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.
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.
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.
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?!