Answering the Socialization Question

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55 Responses

  1. Donese says:

    Thank you so much for this article.  My daughter started virtual school about 2 months ago, and we haven’t had the opportunity to socialize much because we are getting used to the new virtual environment and because of the holidays.  This is the reassurance that I needed to hear.  This subject is a constant worry for me.  Knowing that others have overcome this issue, is very helpful.

  2. donna o says:

    This was an extremely encouraging article.
    I have home educated my children for well over 10 years and this is my second year with CA in PA. Last year my son completed 9th grade with CA and is now in brick and mortar school for the very first time. The transition from home education to b&m was made more smoothly as a result of the high academic standards and classroom prep that CCA offered him. This year, we have 2 boys in 6th grade and my daughter is completing her senior year.
    The “socialization question” has come up many times for us over the years and for the most part, my answer has always been the same. “Are you concerned about socialization?” My answer “Yes! That is one reason we have chosen to have the kids school at home.” On the one hand that sounds like a “sassy” answer but truth be told, socializing was a concern for us since we saw some negative outcomes in our local schools. We firmly believed that there would be an enormous amount of peer pressure on our children and their academics would suffer as a result. So much concern about having the right clothes or being invited to the right party, etc. So, as we embarked on our home educating adventure, I made it a point to get the kids involved in a variety of activities with children their own age. We have participated in sports, band, choir, co-ops, etc. Since joining the cyber-school world, we have had them join clubs, go on field trips, and my boys even have an IRL friend in CCA and we get together to review work and do science projects. In addition, this year my boys have enjoyed an after school reading club at the local library. Finally, another socialization opportunity for young adults is the opportunity to work! My daughter has been available to work at the local library during hours when most of her peers are in regular school.
    Overall, our experience with CCA has been nothing but positive. I am very grateful for this opportunity for my children and they really do enjoy doing school.

  3. Vicki Baker says:

    This is our first year with Connections Academy.  I have six children, but am currently home schooling only two.  One is in Kindergarten and the other is in 9th grade.  Next year, I plan on having all of the children in this same home school program.  We love it!  Even though my oldest will graduate this year and will not attend with the others next year, I can see clear benefits from Connections Academy.  We chose to do this due to negative socialization that was coming from the school they currently attend.  All of our children place high value on their academics and it was getting more and more difficult to have them accel in the “normal” brick and mortar school environment.  As far as socialization goes, we find that simple!  They are in sports, take classes at our local sports center that we are members with, are involved in a teen group at our church and we plan many outings as well.  I see no negative effects from having them learn at home, only positive.  All of the pressure is off and they can cultivate true friendships this way.  I would recommend it to anyone that asks!

  4. Lora says:

    Because of limited transportation during the day, I worry about my students getting antsy to get out. We arrange some pretty cool trips with them, however. They go with the family and they talk readily to others they meet.
    It was the socialization that brought my kids home and out of the B&M environment. Really, the regular school controls too much of their day for them to get much good social contact, but they seem to get exposed to too much of the bad social contact that undermined their esteem and health.
    Family is one of the best social contacts a child can have!
    My students are exposed to kindness, patience, gentleness, prayer (!), good humor, longer recess, loving and hugging, and so much more in their new environment as cyber students. They look very well socialized to me!

  5. Trudi Blake says:

    This is my sons second year in CCA and I couldnt be happier.  I was glad to see this post as I am a concerned parent about socialization also.  What we should do is take one anothers e-mails or addresses and have the kids contact each other for socialization via web or mail.  I do worry my son is not being as socialized as others but I am more concerned with his learning and later we will become more socialized.  He has his good friends.  I always here well he should have more than just 10 friends and I say even in a regular school most kids stick with their few closest friends anyway.  I dont see much difference between my sons socializing and school kids.  No, he does not have that bully bothering him or the latest fad on his mind.  I am just happy that I am able to raise my child!

  6. B Anderson says:

    Thanks for the info.  This is our first year with a virtual school.  We have homeschooled in the past, and there were always plenty of activities to interact.  We are however struggling this year, as we were “shunned” from fellow homeschoolers for going the cyber school route.  I am sure with time, however, we will find a nice group of children to once again interact with.

  7. donna o says:

    Oh B Anderson, that is a hard thing. This is coming from a family that
    has been through a similar situation. hang in there! Your decisions for
    your children are just that–yours! I hope you find a new group of
    people to get together with soon! Have you tried the message
    boards-sometimes you can find people that are closer than you realize.
    Hang in there!

  8. Allison M says:

        I agree with all of this! My son was bullied in school for being smart…as a result he hated getting up to go to school every day. the teachers thought he was just an angry kid….he WAS angry that the kids bullied him at school AND on the bus home! He gets up happy each morning to start his school day. In addition to all this, he is getting WAY more out of his school day because he can focus on the subjects, not whether he’s the object of snide remarks or pranks in the classroom.
        He also has a sister and brother that he plays with, and he has made better friends outside of school than he did IN the b&m school he attended. We are an active family so he is in no way deprived. Thanks to the local recreation  department,  boyscouts, and CA field trips, he’s just fine, thank you very much!!!

  9. Julia Johnson says:

    Hello all! I am a currently a student at my local public high school. I am very interested in Connections Academy because I feel I could learn so much more a virtual school. One thing my parents are worried about is that they both work full time. If you have any tips on making this work, your ideas would be very welcome. Another concern of my parents is proper socialization. My parents are worried that I will be socially isolating myself by participating in an online school setting. What kinds of social opportunities do you or your children participate in while enrolled in a virtual school? Any input would be great! Thank you!

  10. DonnamarieBertone says:

    from BLAZESmom.
    thankyou for this post i have been second guessing my decision to give cyber school a chance,i feel much better reading that im not alone and yes to all who doubt it my son is a wonderfully well adjusted loving unique young man who is able to exspress himself in ways he could never get in a public school we have only been at this a few short months and it is trying at times to get used to all the new technology after all i am an adult we are doing FANTASTIC

  11. Tammy Lenze says:

    No matter what “type” of school your child attends, as parents, we need to help make socialization a priority. Our family has joined several homeschool groups so that we have various fieldtrips to choose from. Our children are also involved in community sports teams, and outside activities such as karate and Cub Scouts. I pride myself that my son, at the age of 7, feels just as comfortable speaking with adults AND children of any age. Many children I have seen, seem to only socialize within their own age groups and that is sad. To those of you that are new to the virtual schooling environment, just know, it can be a full and enriching experience, with just a little effort on your part. Sit back and enjoy the ride!

  12. Jessica Waddell says:

    Thank you for writing this article. It makes me feel better that you have done this for everyone. My daughter has more Pa and out of state friends then B&M schools could provide. It is nice to know that there are parents like me out there.

  13. L. Koop says:

    I am so thankful for Connections Academy. This is our 2nd year with this wonderful school. It is amazing how so many people are concerned with the socialization aspect of your child and feel the need to voice their opinions about the choices only a parent should be making. We had problems every school year from bullying to ill prepared teachers. I am a licensed teacher and I know I would have been fired for doing some of the things the teachers were doing and not doing. My daughter is happy at virtual school and likes the fact she doesnt have to put up with the antics going on in the classroom. Maybe one day she will want to go back to B&M school but for now she is doing great!

  14. Kathy says:

         That was a great article.  My husband and I have only one child, so the question of socialization is usually the biggie on everyone’s minds when they find out that he attends an online school.  We often find ourselves explaining that we believe our son is getting a better “social” education by not being in a brick and mortar. 
        We feel that brick and mortars are simply providing kids with an opportunity to be social, but the students of those schools are not necessarily learning how to be social.  So, we figure that if we (his parents) are teaching him how to be social, then all we have to do is provide him with other opportunities.  For us, some of those opportunities are:  Boy Scouts meetings, Sunday School classes, and TaeKwonDo lessons every week, and, of course, just being able to get outside and play with his neighborhood freinds almost every day.  Our son is able to participate in all these activities because, with Connections, we can arrange his schedule so that he has time for them all.  (When he was in a brick and mortar, he often had so much homework that he didn’t have time to participate in most of these perfectly good “social” activities.)
         Our other discovery, is that our 11 year-old son has learned how to get along with people of all ages, and not just other kids his own age.  He can sit and entertain a baby, or play games with younger kids, or have a decent conversation with an adult.  (We’ve even had several adults tell us how impressed they were that he could “hold his own” during their conversation.) 
         Eventually, most folks realize that kids who are attending an online school are not really missing out on the whole “socialization factor”.  And, considering the earful we give them, sometimes they’re sorry they asked in the first place. : )

  15. LHERSHEY says:

    Glad to hear all the comments. I have an older son already graduated from b&m school which was what I THOUGHT was the right at the time but we struggled all 12 grades.The problems were the distraction in the class, kids and teachers not having control with so many to teach . If  you watch the behaviors of kids today and their parents can’t control them then how is a teacher going to? That’s the socialization the kids deal with so if you can offer a better for learning then do it…that’s why we chose SCCA. We’re in our 2nd year with our daughter. We did K and are in 1st now. Yes, the social thing was the big? I find it funny that’s what people are worried about and they don’t ask about the educational part…which is great. I feel that my child can do better in life with the education and when older will enjoy learning and find the things she’ll enjoy out in the social world. We as parents can find the right fit for our kids so don’t let it bother you because our kids will be who they are…hopefully we have taught them to make good choiceswith making decisions… that’s what mattes. HELPING MY KID BE THE BEST SHE CAN BE! NOT WHAT PEOPLE THINK.

  16. Lori says:

    Glad to hear all the comments. I have an older son already graduated from b&m school which was what I THOUGHT was the right at the time but we struggled all 12 grades.The problems were the distraction in the class, kids and teachers not having control with so many to teach . If  you watch the behaviors of kids today and their parents can’t control them then how is a teacher going to? That’s the socialization the kids deal with so if you can offer a better for learning then do it…that’s why we chose SCCA. We’re in our 2nd year with our daughter. We did K and are in 1st now. Yes, the social thing was the big? I find it funny that’s what people are worried about and they don’t ask about the educational part…which is great. I feel that my child can do better in life with the education and when older will enjoy learning and find the things she’ll enjoy out in the social world. We as parents can find the right fit for our kids so don’t let it bother you because our kids will be who they are…hopefully we have taught them to make good choices with making decisions… that’s what mattes. HELPING MY KID BE THE BEST SHE CAN BE! NOT WHAT PEOPLE THINK.

  17. Robin says:

    This is our 5th school year with Connections. My oldest daughter went to Brick/mortar K-1 and then in 2nd grade had a horrible teacher. We pulled her out and homeschooled for 3 years. Now my younger daughter has been with CA 3 years and she is so balanced socially and seems so stress free, just the way a 7 year old should be. My older daughter returned to public school last year and I have found that 6th grade in public is so tiring! With the endless hours of homework, the crazy social stuff, her always feeling that she never measures up against the other kids and all the pressure to perform at every minute, she hardly has time to remember her name. I can only imagine what the junior high experience will be. We are seriously considering a switch either back to CA for her or another charter option. I think if parents want their kids to be properly socialized, it starts with being a unit as a family and showing them how to navigate the world. We provide many opportunities, free form community gatherings and more scheduled play groups and class involvement. It is definately something that can not be overlooked.

  18. Brandy Fullmer says:

    This is our first year with CCA.  One of the main reasons we chose to leave the B&M school was because of negitive socialization.  My oldest is in 7th grade.  She was bullied  in the B&M school.  We have had a wonderful experience so far this year.  My children have more free time.  They are also in so many activities.  There is not one day that we are not going somewhere where they will be socializing with peers.  Very positive socailizing. 

  19. Katrina says:

    Years ago I read an article that said that kids who stayed home for the first couple of years were more confident and self assured and able to withstand peer pressure later.  So, I homeschooled my son for a couple of years before enrolling him in a local charter school.  He loved going there and being with all those kids, problem was he did no work because they were a huge distraction to him. So the next year we signed him up for ORCA & brought him home.  When people ask I just say that he does better if he keeps work & social life separate. And since we’ve got a large group of friends and extended family I don’t really worry about him getting lonely. Though I don’t generally say so to people who ask,  I do feel more comfortable having some say in who he associates with.  Some of the nonsense I see the neighborhood kids participating in just confirms to me that we have done the right thing.  

    The added benefit is that he’s learning to be responsible for himself, to sit down & do his work,  right, the 1st time, without trying to get out of it.  There is no escape, its not going anywhere till he does it. lol

  20. D.Star says:

    I thought it might be helpful if a student from CA posted what they think about the social issue. Well I am 16 and a student at ORCA and at first I was not sure I liked it because I thought that my social life was going to go down the drain.  Well now this is my 2nd year and I have found that they try very hard to find ways for us to meet up with other high school students and get to know eachother. I also like CA because I can do other activities outside of school and still have time with my family!   This article has a lot of good info!

  21. Donna O says:

    This is for Julie Johnson who asked about HS options.
    I think that CA can be a great option for HS especially if you, the student are choosing this! there are times when parents need to make the choice for a non traditional schooling option and so it has the potential of causing conflicts between the parent and children. Since this is something you are considering, it would seem that you are willing to take the initiative and get the school done. This would alleviate the concern your parents may have that you will not get your work done. The CA teachers are EXTREMELY helpful and available to you in ways that might be challenging for a teacher in a B&M school. That can also be something that can ease your parents mind.
    The socializing aspect is something to consider if you feel you are the kind of student that needs others around you to learn efficiently. My 15 yo son is like that and that is why he chose B&M school this year (his first time EVER in a school!). But if you already have an established group of friends and you get together with them regularly, the only thing that will really “change” is seeing them in school. Some schools will even allow you to continue to participate in certain activies especially if you know the teachers already.
    I think it is good you are being proactive and taking information to your parents. Just be sure to take your share of responsibility when it comes to your education or your parents can easily see reason to have to go back to B&M school.
    I hope this helps some!

  22. Mark H. says:

    Let’s face it.  We don’t live in a perfect world and as parents we have to make good decisions for our children.  Words alone can’t possibly express how grateful I am for Florida Virtual Schools Connections Academy.  This is the first year our sixth grade twin boys have been with FLVSCA.   One has a 95% and the other has a 92% overall grade for their first semester.  We live in a rough area of Tampa, Florida and they would have attended a middle school that was very bad in terms of bullying, drugs, and academics.  This was completely eliminated by our decision to use FLVSCA.  The socialization question will always be present to any parent who is honest with their child’s feelings and it is not always easy to address.  I have fond memories growing up and and playing with my friends yet today the world has changed drastically.  We live in an area where there is over 1500 pedophile in a 20 mile radius.  Society in general has become smug and indifferent.  We have used karate and bowling leagues to get them involved with social interaction.  I’ve enjoyed reading all the comments.  Thank You everyone.

  23. L. Norton says:

    Hi.  I began SC Connections Academy this year for one of my 3 sons.  He has special needs and it always seemed like a struggle trying to get all of his needs met in the traditional school setting.  The question about socialization began popping up before we even began!  I found out quickly that the opportunity for socialization actually seemed to INCREASE once we began the virtual school.  The first field trip was amazing!  He was actually able to interact with his new friends he just met, walk with them, point out things with them, and was even allowed to talk, laugh, and play….something that wasn’t allowed on the field trips he took in the traditional school.  In fact, they only got to “socialize” during recess, or maybe lunch if it wasn’t a silent lunch day in that school….so for him, I can see the opportunities, and we love it!

  24. L Samuel says:

    Today’s society is extremely difficult for not only children but for adults as well. My oldest son in grade 9 just started SCCA, it was a choice that had to be made because of unprofessional remarks made by teachers. A few years ago my son moved to SC from Massachusetts, he had such a rough time addressing people as Sir and Mam when he was so used to Mr. and Mrs. because of this, they retained him in grade 5. Once he returned to Massachusetts, his grade level lifted and he was honored with a double promotion.  We are back in SC and I notice not much has changed, CA has been a blessing to him. He cannot wait to get up in the morning to start on his lessons, mind you, he is pecking away at the computer as early as 6:00 am, although this is new to him, I believe it will be an asset. He does not have to worry about teacher nit picking or peer pressure. He is an all-star in Football, Basketball, Baseball and swimming but hopefully we will find a placement for him in those activities, in the meantime he will have to deal with those things on our premises.  I wish I knew about CA years ago. As a working parent, I am blessed to have a mother living with us and is his coach. My Mom is an educator and this is a plus on our part. Although I have two other sons in the B&M environment, I know it will not be long for them to follow in the steps of CA. Thank you, CA for such a virtual learning society.

  25. Pat Bailey says:

    My two sons left their old school because of bulling. The concern some people express that children in the cyber school environments will be isolated draws my attention back to the isolation they felt while being bullied and the way they were treated by adminstrators who seemed more concerned that their brick and mortor school was being questioned regarding safety for all children. Since the 2008/2009 school year my sons went from average to above grades while attending CCA. Both boys are very out going now and have no fear of socializing and making new friends or restoring old friendships damaged by the old schools look the other way approach to equality. If CCA hadn’t been an option my sons could have been damaged more by the environment they left. The teachers the boys have had so far are wonderful. I try to get more parents interested in CCA every chance I have. Cyber school is here to stay and is growing every year. Parents are seeking out options for a reason and if the traditional school setting in the brick and mortor school doesn’t improve soon… brick and mortor schools will see a sharp decline in enrollment each year to come.

  26. theresa schickling says:

    Hi my name is Theresa Schickling and I have two daughters in CCA one is in fourth grade and the other is in third grade.I really enjoyed this article. my daughter who is in the fourth grade was bullied and they did nothing. the teacher and I were on the same page but the princpal and the counselor wasn’t. both my daughters love it – they seem happier and yes I did worry about them socializing but we are an active family and we do attend CCA field trips that are fun. they also have each other to play with and an older sister who is in the 6th grade. I believe this was the best thing I could have done for my girls.We do talk about going to a regular school but then the answer is no cause they like doing it at home.I had family and friends question me but most of them supported me cause they knew what I was going through with the fourth grader not wanting to go to school and crying everyday and then I would be upset.Well again thank you for the article and I don’t regret doing cyber school. I think it was the best thing my husband and I did for our girls.

  27. Wendi Bryan says:

    My son has one of the highest test scores in our school district but has straight F’s on his report card. He did not do any work in class during the week but aced the tests at the end of the week. He was bullied and distracted to the point of actually being scared to go to school because he is so intelligent he would be singled out and picked on. I decided to home school him because of this and the stories I have read on the socialization factor has reassured me that I have made the right decision. I was really worried that he might have a difficult time making friends, but I have stood back and taken a look at the friends he HAS, and discovered that the few he has are good kids (two) and I dont need to explain anything to anyone about my decision to home-school my child. I have discovered that since he has been home waiting for his materials and books to arrive, he is more calm, assured, assertive, respectable, responsible, and even communicates with me on a level I never thought of until later years…go figure…I think BOTH of us are going to grow from this experience. As far as socialize, we are and will. I’m sure he will find other friends on the same academic level as he (way up there). Thanks for the reassurance.

  28. Michelle Perry says:

    This is our first year in CA but the socialization issue comes up constantly by well meaning family members. My son is ASD and normal socialization is difficult for him anyway. Their concern is that we are stifling even the small amount of benefit he would recieve in a normal classroom environment. What we have discovered though is allowing him to focus on school and offering social time at his own pace, rather than the enforced social rules of a traditional school setting,  has allowed him to be far more social than he has ever managed before. He is more confident to join in games with other children and to interact one on one in what society considers a normal way but for him has always been difficult. Free from peer pressure and cliques he able to form friendships in his own way and has had fantastic results just in the few months since we started here. We also have seen a tremendous willingness to participate in live lessons whereas before he avoided classroom participation even to the point of disrupting the lesson to avoid it.

  29. Steph C says:

    Can anyone please address the concern that has been voiced to me by my father… that it is beneficial to remain in B&M due to that it promotes learning about how to deal with mean people who will be forever present in life, beyond the school environment?  Do the sheltered, home-schooled children learn how to skirt left-handed and under-handed social attacks, remarks, social power plays, and the maneuvering of cliches of people against an individual?  These activities do repeat in the workplace and in other environments of adult life. 

    If the children are not provided with the examples and experiences that are given in the B&M social microcosm, then how do they develop coping techniques for their adult lives?  This is a concern of mine.  This is an aspect of socialization that has not been addressed on this page.  It has only been referred to as “negative socialization” without addressing the benefit of learning how to deal with it. 

    Any remarks?  Can someone please help me come to terms with this issue?  Thank you for your help!

  30. Kimberley Waxman says:

    Hello,
    I am considering placing my son in the National Connections Academy. Florida has a law that requires a virtual school student to attend a public school for a year before entering the local virtual school program. I am not willing to do this to have my son attend Florida Connections Academy for free. I have noticed local Connections Academy having social events and wondered if the National Connections Academy students would be able to join in on these funtions. It would make the Virtual school experience so much better if my son could meet other kids doing the same kind of schooling.

    I have joined a couple of local yahoo groups, but would love some real suggestions from anyone who would have information on this.

  31. AngelBB says:

    It sounds as if you’ve pretty much got your mind made up already, Steph.

    Steph said, “This is a concern of mine.  This is an aspect of socialization that has not been addressed on this page.  It has only been referred to as “negative socialization” without addressing the benefit of learning how to deal with it.”

    Honestly, there are bullies and all sorts of negative influences no matter what sport/religious/community effort they are participating in. You want your children to be aware of these things and learn how to cope with them? Join these types of social events! Seek out other home schooled children and have kid-dates. Go out with the parents as a group or let the kids decide what they’d like to do.

    The theme behind virtual school and plain homeschool is that school is school and socializing is socializing. If the parents don’t make an effort to take their kids out of the home, then yes, all their socializing will be done online or on the phone. Parent effort is key. Children will tell you what they’re interested in and it’s up to you as a parent to either make it happen or tell them no. That doesn’t change with where/how your child is schooled.

    I went to high school with about a dozen home schooled children from different families. They had never been to a brick-and-mortar until their 9th grade year. And let me tell you- these were the most down to earth kids you’d ever want to see. They had great grades and were more motivated than any of our other peers. I made life long friends with quite a few because of the values they were taught. They weren’t stunted emotionally or socially. They were calmer, more compassionate, and more practical than any of the students around us who were more interested in disrespecting(and thus becoming the very people you’re worried about!) others than fulfilling their purpose there at school. 

    Steph said, “Do the sheltered, home-schooled children learn how to skirt left-handed and under-handed social attacks, remarks, social power plays, and the maneuvering of cliches of people against an individual?  These activities do repeat in the workplace and in other environments of adult life.”

    The home schooled children I have met are not sheltered in any way. They were(and are) fully integrated into society in what to expect and how to cope with it. We took one son out of B&M because of his social difficulties around other children while he worked in therapy and our other son chose on his own to go to virtual school instead because the B&M bored him to tears. Kids are smart. They’ll make up their own minds what method works best for them to feel successful in school. And honestly- school ISN’T about socializing. It’s about education. Socializing is something we teach our kids and have a responsibility to make an effort to get them out to socialize with others.

    With the amount of homework both of my boys had in the B&M all their “socializing” hours at the end of the day were eaten up anyway. They wanted to do so many things and it was just impossible to let them do any of these things without their grades going down the toilet.

  32. Steph C, 
    This is a great question and one that deserves more discussion!  I’ve written a response here in a seperate blog post called How Will Children Learn to Deal with Conflict?.

  33. It’s wonderful that you are looking for opportunities to get out and about. You should bring this suggestion to the school and have them look into it!

  34. Steph C says:

    Dear AngelBB,

    This is Steph C (see Feb. 8 blog).  I truly appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions. 

    The reason why I have posed the questions is that I hadn’t made up my mind yet.  If I had, I wouldn’t had taken the time to ask for other’s remarks on helping me come to terms with this issue.  My commentary was not meant to be an insult to homeschoolers.  It was just a question to help me decide for my own children, which path to take, because dealing with difficult people has been a lifelong and painful issue for me.

    I have asked some people, in person, what they think, as well.  I have, of course, done a great deal of thinking on this subject.

    I like your motto of, “school is school and socializing is socializing“.  That does make sense to me. 

    I also like how you take on the full responsibility of socializing your children.  I wouldn’t have such hesitation if I felt that I would be good in that field.  That is something that I need work in because I get hung-up in the everyday responsibilities of life, and socialization can, sometimes, take a back burner.  I realize that sounds horrible, but, I am being honest.  However, you provided excellent ideas on how to skirt this fear of mine… the fear of not measuring up.  I suspect that my commentary on this will make you mad, because it suggests weakness on my part.  It is something that doesn’t come naturally to me, and something that I will have to work very hard on.

    I have heard concurring remarks to your experience of home-schooled children being “down to earth“, having “great grades“, being “more motivated“, “calmer“, “more compassionate“, and “more practical“.  This is a definite attraction and plus, and I am favorably impressed. 

    I also like your comparison of these children to “the students who were more interested in disrespecting“.  These comments hit home very heavily for me.  Another parent had put it to me that “they don’t need those kinds of interactions”.  And, I’m starting to agree. 

    I have been hyper-aware of these kinds of interactions since I have been seeking out homeschooling, and I have noticed that, although I attended a B&M school as a child, I feel no more equipt to handle these sorts of onslaughts now.  Life is short.  So, what is the point of suffering, and throwing my children to the wolves?  And that, is my conclusion.

    I am sincerely greatful for your time and input, AngelBB, and hope that I have not angered you.

    Sincerely,
    Steph C

  35. Steph C, 
    This is a great question and one that deserves more discussion!  I’ve written a response here in a seperate blog post called How Will Children Learn to Deal with Conflict?.   Be sure to check it out.  There are a lot of great insights in the comments sections and I would like to hear what you think after you read them!

  36. Steph F says:

    For L Samuel from SC regarding football, basketball, baseball, and swimming, (and anyone else interested in these types of traditional school extracurricular activities) :  Make sure you keep yourselves abreast of the state legislation changes going on in SC regarding education…. They are looking at Charter school students (which is what SCCA is) being allowed to participate in extracurricular activities with the traditional schools. This may or may not be something you are interested in, as many of you have mentioned NOT wanting your child in the social situations with b&m students, but it’s worth checking into if you are interested.  🙂

  37. M. Mahaney says:

    I love the fact that my children ages 11 & 15 can explain to anyone they meet and ask “Why aren’t you in school?” with conviction, complete honesty, and fact based answers.

    My youngest son told a cashier one day, “Learning doesn’t have to take place in a room of a building shared with people that cannot or will not accept me for who I am because I am different from them.” “I learn everywhere I go, when I chose to learn, it’s not up to anyone but me to learn what I need to learn to make it life.”

    Now tell me what student in a B&M school can say that and really mean and truly understand what that means?

    My oldest was standing outside the fitting rooms at Wal-Mart one Friday morning {I was fitting his little brother for much needed jeans}. I heard every word of this conversation from the fitting room.

    The lady there(about 50-60 years old) asked, “Why aren’t you in school?” and he answered, “We are in school.” She said, “Oh, you must be homeschooled.”

    He replies, “No, we’re not homeschooled. We attend a public virtual charter school where I can concentrate on my school work and not have to worry about being bullied or made fun of because I get the wrong answer or not get the attention I need to help understand the teacher’s lesson.”

    She then asked, “What about socializing with kids your own age?”

    He then replies with, “Do I seem unsocial able to you? I’m standing here holding a conversation with you. Do I seem like I am not educated in any way for my age?”

    She says, “Well no, but you do seem to have a smart mouth on you.”

    He then says, “Well I guess I could see how you would see that. But didn’t you just assume that I was uneducated in some way because I must be homeschooled? But you must be the one who is not educated because you somehow mistook my offense to your comment for being a smart mouth.”

    I came out with my other son and asked if everything was okay. He tells me that everything is fine.

    The fitting room lady states to me, “You have a very articulate son for his age. He really knows how to make what he feels clear.”

    I said, “Thank you, I must be doing something right.”

    My son says, “Yep, you took me out of that awful place and put me in a school that cares about who I am and how I learn. I hope I never have to go back to a regular school again.”

    I was very proud of him that day.

    I Love SCCA{South Carolina Connections Academy}!!!!!!!

  38. Terri says:

    I’m considering putting my son in the virtual school,the traditional school that my son attends it’s not working for us any more .My son is fearful of gangs around his school,he is getting into fights for kids picking on him.Enough is enough.The principals aren’t doing anything to solve these problems

  39. Amanda says:

    I too am worried about socialization.  I homeschooled for one year and then began virtual schooling.  I don’t understand why people who homeschool don’t want to have virtual schoolers in their groups.  I was told by our local homeschoolers that the state could eventually regulate thier group if  they let virtual learners joined.  I do not understand as all of us have chosen to school our children at home and all we want from the group is social interaction.  We are active in our community and still have alot of social interaction, however we live in a small town and there are not as many opprotunities for socialization as there are in a big town.  We also live about 3 hours away from the virtual school that we attend.  I am hopeful that next year we will meet more virtual schoolers.

  40. Tammy says:

     I am a 34 year old mom of two great loving kids. my oldest son is going to be in eighth grade and my youngest is going to be in seventh. my question to all the mothers that have their kid in this program is. My kids are in the learning support program at school and they don’t work at their grade level. Will this school help them work at their own level and work their way up to what grade they are in now. because my kids have trouble reading and adding and subtracting. the oldest one reads at a second grade level and he is in the learning support program full time. My youngest is only in it part time. but he reads a 2-3 grade level. Is this program for them? No Mom wants their child to be bullied at school and the way the world is to day theirs all kinds of drugs out their. And no wants that for their kid. So I want to learn more how about the home schooling program. I want the best for my kids. And I just don’t want them pushed threw a school like they have been in the past and no one has the time to work with them one on one bases.

  41. sherry says:

    I am a parent of two children considering online school for the first time. My kids aren’t into sports. What other social activities with peers would be suggested they are both very shy about meeting new people. thanks! 
                                                

  42. Tamara says:

    Thanks for all of the great comments! I am an adult who works in and out of many different public and private school environments nationwide. I have been increasingly concerned by over the years that the b & m school environment just has too many shortcomings to be the best choice for my family. I do not assume that my children will have the exact same challenges that I had growing up, but if socialization is one of the biggest questions out there…I can only say I would have been much better off being homeschooled or learning through a program such as online schooling. Being intelligent and learning things quickly did not endear me to my classmates, neither did being pulled out of my school one day a week to attend my district’s gifted program at another building. By the time I got to junior high school, I felt like an outcast with no friends outside of my fellow “nerds”. How many of us had similar unhappy socialization growing up in a b & m setting? I completed my high school’s english program in the seventh grade, so when I got to high school, I enrolled in remedial english, just to fill the english requirement on my schedule. WOW. All of a sudden the class clown…I went a bit overboard in making up for lost time in the socialization department. Suffice it to say, many parties, bad choices, and by-the-skin-of-my-teeth escapes later…I look back on the entire schooling experience as a mis-managed waste of time. For all those questioning whether or not your children are getting enough socialization because of your brave decision to try something different for your family…remember, it is quality, not quantity, of socialization that will provide strength of character as your children grow up.

  43. Nancy says:

    I’m considering enrolling my son, who will be entering seventh grade, into the academy.  However, my husband and I work full time jobs during the day and will not be home to supervise our son.  In the traditional public school setting, he had a difficult time staying on task, motiviating himself and understanding the content.  He is also has high functioning autism.  All the comments about socialization were very positive, but I wonder if the parents who posted the comments had the opportunity to stay at home with their children or if their children were left on their own to complete the requirements. Can a program like this work for an austistic child with no adult supervision during the day?

  44. Tamara says:

    Thanks for all of the great comments! I am an adult who works in and out of many different public and private school environments nationwide. I have been increasingly concerned by over the years that the b & m school environment just has too many shortcomings to be the best choice for my family. I do not assume that my children will have the exact same challenges that I had growing up, but if socialization is one of the biggest questions out there…I can only say I would have been much better off being homeschooled or learnine through a program such as online schooling. Being intelligent and learning things quickly did not endear me to my classmates, neither did being pulled out of my school one day a week to attend my district’s gifted program at another building. By the time I got to junior high school, I felt like an outcast with no friends outside of my fellow “nerds”. How many of us had similar unhappy socialization growing up in a b & m setting? I completed my high school’s english program in the seventh grade, so when I got to high school, I enrolled in remedial english, just to fill the english requirement on my schedule. WOW. All of a sudden the class clown…I went a bit overboard in making up for lost time in the socialization department. Suffice it to say, many parties, bad choices, and by-the-skin-of-my-teeth escapes later…I look back on the entire schooling experience as a mis-managed waste of time. For all those questioning whether or not your children are getting enough socialization because of your brave decision to try something different for your family…remember, it is quality, not quantity, of socialization that will provide strength of character as your children grow up.

  45. Cheri says:

    The reality is Homeschooling is alot of work with very little support from family and community.  We have never felt more isolated.  There needs to be more field trips and events.  We have just started our second year.  I have given up any hope of having my own career because I need to stay home and motivate my son to do his homeschooling.  We live far below poverty level because of the inability to work a “real” job.  My son has some special needs and they are better met at home at this time. 

  46. Jean says:

    I am a grandmother of an Aspergers Syndrom child and she was constantly being bullied at the B&M school in Middle School.  It is almost time for school to start and she says that she can’t go to high school.  Her mother’s comment is “go and suck it up.”  At the present, she is in a Behavioral Unit suffering from deep depression since she tried to solve problems by attempting to take her own life.  She is very close to me and I was put in the hospital for sepsis andwas very ill.  I’m fine now and I am willing to help her with cyber school but her mother is totally against it.  She is in IEP for Math and Reading, also has help with Science and Social Studies.  She has no self esteem from all the years of bullies and I think this would be beneficial to her to be able to concentrate on studies instead of  “losing this or that friend.” I could use any help in solving my dilema.  Thank you to all.

  47. annie says:

    Socialization is something you have to deal with everyday.Everywhere you go you interact with somebody.Its important to know how to talk to somebody for instance when you go for a job interview you need to show respect and once again socialize with you boss,other employees,and customers.SOCIALIZATION is not something you can get away from…(unless you lock yourself in a basement with absolutely no access to the out side world…scary)

  48. Annaliese says:

    I’M GONNA HAVE SO MUCH FUN AT INCA!!!!!!!!!

    I WAS AN A,B STUDENT AT KVMS BUT WITH THIS ONLINE SCHOOL I HOPE TO ACHIEVE STRAIGHT A’s

  49. I watched my sisters in law home school their children for at least part of their education. As a teacher in a traditional school setting I too was questioning the absence of peers throughout their school day. The truth of the matter is these children all have become intelligent, articulate, social, and generally nice young adults. They are all navigating traditional social settings including college campuses. I credit concerned parents for giving their children a well-rounded childhood experience that included opportunities to make friends. This leaves me with one remaining concern…that of the opportunity to learn from their peers and to be motivated by peers in cooperative learning. I know these children all had opportunities to learn alongside grade level peers for a small group setting of other home-school children. Again, this is something that can be planned and organized among families or through private tutors offering small group instruction on a regular basis. So, although I was once questioned the appropriateness of home schooling, I am now a supporter by offering individualized, small group opportunities to build academic skills as well as relationships. Home schooling may not be the right choice for everyone. But, support should be available for those who choose it.

  50. Jen says:

    I’ve got two completely home schooled (on-line school didn’t exist then 🙂 adults in my world. They are probably the two most interesting people I have ever met. They have always been able to talk with people of any age, they are polite, kind, generous, thoughtful, intelligent, self-directed….. On the other hand, a friend of theirs was homeschooled for two years and became depressed from the lack of contact. She thoroughly enjoyed the social aspects of school, and returned, sure that it was right for her. Each person is unique, and having the ability to choose the level and type of interaction appropriate for themselves is an emotionally healthy situation.

  51. Deb says:

    @Allison M Thank you so much for sharing. I am preparing to put my son into the program this fall for the first time and he was bullied for being smart too. So much so that he had to see a psychologist!; I’m hoping this will be a positive experience and that he will make many new friends in the process.=)

  52. Renae says:

    I’ve been cyber schooling my kids for 7 years. It is a marvelous program that needs to be implemented to it’s fullest in order for students to reach maximum potential. When it comes to socialization I think that even though CCA provides numerous opportunities to socialize a home schooling family should seek out a local home school group(there is usually one in every county)thus giving the child more than enough socialization. Children are also entitled to local district sports when in cyber school. City teams are another option for students. There are so many ways to have healthy social activity and have the benefit of a cyber school program. CCA is the best and that is why we have remained with them.

  53. Tracy Cowles says:

    I am waiting for enrollment confirmation from CCA, and was just enthralled with this post and all of the ensuing answers.  Awesome discussion!  Although we haven’t started yet, I wanted to weigh in.  In making the decision to remove my child from B&M school, his socialization was not even a consideration for me (although it is for family, friends, and most interestingly, public school teachers.)  Why?  Because my 8 year old son is kind, tolerant, able to converse and share activities with all age groups from infants to teens to grandparents and he knows exactly who he is.  He knows what he likes, what he doesn’t like, and what he can tolerate.  So I Cyber School him.  Is he suddenly going to become a rude ogre?  I don’t think so.  Parents who have real concerns about this area should do some research into personality…most current research indicates that a childs’ basic personality (leader/follower, shy/outgoing) is established by 7 or 8 years old, and won’t change much over the years.  It also indicates that personality is based more on genetic and hereditary traits than environment.  What does this have to do with the above discussion?  How your child socializes in a classroom is very much based on his/her basic personality, which is already pretty established by second grade.

    I also found it interesting that this conversation about personality segued into discussion of “conflict management.”  How sad that we have to assume that there will be conflict in the classroom on a regular basis that our children will be forced to learn to manage.  Should there be conflict in the classroom?  If there are 14 kids in a class, all of whom have been raised well, and are led by a qualified teacher, just how much conflict should there be?  

    Let me ask you  this:  In your adult life, today, how many “conflicts” did you deal with?  Hypothetically, if you got a bill in the mail and disputed it, how would you handle it?  Does it require socialization?  First, you use deductive reasoning to figure out that a problem exists.  Then, you use cause/effect knowledge to determine what needs to be done (don’t pay it – get turned into collections agency).  Eventually you formulate a plan, and probably make a phone call, using your verbal language skills and receptive language skills.  You negotiate, state your case, and perhaps follow up with written documentation.  What does this have to do with socialization?  Nothing…..its all related to education – your thought processes, language skills and potentially your writing skills.  Whether you choose to say please and thank you is at your discretion, probably based on how obnoxious the person on the other end of the phone is.

    Let me ask you this:  In your church, clubs, work environment, neighborhood, etc., are there people you geniunely don’t care for, can’t work with, and avoid?  If public school did such a great job of “socializing” us, teaching us “to work together,” and “manage conflict” how come we still have people in every environment that can make us nuts in five minutes or less?  Again, back to personality and upbringing….school does not fix this problem.

    We will handle the socialization issue (if it even exists) by spending time with family, continuing with scouting, taking swim and other lessons outside of the home, and hopefully by keeping in touch with and having playdates with children my child genuinely likes and has common interests with.  One suggestion I have that has not been listed here  is to make sure that you have your child’s closest friends phone numbers and addresses before you pull him/her from public school.  Invite those kids (and their parents) to birthday parties and outings such as bowling, a trip to the local zoo, etc., in the hopes that your child will be invited to theirs.

    My gifted child has been held back by his classroom since preschool.  His public school gifted program is a joke.  We’ve been in school for almost four weeks.  He’s been tortured by a classmate, is still reviewing stuff from second grade that he’s known since first grade, and today was placed up against the wall during recess (with 5 other kids) because I, his mother, did not sign his homework book last night.  Three of the kids in his class of 14 have speech issues to the point that they are hard to understand (don’t knock me for this – I’m a speech therapist), one child has just moved here from South Africa and speaks 10 words of English, and one child has a behavioral problem that disrupts the class multiple times daily.  My son’s IQ is being wasted, and he is miserably unhappy.  He was treated for an ulcer last year.

    I would also ask you, exactly how many “best” friends do you have, as an adult?  Three?  Five?  How many do you need?  Not that I would ever recommend turning down a friendship, but most adults only have a few, trusted friends.  Why must our children by forced to try to like and get along with an entire classroom?

    As an adult, if I was unhappy daily, I would solve the problem….you go to counseling, get a divorce, change jobs, find a new church.  Why do we not do this for our children? 

    Ultimately, if my son excels in this program, gets to work at his own pace, gets praised for his good work by a loving mom, gets to pursue his own interests, such as chess club, and ends up with only 2-3 close friends by the end of high school, I guess I can live with it…..happily.

  54. nancy says:

    What do i need to enroll my child and does connection academy supply all materials needed

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