What Does Virtual School Look Like?
By Dr. Richard Krejcir - December 19, 2018
A virtual school is similar to a homeschool situation, except teachers are doing the instruction while parents coach. So, what does this look like? In the world of homeschooling, there are no families who have the exact same daily routine. You may have the same daily plan like in a traditional school setting. Such as you get up and do your work. However, in a conventional school, it is getting up at 6:30 am, hustling to get ready, trying to have a quick breakfast and all the family drama that this incites. Then there is the rushing off to the bus stop or carpool or the drop off before the “bell tolls” at 8:00 am. A stress filled morning hustle that few enjoy. Then, enjoying that six and a half hours of quiet as you are off to your routine like work. In a homeschool or virtual school setting, there is no fear of the bell toll (A reference to Ernest Hemingway and the church bells that are rung by a set of three when someone dies.). In fact, a virtual school family is far less stressed and more at ease during their day of school and work. It is a happier and more engaging time and an environment that builds on relationships and learning.
What is a typical day like in a virtual school? Easier and less stressful. You can forget the 6:30 am wake up call, you can sleep in. After all, in most settings, the workload is less than four to five hours per school day. It is not about when, it is about the quality of how. How we do our work. As the school work is not meaningless busy work, rather carefully thought out curriculum guided by quality teachers that is more efficient and effectual. What us parents do is have a place for the student, like a desk and a nook or corner where everything that is needed is in one place and hopefully organized. I am working on that. For my family, since we live in a tiny bungalow, my son works at the kitchen table in the center of the home, where we can easily assist when he needs it. Most of the time he does not need assistance. He enjoys the safe and encouraging environment of his virtual school over his other schools’ experiences.
Besides the actual school work, there is an abundance of other activities and socialization opportunities that can also easily fill the week up. Such as meetups, park days, field trips, exploration programs, tutoring centers, and service events, all to enhance the educational experience. So much more than can be had at a regular school situation. In fact, when I counted up the hours of socialization, since family members were concerned, I found out there is more quality time with peers than at the private or public school he was at. There is, in fact, more socialization!
Thus, our typical day is getting up and having breakfast at our pace, take our time, read, watch TV, chase the cat and be at ease. Then when ready, the self-imposed school bell rings. Today, there is a virtual meeting with one of his teachers at 9 am to go over math. And another teacher meeting online at 10 am for his weekly check-in that is an hour long. He does his assigned work, checks his pacing guide to make sure he is on track and then he is usually done by 2 pm. After that, a world of opportunities. Today my son and others from his school are going to the park for a couple of hours with another homeschooling group. A couple of times a month we have a field trip to have an incredible learning adventure, like the Science Center, Natural History Museum, a NASA Space Center, a Civil War reenactment, and so much more. Last week we competed in a robotics league competition and took in a first-place trophy. This week we are going to an auto engineering exhibit and show, where our students will get to interview engineers for a report.
What my son and other virtual school students do not have to worry about and endure is the mountains of meaningless homework. Most Middle School students are in class for six and a half hours, then come home to another two or more hours of homework. There are usually very few “one on one” time with the teacher and many get lost and even marginalized and even bulled in that situation. For most virtual school students, we have five hours or less of school work, and we get to explore and enhance their educational journey.
For the students at Method Schools where we are at, we have more for less. More education and quality life experiences and less toil and stress. Perhaps you should check it out, and you will be surprised what you find. For my family, this has been a win-win situation that cannot be beaten.