“Our goal is to create a large network of homeschool resources for families in the Flint area, similar to networks that exist in larger suburban areas.”
Homeschool families interested in supplementing their in-home educational offerings can now do so with courses through Oxford Virtual Academy (OVA) at Kettering University.
OVA is now offering three different courses -- a LEGO Mindstorms NXT class, a Minecraft course and a reading literacy workshop -- to homeschool students. Enrollment for current students is through December 31 and open enrollment for all students is January 5-16.
“These virtual courses are another option for homeschoolers,” said Marta Wyngaard-Tavakoli, instructor in the LEGO NXT course along with her son, Omid. “There are also places like the Flint Institute of Arts and Flint Institute of Music that offer courses that can enhance homeschool learning options. Our goal is to create a large network of homeschool resources for families in the Flint area, similar to networks that exist in larger suburban areas.”
Last semester was the first time the LEGO NXT course was offered. Students learned about using sensors to program robots. No previous programming knowledge is necessary for the introductory course.
Next semester, students who took the introductory course will be able to move up to a more advanced level that will get deeper into sensors and basic programming, navigating the file systems of the robots and using sensors to move them.
“These courses are a good opportunity for homeschoolers to spend time at Kettering and get familiar with the University,” Wyngaard-Tavakoli said. “The idea is to offer an additional service in an environment that a homeschool setting can’t provide.”
Wyngaard-Tavakoli also noted that the self-directed nature of robust homeschool programs is often a good fit for Kettering’s curriculum.
“Homeschoolers own their own time and are self-driven,” she said. “They’re used to effectively managing their own time, and that fits the need of Kettering students to be focused and self-directed.”
Oxford Virtual Academy has 800 students enrolled, with approximately 60 from the Flint area. The school has a satellite location on Kettering’s campus with collaborative space for courses, meetings with students and other uses. Wyngaard-Tavakoli hopes that more homeschool families take advantage of the courses offered through OVA in the Flint area, allowing the program to grow.
“Michigan is a very pro-homeschool state compared to other states,” she said. “We would like to form more connections with homeschool groups through these programs.”
To register, call (248) 969-5194 beginning January 5.