 4.
Each unit takes 50 instructional days and 5 review/exam days to complete. That's 11 weeks of school for students, followed by a two week break.
Each unit contains 100 lessons: 15 each of the Major Subjects, and 10 each of the Minor Subjects.
On the Standard schedule, students complete just 2 lessons each day: one before lunch and one after lunch. However, these are looooong lessons: each one includes an 80-minute period on the computer, a recess, and an 80-minute period with the teacher.
This schedule maximizes on-task time by reducing transitions, setup and cleanup. It also reduces mental fatigue as students only have to completely switch subjects twice a day. Students with ADD/ADHD have more time to settle in to their work and then work for quite a while without interruption, and students with social interaction problems have fewer problematic interactions.
For class pairings, the schedule is simplest if you pair two minor subjects on two days (in this example they are on Wednesdays and Fridays). In a school, the second class flips the morning/afternoon schedule. The third class shifts all the classes forward one day and the fourth class flips that schedule, and so forth.
Our e-learning platform is like an interactive textbook, lecture, workbook and quiz.
Students read and listen to each page in the lesson, which also has a picture. The sound is usually the text read aloud, but sometimes may be a music file or other sound.
After several teaching pages, students come to question pages. They progress with correct answers; or, on the third wrong answer, they are bumped back to the start of of that teaching section to read and listen to the information again, or find the answer in a graphic.
By the end of the lesson,the student has answered each question correctly; these same questions are then presented in random order in a quiz. If the student scores 90% or above ("mastery"), the lesson is passed; otherwise, the student repeats the entire lesson and takes the quiz again.
We find that that the "culture shock" of switching to this system takes about three weeks for most students. Once they realize that they will do a lesson as many times as it takes to get an A, they start paying more attention the first time. This completely changes their entire approach to learning.
With the latest version of our platform, students can choose to do a lesson in one language or two; we recommend two for all students who are making regular progress on the Standard schedule. Even if your school does not yet offer a 2nd Language class starting in elementary school, English-speaking students can start picking up a 2nd language right away.
More importantly, English Language Learners can fully understand every subject from day one in their own language while rapidly learning English, without taking any additional class time.
The OnSchooler e-learning platform is also of great benefit to other groups of students. Talented, Gifted and Accelerated students can now learn at their own pace and reach their true academic potential. Students with a high absence rate due to illness or travel can stay caught up anywhere with internet. The computer treats all students exactly the same: it does not know or care about the student's gender, race, ethnicity, beliefs, trendy clothes or lack thereof, weight, facial expression, attitude, behavior, or older sibling's former performance.
OnSchooler's e-learning platform levels the playing field for all of your students.
Then your teachers take things to the next level!
We provide recommended lesson plans that give the teachers ideas on how to take the new facts and skills learned online into higher-order thinking mode.
It's a beautiful relationship: the computer takes care of all the drudgery like reciting spelling lists, reading from the text with the class, and grading piles of math problems. It frees up the teacher to do the more complex teaching.
The computer covers spelling, grammar and vocabulary; the teacher covers reading with inflection, writing persuasively, and performing plays.
The computer covers the geography and history of each country; the teacher brings it alive with guest speakers, food tasting, and a glimpse into international holidays.
The computer covers math facts and computational thinking; the teacher uses manipulatives and real-life problem solving to probe for deep understanding and show how math is useful every day.
The computer presents science diagrams, vocabulary and interesting concepts; the teacher guides the students in activities and experiments and provides opportunities for further research into interesting topics.
And through all of this, we try to make multi-subject connections. We sing the multiplication tables and geography songs. We draw and color scientific diagrams. We study the mathematics of music and sound. We use algebra and geometry skills in computer programming. And we read about a hundred interesting topics.
One More Thing
How do you make this all work?
Our platform, curriculum and philosophy were all developed together, unlike the cobbled-together systems most schools have to use. You won't believe how much simpler and more streamlined your school systems will be with OnSchooler.
For example, there is no homework in the Foundations or Knowledge Series but all of your students will be reading fluently be age 8 and earning straight A's in very hard subjects.
Your teachers' and students' paperwork loads will be reduced by about 90%; the computer grades all the easy stuff automatically, freeing up the teacher for projects, research and experiments.
Or maybe you've heard of the "flipped" approach: instead of teachers lecturing and students doing the complex work at home, students do the text/lecture at home and the hands-on work in class with the teacher to help. We already do that, but more thoroughly and planfully.
Another example: the hands-on class time is never interrupted; students who need to go to the dentist or special meetings do so during the on-line work time.
We've worked out a hundred little details like this, both in the initial design and in further testing and development in actual classrooms, so you don't have to!
We also have many variations on our standard plan:
accelerated and decelerated schedules for faster and slower learners
remixing lessons to add more features you want, writing new lessons, and adding more translations
ideas to provide Foundations programs throughout your community so that all students arrive ready to learn to read
how to set up "focus" schools that throw all their electives, after school programs and project times behind a particular theme, like Health & Fitness, or Young Entrepreneurs, or STEM Skills, or Language Immersion, or The Arts.
a dozen different schedules to accommodate building or teacher shortages
how to easily transition to distance learning for a while due to fires, floods or disease outbreaks
practical approaches to provide voucher/school choice options, or let students learn part=time at home with home/school hybrid models
how to make all of this work on your existing budget with real people!
...and more. You'll want to get a customized plan to learn about all the options and decide which arrangement works best for your students.
We've already mentioned that most of your students will all be reading fluently at a young age, completing their high school level work around age 14 (with straight A's in a robust curriculum), learning two languages fluently, and earning college credits before leaving high school; and that there are built-in supports and modifications for students with special needs.
We were so excited about the academics that we forgot to mention that you will also cut your class sizes in half. You see, half the class does the on-line lesson on the computer while the other half does the hands-on lesson with the teacher.
This means that all of your classes of 40 students will now be classes of 20 students. (And inside these classes will be groups of students working at about the same pace; we're really serious about the mastery-based progress, so you'll have groups on all different lessons in the curriculum. They really, truly, seriously, don't move on until they fully master each skill.)
If you've been trying to figure out how to shrink your class sizes while dealing with the realities of your budget, OnSchooler is the answer.
If you are a parent and would like to use our system at home, you can start right now.
Teachers, you can try out a single subject or transform your classroom with just a little planning.