The Knowledge Constructors system provides the whole Finnish curriculum for elementary school modulated into questions and tasks. Students can complete all of the compulsory education using just Knowledge Constructors.
The questions and tasks for the first graders are also spoken in addition to text so the student can start using the system even if s/he doesn’t know how to read yet. The system also supports learning to read, while the student can compare the written and spoken questions.
The Curriculum and Studying
Each subject is divided into a few blocks based on the Finnish National Curriculum, consisting of several levels. So usually the subjects are not divided based on student age or grade. For example the sublect of ‘ Finnish language’ consists of three blocks, one of 1st and 2nd graders, one of 3rd to 5th graders and one for 6th to 9th graders. Nothing prevents a 2nd grader to pick questions from the 6th to 9th graders’ block, but the questions tend to get harder the further the grades go up.
Each subject block is divided into themes. Each theme consists of around 20 questions and tasks, some of which may be voluntary. After completing all the required tasks the student signs up for a test and the teacher questions the student either orally or with a test paper and also evaluates the tasks. Ideally, the student participates in the evaluation process.
The system includes four types of tasks.
- Questions the student is supposed to find an answer to. Answers are not necessarily written down in the system, but rather just as notes to help the student to prepare for the test.
- Tasks is to meant to demonstrate the skills and knowledge of the student and can be used as a part of the evaluation.
- Group tasks are similar to tasks except they are designed to be completed together with other students.
- Challenge Questions are real life problems which usually haven’t been solved yet by anyone. They are problems which the humanity hasn’t found a good solution to yet. The student can choose whether to pick one Challenge Question or to do the other questions and tasks. If the student picks a Challenge Question, s/he is expected to be working on it for a reasonable amount of time. The idea is that during this time the student will cover approximately the same things as by going through the questions and tasks.
Graduating from the Compulsory Education
The student can graduate when s/he has successfully completed all the mandatory subjects and themes. According to the Finnish law, a student is obliged to participate in the compulsory education for ten years or until s/he has completed all the mandatory subjects. This means that the student can graduate from the Finnish compulsory education system as soon as s/he has mastered everything.
In Finland the compulsory education can be covered also by homeschooling. The parents have a right to decide about their child’s education and also to teach their children themselves or organize the education otherwise. In practice this happens by making an official announcement to the local municipality telling that the family is taking full responsibility of the education of their child and will be homeschooling. After this, it is the municipality’s responsibility to make sure that the parents actually take care of the education and also to give the graduation certificate at the end of the education. Usually the municipality assigns a teacher to follow the progress of the student.
Parents and the teacher agree on the practicalities together. Parents have the right to design their own curriculum based on the national one. The curriculum used in Knowledge Constructors is fully based on the national curriculum, so the parents can use it as it is. The family doesn’t have to follow the curriculum provided by the municipality or nearby schools.
These instructions can be found also on the website of Finnish National Agency for Education. The Board also provides an instruction page for homeschooling (Finnish only).