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Jul 2010

From Homeschool & Homeschooling Roots

You’ve heard the expression ” I liked it so much, that I bought the company”? Well this one such story. But it is our own, and so it is fairly understandable that it is one we here at Zane Education are reasonably proud of.

In 1999 we were finally enjoying some of the fruits of a business we’d started some years before, distributing budget priced software. At the time we had been one of the first people to see the opportunity to specialize in the budget software market, and the business had taken off.

By 1999 we represented, and were distributing CD-ROM’s for  a number of well established software publishers, and were very interested in the educational software market. One of those software publishers was a company by the name of Zane Publishing Inc. Zane had become very successfull educational software company publishing approximately 250 CD-ROM titles to support the K12 curriculum, and had sold literally millions of their CD-ROM’s into schools and homeschools across the country. When in 2000 we had the opportunity to buy Zane, we jumped at the opportunity.

We purchased Zane because we could see a time coming when software on CD-ROM would gradually die, and we could also see a time coming when being able to provide so much purpose developed K12 curriculum material online over the Internet, would provide some wonderful opportunities.

Well it’s taken nearly four years to complete this work however the end result is over 1,000 online videos teaching Art, Music, Literature, History, Science, Biology, Social Sciences, Geography, Library Skills, Health , Mathematics and Religious Studies covering 250 topics. In addition, for each topic we have built interactive quizzes to allow a student to test themselves on what they have learnt about that topic as they have watched the video.

As work has progressed our own children have been using the videos and the quizzes and there are two things that we as homeschool parents have noticed have benefitted our children more than anything else.  Firstly these videos have enabled them to learn at their own speed, and this has allowed them to been able to absorb the information provided in a way that best suited them as individuals.

The second noticeable difference has been the way in which their reading literacy skills have developed so noticeably.  While we did not fully realize and appreciate this at the time, we understand now that it has been largely due to the fact that each of our videos are subtitled.  It has only been in the last 6 months that we have discovered that research carried out over the last 5 years by a research team working in the United States, has demonstrated that the use of subtitles on video and in movies, has the potential to significantly improve a child’s reading literacy level in quite short periods of time.

An additional benefit that we as K12 homeschool parents have noticed is that the using video as a means of delivering information has been so much more engaging than text books. Not only do our children enjoy watching video, their interest is maintained over a much greater period of time.

What has also caused great excitment here at Zane as this project became a reality has been the feedback that we have received from some unexpected quarters.  We have come into contact with homeschooling families that have special needs students and children with learning difficulties, some with gifted students, other students that suffer from dyslexia and children with sight imparements. Without exception we have discovered that the various features of video, and particularly subtitled video, offers something significant to advance and help the learning processes within these children, and something that is usually not available in the average classroom.

So here we are four years later with a product that has a proven abrand and track record in the K12 educational market, allbeit originally on CD-ROM, and we are now able to make this available to other homeschoolers so that we can now share with them the benefits that our family and our children continue to enjoy.

Obviously there is a part of us that would have liked to have made this online service available at no cost, however the reality is that we need to at least cover the cost of providing the service otherwise it would not be able to continue existing in the years ahead. So we have pitched a subscription cost for the Gold Membership at approximately only 10% of what it would have originally cost to purchase all of the CD-ROM’s. Yes, that effectively offers our homeschoolers and home educators a saving of approximately 90%.  Having said that there are a choice of 4 Membership options detailed on our Membership page, and Basic Membership is free.

Finally and most importantly, we invite all Homeschool families and potential home educators to join out new Facebook page .

Why? Because firstly some of our K12 educational videos are available to watch there, but also because we run a monthly competition where each month one member of our Facebook page is picked to win a Free annual subscription. Also our Facebook page is the only place where we announce any Special Offers and Discounts that we offer from time to time.


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