Welcome member! In order to have the best experience possible you first need to understand how the Earthschooling online platform functions. Because there are so many different online experiences in today’s world we need to first define which kind of experience we are offering you.
The Earthschooling Curriculum
Earthschooling has always been and still is a homeschooling curriculum where we use an online platform to deliver your materials. We have organized the platform so these materials are easy to find and download for usage. Or, you can bookmark some pages if you don’t want to print or download. You can even use some materials online like the mp3s. However, the online materials are only being DELIVERED to you online. They are not meant to be used online.
Many members download blocks to a tablet and use them. Some members do use the online platform to use their materials as well. This is possible. However, depending on your internet speed and browser you will have different experiences with trying to use your materials online directly. Some challenges you may find using the materials directly online instead of downloading first:
- If your internet speed is slower your files may open more slowly and some videos may play more slowly. Internet speeds can vary as well so even if you have good Internet speeds they are not always consistent.
- Materials are organized in a manner that makes them easy to find. So you can choose what you want to download and organize them in your own manner. Everyone will be using the materials in a different way and has a different way of organizing their materials so although the system we use for organizing may work for some people using them directly online (for example, if you only have one child using one grade this may work well) this will not work for everyone. Many members will find that they are jumping to different pages back and forth so it is easier to download the materials and create your own method of organizing the materials as is intended.
- If your Internet goes down you will not be able to access your materials.
Members are meant to download and organize the materials in a way that suits them. They are the leader, the teacher, the homeschool teacher. We have made it easy for them to use the mp3s online by organizing them by planner now, we have put all the teacher support videos on one page. We also have a file at the top of each curriculum page each member should download with all their written curriculum at one time.
Our Living Lessons are the only part of our curriculum that is intended to be used online. However, this will not be ideal for everyone. Once again, streaming the videos directly online will depend on your own Internet speed and connection.
Some things we have done to make your streaming experience smoother:
- We use Amazon s3 to deliver your experience. This is the same service used by Netflix and other large companies. We pay a premium each month to offer our members this top-notch service.
- We provide a streaming platform for the videos. We also pay a premium each month to offer our members this experience.
- We have a professional webmaster that updates our website monthly to ensure it is always running at optimal capacity.
Our “Living Lessons” are intended to be an online curriculum where the member just has to go online and open the block and then go through the videos in order. In the case of Living Lessons there is no wandering around the website, no worry about matching lessons with planners, or anything. We designed (or in the case of unfinished ones “are designing”) the Living Lessons to be a complete online curriculum. Members only need to open a page and go in order. Although we have linked the Living Lessons with our online written curriculum this is only an option. The Living Lessons are actually meant to be used on their own. If you are using the Living Lessons you do not need any written curriculum to go with them. Our written curriculum is best used with the Living Lessons under the following circumstances:
- There is no Living Lesson for that block. In such cases you will need to use the written lessons
- If you want extra reading material after using the videos or if you want to extend the block.
- If you are using the written curriculum as your core teaching materials and you only use the Living Lessons occasionally as fill in or extra lessons.
As mentioned above our online platform is optimized for you to watch your Living Lessons online without downloading them. However, not everyone will have the same experience because everyone uses different browsers on different computers and has different and varying Internet speeds. Here are some additional tips on how to have a smoother video experience:
- When I watch the videos online (we have a “medium and varying Internet speed”) I find that watching the mobile versions is always faster.
- When I watch the HD versions of the videos online I find that with my “medium and varying Internet speed” that I need to wait 15-60 seconds for the video to completely load before my experience is optimized.
- If a small video shows up on the page I either wait for it to expand and become large or I click on the small icon and it becomes large immediately.
- I find that using the Firefox browser streams better for me than Safari browser.
- Ultimately, even though I can watch all the videos online I prefer to download them so everything is within my control and does not depend on my browser or Internet speed.
The Curriculum Guides
We have provided guides for your curriculum. However, we only made the guides for those grades because some people want extra or supporting written materials after they watch the videos – and not all the time. The intended use for these guides is:
- To use as a way to see all your curricula for the year and get an overview before the year starts
- To print out and show a supervising teacher what your homeschool students are doing or to use for homeschool record keeping
- To print out and use as a checklist (check off items as you complete them)
- To coordinate written lessons with Living Lessons ONLY IF you are using written lessons to supplement or if you are using written lessons as your main curriculum