Educational Communities: Four Current Models

Families who are teaching their own children in isolated settings often want to work together in order to share resources and expertise and to give their children the advantages of being part of a larger educational community. We in SIL have several models currently operating in field settings for providing that kind of community. Other models that are not in as much use but are still options to provide support to homeschooling parents are Strategic Learning Centers, itinerant teaching, homeschool co-ops, tutors, and agencies like AERC.

Educational Resource Center (ERC) Model

ERCs are kept at a central location and parents access them. There is a library, textbooks, education materials, and other resources. An ERC coordinator keeps the center organized and often parents will request resources by email. Sometimes they are set up to be self-sustaining.

Field Education System (FES) Model

FES is a model where the parents come to a common location several times a year for workshops or meetings and the children engage in regular classroom activities around a given theme. The classroom sessions normally run for 3+ weeks. Outside of these sessions, the teachers can do itinerant teaching.

Modular Study Group (MSG) Model

The Modular Study Group (MSG), is a blended program, combining homeschool support with aspects of the traditional classroom. It aims to provide a new educational option for ministry workers who live in more remote areas of Asia. The MSG offers college-prep courses in the core subjects of English, math and science. Classes are held in a centrally-located city during one week of each month, followed by about three weeks of home study. Each course is planned and facilitated by a qualified instructor, with the parents serving as the primary monitors/teachers during the weeks when students are at home. [Note – Additional classes, such as Social Studies and Art are beginning to make their way into the program.]

Traditional School Participation Model

Some schools have developed a program that is designed to assist parents as they teach their children in the village setting. The purpose of this program is to allow the family to go to the village when needed. While in the village they follow what is going on in the classroom using a plan generated by the teacher so that they can keep to the classroom schedule. When they return to where the school is the child re-enters the school with as smooth a transition as possible.