As a mother of three kids, having my first daughter reach the year to start Kindergarten was both exciting and terrifying for me. Our family has never followed the “norm.” When my little girl was born, we were on a second shift schedule. She never had the traditional “early bedtime” for a child. We never woke up before 9 AM.. I wondered A LOT how she would ever be able to wake up early for school. Then I did a little research and stumbled upon this thing called cyber school.
WHAT IS CYBER SCHOOL?
Cyber school is an option for children to attend an online public school in their state. It is pretty much the same as public school, except the classrooms are all virtual and the children learn from home. As a child I was raised to think that public school was the ONLY acceptable option for a decent education. I was very hesitant to even pursue this as an option. I did a TON of research and attended many information seminars. I joined a parent support group on Facebook and asked all the questions I could think of. Many things appealed to my husband and I so I decided to enroll my daughter in her first year with Commonwealth Connections Academy (CCA). CCA is the Pennsylvania branch of Connections Academy.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
Imagine being able to set your schooling up around YOUR schedule instead of setting your schedule up around the school day. You get to make appointments for your kid’s doctors appointments when the other kids are at school. Who doesn’t love an empty doctor’s office? Feeling lazy? You can have your kids do school in their pajamas on your bed with you. Do school after dinner if you want! Be creative.
Live Lessons are another important benefit of cyber schooling, at least with Connections Academy. This is how it works… When my daughter started Kindergarten she would have two Live Lessons a day. They were only a half hour long and it was for Language Arts and Math. They had virtual whiteboards to work on problems. There was an option to “raise their hands” so the teacher could call on them to answer questions over the microphone. This gives them the public school feel of having a classroom, classmates, and a teacher to interact with daily. it isn’t mandatory so you can miss them or just not attend if your schedule doesn’t permit it.
Extracurriculars and Electives
We found that CCA offered a TON of extra fun things to supplement the normal curriculum. My daughter joined two clubs in Kindergarten and also had one elective. She was in a pen pal club. She met a little girl her age from another state that also attended cyber school. She also joined a photography club in which she could submit photos to a newsletter that featured many students of all ages. Her elective was called Home Life, but it was basically a Home Ec class. She learned how to manage money, build projects, plant and take care of a garden, do routine maintenance around the house, and many other cool things that kids in public schools just don’t do at that age.
This is my daughter when she received her curriculum in the mail for her Kindergarten year.
Everything is shipped to you for free and you keep most of it. There are certain books that need to be shipped back at the end of the year. You get a school issued laptop (returned only if your child will not continue with the school) and a printer that you keep. You can even sign up for internet subsidy. They send you a certain amount of money every 3 months to help pay for internet or whatever else you may need for school.
My FAVORITE part of CCA was and still is the fact that I get to keep my kids at home with me. I don’t worry about them being bullied. I don’t worry about them being in dangerous situations like school shootings. I get to watch them grow every step of the way and spend that much extra time with them while they’re young. I will never look back on my children’s lives and say, I wasn’t there for that because they were at school. I will see EVERY accomplishment and EVERY struggle.
What questions do YOU have about cyber school? Comment on this post with any questions or if you’re a cyber school parent… What are your favorite benefits of the lifestyle?