5 Myths about Virtual Schools

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70 Responses

  1. jessica says:

    awesome school 🙂

  2. Patti Kilby says:

    My son is now in Honors English!!Honors English!It is incredible, that for 8 years, he struggled every day in school, and barely passed from grade to grade. With Connections Academy, he has been given the freedom to work at his own pace and with the strenuous reading requirements, he has exceeded our expectations! He has struggled with severe dyslexia his entire life. Now, without the pressures of other kids in the room, he has relaxed and overcome his anxiety about reading. Now, he reads for fun, and his grades reflect his efforts!! I literally can go about my day and not worry about him. He contacts his teachers if he needs help with anything, so he is definitely in charge of his own destiny, and that gives him incredible confidence! I love Connections Academy!

  3. Joe Kyle says:


  4. Jennifer H. says:

    Patti K: Thank you for posting this because I have a 2nd grader who is ahead in reading and he was the kids sitting in the classroom last year waiting for everyone else. My husband and I want something more for our son and we want him to excel. It is also good to know that he can be involved in other outside activities and still get the community social interactions.

  5. Randy says:

    Can anyone comment on the differences between Connections Academy and Florida Virtual School?  Thank you.

  6. Linda Collins says:

    Hi Randy.
    My son Nicholas joinned Connections Academy this year after finishing the last 3 years in FLVS (Florida Virtual school)
    FLVS is an “umbrella” school that oversees Connections Academy. Last school year 2010-2011 was the first year that the name Connections Academy was absorbed into FLVS.
    When we relocated, the school year was not quite finished, so Nicholas had to fly back to FL to take the FCAT tests (state run testing that determines how your child and the schools are doing)

    FLVS covers all 67 counties in Florida and works pretty much the same way as Oklahoma’s Connections Academy works, with classes on the computer, labs, quizzes,exams, a teacher keeping in contact with both the parent and the student, etc.
    My husband and I are VERY pleased with the whole online school experience. Our daughter Ashley graduated as a Senior this year with Orange counties first graduating class under the FLVS name.

    Florida Virtual school has a website…. flvs.net

    Hope this helps!


  7. Gina says:

    I would like to know more about the attendance requirements for virtual school. Is there a penalty for being “absent” for any specific amount of time? Also, are there opportunities for students to move at a faster pace than their grade level or age group?

  8. Suzie says:

    How does Connections work with a student that is several years behind academically and has a significant learning disability in math? We don’t expect her to catch up, but would like her to grow at her own pace.

  9. Josey says:

    The socialization is what’s holding me back from enrolling my son. He is an only child and loves being around other kids. He doesn’t IM or text at this time since he’s only 5. What opportunities are there for him to interact meaningful with other kids his age?

  10. Izella Duenas says:

    Izella – My daughter is doing an independent study with one of the charter schools here in southern california. I enrolled her in a virtual academy before and we both were disappointed with the results. My daughter is with a learning disability and has a slower pace in understanding. In addition to her struggle is that English is her second language. I think we didn’t get the best support from the previous virtual academy that i enrolled her in. She is quite doing good with her study now but i’m still looking for better options for her. I would like her to work and learn better in school knowing that she is able to accomplish things without school work being a threat to learning in a fun and enjoyable way. I’d like to know how connections academy can help us with this.

  11. Tammy Seigler says:

    Can someone tell me what the learning coach does?  And can someone walk me through what a day would be like?  Do you have to start at a certain time and for how long do you work on assignments?  Are there any people from South Carolina that have had successes with Connections Academy?  I have a 3rd grader, is he too young to do virtual school without my heavy involvement? 

  12. Yvonne says:

    My 3 kids (8,10 & 11) just started Connections Academy Monday, after being in a regular public school. They weren’t being challenge or given the help that one needed. Therefore I enrolled them with CA and luckily got in before they closed enrollment for the year. My kids are thrilled about this online school, because they are learning stuff that wasn’t even taught to them yet at their old school. They have teachers that call you and email you and work with you on how to help your child and what interest them. You get to work at your own pace and on the schedule that YOU set up for them. A learning coach is just there to sign in for attendance and mark hours, and mark the lessons that have been completed so the child can get credit. You help check the answers before they send their quizzes/tests off to the teachers so that they’re not skipping answers and go over the answers that you think might be incorrect. I love it because your giving your child the education they deserve and you can see for yourself what they may have trouble with versus a note home from a teacher signing your child up for tutoring. You can see if they simply just don’t double check their work or not paying attention to reading materials. You take breaks when you want to and besides all that they have great electives and clubs for your kids. And great material to guide you as a learning coach. Your child even has the opportunity to learn another language. And as far a socializing, there are field trips and meet ups. Beside that you shouldn’t rely on your child getting socialization from just school, it should be karate classes or swim lessons, going to the library, book store or park. You should take your kids to the zoo and aquarium etc. A child can get socialization anywhere. You just have to expand your mind then your child can have a world of opportunities. My husband and I feel that this was the best decision we have made for our children’s education and I love being their to guide them, and the teacher is there to teach them.

  13. Debis G. says:

    I’m a Florida Virtual School Full Time (FLVSFT) student, and I’m very pleased with the program. I love Florida Virtual School because it’s just what I was looking for! I had a successful year last course and I wanted to find a school that allowed me to advance as much as my ability let me… My mother and I were desperate looking for options… and it was when we found FLVS. Some of our friends criticized us, they said we wouldn’t have any credits, socialization, and that I was going to lose the English I learned, given that my parent don’t speak English. My mom actually reads and understand, but can’t speak! Even though we had a lot of pressure telling us bad things about Virtual School even form my last school’s Principal, we decided to try it! I took exams to see in what classes I was going to be place in and they gave me Gifted in all my classes and Honors Algebra 1! I was so excited! I knew it was very hard or even impossible to get that in any other school.
    I’m so happy that I can now show all our family and friends that “Virtual School” does work and that it’s amazing! Whenever I have questions I can call my teachers and they answer me, I sent them web mails, and we talk about how I can improve and progress in my education. About socialization I attend a home schoolers group, in which I take Gymnastics. Also, in FLVS we have 4 or more field trips almost every month… there, we meet a lot of people and socialize in a wonderful healthy environment, but not just that, we can sent each other web mails, we can text and communicate in Live Lessons! Connections Academy is wonderful! I highly recommend it! 🙂

  14. Kevin Benecke says:

    We live in PA and attend CCA (Commonwealth Connections Academy).  I’m a parent of 4 girls.  They are currently in grades 4th.,5th.,6th., and 8th.  They all attend connections academy.  We started in March of the 2009-2010 school year.  We chose to put them in a school like this because the school they attended at the time was getting to be to dangerous with violence and bullying.  Plus the education they were getting was sub-par.  They were bored half the time because the lessons didn’t challenge them enough.  We looked at many options before choosing CA (Connections Academy).  We chose this virtual public school because they offered the best schooling out of what we looked at.  They tailor the lessons for each kids specific needs.  They also have a great school experience for kids with IEP’s.  I have 1 girl with a learning disability.  She gets one-on-one tutoring when she needs it.  We’ve been with CCA for 3 years now.

    We go on field trips when we can.  They are always fun.  But the most fun with CCA is the end of the year picnic.  You can choose to go to either Hershey Park or Kennywood.  CCA pays for your entrance and gives you a day pass and provides a picnic for everyone that goes.  A lot of times on field trips, you get to meet the teachers in person.

    Our biggest concern when we started was what would happen without that interaction with their  friends that they get in school.  We found girl scouting, and other things like this for them to make friends.

    One other things that is nice, at least here in PA (Not all states do this), they provide each student with their own computer(s) to do their schoolwork.  They also provide a combination printer/scanner.  And they also provide you with ink once a year.  Also, 3 times a year, they reimburse the families to help them with their Internet bills.  If you kid wants to do things like band, guitar lessons or any extra circular activities, they sometimes help with this also.  Your 1st. year with CA, you have to pay for field trips that you have to pay for.  The 2nd. year, CA reimburses you 50% of the bill.  In your 3rd  year, they will reimburse you 100% of the paid field trips you attend.  They also have a lot of free field trips you can attend.  And what is nice, you can attend any field trip within your state.

    They also have message boards where you can interact with other parents and get great tips that can help you learn the ropes with the school.

    CA is just a great overall school with great teachers.  They are very flexible and work with your schedules as good as possible.  As long as they attend their live lessons (From 6th. grade and up, they are mandatory), make their required hours for the week (Here in PA is 25 hours for K-5, and 28 hours for 6-12), and complete their schoolwork, their is never a problem.  If you have a doctors appointment, all you need to do is to let the teacher’s know so they excuse them from live lessons for the day.  If you go away for a couple of days and you have a laptop, you can take that and their books with you and they can still do their schoolwork anywhere their is an Internet connection.  We had to go to a funeral one year and did this.

    If you are looking for a good online school, I would recommend CA.  Give it a try.

    Kevin Benecke-LC

  15. Teresa K. says:

    I will be a first-time CA parent this year for my girl going into 5th grade.  Do you receive days off for holiday times, such as Christmas, New Year’s, etc..?

  16. Lisa says:

    I would like to find out more about attendance requirements. We might be traveling out of state and I need to know that my son will not be penalized for being away from our physical address for more that 10 days in the school year. 

    • Debby Allen says:

      Lisa you can do your school work from any place you go as long as there is an internet connection. That’s the beauty of this program! You can also choose your vacation days. If you need those 10 days off then you work on he scheduled vacation days and take the days you want later. We have about 30 days to work with that are designated “vacation” days.

  17. Sarah says:

    Teresa and Lisa-

    Your family will have a certain number of vacation days to use between the official start and end dates of the school year. While the school offices are closed at various times of the year, families can choose when they would like to use their time off. It’s all part of how we provide flexible scheduling for our families!

  18. Elizabeth says:

    Do the students get a high school diploma when they graduate or do they have to get their GED?

  19. Dan Reiner says:

    Elizabeth, since our public schools fulfill state requirements our students graduate with a high school diploma. So they’re just as qualified as any other graduate of the public school system.

  20. Kerri says:

    I would like to know if its possible to do virtual school while living overseas. My son is in an international school in Jakarta and it is extremely difficult for him. Our physical address right now would be a Houston address but we are planning on buying a house in Colorado so maybe Colorado would be our home state. There is a 13 hour difference in time so did not know if this option would be possible for him.

  21. Ronnie says:

    I was picturing a second grade classroom with 35 students and the little boy in the back that just cannot pay attention to the math lesson because he is distracted by the sunshine. Maybe he needs to be taught math early in the morning or in the evening when the sun isn’t shining. Virtual schools could offer this flexibility. Of course the parents would have to be disciplined for him to do his work, but perhaps he could learn more! Our teacher toolbox will only get bigger with time!

  22. Anne Villamea says:

    Are there any college credits available? Do great colleges/universities accept students that graduated through online schools?

  23. Dan Reiner says:

    Anne, you can take college courses for high school credit; it is called Post Secondary Education Option (PSEO). Yes, many of our students go to very competitive schools. We have competitive coursework and are very respected by colleges and universities.

  24. Dan Reiner says:

    Kerri, unfortunately you have to live in the state the school is located. So if you are looking to relocate to Colorado, feel free to explore our online school in Colorado upon your return. However, an online private school might be an option for your current situation. If you’d like to talk to an advisor, please call 1-800-382-6010 (toll-free) or 1-443-529-1000 from abroad.

  25. Jessica says:

    I am just now starting to research this option for my family. Prior to this, my goal was to dual enroll my 1st grader (homeschool and public with the majority of learning done at home) so that he could attend our local school for art, music, PE, and technology. Someone told me about this online school, and I think it sounds amazing. However, I am torn because I would still like him to be able to do specials in a school setting. Is this an option? I assume not since he will need to be open enrolled to CAM…he cannot be enrolled into two schools, can he? Please advise!

  26. Dan Reiner says:

    Jessica, unfortunately we do not offer dual-enrollment. However, we offer a variety of student clubs and activities in which your son could interact with local students, as well as Connections Academy students from across the country. Our new Juilliard eLearning music courses might be of particular interest to you. 

  27. Michele says:

    Is it possible for a parent to work out of the home 40 
    Hours a week and still use Connections Academy? Also are there certain hours of the day they must be in school or is that flexible? 

  28. Amanda says:

    I have a sixth grader who is doing okay in public school, but I’m not sure it’s the best option for her.  I have seriously considered a virtual school.  However, my husband and I both work full-time so I’m not sure it’s even feasible to consider.

    Are there other parents out there who work full-time outside the home and have a middle-schooler in CA?  How do they make this work?

    I have a few other questions as well…
    Is there a summer school program?  This would be a great way to help our daughter bridge the gap over summer and allow to test run the virtual school idea to see how it works for us.

    Does the school year run concurrent with most schools, taking time off over the summer?  I’m wondering if we could do shorter days, but extend our school year to include the summer.

  29. Dan Reiner says:

    Michele, yes, it is possible, but very much depends on the age and ability of the child to work independently. Typically, younger children (say grades K through 5) require ongoing adult guidance and supervision to move through their daily lessons. Older children (for example, middle and high school students) continue to benefit from an adult’s presence in the home, but typically do not need an adult’s assistance to complete lessons. 
    Here’s a post that explains in more detail how virtual school works with regard to your child’s responsibilities and the Learning Coach involvement. Also, here are a few suggestions for how you can potentially make arrangements as a working parent.

    There are no set hours for students to do their lessons. Each school does have a minimum number of hours of attendance each school day, but how those hours are structured is flexible. Some students wake up later in the day and work through the dinner hour; others wake up early and complete their lessons by noon, allowing them to hold part-time jobs or engage in activities such as the arts or athletics in the afternoons. Students and parents will want to note, however, the hours when the school staff members (i.e., teachers, counselors, and principals) are available for phone conversations as well as when teachers hold their Livelesson sessions—typically between 8 and 4 p.m.

  30. Dan Reiner says:

    Amanda, thanks for these great questions!

    Families where both parents work outside the home do have some possible options to consider. For example, students in middle-school do not always need ongoing assistance to do their daily lessons. Is it possible for you and/or your spouse to alternate working from home so that one of you is always present with your child? Or, are there other families in your area with whom you can partner, either having your child do her lessons at those families’ homes or alternating among them—one day the children learn from your home; the next from another home, etc. Another option some of our families use is to hire a tutor or college student who is with the student during the day while you are at work. Please also see some of the other suggestions I referenced in my previous response to Michele.   

    Our International Connections Academy does have a summer school program and it is a great way for new students to learn about this school option and for current students to enhance their learning.

    Most of our schools and programs do run through a typical fall to spring calendar, with students having the summer time off. Some of our programs are just beginning to offer the type of pacing about which you are wondering—shorter school days extended throughout the entire year. Also, because our program is flexible, some families who prefer fewer school hours per day do just that, but continue their children’s lessons through the weekend or school breaks so that the total number of school hours per week remains the same. Check our website to see what options are available where you live.

  31. Domonique says:

    I’m full grown can i sign up; still because i want to graduate high-school but i can’t seem to find a high school close by, and i don’t have very much time ever since my Mother died. I’ve been taking care of everyone and everything around the house. 
    And now i’m looking for a job. Most of the good jobs are for grads. Each time.
    Is this school for me i need a free virtual school.
    At least until i gotten back on my own to feet.

  32. Viviane says:

    I have attended an online session for information and I did ask my questions. But one thing I just thought of; I have a daughter entering 2nd grade and she has not been assessed yet, but I believe she has dsylexia. I don’t believe it is severe, I do believe a lot of her struggles can be helped with how information is delivered to her, and having a teacher with the time to structure things a little differently for her. We had a very frustrating first year, and I spent A LOT of time with her giving her different ways of understanding what was asked of her in terms of her work. However, I don’t always know how to teach her properly, in spite of being well-used to homework with kids (She is my 5th child and my oldest is 23). How do they “tailor” the work for her? Do they do some sort of evaluations first, or just take it from their last report card?

  33. Josephine Beaver says:

    Hi –
    I am a working Mom and my daughter will be in 1st grade. I usually get home from work at 4 p.m. Is this time still okay for her to start her lessons? Are there teachers available at night time to teach her and answer her questions? Or, do you require a specific time for the student to be online doing her lessons?
    Another thing is I am really interested in enrolling my daughter if the schedule works, but my husband thinks of putting her to the regular brick school. If I enroll her here now, will she be pulled out of the local school later by my husband? Or will the local school deny her since she’s already enrolled here? Which school has priority over the other? Can enrollment online be cancelled anytime? Are local schools informed of kids enrolled in Connections Academy?

    Also, I requested for an information guide but didn’t get it yet from the mail. Probably, I will get more information from that once I receive it.
    Please let me know. Thank you.

  34. Dan Reiner says:

    Domonique, it depends on your age and where you live. Please check the eligibility requirements for one of our schools in your state. You can find a school in your area here or please contact our Enrollment department at 800-382-6010 for more information. 

  35. Dan Reiner says:

    Hi Josephine,

        As mentioned in the comments above, there are no set hours for students to complete their lessons. However, it’s important to note that LiveLesson® sessions and teacher are generally available Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

    Please call our Enrollment team at 1-800-382-6010 regarding the enrollment process and how to inform your local brick-and-mortar school about switching schools. They can also help you if you still haven’t received a program guide!

    — Dan

  36. Dan Reiner says:

    Hi Viviane,
    During the enrollment process, the Caretaker completes the Student Information Form (SIF), where s/he is asked to answer a series of questions related to the students’ academic history, typical academic performance, areas of strengths and needs, learning style, and any unique family, learning, or environmental situations that may impact learning.

    Additionally, prior academic documentation is required for all incoming students. If the student recently attended public school, they are asked to submit a report card, progress report, or unofficial transcript from their most recent school. If the student was homeschooled, the Caretaker completes a Homeschool Prior Academic History (PAH) form, which asks about the homeschool curriculum used and the progress made.

    If the Academic Placement Services team is unable to finalize placement based on the information provided in the SIF and educational documentation, a placement test will be assigned in language arts and/or math.

    As always, you are welcome to call our Enrollment Team at 800-382-6010 with questions.

    — Dan

  37. Joanne says:

    Our daughter lives in New Freedom, PA and our granddaughter has said she doesn’t want to return to the school atmosphere, as the bullying she received, last year, was awful. She will be going into 5th grade. They do not have a computer and I was of the understanding that the PA program provided this—can you please let me know if this is the case and, if so, direct me to a phone number or email that my daughter can look into. 

    Thank you.

  38. Dan Reiner says:

    Hi Joanne,

    Thanks so much for your question. All students at Commonwealth Connections Academy (our Pennsylvania school) receive one laptop computer per student in grades K–12. 

    Please take a look at the Enrollment page to enroll your granddaughter. Or call our Enrollment Team at 800-382-6010 with questions.

    — Dan

  39. Lisa Litzinger says:

    I’m interested I enrolling my son he’s 5 and will just be starting kindergarten. He is in the autism spectrum so I was thinking this may be a good option for him. I have a 4 year old and a 3 month old baby as well so was wondering how much time approximately is needed to complete lessons each day. I just want to make sure I can devote the time necessary. Please reply thanks Lisa

  40. Dan Reiner says:

    Thank you Lisa for your interest! The rule of thumb is that the younger the student the more involvement is required of the Learning Coach. As a parent, you already know that at this stage, attention spans are as tiny as the children themselves. But please know that you can share Learning Coach responsibilities with another responsible adult in your life (i.e. partner, grandparents).

    Please call our Enrollment Team at 800-382-6010 for further assistance on how to best accommodate your kindergartener in your situation.
    — Dan

  41. Amanda says:

    My friend will be 22 this year and dropped out of highschool to help his sick mother and only needs 3 more credits to graduate. Is he to old to enroll? 

  42. Rhonda says:

    Our children have been in the virtual school environment since kindergarten. We are so pleased with this model. But, I will say that like the brick-and-mortar schools, each is a little different in quality. I have found that the teachers are normally very well qualified, and the curriculum is usually better than brick-and-mortar. The technology is very important.
    Do their servers crash frequently? What system do they use for classes? And how easy is it to access the student schedule, grade book, announcements, and email?

    We moved from one virtual school to Connections this year due to tech issues, and the jumbled up information system. With Connections, information such as the grade books for all your students, email, teacher info, attendance, etc., is located in one place. No more utilizing three different programs to access necessary information.

    Also, I noticed a few socialization questions. There are many outings/field trips open to Commonwealth Connections Academy students each month. Our children accompany us on ministry trips, and are active in 4-H, the church, and do community service. There are many opportunities to socialize children. Please don’t let that stop you from considering the virtual model.

    In the brick/mortar model, the child is crammed into a box with everyone else. With homeschooling/virtual school, your child has the freedom to grow, becoming who they were meant to be.  

    The teachers here are highly qualified, fun, and notice when a student is struggling, and when they are doing exceptionally well. In the old school, they dreaded the day due to tech issues, and the boring dragging curriculum. For example, a group of teachers put on a play about weathering set in the story line of Cinderella?  This was middle school.

    As a mother of students from both the brick/mortar, and virtual models of education, I would definitely recommend virtual education for those who can.

  43. Julie Whitesell says:

    I would like to know if there is a set schedule time for kindergartners to be online? I would also like to know what are some factora other parents used when choosing to homeschool? My child is having discipline issues in school, she’s very strong-willed and won’t be pushed around from other kids, and I think she is bored. I’ve been thinking of trying virtual school…

  44. Dan Reiner says:


    That’s very admirable of your friend. We hope his or her mother is doing better. I’m sorry to let you know that your friend would no longer be eligible. High school students are only eligible through the school year they turn 21.

    Best wishes,

  45. Hi Julie,

    This is my son’s 4th year with Commonwealth Connections Academy (CCA) in Pennsylvania. I sought out an alternative choice after he was physically bullied in a public brick-and-mortar school. When I was searching virtual school options, I looked at the various curriculum utilized, the socialization opportunities both online and through field trips, and the dedication of the teachers. I chose CCA because they offered the most courses, a wide variety of clubs, and fun field trips.

    In the past four years, I have also experienced the dedication of the teaching staff first-hand. They have also ensured that my son has the resources and services, such as Dragon Speak technology and various therapies, that he needs to be successful. They too want to see my child succeed. I also like the flexibility of the schedule. In PA, elementary students are required to attend 25 hrs per week: this can be work done in books, reading, attending online lessons, or attending a field trip. Not all of that time is spent directly online.

    I hope this helps answer your question. If you have any others, please feel free to use the Connections Contact a Parent Program to speak to a parent who has a child currently enrolled in your state.

  46. Neva Jones says:

    Hello, I to am considering Connection Academy for my daughter after she is finished with elementary school. We have be considering this for a while now. I have concerns about her getting to socialize with others. After reading all the other Q and A…I am really considering it. I have people telling me all the time that I’m not doing the right thing, but after hearing what goes on in public middle and high schools it really scares me…I’m afraid for her getting bullied because of her weight also….So after reading everything I think we will do this, she too is struggling in some areas now…she is in the 4th grade now and this has been the hardest year for her..I have one question….she is in the Jr.Beta club…is there a way she can stay in this or not?

  47. Dan Reiner says:

    Hi Neva,

    It is up to the local brick-and-mortar school to allow students outside of the school into after-school activities. Connections Academy does not prohibit it.

    We also provide an abundant amount of Clubs and Activities your daughter might be interested in too!


  48. Comment says:

    Virtual school is alright, but you have to stay on pace, if you submit a minimum of 3 assignments a week, you should be alright sometimes. But it is always a good idea to check with your pace and see if you are where you should be.

  49. STANLEY says:

    Thanks for this great information. I totally agree with your perspective. Please continue updating your site. Your articles always make me want to read more. 

  50. stanley says:

    Thanks for this great information. I totally agree with your perspective. Your articles made me want to read more. 

  51. Z says:

    Is it true that universities frown upon students who attend florida virtual school because its less challenging than attending a traditional highschool and being in a normal scenery?

  52. Judith says:

    Connections Academy is awesome virtual school. My children been in this virtual school since they’re in middle school and they are almost finishing their high school and they love it. Do your research for the truth. Our family says, well done to all the staff and faculty members.

  53. I am trying to figure out the enrollment guidelines to Connections Academy.  It states that the student must have been enrolled ion a public school beforehand in order to enroll.  My daughter attended an accredited & well respected private high school her freshman year.  I wanted to find out is this going to keep her being able to enroll at Texas Connections Academy?

    Thank you

  54. April says:

    Can a child attend a public school & get extra help through an online school? 

  55. jenny maze says:

    I have began the enrollment process for my 2nd grade daughter and my 5th grade daughter has expressed interest, but her bold back is basketball. She has played on the elementary school team for the past two years and doesn’t want to leave her team, can she still participate in school sports if she is enrolled with CA??

  56. LENNA PONTIUS says:

    Thought-provoking analysis – I was fascinated by the information . Does anyone know if my business might be able to get access to a fillable SC Diploma Replacement Request form to type on ?

  57. Jen says:

    I have twin boys, one academically gifted, and the other who is on the autism spectrum.  I am also a “semi-retired” special educator and would like to address some of the following, if I may:

    1. Connections Academy (CA) is not “homeschool” — the curriculum is specifically tailored to each child’s learning needs/styles and delivered by qualified and state-certified teachers.  Parents act as Learning Coaches; facilitating instruction with the help of the CA staff.  Regardless of what you feel you are capable of academically, parents: you CAN do this!  For us, the best part has been re-learning the material alongside our children.  You’ll be happy to know that my husband has SMOKED seventh grade algebra.  😉

    2.  If your special needs child is on an IEP in the public school system, he/she will continue to be in CA as well.  The special education department at CA has been brilliant at accommodating my son’s services in virtual school via Live Lessons and open study and social skills seminars.  The teachers, as well, have been so receptive to our need to periodically adapt Michael’s curriculum to suit his needs — his services have not only not been disrupted; we believe they have been greatly improved upon!

    3. If you have a gifted learner then you will be astonished by how they flourish at CA.  My son Jack went from being a bored, C Average 6th grader, to a straight A seventh grader taking Gifted and Talented curriculum, and eager to start moving into high school level math and science.  His instructors have allowed Jack to capitalize on his strengths in literature and the natural sciences and design semester projects and individualized portfolios that spark his interest and challenge his intellect.  

    4.  Communication at Connections Academy is AMAZING!  Not a day has gone by this year when I haven’t had some form of communication (phone call, webmail, text) from the boys’ teachers.  On week 2 my husband laughed and said “Do you realize we’ve gotten more feedback from their CA teachers in two weeks than we had from their public school teachers in two years?”  One day, my son Michael struggled on a math assessment.  Knowing he generally excelled at math, his instructor saw his grade and immediately contacted us to see how she could better explain the assignment.  Another day, the boys got on the phone with their science teacher to sing her a song they wrote about DNA.  The boys love getting calls from their homeroom teacher, and are always excited for the next meet-and-greet to see them in person.  Ca teachers don’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk when it comes to caring about their students.

    5.  And now… the “S” word:  socialization.  First of all, let me state that the United States is one of the few cultures in the world that embraces — and has an English word for — adolescence.  We, as a culture, see our 13-18 year olds as hyper-social, moody, eye-rolling “teens” and we not only accept it, we perpetuate it by allowing our children to behave as such and lumping them together with their peers from whom they only learn more adolescent behaviors.  Sociologists and psychologists have shown that 13-14 year olds are best “socialized” amongst other adults and that children who are raised outside of an influential peer group (aka middle and high school) have 30% greater social skills and 45% higher adaptive life skills than those who are “socialized” within a standard public school setting.  They willl be teens for 5 years; they will be adults for the rest of their lives.  Prepare them for THAT.  Of course, my sons spend plenty of time with peers outside of our home.  They take martial arts five days a week, are active in the youth program at our church, participate in local sports programs, and are active in community theater.  The crux is; their stepfather and I get to determine with whom they spend their time.  The bottom line is:  it may take a village to raise a child, but I have seen the offspring of a lot of the villagers, and I don’t want them anywhere near my children.

    OK, clambering off of my soapbox now!  Let me simply close by saying that, not only are our boys CA students for life (or, at least, for 5 more years!), but I am so passionate about the program that I’m abandoning my early retirement and applying to be a Connections Academy instructor for the coming year.  Give Connections Academy a try — you will be astounded at the maturity and passion for learning you will see in your child.

  58. Tina says:

    My daughter is in the ninth grade and is struggling in reading and math I know she is below her reading level and math level will CA help her to bring those subjects up?  Or will that stop CA from allowing her to attend.
    Is it best for her to enter CA now or should she wait until September?

  59. o2infosystems says:

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  60. Brian says:

    I would like to know how many days a week there are going to be in school for 

  61. Virtual High Schooler says:

    Well, Myth #4 is actually true for high school students in virtual school.

    Middle school and below get supplies and books, but high schoolers do everything on the computer. 

  62. Chris says:

    I’m looking to enroll my high school student for this upcoming school year. Will he have the ability to work at his own pace to finish and catch up quicker?

  63. Najja O says:

    Hi Chris,

    Connections Academy students have the option to work at their own pace, however; students must meet attendance and other public school requirements set by your state.  For more information, visit http://www.connectionsacademy.com/.

    Thank you,

  64. Gelsy says:

    It is important for parents to know that if they are thinking about enrolling their children into an online public school, that they be well informed if their children are eligible for a loaned computer. Many parents are being told that their children are not eligible until after they have been enrolled, shipped materials and started classes. Especially, if they have multiple children enrolled and only one computer that everyone uses at home. Having to withdrawal, enroll, request and transfer documents, reading dozens of emails and documents, watching numerous videos, organizing, attending live sessions, starting online assignments and significant amount of time in contacting staff members and customer support, such as Arizona Virtual Academy and K-12 customer support are very time consuming, inconvenient and dissapointing to parents. If possible, be prepared just incase if things don’t go as planned.

  65. Whitney says:

    Can somebody please let me know if you can be enrolled in public school and make up credits online at the same time.

  66. Hello, Whitney.

    Our public, Connections Academies are full-time schools and as such students must take a full course load with us. That being said,  if an elective/course is not offered through us that some of our schools allow for a student to dual-enroll and take the additional course elsewhere. This varies from academy to academy, though, as state regulations vary from state to state. I encourage you to call our Enrollment Office at 1-800-382-6010, M-F 9am-6pm EST to obtain specifics about our school in your state.

    I would also like to mention that while our public programs are full-time, we also have a private program at which students can  enroll part-time. For more information on that program you can either go to http://www.internationalconnectionsacademy.com/ or call 1-888-260-4159, M-F 9am-6pm EST.

    Thank you for your interest in Connections Academy.

    Best Regards,


  67. BobOliver says:

    Wow. what a post thanks for sharing

  68. Cindy says:

    These are all true, but I think they are missing one:
    #6 – Virtual School is for students who struggle in traditional brick-and-mortar schools.
    Truth: Virtual school is for students with many different learning experiences, from those who struggle to advanced levels of learning. It is for students, parents, and families, like us, who seek out an alternative education (and often higher quality and more flexibility) for their students.

  69. Michelle says:

    I can attest to all of the above!
    1. Virtual school is not Homeschool. My kids have attended public school and homeschool. Virtual school is actually a combination of the best of both worlds. We love Virtual school, it allows for much needed structure and socialization.
    2. It’s not all about technology. I have a middle schooler and high schooler and they have booth completed more hands on manipulative projects while attending Virtual School than they did in public school. Even better, the feedback was more thorough and engaging than anything they received from “in person” teachers.
    3. virtual School is not teacherless! Both my middle school and high school students have had better quantity and quality time with their teachers in a school year, than ever before. The interactions are focused and success driven, the teachers have time to invest and care about the students. I believe my students have spent more quality time with their teachers since starting Virtual school.
    4. Virtual school does not mean camping in front of your computer screen. We have spent equal time on hands on projects, labs, library trips, and field trips.
    5. Quality social interaction is the norm in Virtual School. Again, because of lack of distractions, students are able to interact with each other and teachers in a quality way. I think Virtual School makes it socially acceptable to interact on a higher level with both teachers and other students than what you would see in public school. My students have had genuine interaction with students and teachers via one on one chats, field trips, volunteering, classroom meetups online and in person. I think the platform actually promotes quality over quantity interaction.

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