Tuesday, January 29, 2013

virtual school

Ive had a bunch of friends curious as to how virtual school is going, and curious as to how it works and what not. So, I thought I'd do my best to give you some insight.
Seriously, This isn't even all of it.
First and foremost, I love it. I love the program that we use. The curriculum we are using is through k-12. You can find their site here.  He is still in the public school system, But everything is done at home. {Unless we choose to participate in group get togethers and field trips.}
They sent us a HUGE curriculum package. Seriously there has got to be $500-$1000 worth of stuff. All the student workbooks, And all the teachers books, math cubes, science supplies, 3d shapes, TONS of books, dvds, cds, You name it. And yep, The county pays for all of it! Cost to us... Free!
He has to be logged on for a total of I think 20 hours per week, But between me and you, it only takes maybe an hour to get through the material per day, and then they have pre-set time amounts you can just log in. {Does that make sense? Like a math lesson should have taken 30 minutes, but blake got through it in 10, But you can still log the 30?} any how, So that isn't an issue as far as it being time consuming. I fought with him longer than that to get his homework done after he was at school for 7 hours.

I love that he can work at his pace and it is catered to his strengths and weaknesses. For example, The kid can do third and fourth grade math, No seriously, the kid is off the charts smart in math, bar graphs, division, multiplication, But he struggles with fine motor skills. {He's also dyslexic.} So we can tailor the curriculum to harder math curriculum, that is better suited for his needs than that of a class of 28 kids, and focus more on how to correctly form his letters, also taking more time for that than most children would need. Something that in an average classroom setting we wouldn't be able to do. As much as the teachers love these kids, There is just no way that with the number of students that they are being given is it possible to individually tailor lessons to one kid.

I love having him home still. I know that the time will come and that he will eventually go to regular school. I love that we have individual time together and that I am the one teaching him and enjoying his successes.

I love that there are so many more learning options for him. For example, He has music theory incorporated into his lesson plans, {His teacher writes up lesson plans for the week and tells me what pages to do with him, and if we don't like it, we can skip it! How awesome is that?} And also Spanish. Most schools have done away with the music programs and it crushes me inside to know that something that I learned a love and passion for as a 2nd grader in Mrs. Vonderheids music class, That most children won't have the opportunity to be introduced to that.
There are also tons of other "Electives" that you can choose from.
This is what a typical weeks lesson plan looks like.

So yes, He still has a teacher that writes our lesson plans, But we are on a conference call at least once a week, And she has learning check up sessions with him {Its like a test over all the subject matter that we have covered that week, that is all done online, at least for us}And we are constantly discussing his learning needs. These virtual school teachers are seriously incredible. 
I could not even begin to describe all of the different programs and opportunities that this supplies him with. And I love that it leaves me time {Instead of him being gone for 7 hours a day} To teach him the other important things. Chores, cooking, baking, music, scriptures, manners, Etc. Things that I think are important for him to know.
So, If you are on the fence, Or wondering if you have time, The answer is yes. It's not hard. I think you should absolutely give it an in depth look and I would recommend it to anyone who thinks that their child could benefit from tailored individual lesson plans, or who thinks that the schools are not meeting their child's individual needs, Or hey, If gas is too expensive and you don't want to drive your kid to China, Like me. That was the original reason we started, That and I was nervous about the environment that public school is, Even kindergarteners have potty mouths. But now, after starting it, Just now am I realizing and learning all of the numerous benefits that virtual school offers. It's not nearly as scary as jumping straight into home school, and he is still in the public school system, So if we do send him back, I know he wont be behind. I'm actually scared that with this, If he does go back he will be so far ahead in certain areas that he'd be bored. But that's a bridge we will cross when we get there... He's only in kindergarten.

1 comment:

  1. So how do you manage to get alone time to work with him one on one without the other kids? That is my main concern.