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I don't have any experience with them, but I have considered looking into it. My district is having so many problems that I'm seriously thinking about other options, this being one of them as they always seem to have openings for special ed teachers. I do wonder about accountability with these. One of my former students was enrolled in a virtual academy which I found interesting as she has seizures and is not supposed to use the computer. Found out from her siblings that mom is doing the online work and "helping" the child with her printed paperwork. She was in second grade when I last had her and was finally beginning to learn to read (she is cognitively delayed). She came to parent-teacher conferences for one of her siblings, so I pulled her aside and had her read something to me, a book I'd successfully gotten her to read the year before and she couldn't read it at all, not a word. I'd be curious to hear thoughts and personal experiences from anyone.
Here's a copy of what I pasted in the homeschooling forum:
I've never used one, but that's because I lived in a state that didn't have any...until we moved. Now I'm in IL and the only one for K-8 is in the Chicago school district. The other virtual public school is a high school only.
I worked for two K12 virtual school programs as a parent-school liaison. It was soooo much fun, and I was able to see what a wonderful blessing a virtual public school can be for families - two of my good friends' families included.
A virtual school would not work for my son due to the public school restrictions involved. Most will only let a student advance 1 or 2 grade levels. They also are stricter about progression and schedules. I like our year-round, relaxed schedule.
A virtual school would be a wonderful option for my daughter (she's in B&M PS now). She has an IEP and receives four therapies at school. That alone makes HS'ing her out of the question, as she has to have the in-class, and pull-out, therapy. But if we had a virtual option, it'd be much better.
Many *pure*, "old timer", traditional HS'ers disagree with virtual schools because of the government controlling it - it's a public school. BUT it can be a great bridge between PS and HS. Many parents use a virtual school for a year or so, then find out they really can teach their child. Many like the "backup" of a certified teacher. Families where one spouse agrees with HS'ing and one doesn't, can find common ground in a "public school at home".
The K12 virtual schools are so great, IMO, because it gives families a chance to have the awesome curriculum without the cost (~$1500/yr per child K-8 and at least $4500 for high school). Also, it's a great way to "get back" some of the public school funds from your taxes. You get to use those taxes, and you get to teach your child in their learning method, and away from bullies, bad attitudes, etc.
It's really sad to me when those who use a public virtual school option are treated like they have the plague by othe HS'ers. The fact that certain HS groups won't let VS'ers into a group because they "aren't HS'ing" also drives me nuts. Even worse, I get livid at the HS'ing community when HSLDA, HS groups, HS state associations, etc., act rabid about K12. K12 is a curriculum. They supply curriculum, and sometimes management, to virtual schools. But yet if you use K12 as an independent HS'er, like I have for six years, you're a horrible person. The same groups and people never seem to "go after" Calvert, which supplies the Connections Academy with curriculum. K12 is not allowed to have booths at most HS'ing conventions since they supply not only *pure* HS'ers, but also virtual schools. HSLDA reps have said, in convention sessions, "do not go to the K12 booth". I worked HS conventions where HSLDA presented, and some people would completely avoid walking past our booth - as if we had cooties. It's just plain sad.
I think it's soooo wonderful that there are so many options for our children. To me if you school at home, you school at home. It doesn't matter if a PS district supplies the curriculum, or you purchase it and do all the planning yourself, or you unschool. As long as your child is getting the best education *for them* with what works *for your family*, then no one should judge another for their choices. When HS'ers get so anti-virtual school, it's just sad.
The very interesting thing to me is that both teachers' unions and "classic/traditional" HS'ers hate the same thing - virtual public schools. How can two groups, on a totally different end of the educational spectrum, both be so opposed to the same thing?
JCC, I wonder the same thing. In the end, isn't the objective to provide an education that's in the best interest of the child? When I was in college that concept was pounded into our heads, yet it seems to have fallen from favor. Homeschooling, when done correctly, is a great option for some children, public schools are great options for some children, private schools, parochial schools, etc, etc, all great options for some children. No school can be everything to everyone, so why not go with what works best for the child? My oldest would have been a good candidate for virtual high school. He had behavioral issues and it made his high school experience miserable; had virtual school been available, I would have seriously considered it for him. I wish people would stop fighting about which setting is best and work to make all settings conducive to optimal learning. We need to return to the best of interest of the child mentality. JMHO