Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Our Journey to Virtual School

Virtual Schoolvirtual school lil g

Over the years we’ve homeschooled using a number of curriculums. Sonlight, Apologia, Bob Jones, Teaching Textbooks and… so many more! This past year we made a prayerful decision for our family to find a better balance. We decided to go VIRTUAL. Yep. I said it. We are now official charter school students in a virtual schooling world.

We began our new journey in August and now that we are a month in, I have to say, I love it. We’ve been blessed with two amazing co-teachers for each of our boys (I call them co-teachers since I’m still the one teaching the lessons here at home). Connections Academy staff and teachers have been an amazing resource to me.

In the past years, I still wanted our boys to take the yearly standardized exams issued by the state. So even with a hodgepodge of curriculum choices, I made sure we were covering the relevant topics and used our state standards as my guide. Guess what?! We received Lil G’s scores last week and he received ah-mazing scores! He even received an “Exceeds” in Science! Insert proud mom beaming face here. So entering Connections Academy I wasn’t afraid that our boys were behind in any way. We just wanted to try something new that might be a better fit for our family.

So a quick Pros/Cons:


· I didn’t have to pay for the curriculum this year (we’ve spent an average of $700 each year on new curriculum. I know there are more budget friendly ways to homeschool on a shoestring budget, but we averaged this amount)

· I didn’t have to PLAN our lessons this year. As a result, I found myself to be WAY more creative. I’ve learned that I seem to have a limited amount of creative juices and after pouring all of it to my lesson PLANNING, I have a little bit of hard time finding extra teachable moments.   However, since now the plans are laid out for me entirely, I find extra teachable moments.  Sometimes during my very easy planning time (gathering materials for the lessons, reviewing what will be covered, etc.), I’ll pull resource books from our original homeschool library to supplement.  This makes our learning WAY.MORE.FUN!

· We’ve been more accountable with our lessons. I’d say in the past years we would say… hmmm we’re having one of those days. Why don’t we double our lessons tomorrow? Let’s cut our lessons in half, why don’t we and go to the park ;)

· We got an extra FREE computer to use in our home. Yep. Free.

Cons (these cons are actually the cons given to me by my old homeschooling colleagues)

· We have to stick to “their” curriculum timeline. So not really flexible in jumping around. But hey, it’s all good. I’m finding no stumbling blocks there.

· “You are now not official homeschoolers. You are involving the government in your education. With a computer in your home, you now have Big Brother in your home.“ My response: “Um… ok?”

· “What?? Virtual schools don’t teach from a Christian Perspective? They don’t have Bible study in their curriculum?” Hmmm. I consider myself a Christ follower. I teach from my perspective. We complete our family bible study together. In our home. Quite frequently might I add. Thank you very much!

So, according to my ex-homeschooling colleagues I’m not an official homeschooler anymore according to “their” definition. We are “schooling at home.” I find it so disheartening when people have to judge or find a way of making people feel like they are inferior for personal decisions they’ve made in their lives.

Oh and one more thing. Next year, things might change. I love that about us. We find every year that we are evolving and progressing and finding out what works for us. Without compromising our values, of course. So for now, we are checking this Virtual Schooling out. And so far… I am loving it.

Anyone else trying out or tried out a Virtual Schooling program? 

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