Courses have been designed to present content of a particular topic that is specified by the outcomes and content descriptors of the NSW and Australian syllabi. Each course contains several lessons specific to that topic.
The following information will make for dry reading, but it is here for the purpose of being read only once. It will also reduce any hindrance to the flow of each individual course because each individual course has its own specific set of introductory information for students, parents and caregivers, and teachers. So with that in mind, enjoy the following:
McMahon Education is presently offering courses for Mathematics, catering to students in Preparatory (Kindergarten).
These courses are under constant construction, so look out for more catering to Grades 1 to 6 coming soon. Future subjects will include Science and English.
For anybody who has attended university, you will know that there are some courses that you must complete successfully before being allowed to start another one of a higher level of difficulty. Rest assured; McMahon Education has no such rules.
The Information: Parents and Carers pages list ‘Prior Knowledge’ that is relevant for the student to already know before starting the course. This is so that students are able to be challenged acceptably by the content without being overwhelmed by concepts that they have not yet been exposed to. These prerequisites are not designed to up-sell products to the consumer; they aim to provide added ease in guiding the decision about what course will be right for your student. Prior knowledge is set out under the following phrases:
Some knowledge of and skill with
Students should already have some exposure to the concepts already, though it is not necessary to have ‘passed the test’ yet. This means that students may have previously learned some of the concepts, or may have completed a few lessons of a course by McMahon Education when starting a new one. Generally, these courses will be at either the same grade level, or occasionally the one lower than, the course that you are currently viewing.
Sound knowledge of and skill with
Students need to have passable knowledge and skills relating to the concepts of that course. This means that there will be significant extension beyond and an increased level of complexity of content from that course to the one you are considering purchasing. Students must have a comfortable understanding of those concepts to move forward with success. These courses will generally be the equivalent course – or other relevant courses - at one grade level lower.
Each lesson has been designed so students can progress through the following steps:
- Warm Up: basic skills exercise or revision of prior knowledge
- Introduction: build on prior knowledge with the introduction of a new concept
- Lesson Activity: explore the new concept further to develop understanding
- Wrap Up: recap and reflect on our newly developed knowledge
- Extra Practice: apply this conceptual knowledge with a different activity, and build a sense of confidence and independence at the same time
The duration of each course is dependent on the number of lessons contained within, and how often you would like your student to complete a lesson. Each course aims to contain approximately five lessons in total, though some will contain more or less than others. Lessons are designed to take a maximum of 1 hour to complete; some may be completed in less time.
It is best to complete only one lesson on any given day so that students have ample down to time for mental consolidation before attempting content of increased difficulty. If more than one lesson must be completed on a day, please allow time for a suitable break in between.
A general guideline:
- Warm Up and Lesson: allow approximately 40-45 minutes
- Extra Practice: allow approximately 15 - 20 minutes
You may need to apply a slower pace to your timetable. This will depend on the learning needs of your student, and your initial reason for enrolling in the course (eg, full time home schooling versus extra revision after school). Some suggestions include:
- Completing one lesson over a two day cycle; Warm Up and Lesson on day 1, then Extra Practice on day 2.
- Complete one lesson over the course of one week; say Warm Up and Lesson one day (for example every Monday), then complete one to four Extra Practice activities over the rest of the week (for example from Tuesday through to Friday)
In short, implementation of each lesson - and therefore the entire duration of each course - is entirely flexible to your requirements.
Extremely Useful Tips
- Adhere to the lesson structure. It is important for the student to have a comprehensive learning experience from beginning to end, so please try not to skip any sections.
- Take regular breaks during a lesson to reduce mental intensity. Play a little game for one or two minutes, maybe dance to your favourite song, or do anything physically active that you can think of.
- Repeat a lesson as often as necessary to understand the concept at hand. It is not unusual for students to require more time on one topic to develop a grasp of the main idea or skill. It is better to repeat an activity and gain mastery first, than to forge ahead with conceptual gaps. This is also why a variety of activities are included after each lesson's conclusion; sometimes it's when exploring a new perspective that the proverbial penny will drop.
- Skip a lesson if the student already has a good understanding of the lesson concept. Yes, the first tip does stress adhering closely to structure, however if a particular lesson's contents pose absolutely no intellectual challenge to the student, then go ahead and skip the entire lesson. Conversely, jump straight to the activities at the end of the lesson for extra practice.
- Revisit a lesson to revise concepts at any time.
- Engage in conversation to verbalise processes and use relevant mathematical terminology. This is extremely helpful when developing necessary communication, problem solving, and reasoning skills.
- Pause the videos at any time if the student needs to reflect on a concept, or explore a concept without assistance. Some students prefer to work through problems independently without the guided assistance of the teacher. They can restart the video to check their progress. This is a great way for students confidently direct their own learning; they can discover what they are able work out themselves, and when they need to check in.
- Be creative! Feel free to adapt materials, resources and lessons to suit your student's learning style. This is much easier said than done I know. A simple example: if a student is asked to draw some numbers or shapes on a piece of paper, they may instead write with chalk on the ground, or use a whiteboard if you have one. Sometimes we just don't have any paper left, or we can't find a sharpener for our pencil. There will be plenty of opportunities for writing and drawing later, so think laterally and practically, and have fun.
In terms of paper stationary, the choice is yours. Loose papers can be pasted into exercise books, hole punched and stored in ring binders, filed into manila or display folders, or even popped up onto the fridge. Whatever is easiest and convenient for you and your student, and suits your environment.
If you prefer exercise books, the current trend for younger grades at school (Prep/Kindy to Year 2) is to use unlined scrapbooks that are slightly larger than A4 in size. Students of grades 3 to 6 use regular lined exercise books.
For mathematics, I personally prefer books with grid paper for neat display of written work. Younger grades require larger grid squares than older grades.
All effort has been made by McMahon Education to provide resources that can be accessed instantly. It is not possible, however, for all required resources to be instantly accessed. Some physical materials will need to be gathered from around the home or at your local store.
McMahon Education strongly urges that adults view each lesson before students start so resources can be prepared and ready to go. Resources are generally located in the following places:
A General Resources page has been included in the welcome section at the beginning of each course. This page provides a list of, and links to, resources such as charts, manipulative materials and other items that will assist with teaching and learning throughout that specific course and beyond.
A list of materials will be found at the top of each Lesson Activity page. This list aims to refer to items that are - as mentioned previously - gathered from around the home or your local store. If items cannot be easily found around the home, sometimes alternatives will be found on the General Resources page. Any printable worksheets will be located here as well.
Physical manipulation of objects is crucial to learning, particularly with younger students. Feel free to adapt resources where you can, but please try not to exclude them.
Preparation of materials will be dependent on the chosen activity. Below is a table of the type of activities that are included, and their general requirements are described. Within each lesson - but not on this page - the icons can be clicked on to open the activity links. Any other necessary links will be provided in the content description. Again, if items cannot be easily found around the home, sometimes alternatives will be listed on the General Resources page.
|Game or Puzzle Activity|
Thank you for taking the time to read this page. I hope the information has helped you with your decision to sign up to McMahon Education's online school, and maybe enrol in a course or two. There is no charge to sign up; fees are only applied when customers enrol in courses.