Gas station without pumps

2012 January 31

Contacting home-schooling parents and parents of gifted kids

Filed under: home school — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 10:14
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On Mark Guzdial’s Computing Ed blog, I commented

The ‘gifted children’ mailing lists are full of parents looking for computer science courses (on-line, textbook, summer camp, … ) for their kids. So are the home school mailing lists. There is a large under-served market—the best known player is iD tech camps, and their material tends to be rather light on content and unsatisfying to the brighter students.

Someone asked me where to find these lists and how to market to them.  I responded there, but I thought that the information was useful enough to put it here on my blog, and not just buried in a comment elsewhere.

The best lists I’ve found for parents of gifted kids are the “tag” lists at http://www.tagfam.org/ but marketing is prohibited on the lists.

The best clearinghouse for info about gifted students is Hoagies (and they will take advertising, I think, though most of their material is non-commercial). They have a pretty good list of on-line communities. Listing resources at Hoagies is a great way to reach a lot of parents and teachers of gifted kids, as it is the most commonly referred to resource site. (So far as I know, listing stuff at Hoagies is free—they are interested in being as inclusive as possible of resources.)  The resource lists cover a lot of different subjects (books, toys, games, courses, support groups, training materials for educators, conferences, jokes, schools, psychologists, testing, … ).

One of the three home-school lists I’m on is tagmax (one of the tagfam.org lists)—the other two are small local lists and not appropriate to point to here. There is a lot of discussion of curricula and on-line courses, and endorsements of particular classes are ok (as long as they are real endorsements by people on the list whose kids have taken the courses—advertisers are quickly banned).

I have found quite a few useful pointers on the mailing lists, but traffic on some of the lists is overwhelming.  I generally divert the list traffic to separate files, and only look at the messages once or twice a day.  Some of the lists have many readers—I often get a big spike in readership on this blog when I mention one of my posts there.  (I try to do that sparingly, with only the posts that are really of wide interest to the readership of the mailing lists.)

Another mailing list that I’ve found useful, but overwhelming, is the ap-bio mailing list for teachers of AP Bio classes (mentioned on College Board’s teacher’s corner page).  I’m not an AP bio teacher, but I’m working to get bioinformatics into AP bio classes—a group of grad students and I tested one lesson last week at Pacific Collegiate with 3 AP bio classes and will test another in about 2 weeks.  We’ll be releasing them as soon as we get feedback and clean up any rough spots.

I’ve just joined the AP Physics teachers mailing list, since I find myself needing advice about low-cost lab setups for the home-schooled physics classes fairly often (and I’d like to share some of the labs I’ve posted in this blog).

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