Note: This post is sponsored by, and written in collaboration with, Leavenworth Virtual School. The author, Kerrie McLoughlin, is the chaos-loving, homeschooling mama of 5 living in Overland Park. You can find her (and all her offshoot projects) at TheKerrieShow.com.
We’ve been homeschooling since 2006 and I had never really given virtual school any thought. I figured it would be too intrusive on our free-spirited lifestyle and didn’t want my kids to be interacting with a computer all day instead of with me and with the world.
In the past, I had always used a variety of DIY curricula along with store-bought curricula and things purchased online. Last summer, though, I was faced with homeschooling four kids while keeping a fifth occupied and it was a little overwhelming. I also needed something to keep me on track.
I started doing some research and talking to other moms who did virtual school and made the leap. We’ve been thrilled with it and plan to have all five kids in Leavenworth Virtual School using the Calvert Education curriculum next year. These are just my top 10 reasons why we love it:
- We love when the boxes of curriculum arrive on our doorstep. The kids go through them like it’s Christmas, and they are excited to see what they will be learning about. The little ones love their clay and crayons and small books while the bigger kids love their science kit.
- I love that I am not spending hours researching and tracking down curriculum for the individual needs of each of my children. I am also not spending hours each week lesson planning. Instead, I have more time to spend with my family and on doing other things I might need or like to be doing.
- We love all the online extras: resources like Streaming Discovery Channel, BrainPop, online textbooks, online libraries and tech lessons like how to send email, how to create Excel spreadsheets, how to type, use Paint, etc.
- I love that they accommodate all types of learning styles. If your child is “behind” for their grade, they aren’t ridiculed or made to feel different or less than another child. They have a program called Verticy for struggling readers and a software program called Kurzweil, which reads to a child. As for math, if you don’t like the math program, Leavenworth Virtual School will find you an alternative. They want your child to succeed.
- We love that we can go at our own pace. We can take a vacation and do work before we leave or catch up later. We can travel with my husband for work and take school on the road. We can do one lesson in each subject every day or my good-at-English boys can knock out all their Spelling for the whole year in a week. You can send your kid off with their lesson manual and have them do their work independently or work alongside them. You can do the work at night or even on weekends!
- We love that it’s cost-effective. I would spend thousands of dollars on all the items Calvert Education sends to our door through LVS for just $45 per child. That’s it. You can even rent a laptop from them if you need to and return it at the end of the year for a reasonable fee.
- I love that there are no requirements for the kids to be online for a certain number of hours per day. You need 160 days of attendance online but they are not counting your every move. If your child already knows something, he can simply answer the checkpoint questions (like a little quiz) and move on.
- We love that our facilitator comes to our home. He visits three times per year for check-in and testing, but he’s not calling or emailing me all the time the rest of the year. LVS knows and respects how busy homeschooling parents can get and also knows that we are in charge of our kids’ education! Go figure!
- I love that they have Fun Fridays. Every month other LVS kids get together in Leavenworth to play and take cool enrichment classes. They also have amazing monthly field trips! Last December, we went to see a play at The Coterie at Crown Center followed by ice skating at the Ice Terrace and my virtual-schooled kids attended for free.
- We love that it leaves plenty of time for other activities, time with friends and learning about other things they might want to be learning about. We have time for board games, going to the park and the pool, Scouts, field trips, grandparents, volunteering and more.
Homeschooling can get a bad rap sometimes, either as parents letting kids run wild all day or else parents making their children sit at the dining room table doing school 10 hours a day. Our days are somewhere in-between: filled with memory-making goodness and we are glad that we can fit school into our fun life!