Why Virtual School And The One We Chose

A previous blog detailed the different kinds of schooling to do at home.  We talked about our choice of virtual school.  We have been asked many times which virtual school we use.  

After much research, we chose ConnectionsAcademy.com.  They have homeschool, public school and private school programs all at home.  Sometimes they work in partnership with a state virtual school.  That’s what we have with their partnership with Florida Virtual School.

We have used Connections Academy in Arizona and Georgia, as well.  The nice thing is that even though we’ve moved quite a bit, utilizing the same program has provided a great deal of continuity as it’s available all over.

The biggest difference between the homeschool and public school program is that there is no state testing with the homeschool version and there is sometimes not a graduation ceremony for seniors with it either.  We chose the public program.  Our daughter, Olivia graduated from the Arizona Connections Academy program.

virtual school graduation

The Benefits We Love

We love that Tanner can get up when his eyes open and start school at a time that works for our family.  Usually he has a webinar live lesson at 10:00 a.m. and gets started after that.  He has a good breakfast and we don’t have a crazy morning trying to get him out the door.

virtual school

He can dress whatever way is comfortable without worrying about being judged.  His life does not involve bullies, which we are very grateful for.

If we have plans for other things on a given day, he can just catch up at another time.  This has allowed us a great deal of flexibility to travel and give a true education to our kids.  The experiences they have had as a result of this have been invaluable.  They’ve met people from all over the world and keep in touch with kids from several different countries.  This would not be possible with traditional school as they don’t allow that much time away.

We can slow down or speed up the curriculum according to what we believe is best. Or even skip things we don’t think are necessary.  [Some subjects in Health class, for example, go a bit dark in our opinion].

If Tanner shows a real interest in a particular topic, we can slow down and invest more time. Tanner can go right to Google, Wikipedia or watch some related videos on YouTube. It’s such a healthy way to learn.

virtual school Tanner

Imagine the frustration of a “typical” classroom where you have 20-30 kids, who all have individual learning styles and speeds, with only one teacher, who has to try and accommodate every child, but probably ends up frustrating almost every one in the process.

I can speak from experience about that as Joshua, our oldest and Olivia our middle child both struggled in traditional school for that very reason among others.  It’s been so much better for us and our kids with the virtual school experience.

We also have the added caveat of my husband and I both working at home as online business developers so we’re all home together.  We delight in being a truly out of the box family.

We get to cut out and go to a movie or late lunch if we feel like it. It’s great to go places at off times when few people are there so we get to have an effortless experience.

The bottom line is that we’ve found something that works so well for our family.  Had we sent Tanner to traditional school, it would’ve changed who he was.  Since we love the wonderfully quirky and brilliant kid he is, we are so grateful that he missed the cutoff for traditional school and we were led in this direction.

An unexpected amazing thing is we’ve paid our experience forward to many other families and they’ve made the same choice.  To see how their kids are flourishing is an extra, beautiful bonus that we never anticipated.  How cool is that?! 

Melissa Knecht

Thank you for visiting our blog! I am a Mom, wife, entrepreneur, life & business coach, spiritual seeker and someone always looking to evolve. I've studied personal and spiritual development for over 25 years. It has been a worthy pursuit and has positively shaped my life. While always continuing to grow, I now seek to pay it forward to others on the path. I have 3 kids - Josh, Olivia and Tanner. Tanner, 2 of whom did graduated from virtual school. We are an out of the box family and we love it! Kevin and I have designed our lives around many trials and tribulations... but they have made it all the sweeter. If you would like to connect with me, reach out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/melissaknecht or through my contact page.

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13 Responses

  1. Phil Brouse says:

    Thank Melissa. I always enjoy seeing people spread the word and dispel the rumors about the various types of home schooling. My kids were all home schooled until my divorce two years ago. Now I am looking for a way to go back to that and your comments about virtual school really helped. We had worked with Florida Virtual School but somehow I had missed some of the other virtual school options.

  2. Becqui says:

    We are homeschoolers are well…15 yrs now…wow does time fly! My kids are more the unschooled type as they did not really care for virtual school. They prefer actual books! Go figure! They have been gymnasts and now ballet dancers, so homeschooling frees up their day for training and they can do school on their own schedule. Plus there is the added benefit of not having to deal with all the drama in school.

    • Melissa Barnes Knecht says:

      Yes, Becqui – a drama free day as kids are learning to navigate growing up is a huge bonus!

  3. C Baker says:

    This is so awesome. I think for all the negativity that using the computer for children got in 2004 or so..the fact that homeschooling and families are having such success with it is very awesome. I had the privilege of participating in several pilot programs for kids using technology. Even trained seniors boomer parents believe it or not to use computers. It’s wonderful to see the power of well rounded kids getting great educations without being terrorised by the world, public or private school in the process. BRaVO to you Kevin and Melissa! And thank you for all your great shares and insights for me as a newbie to marketing..it’s awesome to be a part of such a great family of business minds.

  4. Larry Coates says:

    Great blog post Melissa! I found this to be very informative and enlightening! I guess having children that that are 39 and 42 is the reason that i had never even knew that there is such a thing as “Virtual schools” for kids prior to college. Makes perfect sense and i know that if I had such an opportunity i would have been WAY ahead as a student. Unfortunately for me, Al Gore was only 44 days older than me so by the time I graduated from high school, he had not yet invented the internet so virtual schools were not yet a possibility for me! 🙂

  5. Love it! These are some of the same reasons I chose to homeschool my kiddos. I’m looking at new options for this fall so I’m headed over to check out Connections Academy right now. Thanks for sharing.

    • Melissa Barnes Knecht says:

      Awesome, Michelle! If you have any questions or want me to share my screen and show you the “back office” and how it works, just let me know!

  6. Davin says:

    Thanks for the informative post Melissa

    Do you ever find there are any motivational problems – at traditional school you have to study no matter what – does Tanner ever find himself not wanting to study?

    You should do a hangout on this subject some time I think

    • Melissa Barnes Knecht says:

      There are days here and there where he’s had trouble focusing – but he does have deadlines, so he hates having a ton to do to meet them. He only had to experience that a few times to now be more self-disciplined… so that’s been a great lesson in and of itself. 🙂

  7. Val Haderlie says:

    Thank you, Melissa, for your insight and perspectives on the home schooling. As a former high school English teacher, it’s only been in the past few years that I’ve realized how many parents are taking advantage of the opportunity to home school their children. I am learning how viable this education option really is.