There’s one element to a student’s education and development that we take very seriously at CMASAS, and go to great lengths to encourage and serve - socialization. Apart from mastering core knowledge of the arts and sciences, developing an understanding of oneself, and becoming prepared for higher education or a future career, our students are given opportunities to develop socially by building relationships with their peers and teachers. Though it’s often difficult to encourage social growth in an online setting, we have developed many opportunities to help students connect and thrive.
The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page. — Saint Augustine Have you heard? A group of CMASAS students are in Havana, Cuba this week! We launched a new program this year where students embark on national (USA) and international trips with their teachers and peers. Get a glimpse into what our students areexperiencing on their 9-day exploration of Cuba, witnessing the nation’s culture, conservation efforts, and vibrant art.
Neurotypical syndrome is a neurobiological disorder characterized by preoccupation with social concerns, delusions of superiority, and obsession with conformity. The above quote, on a page titled the Institute for the Study of the Neurologically Typical, is offered by Autism.org as a parody. It takes the same framing often used for neurodivergent perception and behavior, and applies it to neurotypicals (aka “normal” people) in a way that hopefully causes you to think.
Students Are Not Broken
Hi Tami! Tell us a little bit about yourself. Just wanted to introduce myself to you. I live in Northern Utah in an area called Cache Valley. I am in the Mountain Time zone. I have been teaching online for over 14 years and love the opportunities it provides for me and my students. I enjoy gardening and spending time with my family. I have three kids of my own, a boy (16), and two girls (9 & 11)
What a beautiful thing it is when students are celebrated for their individuality and are given opportunities to advance in their education in truly personal ways. Online school is one of the few unique environments in life where students, regardless of personality type, can step into their strengths. In online school, extroverts are not considered too assertive and introverts aren’t deemed as too shy. With personalized education platforms, extroverts can find stimulation through immediate interaction while introverts can simultaneously find solace in careful reflection.
Feeling alone sometimes seems like a problem that needs to be solved. Young people and children are growing up in a world where solitude is a rarity and connection is key. Though being alone is often not fun, and loneliness is a tragic emotional burden, researchers, educators and parents are realizing the need for solitude in children’s lives. If we don’t teach our children how to be alone, they will only know how to be lonely.
“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.” - Anonymous It’s not much of a stretch to compare online school students to entrepreneurs. Like entrepreneurs, online school students have the freedom to be innovative, creative, flexible and mobile. Like entrepreneurs, online school students will also face the unexpected, be required to take risks, and will have the opportunity to create something beautiful out of failure.
Many students and families begin online school for specific reasons and with specific goals in mind. They want to escape from traditional school systems in order to have more time, freedom, personalization, and flexibility to pursue dreams and create great educational results. Sadly weeks, months, or perhaps even years later, those same students and parents find that their “school at home” model is emulating the very system from which they were originally seeking to escape. Yes the student is now allowed to hit the snooze button a few more times in the morning and begin schoolwork in their pajamas, but their learning model, educational experience and daily routine haven’t changed much.
What do you want to be when you grow up?” It’s a question every adult heard as a child. It’s a question every child continually hears from adults. It’s a question that some adults, young and old, still ask themselves, trying to figure out life.
At CMASAS, we recognize that an exceptional online education is more than just great curriculum and passionate instructors; an innovative learning management system using current technology makes all the difference! Our former system was innovative when we opened in 2009, but technology has advanced over the past 6 years. As of 2016, we’re giving our system a makeover.
I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. — Martin Luther King, Jr. / "I Have A Dream" speech, August 28, 1963 In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we wanted to celebrate the man who deeply impacted the history of the United States, inspired movements for generations to come, and left the world with words we will never forget. Since the mid 1950s, King, a Baptist Minister, worked tirelessly for the civil rights movement until his assassination in 1968.
It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. - E.E. Cummings One of the greatest challenges in life is discovering oneself and navigating the world around us in relation to our inner journey. Though each individual is born with certain personality traits, passions and gifts, personalities continue to be shaped by relationships, circumstances and experiences over time.
“There are three things incredibly hard: steel, diamonds, and to know one’s self.” - Benjamin Franklin Knowing one’s self is hard. It’s a journey that we begin as children and never fully finish. Self-discovery takes discipline, courage and risk. Understanding and unveiling one's soul looks different in every season and with every new story.
This week's Food For Thought comes from Tamra Excell, co-founder of CMASAS. There’s no such thing as an incorrect emotion. Sure, it might be based on incorrect information, or you might make a bad decision based on emotions, but the emotion itself is not in question. If you feel it, it is real.
The new year is quickly approaching and we are offered once again, at least in part, a fresh start. Many people love this time of year as it provides an excuse and incentive to intentionally reflect on the past and become excited about the future. As you plan for 2019 and all that the year holds for yourself and your family, perhaps consider using this time as an opportunity to teach your children the value of setting goals and taking advantage of the new beginning. Setting goals and new year’s resolutions with your children can be a fun opportunity for growth and change as well as a unique bonding experience for the family.
Ask yourself these questions and ponder what they mean to you: What is school for? What does it mean to know oneself? How can we each end comparison and instead offer equality to each other? These are questions that educators have been pondering for years. Their answers are what drive the institutions, philosophies, commitments, biases, and methods for educating.
This week's Food For Thought comes from Tamra Excell. Tamra is the co-founder of CMASAS and Personalized Education Group. He towered over me, easily twice my size, shaking with anger. How dare I undermine him, making him look like a fool! Having a very large, angry man only inches away from me triggered me into a calm state that he probably interpreted as uncaring. He had a habit of misinterpretations and making assumptions.
Can you believe it? December is half way through and the holidays are upon us. For many, the holiday season is a time of vibrant celebration filled with meaningful traditions. Though this season can often be stressful, lonely and tiresome, it also brings fellowship with friends and family, intentional times of reflection and gratitude, and extra events or activities of fun and adventure.
This week's Food For Thought comes from Tamra Excell. Tamra is the co-founder of CMASAS and Personalized Education Group. Sign up for her upcoming webinar on Homeschooling 101 by clicking here. “I’m not using the words ‘Personalized Learning’ after this session,” said Adam Garry, speaker of the iNacol presentation titled The Possibilities of Personalized Learning. With that title, you can see why he was kind of stuck using the words for at least another hour.
One of our values at CMASAS is to come alongside families on the journey that is educating their children. Because circumstances change, children grow and life continues to throw us curve balls, educating our kids truly is a journey. That’s why we are inviting parents to join CMASAS co-founder Tamra Excell in a live webinar, as she presents practical tips and resources that can help parents navigate through their own personal homeschooling journey.
Thanksgiving is upon us, a time for intentionally celebrating everything we have to be grateful for. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to collectively pause and express our thankfulness. Practicing gratefulness is not always easy, and often in our daily lives we lose sight of what we have to be thankful for. Yet what if every day were like Thanksgiving — what if we intentionally put effort into living a thankful lifestyle? The world would be a beautiful place.
This week's Food For Thought comes from Tamra Excell as she visits the 2015 iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium. Tamra is the co-founder of CMASAS and Personalized Education Group. I attended the welcoming reception at the education conference I am at this week – an opportunity for vendors to entice people to their booths with free food. Obviously this works on me because I was there. I enjoy looking for new tools or strategies for our students, so the exhibit hall is a favorite part for me. However, as I went from one booth to another, there was one that I hesitated approaching. The booth was huge, dominating a large portion of the room, but I passed by it several times. I was struggling with the first bullet point on their sign: “deficiency diagnostics.”
Using digital tools like laptops, tablets and smartphones allow online school students to engage in learning in three-dimensional, creative, collaborative and unique ways. Unfortunately technology has also become a distraction for many online school students, causing them to lose their focus and passion for learning. In this age of an abundance of digital distractions, it’s more important now than ever for children to learn how to concentrate and practice self-control.
When is the last time you and your child took a “mental health day,” a day to rest, unplug and recharge? We live in a society today where the well-rested professional loses respect and the calm and relaxed teenager is looked down on. We hear stories and marvel at the success of famous people like Bill Clinton and Martha Stewart who only need four hours of sleep a night. We esteem the high school Valedictorian who graduated with a 4.5 GPA, an All-America athletics award, and a book contract. We make the kid who participates in only one extra-curricular activity look lazy, and we make the mom who takes a spa day feel guilty for her time off.
This week's Food For Thought comes from Tamra Excell. She is the co-founder of CMASAS and Personalized Education Group. “What is the top advice you would give to younger generations?” I asked Joanne, a retired teacher who did her own share of shaking the system over the years. She was now facing end-of-life type decisions, and while a recent injury had her down, she wasn’t out, and the spark in her eyes in response to my question reminded me of this.
So many students, and even adults, communicate virtually with others in ways that they never would face-to-face. The anonymity that the Internet can provide causes some people to be cruel, spiteful and humiliating to others. In different situations, online and virtual communication causes people to be sloppy, informal, and simply poor communicators. Here are 5 rule for online etiquette that will help us all to be kind, clear and successful virtual communicators.
Ask any one of the instructors, administrators or staff of CMASAS why they are passionate about online school education and they’ll probably tell you a personal story, a story of how online school impacted their lives. Hi! My name is Kimberly and I write blog posts for CMASAS and help with social media. It is such a privilege interacting with all of you, this online family. Online school deeply impacted my life, and I wanted to share my story with you. I was homeschooled from kindergarten through ninth grade and was enrolled in a couple different online schools and virtual learning programs over the years. My time as an online school student was unforgettable and I learned so many lessons that have helped me pursue a remarkable life.
This week's Food For Thought comes from CMASAS online school co-founder Tamra Excell. My daughter Cass is traveling the country with a cat named Juan and a chicken named Vanna. I could blame Neil Gaiman, brilliantly creative English author, but it’s probably my fault.
Survivor. Advocate. Student. Friend. Maude Gorman is doing big things with her life. The twenty-one year old Stonehill College junior identifies herself in many ways and this year she holds the title of Miss Massachusetts World America. Maude’s days are now filled with pageant participation, volunteer work and professional advocacy, not to mention college courses. She dreams of joining the Peace Corps after college, putting to use her degrees in Communications and Anthropology. Her future is promising and bright, but she hasn’t always felt that way.
This week's message comes from school co-founder Christopher Geis. Christopher lives in sunny San Diego and travels throughout the country to meet with CMASAS students and staff. While you will mostly hear about successful and positive outcomes from CMASAS students, one outcome has bothered me for the past month and I would like to share it with you and hear your thoughts and comments.