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Dear TCK support colleagues,

We are so grateful for the families that you have connected us with over the past five years. We have loved serving overseas workers!

We are restructuring our support for families next year and want to share more about this with you. There’s been a little bit of confusion since we started our small in-person hybrid Learnwell here in Georgia, so we’ve renamed the arm of Learnwell that supports parents everywhere else in the world. 

Welcome to the Learnwell Navigator Program!

Because of our strong belief that parents own the education of their children, we see Learnwell serving as a navigator for parents, the captains of their ship.

The core of how we serve the Navigator community of parents will remain the same. Homeschooling parents will still be supported by a teacher who writes their weekly lesson plans and is available to answer questions or help find extra resources.

But there will be a few improvements as well:

1 – We will be offering more optional opportunities and activities for those who have children who are high achievers. We want to make sure that parents are well-equipped to serve their children in the areas where they excel.

2 – We’re converting to a 12-month membership. This doesn’t mean that we expect parents to homeschool for 12 months to participate in Learnwell! But we recognize a few things to be true. 

First, many Learnwell families, especially those on the field, do end up working beyond the school calendar because of expected and unexpected interruptions in the school year. That’s completely fine, and we want to make sure that they have support in the summer.

Second, retention of skills and knowledge over the summer is an issue that every parent has to deal with in their children. So we will equip families over the summer with optional, fun, summer bridge activities to help their children retain what has been learned over the school year and be ready for the coming year.

3 – We’ve changed the tuition model for the Navigator program, and we’re pretty sure your families will like it because it means they’ll be paying less. Here’s how this looks for families teaching their children in kindergarten through 7th grade:

 

homeschool support

 

This all begins on August 1, 2022.

We offer support for families homeschooling children in grades K-7. As students enter 8th grade, they are (often) quite independent in their schoolwork, and parents are beginning to think of planning for high school. We plan to begin offering academic coaching for students in 8th grade through high school in the coming year.

Please let us know if you have any questions about these changes. We are really excited about a wonderful spring here, and the opportunity to serve the community of workers on the field in the 2022-2023 school year!

Here’s the link you can share with any parent: https://learnwellcollective.org/navigator-homeschool-support/

Gratefully,

Melissa Shipman

 

Feedback from Learnwell Families:

“I am so glad that I enrolled in Learnwell this year. It has given me some peace of mind in terms of homeschooling that I didn’t even realize I lacked. I think the thing I’ve liked best about Learnwell was being able to check in periodically with my son’s teacher and give a detailed update and then receive encouraging and specific feedback. The lesson plans and support received through Learnwell are well worth the money. Somebody has my back! My teacher is awesome! So supportive and encouraging and helpful. Coming from the perspective of a tired mom of six kids who has been at it for over 15 years, it was just nice to have real help for once with my ‘day job!'”

Cheryl in Ohio

“What has been most helpful to me is getting the lesson plans in small manageable chunks. When we homeschooled before I loved getting ready for the year and organizing everything, but we would lose steam and save too many things for ‘later.’ I was nervous to switch curriculums as we were used to the previous one. However, I have loved the resources Learnwell has chosen. The kids are doing well and love the routine. Sometimes start without me there! Learning has been more fun than I expected thanks to songs and videos to help them learn. We are very happy with Learnwell and plan to continue.”

Current Learnwell Parent

“Before Learnwell, I really wasn’t sure what curriculum to use or how I was going to manage planning out my child’s education on my own. With Learnwell, I love the fact that all the curriculum is already chosen and the lesson plans are made by experienced teachers. I appreciate having access to the teachers so I can ask questions and advice. This has been a huge blessing! Everything is running smoothly. The kids enjoy it, and they are learning. Thank you!”

Current Learnwell Parent

FAQs for TCK Support Personnel

Is Learnwell an online school?

No. Learnwell offers support for homeschooling parents, and everything we offer is parent-facing. We don’t think it’s best for younger children to be taught in front of a screen!

What curriculum does Learnwell use?

For reading (grades K-4), we use All About Reading, an Orton-Gillingham-based system. We’re in our fourth year with this curriculum, and our parents and teachers love it. For our TCKs, who of course have less exposure to English than their peers at “home,” a strong reading program is a must. You can read more about the program HERE.

Additionally in Reading, teacher-created literature Units are included as part of the Language Arts curriculum in all grades. These books are classic and/or award-winning books that both parents and kids enjoy, and our lessons utilize the methods in Teaching the Classics.

We begin using a grammar curriculum in 2nd grade using the Easy Grammar series. Our teachers supplement this with learning activities and videos every step of the way.

Instruction in writing and spelling is included throughout the Language Arts lesson plans, and dovetails with the genres reflected in Literature. We have identified writing objectives for each grade from which our teachers create these lessons.

For math (grades 1-7), we use the Math Mammoth curriculum. We chose this curriculum initially for the incredible resources that it offers for learners who are advanced and learners who are struggling. The curriculum spirals a bit in that it comes back to certain topics to add new concepts, but it is primarily a mastery curriculum. You can read more about Math Mammoth HERE. In kindergarten, we use Mathematical Reasoning as our guide. In all levels of math, our teachers guide parents in creating hands-on lessons and applications beyond the curriculum.

In social studies and science, one of our priorities is for the parent to be able to teach all of their children together. In our first year, we selected curriculum that allowed for this; however, it wasn’t the best fit for the families we served. So we have written our own curriculum in these areas.

Every month of the school year, Learnwell families are alternatively working through science OR social studies. This allows us to go in-depth with these topics in a given month.

In science, we have written curriculum on a two-year cycle through topics of earth science, life science, and physical science. In social studies, our curriculum reflects a four-year cycle through world history and a two-year cycle through basic concepts of government, civics, and economics.

Is Learnwell only for families from North America?

The curriculum of Learnwell reflects learning objectives for children in the United States and Canada. Ideally, a parent would be homeschooling in their own mother tongue. However, we recognize that there are families on the field who must homeschool and whose passport cultures do not offer homeschooling resources. Non-North American families will need the support of agency personnel to make this determination and will need information and resources to aid them in any transitions back to their passport culture educationally.

How do Learnwell families access their curriculum?

Families need to purchase their own curriculum in reading (K-4), literature, grammar (grade 2 and up), math, and a few supplemental social studies resources. All other materials needed are accessed through the Learnwell portal.

Can a family participate only for one subject?

Yes. We realize that sometimes, everything is working great in one subject but not in another. If a family only needs support in language arts or math, they can receive support in only that subject at a reduced cost.

How much internet connectivity is needed?

Ideally, a Learnwell parent would be able to get online at least once a week in order to print out their lesson plans, print out any supplementary materials, watch their coaching video, and communicate with their teacher.

More connectivity is even better, and allows parents to include fun teaching videos in their homeschool day (we have a subscription to BrainPop and BrainPop Jr., for example) and fully participate in the Learnwell community.

Less connectivity, however, is feasible. Because our teachers write their lesson plans in response to feedback from the parents they support (all of whom are teaching children in the same grade), we don’t post lesson plans far in advance. A family can, however, work a few weeks behind the other Learnwell families. This allows them to download several weeks of materials at once.

No connectivity doesn’t mean that a family couldn’t be served by Learnwell. Because we are in our fourth year, we can package an entire year’s worth of lesson plans, supplementary materials, and coaching videos for a given grade. Of course, this isn’t ideal because the family wouldn’t have the support of a teacher week-by-week or month-by-month. However, this is available to families without internet access. If you are interested in this for any families you serve, please email us at [email protected]

Do you serve parents who are homeschooling children with special needs?

Yes!

We already serve several families who have children with mild learning challenges. If a child doesn’t need major or ongoing curriculum accommodations or modifications, parents should be able to easily participate in Learnwell.

However, we have seen the need for more intensive homeschool support for families on the field who have children with special needs. So we’ve been working hard on creating a way to serve these families through Learnwell and offer the support that is needed.

Click HERE for more information.

Can a family join Learnwell any time in the school year?

YES. We’ll work with them to determine if they can jump right in with parents homeschooling in the same grade, or if they need to drop back a bit. While possibly a little bit of opportunity for community is lost if a parent is not working on pace with other parents homeschooling the same grade, we are happy to accommodate families at any point.

What are the costs for participation in Learnwell?

From the beginning, our goal has been to support families serving on the field. For that reason, these families (as well as families with a parent serving in the military) receive a significant scholarship.

Membership for the 2022-2023 school year is $99 per month for families serving overseas, and we can arrange for fees to be paid annually or monthly (12 months).

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