About the School
About the Instructors
About our Students
Testimonials from Parents
The Idea of an Online Schoolhouse
Like many, our concept of home education began with the model of the mother teaching her own children in her own home. As we gained experience, we broadened our conception of home education to include homeschooling co-ops and workshops in our local community. This was home education because parents retained direct oversight of the educational process and moved the undertaking in the direction we saw fit through our participation, in spite of the fact that, at times, a professional tutor was teaching our kids. This called to mind the idea of the old, one-room school house with its awareness that, though a professional teacher has obvious merits, he works at the pleasure of the parents within their community to assist them in educating their children. We developed our virtual, one-room school house on this paradigm. We see our school as a place where we can keep the education in the home, involve the parents very directly, create a community within which kids can learn, and where we, as professional teachers, can take up a supportive role.
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Family Based Education
We support the assertion that parents are the primary educators of their children and foster the idea of schools existing, first and foremost, through a community of families, rather than as institutions operating under the direct control of the government. All of our classes work on the assumption of close parental involvement, and we offer free seminars for parents to increase their understanding of the subjects the students are learning. Furthermore, to support continuity in family education, we give priority enrollment to families who have been with R. A. S. before and provide discounts for multiple students from one family.
Understanding the needs of our own family and friends, we developed an online course list that we think helps families when they most desire it, which seems to be around the middle school level, when children, and boys especially, profit from contact with a teacher from outside the home and the challenges that a professional teacher can offer. This is why our live and independent study courses are designed to begin at grade 7.
We have most recently begun providing a curriculum for use in co-ops. Having surveyed the market of available curricula for starting and running a Catholic Co-op, we discoved that those programs we were most interested in were to expensive because of the high enrollment costs and the use of hired tutors. We thought we could do it better, so we sought out a great program, whose materials we really like in Classically Catholic Memory. Having partnered with them we developed a full blown full time "Co-op & Home" program that can be mentored by moms. When we say "co-op & home" we mean that it contains materials for use in both locations integrated into one program. We kept the family in mind when it came to pricing as well, all materials in each suite are avaialable for a single, low family fee, no matter how many kids in an age group. And the suites are jam-packed with real content: books, lecture videos, worksheets, classroom scripts and lesson plans. We take the pressure out of the prep so that the mothers can be the mentors - no tutors required.
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How the Online Courses Work
The way in which our online courses work is through the use of an online virtual school room and a live classroom. In the virtual school room, which students access by means of a password, the students will find all of their course materials posted to be downloaded and/or viewed. These course materials include video lectures, assignment checklists, study guides, worksheets, and more. Students access these materials throughout the week on a set schedule. Once the day of the live class arrives, students are emailed a link to the live classroom. Here they can see and hear the instructor, speak with and type-chat with other students, and view materials presented by the instructor (slide shows, images, a whiteboard for notes, etc.). Finally, at the end of each week the students have the option to re-enter the live classroom during the instructors office hours. Assignments, quizzes, and tests are either completed in or submitted in the virtual school room. Students and parents have constant access to a gradebook throughout the semester in which all grades are recorded by the instructor as assignments are completed.
The co-op options use the same suites of materials for the students, but they omit the live class meetings and office hours. They have special additions, too. Scripts and lesson plans and teacher training videos and the like are included specifically for the mentors who will be guiding the co-op meetings.
In the classes we teach, we demand excellence from our students because we provide them with the tools to achieve excellence. Generally speaking, we adhere to a traditional schooling model based in hard work, graded assignments, and awards for performance. All of our live and recorded courses are well organized and structured, which helps students follow the most difficult of concepts as well as teaches them to organize their own activities.
In addition, we emphasize actual student teacher interaction as much as possible. This is achieved especially through the innovative use of three elements:
- recorded lectures to be watched outside of class, freeing up in-class time;
- live online classes that emphasize interaction: activity, drill, and dialogue;
- and live online office hours wherein students can ask questions and recieve one-on-one attention.
Finally, all LIVE and Independent Study Plus classes include graded assignments with feedback, quizzes, and tests.
See Course Concepts for more information about the approaches we use in specific classes.
The Rolling Acres School is not formally recognized at present as a Catholic institution by the diocese in which it resides; however, we continue to inquire into that possibility. We, the instructors, are Catholic and Roman in rite. We teach in the hope of contributing to the establishment of a clear Catholic cultural identity among the youth of our time. By grace, we take this to mean, first and foremost, that we show how all things must be understood as they relate to and reveal the person of Christ. This goal is attainable only when we remain cogent of several key elements, among them: the interrelation of spiritual, moral, and intellectual development; the importance of historical context for a proper understanding of anything; the necessity of focusing upon real things, rather than theoretical commitments to achieve wisdom, and the humility to recognize the mystery of it all. In addition, we defend the Catholic philosophical tradition as unique and superior to the alternatives in its understanding of man and its capacity to answer the fundamental and perennial questions. At a practical level, there are many ways in which education can be approached. We think that though there are definite limitations to them, the new media present unique opportunities that are fully in keeping with the essential thesis of Catholicity. Finally, we publicly confess our intention to submit to the guidance of the teaching magisterium of the Catholic Church.
The Core Class Cycles for Middle & High School
The Rolling Acres School offers three multi-year class cycles that provide what we see as the essential elements of a proper education. In a nutshell, we aim to teach the students the skills and habits of a disciplined mind in the context of familiarizing them with the Western Cultural tradition that they may know Christ. In general, we focus upon the acquisition of the basic skills of observation, listening, reading, thinking, speaking, discussing, and writing. In the Traditio Nostra cycle, we encounter and socratically discuss the great books, ideas, equations, and moments of the Western Tradition, including the voice of the Church throughout the chronologically arranged reading lists. In the Legamus Latinam cycle, we memorize 40 prayers of the Church, learn to read real primary source Latin, and immerse the students in the language through composition assignments. In Schola Philosophiae, we balance the open-ended nature of Socratic discussion with a more focused Scholastic and Aristotelian examination of the first principles of thought and being. This cycle begins with logic and rhetoric to habituate the mind and then turns its focus to the created universe where the students examine first the material world, then its highest form in man, and finally the ultimate explanation of these things, which we are led to understand through the beauty of the created world, God. The good, true, and beautiful are at the forefront of every lesson.
These core classes have much in common with what has been called "classical" education insofar as we focus upon teaching the student the skills needed to learn. However, we think that the development of a systematic understanding of what things are that is grounded in observation and first principles, as well as enriched by Catholic history and culture, can only be achieved through a guided acquisition of concepts and connections that are most readily seen through methods such as lecture and commentary, as well as an openness to modern advancements and criticisms, not to mention technology, all of which at times are criticized by some who embrace a classical approach. In the end, the truth should be conveyed by whatever means are best, and this is our goal.
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About the Instructors
Welcome! At The Rolling Acres School, we strive to enhance and enrich your home or co-op school curriculum by providing challenging and affordable core-subject classes in three formats:
We, the founders and instructors, are two Catholic academics and home schoolers who wish to share our talents in support of your educational efforts through our online school, from our home to yours.
We are a husband and wife who are homeschooling four small children. Because of this, we understand all too well how hectic the household can be with so many little persons around and how challenging it can be to find the necessary time to teach each one. At the same time, we are firmly convinced of the merits of home education. It is our goal to help you with your home school by opening up our online school house to you and welcoming your students and yourselves into our family educational endeavor via the internet.
In addition to valuing home education, we also acknowledge the value of acquiring expertise at institutions of higher learning. Please review our curricula vitae to see our formal qualifications:
C.V. KENNETH ROLLING C.V. ALECIA ROLLING
We have a great deal of experience teaching students of all ages and types, and we would be honored to have the opportunity to share our knowledge and experience to help you educate your children. Our areas of graduate education particularly qualify us to teach the subjects that we offer.
We will do everything that we can in justice to provide you with an excellent service and value for your money. We accept the teaching authority and mission of the Catholic Church. We will not miseducate your children, but will seek the liberation of their minds into wisdom, truth, and Christ. We will always keep in mind that the example we provide is the most powerful teaching tool at our disposal.
Please continue to explore the website, and if at any time you have questions, just send us an email.
May God bless your homeschooling efforts!
Kenneth and Alecia Rolling
*The online course provider Homeschool Connections houses the recorded lectures for classes we taught from Summer 2010 - Spring 2011. We have greatly improved upon the courses in the years since, but these older versions and options can be watched through the HSC subscription service at any time.
Picture compliments of Spiering Photography.
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About the Students
Students from across the Nation
The Rolling Acres School is run exclusively online, so of course enrollment is not limited to the local environs of the physical school (our home!). The students at R.A.S. come from all over the United States of America, providing unique opportunities for each student to meet others from far afield. Current students can be found in the following States:
- New York
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- South Dakota