- No appropriate school program is available and families are scattered geographically.
- Families want children to have some opportunities to interact academically with peers.
- A facility is available for an ERC and classroom.
- Families agree to study at least one area of common curriculum, usually developed by the ERC teacher.
- Families agree to schedule a few times during the year when all will gather for classroom interaction based on the common curriculum area.
- Families are responsible to supervise their own children’s curriculum most of the time.
- Families may choose their own curriculum in all except the agreed-upon common area(s) of study, or may choose to share curriculum in all areas.
- Program works best with a teacher (trained in FES approach) assigned to supervise and plan children’s interactive times. However, committed and trained parents could also handle it.
- If teachers are available, they can consult and adapt individual programs and may also itinerant to families (if level of staffing is adequate.)
- The program is specifically designed to meet the needs of families where parents teach their own children in an isolated setting.
- It fosters interaction across age levels, between siblings as well as classmates, and encourages meaningful communication between parents and children through the study tasks.
- Though it may take more parental time than a workbook approach to education, the time spent is of the kind that builds healthy parent-child relationships, rather than putting the parent in the role of taskmaster.
- Curriculum recommendations are adaptable to families of different cultures and nationalities and to those who are isolated from cultural peers. It is very adaptable to individual children’s abilities and interest.
- Academic interaction with peers is given high importance. Interaction provides academic stimulation and motivation and gives children opportunities to present what they have learned and to learn from each other.
- A strong group identity tends to develop.
- It combines the advantages of keeping children with parents with the advantages of some classroom experience. The amount of time spent in each setting is up to the group to decide.
- Teachers are available for consultation and village visits (if staffing level and travel situations allow) as well as for adapting the program to fit individual situations.
- The ERC resources provide much more than each family could provide on their own.
- Times together build a sense of community and mutual support for families who are isolated most of the time.
- Some families report better productivity because they set short-term goals for village time, take advantage of the FES time to reevaluate, and return to the task with new energy.
- Families must come out of their allocation to a more central area more often than they might otherwise. (However, see last point above.)
- Schedules must be coordinated so all participating families can meet at the same time. Housing may be a challenge as well.
- It takes more parental involvement than a fill-in-the-blanks workbook approach to education.
- Just any teacher is not effective in this type of program. In addition to being a good teacher, one must:
- be flexible, creative, adaptable, and tactful.
- have inner strength and excellent relating skills.
- be able to live in all kinds of circumstances.
- be sensitive and supportive to families of many nationalities and cultural backgrounds.
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