October 10, 2018
What is a Virtual School?
Do you remember the “Jetsons” cartoon? It was set in the future, the year 2062, where a space-age family with a flying car living in space. It started like, "Meet George Jetson, his boy Elroy…” Those words will get that catchy theme song stuck in our heads for years. Besides being one of the first TV shows in color and in syndication over 50 years later, it showed a utopian future with all the gadgets and gizmos one could only dream of. Well, many of those gizmos are now part of everyday life. The first flying car is set to go on sale this week. We all have more advanced computers that were on the show and smart watches. And, this showed what school in the future will look like. How did Elroy go to school? When he was not at the “Little Dipper Elementary School,” he did school virtually. Sometimes he stayed home next to his dog Astro, in front of a computer with a large visual screen showing his teacher giving the lessons and homework. The future is now and from my research and experience, if properly set up, virtual schools can be an exceptional learning experience.
In fact, as an educator, I placed my son in Method Schools online Homeschool program over a year ago, and it is working great.
Why did I choose to put my son in a virtual school?
I had other choices like an overcrowded school with massive dysfunction, bullying and no help or tutoring, along with a teacher ratio of 35 to 1. I could get a third job and try a private school again but that didn't work for us. I could sell my home and move into a small apartment in a better school district. None of the other options were good. We had a school problem and needed a fix. The traditional public schools failed my son in a larger-than-life proportion so we had to try something different. One that is on the cutting edge of what is possible. We briefly tried the Cava K12, but the curriculum was too hard to follow for my son and there was no teacher availability; a few minutes of check-ins every twenty days. Lack of socialization was another issue. Yet, the system concept has been a good one. No bullying and a safe environment with the ability to learn.
Perhaps you have questions about what a virtual school is and how it works.
Perhaps you have concerns? Allow me to briefly explain what a virtual school is and how it works to alleviate any fears. Before I made the switch, I had done my research, that is what I do, postdoctoral level research at an Institute. I knew where to go, who to ask, to make sure this new way of doing school was better and going to be a fit for my son.
Here is what I found out:
- A virtual or online school is school at home via the internet. The student logs on to a computer and takes classes. This type of school, such as the “California Virtual Academies” or Method’s “Online Homeschool” works as a public school, where the students simply do their work at home or at a location. Many are public schools with credentialed teachers and good academics, while others are private, and some are questionable at best.
- Who should go to a virtual school? Any student who is marginalized in a school, does not socially fit in, can’t keep up, bored and not challenged. Thus, if your child is bullied or can’t get the needed classes, falling behind, or too far ahead this can be your best solution. A self-paced and flexible curriculum that's tailored to every student.
- A virtual school can better accommodate and give the flexibility you need. If your child is a student-athlete, a student-actor, or in the arts, you may be struggling to fit in the one size fits all school world. If you need a more flexible school schedule and need to take your classes anywhere, anytime on-the-go then this is the place to be.
- A virtual school can help your child work at their own pace. If they are a motivated student and stuck at the pace of every child out there, this can give them more power and drive in their education. If your child is slower than most, like learning differences and disabilities, the custom curriculum can be a tremendous help that they can’t get anywhere else.
If you have the desire to homeschool, but do not want to be the one to teach your child, a virtual school can be your best option. The key element to look for is quality teaching and teacher interaction. If your teacher meets you every twenty days then you may not be receiving the support you need to succeed. If the virtual school is meeting the students with quality instructional time more than once a week, like Method Schools, then you have a winner.
Here is some research to look over Edweek.org
For a school solution that has a curriculum that is intuitive with great trained and considerate teachers, outings and a STEM program, check us out.
Dr. Richard Krejcir is an Author, Researcher and the Director of a nonprofit that does educational training in third-world countries. He is also a Homeschool Coordinator at Method Schools and an instructor in a STEM program and a father of a son with autism.